HITS Thermal unveiled its new, covered EquiBase™ Arena Systems Ring on Saturday Jan. 26th when Nicoletta Von Heidegger of Chatsworth, California topped 26 competitors during the jumper phase of the Washington Equitation Classic at HITS Desert Circuit I.
On Friday evening, Feb. 1st , the innovative covered ring was the site of the first of four $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifiers, presented by Adequan during the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit. VIP Oasis Club Members will have exclusive access to a special area set up for these four World Cup Qualifiers. VIP Oasis Club Chef Ric Orlando and his team will present the guests with a fantastic array of hors d’oeuvres.
The EquiBase Ring features completely new jumps from Olaf Petersen and unique decorations from course decorator Evie Frisque. “Evie’s wonderful décor is beyond description,” said HITS Thermal’s Office Manager Donna Vale. “The combination of her skills and the new jumps make the ring a very elegant place to show.”
Used extensively throughout Europe for a number of years, EquiBase mats are made from 100 percent recycled PVC that has been proven to be environmentally friendly. The mats have a moisture-retention system on the topside while the underside ensures highly efficient drainage of excess water. The design of the mats helps to increase the stability of the footing layer in a ring by preventing “shear stress” or movement of the footing. This feature enables horse and rider to execute quick turns at high speed, making it ideal for Grand Prix show jumping. In addition, the mats have also been shown to provide shock absorption, which helps to protect ligaments, tendons and joints.
“Footing is the critical component in the long term health and soundness of these magnificent equine athletes,” said Joy Koch, Director of North American Operations for EquiBase Arena Systems International. ‘By making footing a priority, HITS is helping ensure that the horses competing at their venues will be able to perform at top level over the long haul. We applaud Tom Struzzieri, Fred Bauer and the rest of the HITS management team for taking this decisive step for the well-being of our top show-jumping horses.”
The EquiBase system is an integral part of HITS’ comprehensive plan to improve footing at both the Thermal CA and Ocala FL venues this winter. Koch and EquiBase Chief Executive Officer, Wolfgang Bacher, have supplied more than 2000 EquiBase mats and over 10 tons of EquiBase Geotextil Fiber for use in the new HITS Thermal indoor ring. The EquiBase mats at HITS Thermal are the very same design that were installed in Rome at the 75th Concourse Piazza di Sienna for the 2007 Samsung Super League Nations Cup and at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which will host the equestrian events during the 2008 Olympics in China.
The FEI class in the new EquiBase™ Arena Systems Ring on Friday was one of three Grand Prix classes this week. First on Thursday, January 31st, was the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix. On Sunday, February 3rd some of the West Coast’s most elite riders rode (through wind and dust) top international course designer Leopoldo Palacios’ route in the Grand Prix presented by EMO. The Ariat and EMO classes will take place in the Grand Prix ring.