March 2, 2024 – Ocala, FL – Saturday morning brought sunny skies to HITS Post Time Farm as exhibitors enjoyed a delicious lunch and anxiously awaited the day’s featured event. Saturdays during the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit bring out the best and brightest as top show jumpers contest for the ultimate prize in the grand prix. Sixteen pairings geared up for the $75,000 Ocala Marion County Grand Prix, but it was Canada’s Francois LaMontagne and Chanel du Calvaire that delivered the fastest performance to win the class.  

Meghan Rowlins (CAN) built the course that would decide the fate of the event’s contenders and, with a majority of riders bringing their best efforts, saw nine clear rounds over her first track. Then it was onwards to the jump off with the likes of Tracy Fenney (USA), Aaron Vale (USA), and Devin Ryan (USA) all making their way back. LaMontagne made sure he had a good shot at the top title after qualifying both of his mounts to return for the short course, but it was his 16-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Lucciano) that got the job done in a tight time of 35.43 seconds.

“She’s been going well since the beginning of the circuit this year,” LaMontagne explained. She has been feeling better and younger than ever, so she’s been going great but I just hadn’t won any grand prixs so far. Still I felt that everything was good and in the right place so it was just a matter of time and luck. All the stars were aligned today for me.

“Nine was a really good number to have so we had a really good jump off today,” he continued. “Tracy pushed me enough, but it was still beatable, and Aaron started better than I did. I think it helped to have my first one go in so I could ride it once and see how the strides worked out. I wanted to do seven strides with Chanel in the jump off, but she jumped a little sticky to the first one so I had to go for the eight and lost a little bit of time there.”

Fenney and the beloved MTM Farm’s 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Favorit Ask), MTM Apple, did their best to challenge but proved to be just mere milliseconds off the pace as they crossed the timers in 35.66 seconds. Off the pace by about two seconds, Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA) piloted Barbara Disko’s 18-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Frontal), Sovereign, into the third and final victory gallop position with a final time of 37.76 seconds.

Jumper competition will resume Sunday, March 3, 2024 with the $24,500 Horseflight Jumper Classic as well as a variety of highlighted junior and amateur classic competitions. For full results, please visit

Redfield Riders Double Down in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derbies

The first two of multiple hunter derby competitions kicked off on Friday afternoon as juniors, amateurs, and professionals prepared their mounts for the $5,000 SmartPak USHJA National Hunter Derby and $5,000 USHJA Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby events. Non-pro athletes got the action started as twenty-two combinations readied themselves to contest the hunt-and-go track.

Redfield Farms’ first victory came in the form of Jaime Auletto and Suzanne Auletto’s seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Blue Avenue. The pair dominated over the two-phase course to claim the blue ribbon honors.

“I was really happy with today, especially since I just got down here last night,” Auletto laughed. “I have been home for the last two weeks, so it was nice to go around and it was a beautiful course. I’ve never done a hunt-and-go so that was kind of fun and I liked that he just went right into the handy.”

For Auletto, she was able to produce the best plan for her horse because of the design of the day’s course.

“Blue Avenue is actually really fun in the handy rounds because he’s pretty good at them,” she explained. “I was really happy there were some options where you could make your own course for part of it and I thought that was fun because you could think about what would work best for your horse. I was happy with the plan I made and it was fun to be able to go nice and smooth and then kind of turn it up a notch and to be able to make that look like a smooth transition.”

Lucy Massucci followed suit in the victory gallop with the reserve honors aboard her 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Hello Pierville), MTM Cocktail, while 12-year-old Westphalian gelding (Balous Bellini) Style and Annabelle Brown rounded out the top three.

As afternoon drew into the evening, 19 professional hunter pairings shined their boots and fanned their shadbellies to compete for the final hunter derby ribbon of the day. David Wilbur proved that Redfield Farms riders came to conquer the day with a successful winning round in the irons on Redfield Farms’ 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cornet de Lux), Cornet’s Cuneo.

“He really rose to the occasion and I was very fortunate to get to ride such a nice horse,” Wilbur gushed. “I felt like I had a really good round, but there were definitely a lot of really good horses and riders still to come. Fortunately it was my day.

“I thought the course was great because it gave you a lot of options and you could show off their strengths by making the best plan for your horse,” he continued. “I enjoy the hunt-and-go’s because it’s a nice change of pace and lets you show off your horse’s skills a bit differently.”

Like Auletto, Wilbur is a long-time member of Redfield Farm under the tutelage of Emil Spadone and credits the team behind the scenes with the success.

“It was a very good day for Redfield and I think again it all starts at the top,” he stated. “I’m very fortunate to get to ride a lot of nice horses. We always have a lot of really nice quality sales horses and I get to ride them usually for only a little while because they are nice and sell fast, but that’s not a bad thing.”

Rüdiger Blue, Lauren Newland’s seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Rotspon), and Kasey Evans earned the penultimate position of the evening. The highly-decorated combination of Morgan Ward and her own 19-year-old Warmblood gelding (Calido), Comissario, once again found themselves in the winner’s circle as they finished out the day in third place.

Hunter derby competition concluded Saturday afternoon as the $750 Bit O’Straw 2’6” Hunter Derby and the $500 Tiny Bit O’ Hunter Derby, presented by Mrs. Pastures Cookies, closed out classes in Hunter One. Eve Dunnagan and Ceil Wheeler’s 15-year-old Warmblood gelding, Czechbook, took the top call of the former class ahead of a field of 12 combinations.

Clara Mass and Tuck Me In closed out the day as the headliners in the $500 Tiny Bit O’ Hunter Derby. Hunter derby excitement will continue next week during the Ocala Winter Finals.