HITS Holiday Series - Ocala Holiday Classic Round-Up - Expert advice on horse care and horse riding

HITS Holiday Series - Ocala Holiday Classic Round-Up

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December 18, 2015--Show jumping competition returned to HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida, this past Wednesday for the inaugural HITS Holiday Series. In preparation for the ten-week HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, which begins January 19, 2016, the Holiday Series offers riders two additional weeks of winter show opportunities in the heart of the Horse Capital of the World.

$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix
Big money classes commenced on Friday for the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix in the Grand Prix Ring. Many well-known names filled the Order of Go, including Margie Engle and Aaron Vale, but it was Lake St. Louis, Missouri native, Andrew Kocher, and Uppie De Lis, owned by BTS Entertainment & Sales, who would go home with the blue ribbon and a $7,500 check.

Andrew Kocher and Uppie De Lis on their way to a $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix win at HITS Holiday Classic in Ocala, Florida. (ESI Photography)

Andrew Kocher and Uppie De Lis on their way to a $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix win at HITS Holiday Classic in Ocala, Florida. (ESI Photography)

In round one, riders attempted the 13 fence course set by Kenny Krome, of Westminster, Maryland, but only five entries would go clear to move on to the jump-off. First to reenter the ring and attempt the abbreviated course was Pan American Games star Margie Engle and Eckham Van Het Steentje, owned by Elm Rock LLC. Steadily, they sailed over the fences to set the tone for the afternoon, and without a single misstep, Engle clocked in at 40.814 for the time to beat.

Second in the order, Kocher and Uppie De Lis cruised to a cool, clean finish, in an impressive time of 38.283 to top Engle on the leaderboard for the time being. Both riders had second entries in the jump-off so it was still anyone’s game. Next in the order was Ocala’s own Aaron Vale aboard Bonzini S, owned by Thinkslikeahorse, and all was right until a down rail at the third fence resulted in four faults and a time of 39.118.

Piloting his second mount, Le Conte, Kocher knew what he had to do for a win and with that in mind he took off running. Zooming through the course fault-free they finished in a time of 38.633, to top Engle again, for second place behind himself and Uppie De Lis.

It all came down to Engle and the last entry of the jump-off round, Indigo, owned by Gladewinds Farm LLC. The round was in Engle’s favor until the second to last obstacle where a single rail would give her a final score of four faults in a time of 38.597 for fourth place.

Place Horse Owner Rider Prize R.1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 Uppie De Lis BTS Entertainment & Sales Andrew Kocher $7,500 - - 38.283
2 Le Conte Andrew Kocher Andrew Kocher $5,500 - - 38.633
3 Eckham Van Het Steentje Elm Rock LLC Margie Engle $3,250 - - 40.814
4 Indigo Gladewinds Farm Inc Margie Engle $2,000 - 4 38.597
5 Bonzini S Thinkslikeahorse Aaron Vale $1,500 - 4 39.118
6 Denali Paula Pell Sulu Rose-Reed $1,250 1 - -
7 Zindiloma Foxridge Farms Stables Sean Jobin $1,000 2 - -
8 Whittaker MVNZ Woodrun Laura Linback $750 4 - -
9 HH Dauphin Woodrun Laura Linback $750 4 - -
10 Venus Raylyn Farms, Inc. Christina Kelly $500 4 - -
11 No Autograph's Please Dakota Schramer Dakota Schramer $500 4 - -
12 D.A. Vittoria Kehoe Enterprises LLC Silvio Mazzoni $500 4 - -

$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
A plethora of fine-tuned athletes descended upon Ocala for a chance at glory in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix on Saturday. Talented teams piloted their way around the 10 fence course and the top 12 of the two-round classic returned to prove which pair was the ultimate in finesse and style.

Fifi Schmidt and No Doubt on their way to a $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix win at HITS Holiday Classic in Ocala, Florida. (ESI Photography)

Fifi Schmidt and No Doubt on their way to a $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix win at HITS Holiday Classic in Ocala, Florida. (ESI Photography)

Fifi Schmidt of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, garnered first-place and the $1,500 prize aboard No Doubt, owned by Elizabeth Phillips of New Canaan, Connecticut. The dynamic duo glided through the classic scoring a consistent 82 in jumping style and zero faults in both rounds.

Second-place and a check for $1,000 went to Donald Sheehan and his mount Kenan, owned by EHM Equestrian LLC. The equestrian of Maryville, Tennessee completed the 3’5” course exhibiting a first round score of 83 and 79.5 in the second round.

