UPDATED: HITS Coachella to Host USHJA Gold Star Clinic January 18-21

UPDATE: In the previous press release, the incorrect dates were published for the Gold Star Clinic being held in at the HITS Desert Horse Park this winter as being in February.  The correct dates for the clinic are January 18th-21st.  We apologize for any confusion.

Spooner aboard CHATINUS after winning the $200,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix CSIO4*. PC: HITS Media

HITS is pleased to announce that the 2018 West Coast USHJA Gold Star Clinic will be held at HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California, February 18-21, 2018, during the Off-Weeks of the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit. The West Coast clinicians will be Richard Spooner and Rich Fellers.

This clinic is part of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program which has been developed to identify jumper riders who want to be successful at the highest levels of the sport and have the drive to do so. Individual medalists from the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships as well as a select number of wild cards will be invited to attend, accompanied by their parents and trainers. This program, as opposed to the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program, focuses more on jumpers, rather than hunters and equitation.

The clinic will take place over four days and will include horsemanship, stable management, mounted instruction, and additional education from a range of skilled clinicians including the ones listed above.

“The USHJA Gold Star Clinic provides a tremendous opportunity for developing riders to learn from some of the top riders in show jumping and take the next step in their competitive careers,” said Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS. “Over the years, I have had the pleasure of watching this year’s clinicians, Rich Fellers and Richard Spooner, reach the pinnacle of their careers, and I look forward to watching the next generation do the same. I am certain that a number of riders in this year’s Gold Star Clinic will be our future Olympic and World Cup Champions.”

Both Spooner and Fellers are accomplished riders at national and international levels, and have enjoyed great success at the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit.

Richard Spooner has won more than 30 Grand Prix at the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit including numerous World Cup qualifiers. From 1999 through 2005, he won the HITS Desert Circuit $150,000 Grand Prix five times. Most recently, he won the $200,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix CSIO4* during week two of the 2017 National Sunshine Series at HITS Desert Horse Park aboard CHATINUS. On the international stage, Spooner competed in every FEI World Cup Final from 2002 to 2012, and currently sits atop Longines FEI World Cup Standings for the 2017-2018 season.

Rich Fellers has also won dozens of Grand Prix at the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit including several FEI Word Cup Qualifiers which helped him reach nine FEI Word Cup Finals between 2007 and 2016. Fellers posted three top-ten finishes in that time and in 2012 was named US Equestrian of the year after being the first American in 25 years to win the FEI World Cup Final. In that same year, he also rode to an eighth place finish at the London Olympic Games.

Both riders are excited to come back to HITS Desert Horse Park to work with aspiring riders. Spooner says “I consider myself fortunate to work with this young group of talented riders. I am grateful to the USHJA for this opportunity, and we are lucky to have an exceptional facility to use. We should have some fun – and hopefully, we all learn something!”.

For more information, please visit USHJA’s Emerging Athletes Page on their website.