That’s a wrap for the HITS Ocala Masters! Week VI of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit was bustling with featured competition in the Grand Prix Stadium and the Main Hunter Ring, with the $150,000 Crum & Forster Grand Prix, $10,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix, Zone 4 Handy Hunter Challenges and more. Riders are hard at work earning points toward the Tack Shack of Ocala 2nd Half Circuit and Pyranha Overall Circuit Awards. With just four weeks left of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, the seventh Great American $1 Million Grand Prix is right around the corner – watch live on ShowHorse TV!
Aaron Vale kicked his week off with a win in the $5,000 Open Welcome on Wednesday aboard Thinkslikeahorse’s M LEBRON, crossing the timers in 33.927.
2nd Place: Molly Dinapoli & REASON DE GANAD [36.427]
3rd Place: David Cameron & ASHTON DAKOTA [39.026]
It was a one-two finish for David Jennings in Thursday’s $10,000 HITS Open Prix. Jennings posted a time of 29.956 on DALTON DE LA FRESNIERE for Amy Shafmaster.
2nd Place: Jennings & CENDATUS PS [30.370]
3rd Place: Sam Walker & EVITA [31.180]
Continuing his success at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, Vale added another Grand Prix win to his record claiming the top spot in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix. Vale and MR. INCREDIBLE, owned by Troy Glaus, were the last to return for the jump-off and marked a time of 34.461 with their slick track.
2nd Place: Francois Lamontagne & CHANEL DU CALVAIRE [34.664]
3rd Place: Andre Thieme & CONTHARGO [36.061]
David Tromp was welcomed to the Winner’s Circle on Saturday for his ride aboard INCOGNITO, owned by David Tromp Show Stables, Inc., in the $15,000 HITS 1.40m Classic. Tromp had the only double clear ride in a time of 33.223, to secure the win.
2nd Place: Harold Chopping & GERDERIEKA II VI [4-Faults, 32.926]
3rd Place: Walker & HARISSA Z [4-Faults, 33.762]
Jumper Classic Winners
$1,000 M&S Child/Adult Jumper Classic – Low: Aiva Gamelin & SANITA PJ
$1,500 M&S Child/Adult Jumper Classic – Medium: Caroline Earle & DIAMANT WP Z
$2,000 M&S/NAL/WIHS Child Jumper Classic – High: Sophia Ayers & CASANOVA JUNIOR
$2,000 M&S/NAL/WIHS Adult Jumper Classic – High: Alyson Gurney & BLACK FRIDAY
$2,500 Pyranha NAL Jr/A-O/Am 1.25m Jumper Classic: Haley Barnes & OLEY
$5,000 Jr/A-O/Am 1.35m Jumper Classic: Jaime Auletto & DYNAMITE
$7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O/Am 1.45m Jumper Classic: Kady Abrahamson & BANCO DU MOULIN
Sunday afternoon featured the $150,000 Crum & Forster Grand Prix at HITS Post Time Farm where Grand Prix veterans and new comers alike brought their A-game to the Grand Prix Stadium. The faults were spread throughout the course designed by Ms. Marina Azevedo, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, but the end of the course proved to be most challenging, with technical questions in the final line that foiled the hopes of many riders in their quest to make it to the jump-off. Six riders jumped a clean first round, setting up an exciting jump-off that rewarded efficiency and carefulness.
Securing the blue ribbon with a clear jump-off in 38.011 was Thieme for his ride aboard CRAZY GIRL, an 11 year-old mare. “I always have the feeling that I’m just not quick enough and today I have to say I was quicker than usual and that’s why I’m really happy,” said Thieme about his ride in the jump-off. “It’s my wife’s favorite horse and I’m liking her more and more because this is now the fifth Grand Prix here that she’s gone clear. I slowly realized what kind of a horse I have with her so her name CRAZY GIRL is not really right because she’s not crazy. She’s fabulous!”
