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. Congratulations to all the ribbon winders in the Zone 4 Handy Hunter Challenge, and best of luck at the Finals!
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
for the full listing of results from the HITS Ocala Masters.
USEF-Rated Premier/6* competition continues next week with the HITS Ocala Tournament, March 2-7. In Week VII, riders can look forward to a second $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Don't miss out - the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit continues with more competition and fun at HITS Post Time Farm! For more information or to enter for the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, click here
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HITS and ShowHorse TV are excited to announce Live Stream Services at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Viewers can now watch the Grand Prix Stadium LIVE every day at ShowHorse TV
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