Also in the ribbons was Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida, and Cymplify, owned by Hasbrouck Donovan. Vale and Cymplify completed the classic with the third-place title and scores of 65 in the first round, improving to 79 in the second.

Fourth-place in the classic went to Calvary, ridden by Amanda Steege of Bedminster, New Jersey, and owned by Jessica Tindley. The top five finished out with Ocala native Emily Williams and Upcountry Capiche, owned by Jamie Stryker.

Place Horse Owner Rider Prize R.1 Score R. 2 Score Total
1 No Doubt Elizabeth Phillips Fifi Schmidt $1,500 82 82 164
2 Kenan EHM Equestrian LLC Donald Sheehan $1,000 83 79.5 162.5
3 Cymplify Hasbrouck Donovan Aaron Vale $700 81.5 79 160.5
4 Upcountry Capiche Jamie Stryker Emily (FL) Williams $500 81 78.5 159.5
5 Calvary Jessica Tindley Amanda Steege $400 79 80 159
6 Incorino Blue Horse Farm, LLC Jennifer Ritucci $350 76 82.75 158.75
7 Monopoly Four Winds Farm David Connors $300 82.5 76 158.5
8 Zidane Susan Darragh Amanda Steege $250 74 83 157

$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
A sizable group of horses and riders competed in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix on Saturday for a chance at the prestigious hunter victory, and Florida’s first qualifying opportunity for the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final at the HITS Championship in September 2016.

Alec Tolle and Upcountry Panteon (ESI Photography)

Alec Tolle and Upcountry Panteon (ESI Photography)

Teams navigated through the 3’ course with precision and flair, though only one team could claim the blue ribbon victory.

The team to beat was Alec Tolle of East Rockaway, New York, and Upcountry Panteon, owned by Phoenix Farms, LLC. The pair claimed the first-place title, a $450 check and the highest score in both rounds—82 and 85, respectively.

Second-place went to the Ocala, Florida, equestrienne Louise Petz and her horse Wellington. The pair traversed through the course to finish with a solid score of 78 in the first round and 77.5 in the second round; Petz took home a $300 check for the win.

Stephanie Guerlain, of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Brooklyn, owned by Guerlain, earned third-place and the $200 prize. Also third in the Order of Go, Guerlain traversed the course earning a 76 in the first round, improving to a 79 in the second to secure the third-place finish.

Fourth-place was awarded to Quick Silver, owned and ridden by Kylie Harvill of Orlando, Florida. The top five concluded with Porthos, owned and ridden by Emmeline Guerard of Savannah, Georgia.

Place Horse Owner Rider Prize R.1 Score R. 2 Score Total
1 Upcountry Panteon Phoenix Farms, LLC Alec Tolle $450 82 85 167
2 Wellington Louise Petz Louise Petz $300 78 77.5 155.5
3 Brooklyn Stephanie Guerlain Stephanie Guerlain $200 76 79 155
4 Quick Silver Kylie Harvill Kylie Harvill $150 72 78 150
5 Porthos Emmeline Guerard Emmeline Guerard $125 67 67 134
6 Latigo Kathryn Griswold Kathryn Griswold $100 43 76 119
7 Daedalus Lauren Morrow Lauren Morrow $100 50 58 108
8 Church Road Cynthia Boudreau Cynthia Boudreau $75 57 43 100

$7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O Jumper Classic – 1.40m
Jumpers tested the ten fence course for a shot at glory in the $7,500 U-Dump Jr./A-O Jumper Classic on Sunday, but only six would go clear to move on to the jump-off for a chance to take home the money and bragging rights.

Laura Linback and Carmina on their way to a $7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O Jumper Classic – 1.40m win at HITS Holiday Classic in Ocala, Florida. (ESI Photography)

Laura Linback and Carmina on their way to a $7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O Jumper Classic – 1.40m win at HITS Holiday Classic in Ocala, Florida. (ESI Photography)

Seventh to enter the arena in the first round was Laura Linback of Mundelein, Illinois, and Carmina, owned by Woodrun. The pair sailed through round one with the fastest time and moved on to seal their victory in the jump-off with a speedy fault-free run of 42.760. For the win, the team took home the blue ribbon and a $2,200 check.

Laurel Blakemore of Williston, Florida, and Captain My Captain zipped through the first round with no faults to move on to the jump-off. Captain My Captain and owner, Blakemore, secured the second-place finish in the jump-off with a time of 45.436 and zero faults.

