Feb. 17, 2024 – Ocala, FL – Tracy Fenney(USA) broke the Irish winning streak on Saturday as she and MTM Apple executed a perfect jump off to overthrow Jordan Coyle (IRL) in the $75,000 Great American Grand Prix during the fifth week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. The circuit runs ten weeks in length at HITS Post Time Farm with a variety of top-level hunter, jumper, and equitation events featured for both professional and amateur competitors. Twenty-one pairings navigated Philipp Schwender’s (GER) challenging first round with the likes of Sharn Wordley(AUS), Aaron Vale(USA), Coyle, and Fenney as just a few of the class’s heavy-hitters. With an impressive lineup of athletes to build for, Schwender’s track advanced nine combinations onward to the jump off. Still on a streak of success, Coyle laid down clear efforts with all but one of his entered mounts, but chose to save Anthem in My Heart for another day which brought his total jump off qualifiers to three. Fenney brought only one mount for the day’s event, but the MTM Farm’s 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Favorit Ask) was all she needed as she scooted to the win just under Coyle’s time and stopping the clock in 34.47 seconds. 

“Jordan [Coyle] is a super fast rider and his horses are very quick,” Fenney admitted. “Everyone thinks Apple is so slow, but she has a massive stride and she had a fantastic turn back to jump three where I think she actually did less strides than anyone, so I think that might be where we had it.” For Fenney, these national-level grand prixs are the mare’s sweet spot as she can continue on with her daily routines that keep her feeling her best. 

“I really love the horses and I think they like me so they like to jump for me,” Fenney laughed. “They jump once a week and have a super nice life. I’m not going after any FEI points so I don’t see a need to do it when she can just continue to have her normal routine that keeps her happy.” 

Coyle still confidently secured a solid amount of the day’s prize money as he picked up both the second and third place ribbons with Emerald Irish Cruise and King Kannan GP, respectively. Celtic Park LLC’s nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Ringfort Cruise) was ever-so-slightly off the pace and ended up in second with another clear round and a time of 34.79 seconds. King Kannan GP, Elan Farm’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Kannan), who was the winner of Friday’s $25,000 Alliant Private Client Cup, jumped yet another clean round to finish out in third place on a time of 36.09 seconds. Genuine and Comissario Claim Top Ribbons in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derbies 

Both professional and junior/amateur hunter riders got the opportunity to take center stage in Hunter One at HITS Post Time Farm on Friday as the afternoon lined up competitors for the series’ weekly national derby classes. The $5,000 USHJA Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby was first to invite athletes into the ring with a field of 26 entries to see over the first round track. The top twelve of that starting list were invited to return to show off over the handy course with combinations returning in reverse order of placing. As she has done prior, Hayley Waters Wear managed to deliver two more stunning performances to secure the win aboard Genuine, as well as the runner-up title with Chin Chilli. I’ve had Genuine for about a year and he’s been super consistent and so fun to show,” she explained of the Chuck Waters-owned nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Diarado). “The ring looked beautiful! I thought the course rode nicely. It’s definitely an advantage having brave horses for these classes.” 

Wear also spends a large majority of her time training in the jumper ring, which not only helps her derby performances, but is also where she found her second place mount, Dana Water’s 11-year-old Holsteiner mare (Chin Champ), Chin Chilli. “Chilli had been showing in the 1.30s in Canada when I got her a few months ago,” Wear added. “We thought she would be a great equitation horse, so we started doing her in the derbies to get her some experience in the hunter ring. Riding in both the hunter and jumper rings definitely helps train my eye for the handy, but both horses are super adjustable which also really helps.”

Madison Ramsay rounded out the victory gallop for the day’s first hunter derby after piloting MTM Farm’s eight-year-old Warmblood mare, MTM Enchanted, skillfully into third place. 

The $5,000 SmartPak USHJA National Derby quickly followed suit to wrap up the evening’s hunter competition, this time with 16 horse-and-rider duos preparing to put forward their best trips. In a repeat performance from multiple other derbies throughout the season, young professional Morgan Ward and her longtime partner Comissario. 

It’s so nice to be able to get on Comissario and just go in and enjoy the ride,” Ward gushed over her 19-year-old Warmblood gelding (Calido). “He is very special, not only to me, but to my whole farm. They all come up and cheer us on.

“Today’s round was nice with all the bending lines in the first round and they gave us some handy options ending with a nice gallop home,” Ward continued. “I think these weekly classes are great, and so nice to be able to compete in the main ring because it’s so beautiful. My customers and I really enjoy being here.”

David Wilbur and Redfield Farm’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cornet de Lux), Cornet’s Cuneo, rose to the second place position, while Nina Koloseike’s eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Dinken), MTM Ahoy, and Dorrie Douglas rode to third.

Hunter derby competition continued on into Saturday as more junior and amateur riders readied themselves for the $500 Tiny Bit O’ Hunter Derby and the $750 Bit O’Straw 2’6” Hunter Derby.

With a total score of 164.00 points across two rounds, Meredith Caggiano and her 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Marius Claudius), Jacky Chan, were presented with the winnings in the $500 Tiny Bit O’ Hunter Derby, which is sponsored by Mrs. Pastures Cookies.

Addison Ketner closed out derby competition for another week with the win aboard her 14-year-old pony gelding (First Stayerhof’s Ramzi H), Down By the Bay, in the $750 Bit O’ Straw 2’6” Hunter Derby.