The HITS Ocala Holiday Series began with the first of two shows, the Ocala Holiday Classic, December 9-13 featuring USEF-Rated Hunter/Jumper competition at HITS Post Time Farm. The two-week series leads up to the 40th Anniversary of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, set to take place January 19 – March 28, 2021. HITS looks forward to celebrating four decades in the sunshine state, and watching all riders showing at HITS Ocala ‘Make their Million Dollar Dreams Come True’ this year!
Jill Henselwood, representing Canada, kicked off the HITS Ocala Holiday Series with a first place finish in the $2,500 Open Welcome. Henselwood went double clear as she navigated Eblesse through the timers in 33.086. She also placed 4th aboard Canntinue in the class, while fellow Canadian Cassandra Kahle was 2nd with Pyrenes de Louzes.
2nd Place: Cassandra Kahle & PYRENES DE LOUZES [36.543]
3rd Place: Morgan Ward & COLOURFUL RW [36.999]
Each year, the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit welcomes Olympic athletes who represent at least a dozen countries. Henselwood, a long-time customer of HITS having shown in Thermal, Saugerties, Culpeper and Ocala, is an Olympic Silver Medalist and has traveled from Kemptville, Ontario to join us for the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.
“This is my third season returning to HITS Ocala. I come here because I know I can easily attend to the needs of my Grand Prix Horses,” said Henselwood. “HITS Ocala ensures we have top course designers, a perfect mixture of sand and fiber footing, and new modern jumps each year,’ she continued. “Furthermore, safety protocols are in place with masks, distancing and hand sanitizer to keep everyone healthy!”
Aaron Vale began his streak of wins in the featured Open Jumper classes on Friday, piloting EYE CATCHER to top honors in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix. With the only clear round in the jump-off, Vale could not be caught, posting a time of 42.928. Francois Lamontagne of Quebec and Chanel du Calvaire were 6th, while Jill Henselwood placed 9th aboard Canntinue.
2nd Place: Tracy Fenney & MTM APPLE [4-Faults, 39.536]
3rd Place: Sarah Meier & BILLIONAIRE [4-Faults, 43.320]
Vale continued his winning ways on Saturday, taking home the blue ribbon in the $10,000 Open Jumper Prix aboard CANDRO VAN DE ZUUTHOEVE in a time of 43.788.
2nd Place: Jaime Gibson & SUNTENDRA SN [44.288]
3rd Place: Bryn Rose Sadler & CEZARRO [4-Faults, 44.350]
Jumper Classic Winners
$2,000 M&S Child/Adult Jumper Classic – High: Lindsey Ward & CONTIKI
$5,000 Jr/A-O/Am 1.25m Jumper Classic: Leigh Nanda & EL CASPER
$7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O/Am 1.35m Jumper Classic: Jared Petersen & INSPIRADO
On Sunday, ten riders jumped clean in the first round of the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix and began preparations for the jump-off. Time was of the essence as all ten riders who returned jumped double clear, seemingly with each ride faster than the one before. It was evident that all ten competitors all had their eye on the lion’s share of prize money in the featured class.
Returning to the Winner’s Circle and completing the ultimate hat-trick this week, winning three of the four featured jumper classics, was Vale. As the last to return, Vale’s only option was to give it his all aboard BOREALE DE TALMA in order to capture the win. A time of 37.567 would be quick enough to take over the first place position. For Canada, Francois Lamontagne and Chanel du Calvaire were 3rd, with Cassandra Kahle / Pyrenes de Louzes 5th and Hendelwood / Eblesse 9th.
“It was fun to show and we were lucky to win all the big classes this week. The horse I won the Sunday Grand Prix on is a newer ride for me and actually my neighbor’s horse so that was really excitinng,” said Vale of his win. “I saw that the Stadium is under refurbishment, so I’m really excited to be able to show in there this week and during Circuit.”
2nd Place: Fenney & MTM APPLE [38.090]
3rd Place: Francois Lamontagne & CHANEL DU CALVAIRE [39.015]
The Ocala Holiday Classic was also host to superb hunter competition in the Main Hunter Ring. From Junior and Amateur-Owner Hunter Classics to featured Hunter Prix, competition was high.
Scoring a 93 in the first round and nearly matching that with a 92 in the second round, for a cumulative score of 185, Megan Young and RED C secured a commanding win in the $2,500 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix.
2nd Place: Kyle Muckler & CIRIBATI 
3rd Place: Morgan Ward & CYPRESS 
It was Katelyn Coveney and MTM FASHION who were unbeatable as they accepted the top placing in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix with their scores of 88 and 79 for a 167 total.
2nd Place: Jacquelyn Maggiore & BAMBOLINO 
3rd Place: Jessica Hunkiar & WITHOUT A TRACE 
Hunter Classic Winners
$1,000 A-O Hunter Classic: Laura Linback & THE FULL MONTY
$1,000 CWD Jr Hunter Classic: Shannon Jones & LORENZO
$500 M&S NAL SmartPak Adult Hunter Classic: Olivia Drexler & DOLITA
$500 M&S NAL Child Hunter Classic: Schuyler Dayner & LAFAYETTE PARK
Click here for the full listing of results from the HITS Ocala Holiday Series.