Thieme went fifth in the jump-off, but says that his plan doesn’t change based on order of go or other factors, “My plan is really the same from week to week – try to be faster than the others and this time it worked and I stayed strong with myself to keep going.”
Riders have begun preparations for the seventh Great American $1 Million Grand Prix that will close out the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit on March 28. While many riders, including Thieme, have already entered, there is still time to change the horse that they will show in the Million. “Now maybe I’ll change my plans with the horses,” said Thieme. “Normally that horse [CRAZY GIRL] was not going to do the Million, but she’s been the most consistent this circuit, so I may have to reconsider.” Thieme is no stranger to the Winner’s Circle at HITS Shows, and already has three HITS $1 Million Grand Prix wins under his belt. In fact, Thieme won the first ever Great American Million at HITS Ocala in 2014 with CONTANGA 3. Hit other HITS Million wins were at HITS Saugerties in 2011 and 2017.
“I just love it [at HITS Ocala] – I have been coming here for 20 years and have known Tom just as long. He’s always happy to have me and I’m always happy to be here. I may even bring a bit of International flair since I am German,” Thieme added with excitement. “It’s such a good chance to have classes every week for a really good amount of money and give the horses a great experience. It’s like family here so I just like everything about it.”
2nd Place: David Raposa & THE GENERAL [38.738]
3rd Place: Vale & CHACCMAN [39.497]
Week VI of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit featured the $10,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix, $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, and the Zone 4 Handy Hunter Challenge. Weekly Hunter Prix count toward the HITS Championship, which takes place annually at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
Taking the top spot in the $10,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix was Cassandra Kahle for her ride aboard Maryanne Low-Haviland’s HALDETTE. Kahle had the high score in each of the rounds, navigating the course to be awarded 88 and 86, respectively, for a total of 174.
2nd Place: Jennifer Alfano & NOLAN 
3rd Place: Kelley Buringa & FIVE STAR 
Rachel DeMuro claimed first place in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix aboard MTM JULY, for owner Kimberly McCaslin. DeMuro scored an 81 in the first round and followed that with an 83 for a cumulative score of 164.
2nd Place: Mia Poppinga & MTM TESLA 
3rd Place: Madison Ramsey & MAGURO 
HITS Ocala also hosted the Zone 4 Handy Hunter Challenges, part of a USHJA Competitive Program, during Week VI. This marks the 7th year that HITS has been host to these classes at HITS Post Time Farm.
Taking home top honors in the $500 Zone 4 Child/Adult Handy Hunter Challenge was Madeline Jordan for her ride aboard CONGO MCF. Payton Blackwell and ANTHEM took top honors in the $500 Zone 4 Pony Handy Hunter Challenge. The judges of both Handy Hunter Challenges felt the courses were great and the winning riders rode beautifully.
Hunter Classic Winners
$1,000 USHJA Green Hunter Incentive: Jennifer Alfano & TRUSTED
$1,000 A-O Hunter Classic – 3’6″: Darby Toben & KILLIAN
$1,000 Eastern Hay A-O Hunter Classic – 3’3″: Claire Parkinson & CHAZEAUX
$1,000 Antares Large Junior Hunter Classic – 3’6″: Christopher Coberley & UNDERCOVER
$1,000 CWD Small Junior Hunter Classic – 3’6″: Holly Boutcher & DAXTER
$1,000 Junior Hunter Classic – 3’3″: Annabelle Brown & CAMERA READY
$1,000 Perfect Products Pony Hunter Classic: Maddie Tosh & STORYTELLER
$500 M&S NAL/WIHS SmartPak Adult Hunter Classic: Matthew Starr & SAPHIRA
$500 M&S NAL/WIHS Child Hunter Classic – Horse: Piper Harris & RONALDO
$500 M&S NAL/WIHS Child Hunter Classic – Pony: Adair Moses & SAWYER
M&S Bit O’ Straw Hunter Classic: Madison Ramsey & CLEVER
Click here for the full listing of results from the HITS Ocala Masters.