Monday, May 18, 2009

HITS Saugerties begins this week

The HITS Saugerties Spring Horse Show Series begins on Wednesday, May 20. The first week runs through Sunday, May 24, and is followed by Week II from May 27-31 and Week III from June 3-7. The shows take place at the scenic HITS-on-the-Hudson facility in Saugerties and will feature more than 1,000 horses in a variety of divisions.

You can see more than just horses at HITS -- on Saturday, the second annual HITS Classic Car Showcase returns to the show grounds with hot rods to classic cruisers. On the same day, sample fare from area restaurants at the Taste of HITS-on-the-Hudson.

And for the first time, the Hors'n Around Saugerties exhibit takes place on the streets of Saugerties with nearly 50 artist-decorated fiberglass carousel horses. The horses will all be available for purchase at an auction to raise money for a local food bank at the end of the season during the Marshall & Sterling Finals on September 12.

Here is more information about the HITS schedule:

The HITS Saugerties Spring Horse Shows offer divisions for every level of rider in equitation, hunter, and jumper disciplines. The Open Jumpers are one of the most popular divisions, and as always HITS Saugerties will offer some of the best prize money in the nation for them.
The Open Jumper Division will consist of four Open Jumper classes each week, including a $10,000 Open Welcome, $5,000 Open Speed, and two Grand Prix events, held each Friday and Sunday. The Friday class will offer $25,000 each week, while the Sunday class will offer increasing prize money of $50,000 (sponsored by EMO Insurance), $75,000 and $125,000 (sponsored by Purina Mills in the spring and by Strongid C 2X in the summer) during each three-week series.
Top grand prix rider and HITS Saugerties High Performance Committee member Laura Chapot shows at Saugerties every year. This year, Sshe will bring horses and clients to the first and third weeks of the spring series and then will show at all of the HITS Saugerties Summer Series (July 19 - August 2).
Chapot is pleased to contribute to the High Performance Committee. She said, "I think it's been great to be a part of the High Performance Committee for HITS Saugerties and to have a management team that wants to hear what we want - our suggestions and our feelings. Tom has put in a tremendous amount of effort to make these shows the best they can be, and we're really excited to see the improvements this year."
Chapot feels that the most important improvement made to HITS Saugerties is the footing. "The key thing is footing. To get good footing in will make the whole experience for everyone a lot better. It sounds like HITS really made a huge effort and hopefully found the right mix. It will make a big difference to everyone, most importantly for our horses and the competition."
While the prize money for the open jumpers is a big draw, Chapot feels that the reduced fees for this year's competitions is what makes it feasible for many riders at Saugerties. "The prize money increasing each week is great, but what's even better is that HITS has been reducing costs for exhibitors. Prize money only goes to a few people. In order to encourage people and have them be able to show, the fact that they reduced the nominating fee and entry fees is really something that they should be praised for," she explained. "That affects everyone. As a trainer and rider, and a person who owns some of her own horses, entry fees affect me a lot. We bring several younger horses, and they might not win prize money. To bring them at less cost is greatly appreciated."
The lower fees will also make a big difference for riders who compete in the non-professional divisions. Junior and Amateur Jumpers will have a great opportunity to win money at Saugerties this year because the classics will be split not only by High and Low, but by Juniors and Amateurs as well.  This means there will be four classics each week:  $5,000 Junior Jumper Low, $5,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Low, $10,000 Junior Jumper High and $10,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper High.  And, the Low Junior and Amateur-Owner Classics will also count for NAL points.
Starting out Week I, the Children's/Adult Jumpers will compete together in their $10,000 Marshall and Sterling Jumper Classic. For Weeks II and III, they will be split and compete for $2,500 each in their classics and will earn points for both Marshall & Sterling and NAL. And every week, the Modified Junior/Amateur Jumpers will have a classic worth $3,500 in prize money. During Week II, there will be a fun Saugerties Team Relay Classic.
The hunters will have their fair share of prize money as well. The Amateur-Owner Hunters, Small Junior Hunters, Large Junior Hunters, and Small, Medium, and Large Pony Hunters will each have a $1,000 classic every week. The M&S/NAL Adult Hunters, M&S/NAL Children's Hunters, and Bit O' Straw Classics will each give $500 in prize money every week as well.
In addition to the great prize money available, exhibitors will be happy to know that the footing has been revamped in most of the show rings. Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, Inc., made the decision to redo the footing in the grand prix ring, all of the jumper rings and schooling areas, as well as many of the hunter rings. HITS also plans to use the old footing from the rings to improve the walkways leading from the stabling areas to the competition areas.
This year, HITS has the popular new wood and metal stalls available, an upgraded VIP area, and increased access to electrical power in the tent areas. Olympic Course Decorator Flora Baptiston is returning to bring beauty and color to all of the rings at HITS Saugerties.

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