Lucy Davis and Barron Close National Sunshine Series FEI Week with a $350,000 Sunshine Grand Prix FEI CSI-5* Victory

THERMAL, CA (November 10, 2015): Show jumping’s biggest stars took center stage at HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California, for Sunday’s $350,000 Sunshine Grand Prix FEI CSI-5*. Talent was not in short supply as many notable names filled the main event’s Order of Go including three of the top ten riders from the Longines FEI Jumping World Rankings – Kent Farrington, Beezie Madden and McLain Ward. But, in front of a packed grandstand, a live webcast on HITS TV, and sold out VIP, it was 23-year-old Lucy Davis, of Los Angeles, California, and Barron, owned by Old Oak Farm, who showed them all how it’s done.

Twenty-three attempted the round one course of 13 obstacles set by Alan Wade, of Tipperary, Ireland, and four went clear to proceed to the jump-off. First in the second round order was Paris Sellon, aboard Adare, co-owned with Willow Grace Farms. They sailed over the seven obstacles with no problem and clocked in at 39.860 to set the time to beat.

“It’s hard to gauge what you need to do going first,” said Sellon. “My plan was to go double clear, to move efficiently, and set the pace. My horse moved exactly how I wanted her to and I was really happy.”

Jonathan McCrea and Special Lux, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables, were next to test their skills. McCrea upped the ante when he crossed the timers at 39.730 with an intact course behind him and he took the spot at the top of the leaderboard, ahead of Sellon.

“I was slightly faster than Paris earlier in the week, so I was hoping that would work again,” said McCrea referring to his strategy going into the jump-off. “I knew the two behind me were going to be very quick. I got a little lucky at the last fence - but everybody needs good luck!”

Davis, who won the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix CSI-W2* in the same HITS Desert Horse Park stadium in February, emerged from the in-gate third in the order with determination in her eyes and was ready to take home another HITS win with her chestnut mount.  Speeding through the course as the clock raced, it was as if Barron had wings, flying to clear the fences. They were successful in their efforts and finished clean in a time of 38.720 for first, just a second faster than McCrea who was now in second, and bumping Sellon to third.

“There weren’t too many in the jump off so it was very important to go clear. I get overexcited sometimes but Barron saved me on the black oxer,” said Davis. “He’s naturally really fast so that was really helpful for us today.”

Davis continued giving credit to her four-legged partner. “He’s been with me for three years and has progressed a lot. Our first show was at HITS a couple of winters ago. Every time I come back and he puts in an amazing round, I’m reminded how far he has come.”

The final trip of the day was Andres Rodriguez and SF Ariantha, owned by Robert Castro, and all was in their favor for the first five fences until trouble in the combination resulted in two rails and eight total faults. They finished with a time of 38.920 for fourth place.

Sunday represented the second of five FEI classes offered by HITS this year, with another 5* slated for Thermal in February, once again reinforcing the company’s commitment to high performance riders in the United States.

“For us as riders, that’s what we’ve been craving here in the U.S. – more FEI shows – and to have more 5*’s, that’s a bonus,” said McCrea. “If show management is going to make an effort to put on these shows, we need to support them.”

HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri added, “Throughout the 2015-2016 show schedule, HITS will offer five FEI events - three 5*, a Longines World Cup Qualifier, and a Nations Cup -  this is our investment in show jumping. If we, as an industry, are going to have a thriving sport ten years from now, it’s the show promoters responsibility to make the events as good as they can, to entice the situation, and to give our young riders an incentive to continue to aspire for greatness, which will ultimately promote and grow the sport.”

HITS next FEI CSI-5* event will take place Desert Circuit III, February 2-7, of the HITS Thermal Desert Circuit in Thermal, California. The HITS Thermal Prize List available online, here. For more information, please visit  