The top three rounded out with Cooper Dean of Fayette, Alabama, and WEC Quidam-Quidam, owned by William Upton. After finishing slowest of the clear rounds, Dean zoomed through the jump-off course to garner a fault-free round of 46.450 and the third-place title.

Fourth in the classic was awarded to Laura Linback, riding her second mount Attention Please, owned by Woodrun. Jared Peterson of Archer, Florida, piloted Titus 2:11, owned by Derek Petersen, to close the top five winners.

Place Horse Owner Rider Prize R.1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 Carmina Woodrun Laura Linback $2,200 - - 42.760
2 Captain My Captain Laurel Blakemore Laurel Blakemore $1.550 - - 45.436
3 WEC Quidam-Quidam William Upton Cooper Dean $1,050 - - 46.450
4 Attention Please Woodrun Laura Linback $700 - 4 43.944
5 Titus 2:11 Derek Petersen Jared Petersen $600 - 4 46.377
6 Cornerstone Derek Petersen Jared Petersen $500 - 8 49.164
7 Cascada Jordan Coyne Jordan Coyne $450 4 - -
8 Daytona ES Equi-Sport, LLC Lacy Morrone-Cramer $450 8 - -

$25,000 HITS Grand Prix
The Ocala Holiday Classic concluded with the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix in the Grand Prix Ring on Sunday. Countless professionals returned from the $25,000 Smartpak Grand Prix on Friday to compete for a second chance at success. The atmosphere was electric—with only seconds between competitors—Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida, came out as the victor to take home the $7,500 prize.

Aaron Vale and Bonzini S on their way to a $25,000 HITS Grand Prix win at HITS Holiday Series in Ocala, Florida. (ESI Photography)

Aaron Vale and Bonzini S on their way to a $25,000 HITS Grand Prix win at HITS Holiday Series in Ocala, Florida. (ESI Photography)

Eighth in the first round order, Vale and Bonzini S, owned by Thinkslikeahorse, moved through the 13-jump course designed by Ken Krome of Wesminster, Maryland, with precision and power. Advancing to the jump-off, and without missing a beat, the duo secured the win with a swift, fault-free time of 39.900.

"It was very exciting to win, especially against great competitors like Andy Kocher and Margie Engle—she's a legend," said Vale. "Bonzini is not a particularly fast horse, so I was proud of him."

Second-place went to the Wellington, Florida, equestrienne Margie Engle and her mount Indigo, owned by Gladewinds Farm, Inc. After a speedy, clear first-round, Engle zipped through the jump-off course, clocking in at 40.888, just behind Vale. Engle also claimed a second spot in the top five with a fifth-place finish of 88.927 this time aboard Eckham Van Het Steentje, owned by Elm Rock, LLC.

With one Holiday Classic SmartPak Grand Prix victory under his belt, Andrew Kocher of Lake St. Louis, Missouri, spurred his way into the top three for the second grand prix of the weekend. Kocher came in with a clear round of 41.745 with Uppie De Lis, owned by BTS Entertainment & Sales.

Kocher also garnered fourth-place navigating his second mount of the afternoon, Ora Del Te Di La San Giorgio, owned by Ora Del Te, LLC, to secure an additional place in the top five with 42.281 in the jump-off.

Place Horse Owner Rider Prize R.1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 Bonzini S Thinkslikeahorse Aaron Vale $7,500 - - 39.900
2 Indigo Gladewinds Farm, Inc. Margie Engle $5,500 - - 40.888
3 Uppie De Lis BTS Entertainment & Sales Andrew Kocher $3,250 - - 41.745
4 Ora Del Ti Di La San Giorgio Ora del te, LLC Andrew Kocher $2,000 - 4 42.281
5 Eckham Van Het Steentje Elm Rock, LLC Margie Engle $1,500 4 - -
6 HH Dauphin Woodrun Laura Linback $1,250 4 - -
7 Le Conte Andrew Kocher Andrew Kocher $1,000 8 - -
8 Whittaker MVNZ Woodrun Laura Linback $750 8 - -
9 Eliza Kyle Dewar Katherine Dewar $750 10 - -
10 D.A. Vittoria Kehoe Enterprises, LLC Silvio Mazzoni $500 12 - -
11 No Autograph's Please Dakota Schramer Dakota Schramer $500 23 - -
12 Venus Raylyn Farms, Inc. Christina Kelly $500 26 - -