For Immediate Release
July 14, 2009



Hitting its stride! Summer horse shows return this week at HITS-on-the-Hudson 


SAUGERTIES, NY (July 14, 2009)—Show jumping action is set to resume at HITS Saugerties with three consecutive weeks of horse shows beginning with HITS-on-the-Hudson IV on Wednesday, July 15 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

After a resounding Spring Series of horse shows filled with rave reviews in every area from the footing to the food service, entries for the summer shows are very strong. “It’s our favorite horse show of the year,” said Stepping Stone Farm’s Monty Kelly. “We will have about 30 horses each week. We are able to bring most of our clients because there is such a diverse schedule and everyone has something to compete in.”
“Saugerties is always one of our favorite destinations,” said Larkspur Trainer Michele West, who will bring nearly 30 horses for HITS-on-the-Hudson V. “Almost our entire barn came during the spring and everything was perfect, especially the footing.”

Highlighting the summer schedule is the return of the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East Coast  July 27-29, between Weeks V and VI. At the 2008 Finals, it was Red Panda ridden by Jennifer Waxman who took the Grand Championship and the Reserve Grand Champion went to North Country, piloted by Johanna Hyyppa.

“We love coming to Saugerties for the Junior Hunter Finals,” said Trainer Don Stewart. “The footing, the prize money and the permanent stalls make this venue a perfect fit for the event.”

The USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East Coast also will feature the Essex Classics USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Class on Wednesday, July 29 to cap off three exciting days of competition.

The action doesn't stop there! HITS Saugerties is certainly going to be the home of the hunters this summer as the schedule for the show boasts the $10,000 USHJA/Chronicle of the Horse International Hunter Derby and the $5,000 Pony Commotion.

“We have some real good pony kids coming up to Saugerties for the big pony class,” added Stewart, who will travel from his Ocala, Florida-based farm with about 40 horses for the circuit. “We hope to take some of that great prize money back to Florida with us.”

© Lili Weik Photography.
Jennifer Waxman and Red Panda were presented the 2008 East Coast USEF National Junior Hunter Grand Champion award. Waxman was joined in the winner’s circle by Christina Schlusemeyer, USEF’s Lauren Fahey and her trainer Emily Smith.

High-Performance Heaven 

HITS Saugerties also will be the hangout for High-Performance Riders this summer. There will be six Grand Prix classes, including the $125,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, on Sunday August 2 during HITS-on-the-Hudson VI. Courses in the Grand Prix Ring that week will be built by International Course Designer Bernardo Cabral from Portugal, a newcomer to HITS-on-the-Hudson.

The Grand Prix Ring at HITS-on-the-Hudson will certainly be a who’s who of the sport.  Olympians McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Chris Kappler are just a few of the top riders who will compete for some unprecedented prize money at HITS Saugerties this summer.

Each of the Grand Prix events will be critical qualifiers for the 2009 $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday, September 27 during the USGPL Finals. The top 30 riders in the USGPL/Marshall & Sterling League National Standings (based on money won by the qualified horse/rider combination) will be invited to participate in the Invitational. In addition, one Wild Card slot will be allotted in the $25,000 Devoucoux Wild Card Grand Prix on Friday, September 25. Qualified riders may elect to ride any horse of their choice, but may only ride one horse in the Invitational.

Tracy Magness is currently at the top of the USGPL ranking list with nearly $100,000 in qualified Grand Prix prize money won. The Maryland native may seem to have a stranglehold on the top spot but, with $325,000 in Grand Prix prize money up for grabs at HITS Saugerties this summer, there is still enough time for any of the High Performance riders to make their way to the winner’s circle and a chance to compete in the coveted Finals. 

Aside from Magness, the top 30 of the standings feature nationally known and highly ranked riders including Ward, Leslie Burr-Howard, Todd Minikus, Hillary Dobbs, Margie Engle and Aaron Vale, who is coming off an exciting win in Culpeper just a few days ago. "There are certainly some prominent names in the standings," said HITS' Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock. "After Saugerties, the picture will become a lot clearer as to who will make the final cut and qualify for the big money class." 

High-Performance Riders will have another goal to take aim at this summer in Saugerties thanks to the Catena Leading Grand Prix Rider Award. The 2009 Leading Grand Prix rider at HITS Saugerties will receive a timepiece from Catena, USA, which will be presented at the end of the season following the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix during HITS-on-the-Hudson VIII on Sunday, September 6.

The Catena Leading Grand Prix Rider rankings are calculated using the World Cup Point System and riders receive points for their top-placing horse in each of the 14 Grand Prix classes offered at HITS Saugerties during the 2009 show series. There are two Olympians at the top of the rankings currently; Ward is first with 80 points earned from his three Grand Prix wins and two additional top finishes, followed by Margie Engel in second-place with 39 points thanks to a couple wins, including the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix on May 31.

Even though Ward  may have a comfortable lead at the moment, high-performance riders will have plenty of chances to catch up as there are still eight Grand Prix classes remaining at HITS Saugerties this year, including the six offered during the next three weeks.

© HITS Staff
Grand Prix riders (left to right) Todd Minikus, Darragh Kerins and McLain Ward enjoy a moment with HITS' Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock. All three are expected to compete at HITS Saugerties this summer. 

Something Special

As always, HITS Saugerties will be filled with special events to delight exhibitors.On Thursday, July 16, trainers at HITS will be treated to a special “by-invitation-only” party at New World Home Cooking Co. from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Ric Orlando’s fabled Route 212 eatery has recently been re-launched with a new focus on two of Ric’s favorites – seafood and barbeque. Trainers should email to get their invitation to this very special event.

On Friday, July 17 there will be a great chance for competitors and their families to explore downtown Saugerties and get to know the merchants and restaurants of the village when the Saugerties Sidewalk Stroll takes place during HITS-on-the-Hudson IV.

Stores on Partition Street and Main Street south of Partition will stay open from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm for an evening of family fun! Events already planned include a live broadcast by The Wolf 94.3, and an Equine Art Exhibition at the Muddy Cup Coffee House and Inquiring Mind Bookstore. There also will be bands at the Dutch Ale House, Stella's and Main Street Family Restaurant. 

On the agenda for Friday, July 24 is the return of the popular HITS Saugerties Fashion Show, presented by DIG. The fashion show will feature fine equestrian apparel from the vendors at HITS Saugerties, as well as some trendy apparel from DIG. The Partition Street Wine Shop will also be on-site for a special wine tasting.

For more information on summer special events, please click here.

© Lili Weik Photography
HITS Saugerties Show Manager Kristen Vale models some trendy riding apparel during the HITS Saugerties Fashion Show in 2007. 

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

Media should contact Chris Mayone at 845.246.8833 or e-mail


  HITS CORPORATE OFFICE: HITS, Inc., 319 Main Street, Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
phone 845.246.8833  fax 845.246.6371