HITS Chicago: Equifest Kicks Off with Holly Shepherd Leading the Way

The six-week summer series continues at the beautiful Lamplight Equestrian Center, the new home of the HITS Chicago Show Series. Check out the featured hunter and jumper class winners from Equifest Series I, which featured the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix and $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Kelly Soleau-Millar led the way in the $2,500 Open Welcome in the Grand Prix Ring on Wednesday, July 22, taking top honors aboard Favoriet U in a time of 34.489.  Jonathon Millar and Blossom Z took second place [31.225], and Holly Shepherd and CHS Krooze took third [31.289].

Featured competition continued on Thursday, July 23 with the $5,000 Jumper Classic where Charlie Jayne took first place aboard Ever Blue in a time of 37.823. Graciela Robert and Casanova B took second place [38.546], and Dorothy Douglas took third with Cornada B [39.033].

Tracy Fenney kept her winning streak alive, taking home top honors in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at Summertime III and again last week during Equifest I. A time of 38.914 aboard MTM Reve du Paradis secured the win for Fenney on Friday.  Millar piloted Valinski S to a second place finish [39.014], and Kasey Ament and Dexter R rounded out the podium in third [40.608].

Tracy Fenney on MTM Reve du Paradis. Photo by ESI.

The $10,000 Open Jumper Prix took place on Saturday, July 25 where Robert took home the blue ribbon aboard Casanova B in a time of 37.670. Douglas and MTM Cornada B took second place [38.780], and Soleau-Millar was close behind with Favoriet U to take third [38.902].

Shepherd moved up from her third place finish on Wednesday to take home top honors in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday, July 26 aboard CHS Krooze. Of the eight riders who returned for the jump-off, only three jumped double clean. Shepherd’s time of 39.117 was the quickest of the three double clean rides to take home the first place ribbon.  Erin Davis-Heineking took the second place ribbon with Leonie [40.570], and Jayne and Amice Z galloped to a third place finish [41.294].

Holly Shepherd on CHS Krooze. Photo by ESI.

HITS Chicago features weekly hunter competition which includes USHJA National and International Hunter Derbies throughout the season. On Friday afternoon, a field of top riders joined the Main Hunter Ring all in the hunt for the top prize of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

The winning ride was awarded to Lauren Underhill and Vulcan.  This team scored an 84.5 in the Hunter Classic Round and an 87 in the in the Handy Hunter Round for an overall score of 171.5 and the blue ribbon.  Jennifer Alfano and Jefferson won second place [171], and Taylor Holstead won third with Roc’s All That  [169.65].

Lauren Underhill on Vulcan. Photo by ESI.

Additional Jumper Highlights:
  • $1,000 M&S/WIHS Children’s & Adult High Jumper Classic: Celine Afshari and HC Eli
  • $1,000 NAL Children’s & Adult Jumper Classic: Gabriella Curry and Chaviana
  • $1,000 M&S Modified Children’s & Adult Jumper Classic: Eliot Schmitt and Icarus Valante
  • $1,000 Dever M&S Children’s & Adult Low Jumper Classic: Sadie Barnett and Nabuco
  • $2,500 Chicago Equine Jr/A-O/Am 1.20m Jumper Classic: Paige Myers and Klyde’s Getaway
  • $5,000 Pyranha Jr/A-O/Am 1.35m Jumper Classic: Alexandra Elkins and Cashmere 33
  • $7,500 Jr/A-O/Am 1.40m Jumper Classic: Natalie Jayne and Diamond D
Additional Hunter Highlights:
  • $750 USHJA Green Hunter Challenge: Alfano and Rhapsody
  • $1,000 USHJA Green Hunter Incentive: Tina Judge-Boyle and Nordic Van Den Bisschop
  • $1,000 AIG Junior Hunter Classic: Alexis Ortiz and Poetic
  • $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic: Kit McClorey and High Tide
  • $500 SmartPak M&S Adult Hunter Classic: Julia Barnes and Simply Cool
  • $500 M&S Children’s Hunter Classic: Cristian Hacker and MTM Passport

For full class results, click here.  The Equifest Series features weekly National Hunter Derbies, bi-weekly Grand Prix, and a $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during Week II.

As the HITS Chicago Series continues, HITS thanks exhibitors for continuing to comply with the health and safety measures being implemented. HITS asks that all trainers, exhibitors and staff comply with social distancing, wearing of masks, and other protocols outlined in the HITS Horse Show Protocol. If you are on your way to HITS Chicago, please be sure to review the HITS Horse Show Protocol prior to your arrival at the show grounds.