Week I of the HITS Desert Circuit Packs a Punch

Week I of the HITS Desert Circuit is jam-packed with excitement. There was no shortage of action with the $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome on Wednesday, January 20, and the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on Friday, January 22.

$5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome

indexSusan Hutchison and Ziedento on their way to a $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome win. (C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY

Thermal, CA – January 23, 2016 – Riders and horses were put to the test during the first $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome in Week I of the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California. Amidst the mountains that line the horizon of Grand Prix Stadium, competitors navigated a challenging 14-fence course designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Muenchen, Germany, but only three would conquer the first round to advance to the jump-off to claim the victory.

As the first week of the HITS Desert Circuit got underway, all of the riders in the $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome were gunning for a win, but the day belonged to Grand Prix veteran Susan Hutchison. The equestrian from Temecula, California, claimed both the first- and second-place victory in two double clear rounds.

First to return to the ring for the jump-off was Hutchison and Ziedento, owned by St. Bride’s Farm. Hutchison and the powerful bay set the tone with flawless execution as they zipped through the 8-fence shortened course, crossing the timers in 39.471 seconds.

Following Hutchison was Enrique Gonzalez of San Diego, California, and his own Feline VIII. The jump-off seemed to be solid for Gonzalez until trouble at the third vertical, which ultimately cost them a rail. After an additional rail at the second to last fence, they finished the second round in 41.790 seconds with eight faults.

Already leading the class, Hutchison entered the jump-off for a second go, this time with Brisbane, owned by Barbara Phillips. She once again conquered the course, fence by fence with finesse and precision, producing her second double clear round, crossing the timers in 41.750.

Fourth-place went to Quiz Z, owned and ridden by Calgary native, Tamie Phillips. Phillips and Quiz Z clocked in at 78.901 in round one after an inconvenient fault in the first double combination, resulting in four faults. The top five concluded with Macella O’Neill and Boccaccio, owned by Colleen May; they finished the first round with four faults in 79.076.

Place     Horse   Owner Rider Prize R.1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1  Ziedento  St. Bride’s Farm  Susan Hutchison  $1,500 39.471
2  Brisbane  Barbara Phillips  Susan Hutchison $1,000 41.750
3 Feline VIII Enrique Gonzalez Enrique Gonzalez $700 8 41.790
4  Quiz Z Tamie Phillips Tamie Phillips $500 4
5 Boccaccio Colleen May Macella O’Neill $400 4
6 Here I come LEGISequine.com Jenni McAllister $350 4
7 The Governor Mattias Ekeroth, LLC Mattias Ekeroth $300 8
8 Coocaroo Soehnke Theymann Soehnke Theymann $250 8
9 Conejito Carol Wright Carol Wright 8
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

indexPeter Petschenig and Saint Quentin on their way to a $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix win. (C) ESI Photography

Big money classes commenced on Friday in Week I of the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal California, with the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix. It  was Peter Petschenig of Murrieta, California, and his own Saint Quentin, who would go home with the blue ribbon and a $7,500 check.

Petschenig, first in the ring for round one, set the tone for the day after going clean over the 13-fence course designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Muenchen, Germany, to advance to the jump-off course. With his eyes on the prize, Petschenig sped through jump-off sticking to his plan: “to be fast,” and setting the time of 43.018, which would ultimately be the class winner.

“I was just aiming to go fast, to be quick and precise” said Petschenig. “It feels really great to win the first Grand Prix of the circuit.”

Second-place belonged to Ashlee Bond of Hidden Hills, California, and Little Valley Farms’, Cornancer. Bond moved through the jump-off quickly. As Bond cleared the final obstacle she fell just behind Petschenig by less than half a second after crossing the marker in 43.450 for the $5,500 check.

Los Angeles equestrian, Tiffany Sullivan, took home third-place with Christian Grey, owned by Haley Farms, LLC. Entering the jump-off third, the big-strided grey jumped fault-free but a wide turn to the home stretch vertical resulted in seconds lost to the clock, finishing in 47.785.

Nicole Haunert of Encinitas, California, and NJK No Regret, owned by NJK Show Jumpers, Inc., earned fourth-place.  Last in the ring for the jump-off, Haunert cleared the first two fences until a tight distance forced a rail mid-course resulting in a 48.873 second round with four jumping faults. Haunert moved to fourth place after previous rider, Enrique Gonzalez’s horse Chacna shied towards the gate, forcing five time faults, moving him out of the top five to sixth-place.

The class rounded out the top five with Calgary native, Tamie Phillips and Cat Balou. Phillips navigated the course well until a rough negotiation of the mid-course combination resulted in a rail followed by a second rail at the vertical immediately after. Phillips completed the course in 43.899 with eight jumping faults.

Place  Horse Owner Rider Prize R.1 Faults JO Faults  JO Time 
1 Saint Quentin  Peter Petshenig Peter Petschenig $7,500 43.018
2 Cornancer Little Valley Farms Ashlee Bond $5,500 43.450
3 Christian Grey Haley Farms, LLC Tiffany Sullivan $3,250 47.785
4 NJK No Regret NJK Show Jumpers, Inc. Nicole Haunert $2,000 4 48.873
5 Cat Balou Tamie Phillips Tamie Phillips $1,500 8 43.899
6 Chacna Enrique Gonzalez Enrique Gonzalez $1,250 9 60.074
7 Camerino Wells Bridge Farm, LLC Paul Rohrbach $1,000 1
8 Zilox T Haley Farms, LLC Peter Petschenig $750 2
9 Concorde The Epic Group, LLC Chris Pratt $750 2
10 Bert Emily Cohodes Kristen Hardin $500 4
11 Ace of Hearts Little Valley Farms Ashlee Bonds $500 4
12  Feline VIII Enrique Gonzalez Enrique Gonzalez $500 4

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 www.HitsShows.com. 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 media_info@HitsShows.com.