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Annual USEF World Cup Riders Meeting Secures four FEI World Cup Qualifiers for Thermal in 2009

Thermal, CA (March 31, 2008)—HITS is pleased to report that last week it received unanimous support from attendees of the 2008 USEF World Cup Riders Meeting held at The Oaks in San Juan Capistrano, California to once again host four FEI World CupTM Qualifiers at the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal.

HITS has successfully run the World Cup classes at its West Coast Circuit since 1991, giving riders on the West Coast an opportunity to qualify for the prestigious World Cups year after year right in their own backyard. Originally HITS hosted two FEI events in Arizona. In 1992, those two FEI classes were moved to Indio and then in 1993 HITS obtained an additional two classes to bring the total to four. During the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit, at the request of the World Cup riders, HITS Management offered all four of the FEI World Cup Qualifiers in a new indoor ring that featured a state-of-the-art matting system paired with what many riders praised as the best footing available.

"The general consensus from the meeting was that the classes that were held this past season at HITS Thermal were very well received and successful," said Dale Harvey HITS Technical Coordinator and High Performance Liaison. "It was obvious that riders really appreciated the opportunity to prepare for the Finals in an indoor setting."

"The indoor structure proved to be popular and the vote confirmed that," said Tom Struzzieri HITS President and CEO. "With 2009 being a Las Vegas Finals year, we are going to make every effort to expand the pool of riders interested in competing for World Cup points at HITS Thermal, who will then ultimately stay for the Finals in Las Vegas."

The 2009 FEI World Cup Finals are scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 15-19, making HITS Thermal, which is just a four-hour trip away, the perfect place to prepare for these prestigious finals.

“I found the meeting very useful. It provides a good opportunity for valuable dialogue between show management and riders so that their respective needs can be met,” said Sally Ike Managing Director, Show Jumping for USEF. “A good example of this was the discussion that took place about Tom’s proposal to move the last of the four FEI World Cup classes outside during the Championship week. The riders preferred the indoor venue and Tom [Struzzieri] agreed to move that class back to the original schedule and hold it in February.”

“I heard nothing but great things about the World Cup Qualifiers,” Ike continued. “Tom really stepped up to the plate.”

In 2008, Richard Fellers and his mount Flexible had an incredible run, taking three of the four $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifiers, presented by Adequan at HITS Thermal. The only rider able to take away what many believed could have been a clean sweep from Fellers was California's own Joie Gatlin. Gatlin rode Cameron Hills Shan Roe in what turned out to be the only clear round on the day's course for the victory on Friday, February 22 during DC IV.

Thanks to his efforts in Thermal, Fellers currently enjoys a spot in the top three on the FEI Rankings for West Coast Riders, while Gatlin sits comfortably in the top ten.

For more coverage from HITS Thermal, including great interviews and videos from the DC Championship, please visit SportHorse.TV

FEI World Cup™ Jumping has entered its 30th season. The series, created in 1978, today comprises 14 leagues on all continents. The best riders from 132 preliminary competitions will qualify for the 2008 final in Gothenburg, Sweden which takes place from April 24-27. For more information about the FEI World Cup please visit: http://www.feiworldcup.org.

2009 HITS Thermal Dates

DC I: January 20-25

DC II: January 27 - February 1* (FEI World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix offered)

DC III: February 3-8* (FEI World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix offered)

OFF-WEEK: February 9-15

DC IV: February 17-22* (FEI World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix offered)

DC V: February 24 - March 1

DC VI: March 3-8* (FEI World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix offered)

DC VII: March 10-15

DC Championship: March 17-22

HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit http://www.HitsShows.com.

PHOTO: ©2008 Flying Horse Photography, Rich Fellers and Flexible win $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan at HITS Thermal.


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