Desert Circuit III Hunter Exhibitors Bring Their A-Game

Thermal, CA (February 10, 2016): Hunter riders stepped up for a shot at prestigious hunter victories and a chance to garner a slice of the prize purses in Week III’s $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, $5,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix and the $1,000 Pony Hunter Prix.

$10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

unnamed2John French and Maritime on their way to a $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix win. Photo: ESI Photography.

With an exciting class of forty hunter riders, exhibitors waited for their turn in the spotlight, to prove they could master the 12-fence course on Sunday, during the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. While each rider was eyeing the blue ribbon, they also had another chance to qualify for an opportunity to compete in the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix at the HITS Championship in September 2016.

Riders and their mounts navigated the two-round classic, and the top 15 returned for the second round to compete for a piece of the prize purse.

John French and Maritime, owned by Elizabeth Gabler, took home first-place. The crowd cheered as the Pleasanton, Californian and his beautiful chestnut finished the second round to claim the lead; the team scored an 86 in the first round and an 85 in the second round to give them a final score of 171 to claim the victory.

Second-place went to San Clemente, California native Nick Haness aboard Delilah, owned by Ilene Kurtzman. Haness and Delilah were right on the heels of French’s score, with a final score of 169, just two points away from the win.

With an already leading score of 171, John French also claimed third-place prize riding Soldier, also owned Elizabeth Gabler. Their scores of 82.25 in the first round and 83 in the second round gave them a final score of 165.25.

Hope Glynn and Corridendo Tau, owned by Karen Trione, took fourth-place. Fifth-place went to Brooke Morin and Social Hour, owned by Laura Strasburg.

$5,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix

unnamedLindsay Maxwell and Widget on their way to a $5,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix win. Photo: ESI Photography.

Thirty-five horses and riders and riders competed in the $5,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix on Sunday of Desert Circuit III, striving for both the blue ribbon and the opportunity to collect points to qualify for the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at the HITS Championship in September 2016. The top twelve returned for the second round to prove who was ready to take home the winning title and the qualifying points.

The top three riders’ scores altered from the first round to the second, making it a competitive chase for the final placings.

The team to deliver was Lindsay Maxwell of Los Angeles, California, and her mount Widget. They navigated the first round with a score of 83, and in the second round, improved to an 86, which ultimately gave them the win with a final score of 169.

Second-place belonged to Polly Sweeney from Pasadena, California, and Red Label, owned by Glenda Monkarsh of Las Vegas, Nevada. They rode to achieve a first round score of 85, which put them into the lead while going into the second round. A second round score of 83 put them just behind Maxwell with a total score of 168.

Fenway, owned and ridden by Aya Clear of Piedmont, California, earned third-place. Their endeavor in the first round earned them a score of 82.25 placing them in fifth while going into the second round. With a score of 83 in the second round, their total 165.25 was good enough for third.

Fourth-place went to Tonya Johnston of Berkley, California, aboard Back in Business, owned by Mary Kate Moulton from Oakland, California, and fifth was Emily Goldberg and Sambuca, owned by Lasorda Holdings.

$1,000 Pony Hunter Prix

unnamed1Ava Peck and Kingston winning the $1,000 Pony Hunter Prix. Photo: ESI Photography.

Friday’s $1,000 Pony Hunter Prix did not disappoint while these young riders and their ponies beautifully performed the 11-fence course. Only one team would take home the first-place title out of the fourteen to return for the second round.

The team to beat was Ava Peck from Topanga Canyon, California, riding her own Kingston. Peck demonstrated an outstanding first-round score of 86 to put her and Kingston right to the top to advance to the second round, where they scored an 87, landing them a total score of 173 to claim blue ribbon.

Emilie Bell from Elk Grove, California riding her own Starswept Paris Blues, finished in second place, receiving scores of 81 and 83, respectively.

Stella Wasserman of Beverly Hills, California, claimed the remaining titles in the top five. Wasserman garnered third place riding C.E. Providence, with scores of 79 and 84, fourth-place with Blueberry Hill, owned by Natalie L. Jayne, and fifth-place with her own Silly Putty.

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