Place Horse Owner Rider Prize R.1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 Barron  Old Oak Farm Lucy Davis $115,500 - - 38.72
2 Special Lux  Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables Jonathan McCrea $70,000 - - 39.73
3 Adare Paris Sellon & Willow Grace Farm Paris Sellon $52,500 - - 39.86
4 SF Ariantha  Robert Castro Andres Rodriguez $35,000 - 8 38.920
5 Agamemnon  Equine Ventures LLC Alec Lawler $21,000 1 - -
6 Uceko  RCG Farm Kent Farrington $15,450 4 - -
7 Royce Elm Rock Partners, LLC Margie Engle $10,500 4 - -
8 Quintol  Eduardo Menezes Eduardo Menezes $8,750 4 - -
9 Simon  Abigail Wexner Beezie Madden $7,000 4 - -
10 Cristallo Show Jumping Syndications Int'l Richard Spooner $7,000 4 - -
11 Win For Life  Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables Christine McCrea $3,500 5 - -
12 Apex  Emma Reichow Harley Brown $3,500 6 - -



Lucy Davis and Barron on their way to a $350,000 Sunshine Grand Prix FEI CSI-5* win at National Sunshine Series II in Thermal, CA. 

National Sunshine Series II $100,000 Coachella Valley Classic Conquered by McLain Ward and Rothchild

All eyes were on McLain Ward, of Brewster, New York, and Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farms, on Friday as the dynamic duo swept yet another FEI competition, this time the $100,000 Coachella Valley Classic at National Sunshine Series II. Besting a field of 31, Ward took home the blue ribbon and his $33,000 piece of the prize.

Of the entries only eight went clear over the round one course set by set by Alan Wade, of Tipperary, Ireland, to secure a spot in the jump-off. The second round began and it was evident that the abbreviated course was challenging with the first horse retiring and the next three receiving four or more faults. That all changed when Eric Navet, hot off his Week I $30,000 SmartPak Grand Prix win, made his way into the stadium, fifth in the order.  Navet gave onlookers the first clean round of the jump-off and finished with a time of 49.30 for the lead.

Sixth in the order was Ward and Rothchild, who together placed second in the CP $1 Million FEI CSI-5* at HITS Saugerties this past September. In true McLain Ward fashion, he pulled out all the stops and sped through the course, leaving it undisturbed and crossing the timers at 45.95 to claim a spot at the top of the leaderboard.

Jamie Barge and Luebbo, owned by Kylie Co., anchored the order of go and after watching the other seven trips, they knew what to do. Barge guided her 10-year-old grey Oldenberg over the fences to finish clean and fast, in a time of 47.04, for second behind Ward and bumping Navet to third.

Fourth place was awarded to Kent Farrington and Gazelle, owned by Kent Farrington LLC and Robin Parsky, followed by Paris Sellon and Adare, co-owned with Willow Grace Farm in fifth. 

Place Horse Owner Rider Prize R.1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 Rothchild Sagamore Farms McLain Ward $33,000 - - 45.95
2 Luebbo  Kylie Co. Jamie Barge $20,000 - - 47.04
3 Jonkheer Z  Signe Ostby Eric Navet $15,000 - - 49.30
4 Gazelle  Kent Farrington LLC & Robin Parsky Kent Farrington $10,000 - 4 40.61
5 Adare Paris Sellon & Willow Grace Farm Paris Sellon $6,000 - 4 45.00
6 Cornet 39 Paris Sellon & Willow Grace Farm Lauren Hough $4,500 - 4 54.93
7 The Dude  Monarch International William Simpson $3,000 - 8 44.69
8 Barron Old Oak Farm Lucy Davis $2,500 - DNS -
9 SF Ariantha Robert Castro Andres Rodriguez $2,000 1 - -
10 Chivas Z Little Valley Farms Richard Spooner $2,000 4 - -
11 Catalina  Eduardo Menezes Eduardo Menezes $1,000 4 - -
12 Quintol Eduardo Menezes Eduardo Menezes $1,000 4 - -

McLain Ward and Rothchild win the $100,000 Coachella Classic at National Sunshine Series II in Thermal, CA. 

About HITS, Inc.

HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the Village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York, and Virginia.

While hosting the richest weekend in show jumping at HITS-on-the-Hudson, HITS also formed the Triple Crown of Show Jumping. This includes the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, presented by MortgageCall, in Thermal, California, the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix in Ocala, Florida and Canadian Pacific $1 Million Grand Prix FEI CSI-5*, presented by Wells Fargo, in Saugerties, New York.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit Stay connected with HITS! Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Media should contact the HITS Media Team at 845.246.8833 or e-mail