HITS Coachella Desert Circuit IV Recap

From a number of featured events, to crowning our Mid-Circuit Champions, Week IV was an exciting week for everyone at HITS Desert Horse Park.

The week kicked-off with the Johnson Horse Transportation Open Welcome where Megan Garcia took home the blue ribbon aboard VF BURLINGTON. Garcia jumped to this first place finish in 40.180. Following Garcia with a clear jump-off in 40.575 was Tamie Phillips and ECATINO. Phillips also took home the fifth place ribbon aboard CRISTAR with a jump-off time of 43.441. Third place was won by Jeremy Ockey aboard FOR YOU VAN HAT LINDENHOF in 40.740. Taking home fourth place honors was Shawn Casady and ALTER EGO in a time of 40.873.

Zazou Hoffman and SAMSON II would take home top honors in the $5,000 1.40m KindredBio Jumper Classic on Friday afternoon, with a fault-free jump-off in 41.002. Ali Ramsay claimed the red ribbon aboard EGMOND in a time of 42.277, followed by Casady and PLAYBOY BLUE VH Z coming in third with a fault-free time of 43.774. Karl Cook and his partner CYRANO VDV would come in fourth with a time of 44.559. Rounding out the top five was Jamie Sailor and FLASHDANCE, the fastest of the four-fault rides, in 43.511.

Saturday afternoon a field of 42 exhibitors competed for the blue ribbon in the $10,000 1.35m Electronic Vet Jumper Classic. Taking home the blue ribbon for the second week in a row was Cook and BANBA. This dynamic duo jumped to another first place finish in 38.890. Cook would also take home the fourth place ribbon aboard MENELIK in a time of 43.034. The red ribbon was awarded to Jason McArdle and ELICOLE, in a time of 40.174, followed by Phillips and ECATINO making their way into the top five, once again, in a time of 42.693. Morgan Caplane and COLORADO would round out the top five with a time of 43.472.

Exhibitors rode their hearts out on Sunday afternoon in the $30,000 SmartPak Open Prix. With no riders jumping clean Chandler Meadows and DAMIAN would capture their first Grand Prix win and top the field with just two time faults in the first round. "You never know when moments like these will happen, but I couldn’t ask for a better horse to do it on," said Meadows when expressing how special this win was to her, "I knew the time allowed was going to be tight, so I also changed my plan to do 8 strides instead of 9 strides in one of the bending lines. Damian is very adjustable so I am lucky enough to be able to make those decisions based on how tight the time allowed is."

Chandler Meadows and DAMIAN presented with their first Grand Prix win in the
$30,000 SmartPak Open Prix.

Less than a second behind Meadows was Chenoa McElvain and WALLSTREET RC taking home the second place ribbon with three time faults. The third place ribbon was won by the fastest of the four fault riders, Richard Spooner and LOVE, followed by Hoffman and SAMSON II making their way in to the standings. Last week’s Grand Prix winners, Nayel Nassar and DEEJEE, would take home the fifth place ribbon with just four faults.

Riders competed for a chance to qualify for the HITS Championship on Friday in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. Taking home both the first and third place ribbons was MacKenzie Root. Her first place ride was EASY TIME with scores of 84 and 76 for a two-round total of 160. Root and BEST CHANCE would score a 79 in both rounds for a total of 158 to be awarded the third place ribbon. The second place ribbon was awarded to Payton Smith and MOONLIGHT SONOTA receiving a 78 in the first round and an 81 in the second round for a two round total of 159 in the qualifier class.

Friday night in the Grand Prix Ring we held the first of two USHJA International Hunter Derbies that will be hosted by HITS during the Desert Circuit. A group of 42 horses and riders took to the challenging course that was composed of elements that are not typically seen in our other Hunter Prix’. The course featured natural log fences, hay bales, and a trot fence.

Taking home the top honors in the Derby was John French and SKYHAWK. This seasoned rider, and remarkable horse, would receive a base score of 92 from ‘Panel A’ and a base score of 90 from ‘Panel B’, plus high options for a score of 188 in Round One. In Round Two, French would receive a base score of 92 from ‘Panel A’, plus 5 handy points, and a base score of 93 from ‘Panel B’, plus 7 handy points, and choosing to take high options to receive a total score of 205 in the Round Two. French would take home top honors in the first and second round, as well as the overall win with a final score of 393.

John French and SKYHAWK finish first in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

The reserve ribbon was awarded to Jenny Karazissis and REALLY. This team would enter into the second place position after Round One with a base score of 90 from ‘Panel A’ and a base score of 88 from ‘Panel B’ plus high options for a total of 186, just two points behind French after Round One. Karazissis brought the heat in Round Two receiving a base score of 91 and 6 handy points from ‘Panel A’ and a base score of 92 plus 7 handy points from ‘Panel B’ for a total of 204 in the second round and a combined score of 390 to secure the second place position.

Jamie Sailor and ZIGGY STARDUST would receive scores that were high enough to take home the third place ribbon in the Derby. Although Sailor was the first to show in Round One, a tough starting position, she received base scores of 84 from both ‘Panel A’ and ‘Panel B’ plus high options for a combined score of 176 which would place her in third at the conclusion of the round. Sailor would move down to the fourth place position in Round Two with a base score of 84 and 6 handy points from ‘Panel A’ and a base score of 92 and 7 handy points from ‘Panel B’. Add in the high options and she would receive a final score of 205 in Round Two. The combined scores from each of her rounds would total to 393, high enough to place third overall in the class.

The Desert Circuit will continue on February 20 with even more excitement and featured classes to come.

All Photography is Courtesy of ESI Photography