There are many variables that go into making a Million Dollar Dream come true.
For HITS, Inc. it’s being at the forefront of Equestrian sport, producing world-class Hunter/Jumper horse shows at four venues along the East Coast and in the Midwest. The HITStory begins with the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, which celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year.
Photo by ESI.
“HITS Ocala is where it began for me [in 1982],” said Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, Inc. “I look forward to coming back to Ocala every year, and as the outpouring of support from the Ocala and Marion County communities continues to grow, so does the prosperity of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.” Unmatched venue amenities and first-class operations, coupled with the strength and value of HITS’ relationship with Marion County speaks volumes to the four decades and endless hours of work that it takes for the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit to be a success year after year.
In its 40th year, the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit returns to HITS Post Time Farm for 12-weeks of USEF-Rated Hunter/Jumper competition. The show schedule begins with the two-week HITS Ocala Holiday Series, December 9-20, 2020, and continues January 19 – March 28, 2021 with the 10-week HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Riders can look forward to the same great competition they have come to love with added features and amenities at HITS Post Time Farm, one of the largest and most horse-friendly horse show facilities in the country.
It’s in the HITStory
For four decades, the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit has been a staple of national and international competition. High profile riders, including Olympic medalists and hopefuls from across the county and around the world return to HITS’ namesake circuit year after year all due in part to the great prize money and spacious grounds at HITS Ocala.
Getting to the pinnacle of the sport, and staying there, is no small feat. The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit began in Gainesville in 1982 and twenty years later it moved to the beloved HITS Post Time Farm. Once a Thoroughbred training track, Post Time Farm wasn’t for sale when Struzzieri first discovered the property. A chance call from a real estate agent who knew the property was coming up for sale was all it took; it was an opportunity Struzzieri knew he couldn’t miss out on. He made the decision to purchase HITS Post Time Farm in the fall of 2001, just in time for the 2002 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.
“I remember how I felt that first time I stepped on that property, and I still feel that way today,” commented Struzzieri. “I smile every time I drive in the gate. It’s just a great place for horses to be.”
Photo by ESI.
Make HITS Ocala your ‘Home Away from Home’
Welcome home! HITS Post Time Farm has an abundance of amenities to offer making exhibitors and their horses feeling at home. Spanning across 450 acres, HITS Post Time Farm includes 28 permanent barns housing 600 permanent stalls, over 100 permanent turn-out paddocks, and plenty of space to ride.
Not only does HITS have a selection of stabling packages available, but also an unmatched selection of on-site housing options. Enjoy the comfort and convenience of being on-site at HITS Post Time Farm, just seconds from your four-legged friend’s ‘Winter Home.’ From the Post Time Condos, to houses and the more modern GenZHomes, HITS Ocala offers turn-key housing options for riders, trainers and families alike.
Beyond on-site housing, HITS is excited to announce the addition of the HITS HotSpot – a lounge to work and study with complimentary High Speed Internet. Whether you are ‘Working from Home,’ need to finish a school assignment, or simply want to search the web, the HITS HotSpot is here to fulfill all your needs.
HITS continues to make improvements to all of its show facilities each year, and 2021 is no different. Along with the HITS HotSpot, all new temporary stalls are being installed and lights in the Main Hunter Ring to allow for a more flexible schedule.
HITS Post Time Farm offers all the amenities that you need to make HITS Ocala your home away from home this winter. From on-site stabling and housing to an area to get work done and the convenience of local grocery stores, shopping and restaurants, HITS Post Time Farm has it all. Enjoy the winter, doing what you love, with everything you need all in one place!
Planning your Trip to the ‘Horse Capital of the World’
The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will be here before you know it, and HITS has already received an overflowing interest in on-site stabling and housing options for the 2021 season. It’s not too late to make your plans as there are still stalls available!
HITS is pleased to welcome its returning lodging partners as well as several new partners for the 2021 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit! Joining HITS for the 2021 season are the Hilton Ocala, Equus Inn, Super 8 by Wyndham Ocala, Red Roof Inn Ocala, Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Ocala, Holiday Inn & Suites Ocala Conference Center and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ocala. For more information on our lodging partners, check out the Accommodations page for the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit!
Don’t put a hold on education while at HITS Ocala! The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit has provided on-site educational services since 1992, and is excited to welcome back Blue Ribbon Scholars, founded by Mira Korber. HITS and Blue Ribbon Scholars are committed to helping competitive scholar-athletes discover and achieve their own academic, athletic and personal best. Shine in and out of the competition ring at HITS Ocala with flexible educational services offered by Blue Ribbon Scholars on-site.
Need help planning your trip for the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit? Whether you’d like to come for a week or the whole Circuit, the full-time staff at HITS is here to help you make your plans. Email us or give us a call at +1 (845) 246-8833 with any questions.
Exhibitors can look forward to the same great Hunter, Jumper and Equitation class offerings as years past, as well as featured classes every week. Bi-weekly Grand Prix return to the Grand Prix Stadium with top prize money including the $200,000 Ocala Electric Utility Grand Prix at the mid-point of the Circuit (Week V) and the $200,000 HITS Grand Prix Week IX. Of course, riders can look forward to the seventh edition of the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix during Week X to close out the season on March 28! For Hunter riders, don’t miss out on two $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies (Week IV and X) and three $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derbies (Week V, VII and VIII), as well as the USHJA Zone 4 Handy Hunter Challenge (Week VI) and World Championship Hunter Rider Week (Week VIII). Be sure to check out the complete class listing for the HITS Ocala Holiday Series and HITS Ocala Winter Circuit at HITSShows.com.
Photo by ESI.
HITS’ Commitment to Ocala
HITS prides itself on a strong commitment to the communities it thrives in, especially the city of Ocala and Marion County, where our namesake circuit has made its home. The economic impact of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit is unmistakable and has led to job opportunities, spending, real estate purchases, and heads in beds among the Marion County Community.
This commitment has been recognized by the County and State as HITS Ocala was named Best Event of the Year – Small Market by the Florida Sports Foundation in 2015, and received the Medium Business of the Year Award of Excellence by the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) in 2016.
“The City of Ocala and Marion County are the Horse Capital of the World for a reason, and we love being part of it,” Struzzieri continued. “Those who have joined us since the beginning, or who may join us this year for the first time, are all part of the reason Ocala continues its Horse Capital status, and HITS continues to provide one of the largest and most popular show circuits in the country.”
Connect with HITS
We can’t wait for you to join us at HITS Post Time Farm for the 40th Anniversary of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit! Upon celebrating a 40-year history of producing top-level USEF-Rated shows, HITS also celebrates a dedicated full-time staff that brings more than a century of equine experience, an unprecedented commitment to the sport and most notably our namesake circuit to the ‘Horse Capital of the World.’
For more information on the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HITSShows.com. Stay connected with HITS! Like us on Facebook (@HITSShows) and follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@HITSHorseShows).
Words by Erin Webb/HITS. All photos by ESI.