OCALA, FL (February 4, 2008)—
Callan Solem and her veteran mount Mianta negotiated the fastest double-clear round on course designer Jamie Alder's route to capture $7,500 in prize money for Quiet Winter Farm during Sunday’s $25,000 Grand Prix at HITS Ocala.
The 29-year-old outlasted a field of 26 combinations in the first round and seven combinations in the jump-off to secure her first win of the season to conclude the HITS Ocala Pre-Circuit 2 at HITS Post Time Farm. In last Sunday's $25,000 Grand Prix at HITS Ocala, Solem also finished in the money aboard Mianta.
Solem, who is a regular competitor at HITS Saugerties and HITS Culpeper, was also 11th aboard her other Grand Prix mount, Allison.
"Mianta is 14 now and Allison is 16," said Solem. "I am so happy to still have them. They don't owe me anything and to start off the winter with two great weeks is more that I could ever have asked for."
First to go in the jump-off was Derek Petersen and Vondergraaf. The pair had an unlucky rail down midway through Alder's jump-off course to secure fourth place. Jay Hayes was second to challenge the course aboard Livarot. Fresh off their win in Friday’s $15,000 Open Mini Prix, the combination made it all the way home clear and set the Great American Time to Beat at 43.811.
Aaron Vale and his mount Sinatra were third to go in the jump-off and were clear all the way until the final effort when a single rail hit the floor for a total of four faults. Vale and his mount, who placed second in last week’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, had to settle for fourth place in Sunday's feature class.
Robin Fairclough and her mount Patriot were up next and also had four faults to finish the day in sixth place for Newton, New Jersey's Top Brass Farm. Next in line for the jump-off were Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Charley Brown, who finished last week in third place, the pair had eight faults and finished up in seventh place this time around. Petersen returned, this time in the number six slot aboard his second mount, Heavenbound. They were fast and clean establishing the new Great American Time to Beat at 41.940.
The pressure was now on Solem and Mianta, who were sitting in the envious last-to-ride spot. Solem knew they had to be lightning-fast to catch Petersen's time. Solem and her mount navigated the course to perfection and shattered the leading time stopping the clocks at 41.446 to secure the blue ribbon.
"Sitting last in the jump-off is a great place to be," said Solem. "I knew Derek was really fast so I had to give it myall. Mianta is as fast as any horse there is in show jumping. Sometimes it is tough to keep her focused, but today I cut her loose and she was tremendous!"
After her victory, Solem said she is looking forward to competing at HITS Saugerties' spring and summer series of horse shows when the HITS Ocala Winner Circuit is over. "We always look forward to Saugerties," she added. "That horse show has something for everyone, including lots of prize money for Grand Prix riders."
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.
riding Ortega who secured the Central Equine Junior Medal. Jodi Czaplick of Speonk, New York rode Untold to the Adequan Hunter Championship to highlight an exciting week of competition. For more information on Central Equine please visit www.centralequine.com, and for more information on Adequan, please visit www.hitsshows.com/press/pdf/adequan.pdf.
Show jumping at HITS Ocala resumes on Tuesday, February 12 with the Ocala Winter Classic. The Ocala Winter Classic will feature the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix on Thursday, February 14 and the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix presented by The Waldorf=Astoria Collection on Sunday, February 17. Also on the agenda for the Winter Classic are several fun out-of-ring activities. On Friday and Saturday, February 15 and 16 The Ranch Fitness Center and Spa presents Spa Daze. Both afternoons will feature chair massages and spa services compliments of The Ranch. On Friday, February 15 HITS welcomes its sponsors to the Ocala Winter Circuit with a cocktail reception and dinner at SKY Restaurant. This invitation-only event is for valued HITS sponsors and is graciously hosted by SKY restaurant in Ocala. Also on Friday night is the HITS Ocala Season Opening Exhibitor Party at the Post Time Condominiums. Homes to Ranches and Greg and Carla Lord welcome all HITS exhibitors to the Ocala Circuit with a cook out and live music. A short golf cart ride or walk from the show grounds will bring exhibitors to Post Time Farm Condominiums where the food and music will be waiting.
Other major award winners at HITS Ocala include:
M&S Child/Adult Hunter Classic - Carte Blanche owned and
ridden by Jordan Riley of Nobleton, Ontario, Canada
$25,000 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
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