Starting off with a bang, Grand Prix rider Richard Spooner, the Desert Circuit’s all-time leading money winner, had two back-to-back wins, first on Gerry the Grey and then on Ezrah. The win on Ezrah was his 100th – only one other rider has achieved that number. Impressive!
Speaking of impressive, the EquiBase™ Arena Systems new covered ring, which is home to all four $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifiers presented by Adequan, has proven to be a great venue for horse, rider and spectator. The atmosphere is intimate, the footing fabulous and the courses challenging. Topping two exciting jump-offs, Rich Fellers and Flexible took the blues in both FEI classes. He now sits comfortably in the top 5 for the West Coast World Cup standings.
Here’s a list of the other 2008 HITS Desert Circuit Grand Prix winners:
• $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix, January 30th: Mark Watring/Sapphire
• $125,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by EMO, February 3rd: Joie Gatlin/Camaron Hills Shanroe
• $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix, February 7th: Kim Farlinger/Cordoba
• $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, February 10th: John Pearce/Archie Bunker
With $375,000 of the $925,000 total Grand Prix prize money awarded, every Grand Prix at the Desert Circuit is a qualifier for the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix on Sunday, March 16. The top 30 pairs will be invited to compete.
The Grand Prix ring hosted the hunters during the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions/ USHJA International Hunter Style Derby Classic Week III. Truly an exciting event to watch, riders have a chance to earn points in the handy hunter section by taking tight turns, jumping natural obstacles and maintaining a hunt-course gallop. Jenny Karazissis and Swoon out performed 26 other exhibitors to take home the blue for owners El Campeon Farms.
HITS Desert Circuit Salutes Its First Half Heroes
Tara Spencer has dominated the pony ring at the HITS Desert Circuit. Just 11 years old, Spencer earned 24 blue ribbons and 19 red ribbons during the first half of the circuit. Impressive accolades include two Mid-Circuit Championships aboard Brookway Stables’ Tuscany in the Medium Pony Hunter Division and Keep Dreamin’ in the Large Pony Hunter Division. She was also named the Best Child Rider in the Pony division for all three weeks. Spencer is now off to HITS Ocala and will be riding for Don Stewart.
Also shining at HITS Desert Circuit is top hunter rider John French, who was named Mid-Circuit Champion on his mount Obelix in the Adequan Hunter Division. And his client Alison Baileys, riding her fabulous Tache Rouge, was High Point Mid-Circuit A/O Hunter 18-35, earning the Jennifer Marlborough Freeman Memorial Trophy.
More than a Horse Show – Fun in the Sun at HITS Desert Circuit
The special events calendar is in full swing. Entertaining events to date include a dog costume contest, the ever-popular Kids Day and a hilarious Equine Idol competition judged by Huntover Farm’s Mark Bone, Showbiz Magazine’s Kathy Hobstetter and Waldenbrook’s John French.
The second half features more out-of-ring festivities, including a fashion show, presented by Horse Connection Magazine, an exhibitor golf tournament at Indian Palms and the annual WCAR Fundraising Party at the Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells.