Girl! Callan Solem and her trusty mount Mianta win
OCALA, FL (February 25, 2008)—
Callan Solem and her mount Mianta were up to the challenge in Sunday's $50,000 Duggan Equipment Grand Prix as they secured the blue ribbon and $15,000 in prize money for Quiet Winter Farm at HITS Ocala.
Solem and her mount Mianta had the fastest double-clear round on course designer Leopoldo Palacios' track. The pair got the best of 42 starters in the first round and seven combinations in the jump-off. Mianta is 14 and also won the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix on February 3.
Solem's win also snaps Texas' Tracy Fenney's run of two consecutive Grand Prix victories. "If its not one Tracy its the other," joked Solem. "Tracy Fenney and Tracy Magness are each so good.
Mianta was really fast today on her own. Once she gets through the first round she really excels in the jump-off. The first round is always harder for her because it's more technical and sometimes she is a little hard to keep under control."
"The course was really fair and no horses got into any trouble," she added. "Seven out of 42 starters were clear and that's a great number."
Canada's Roberto Teran and his mount Distant Star 3 kicked off the jump-off. The pair had a single rail down and finished the afternoon in fifth place for King Ridge Stables. Second to go in the jump-off order were Tracy Magness and her mount Tarco Van Ter Moude. The combination went clear and stopped the clocks in 39.71 to establish the Great American Time to Beat. Magness and her mount finished the day in third place for her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko.
Alex Granato and his mount Mad Season were third to tackle the course. A rail down midway through the trip left the pair in sixth place. Kristen Vanderveen and her mount Bull Run's Charley Brown were next to go in the jump-off and took over the lead after laying down a clear round in 39.42. The pair would eventually finish in second place.
Solem and Mianta were fifth to go and immediately kicked Vanderveen and her mount off of the top of the mountain stopping the clocks in a lightning-quick 34.68 to capture the lead and eventually win the class by almost five seconds!
Daniel Geitner and his mount Sympa challenged the route next. Two rails down left the pair in seventh place. Finally, stepping into the ring were Fenney and her mount MTM Centano. An unlucky rail down midway through the course landed the duo in fourth place.
With the victory, Solem earned some valuable points for the USGPL standings. This means that she increased her chances of being on the list of the riders who will be invited to participate in the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper in late September. The top 30 riders in the Marshall & Sterling League National Standings (based on money won by the horse/rider combination) will qualify to participate in the Invitational. In addition, one Wild Card slot will be allotted. The rider may elect to ride any horse of their choice, but may ride only one horse in the Invitational.
Also excelling at HITS Ocala last week were Morgan Hale who secured the Central Equine Junior Medal and Robin Fairclough who rode Bentley to the Adequan Hunter Championship to highlight an exciting week of competition.
Grand Prix Sunday at HITS Ocala also featured the fine food of the Melting Pot. VIP patrons enjoyed fine cheeses and breads, steak, chicken and shrimp and of course, the sumptuous chocolate deserts. When the Grand Prix was over, 'The Saucecats,' closed out a fantastic Sunday. The Mardi Gras bash, featuring the music of 'The Saucecats' was sponsored by Four Winds Farm, Quiet Hill, DC Sales and Marketing, Team Barber, Equine Medical Center of Ocala, Hawkins LLC, Top Call Farm, Doug and Starr Meijer, Fox Meadow & The Custom Fox, Huntingdon Ridge and HITS. Guests enjoyed a terrific Jumbalaya dinner prepared by the HITS Food Service team.
Show jumping at HITS Ocala resumes on Tuesday, February 26 with the Ocala Winter Festival and features several fun out-of-ring activities. On Thursday evening the Equine Art Reception at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club sponsored in part by Frederick Wildman and Sons, Ltd takes center stage. The invite-only, proper-dress-required event runs from 6-10 pm and will feature a complimentary martini bar, fine wines, hors d'oeuvres and a special display art from equine artists.
Friday night features the Central Equine Relay Exhibitor Party under the lights in the Grand Prix. Teams of three riders will compete in a Nation's Cup-style class. Seafood is the main course for this fun evening in the VIP tent.
Finally, on Sunday the Talking Phone Book's Kids Day will take place. A bounce house, slide, clowns, face painting, musician, arts and crafts, science discovery centers, trick horses and a special exhibition by the Williston Jr. Rodeo League and Williston Jr. Drill Team will perform prior to the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix.
A raffle benefiting The Make a Wish Foundation® of Central and Northern Florida will take place at the Vendors' Court and the VIP tent prior to the Grand Prix featuring Ariat handbags, donated by Winning Edge Tack Shop, Grocery bag donated by Florida Horse.Com and hold special edition copies (autographed by several famous equestrians) of “Beloved Sport Horses" by children's author, Sharon Miner, of Williston, Florida.Also included are donations from local businesses.
Ten bags will be raffled and tickets are $5. The drawing will be held on March 2nd during The Talking Phone Book’s Kids Day.
$50,000 DUGGAN EQUIPMENT GRAND PRIX
HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com