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GALLERY: Ocala’s Horse Shows In The Sun

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Riders ranging from children to teenagers to professional Olympians traveled from around the globe to perform at the HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala during the 10-week competition of HITS, Horse Shows In The Sun, which started on Jan. 15.

HITS Inc. is a company providing world-class hunter-jumper circuits across the nation, giving participants of many ages and skill levels the opportunity to participate in a competitive atmosphere.

The gallery above features competitions of the fifth, sixth and ninth week of HITS Ocala, including the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic and $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Feb. 16, the Junior Hunter 16-17 on Feb. 23 and the Children’s Hunter Horse 14 & Under and $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix on March 16.

The grand prix competitions are typically held on Sunday afternoons, wrapping up each week’s competition, in which participants are judged by faults, or penalties, and speed. If a participant has a clean, faultless round, he or she moves on to compete in the jump-off, which is a shorter course that determines the winner.

The final week of HITS began last Tuesday, and the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix today will conclude the 2014 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit as the top qualifying equestrians battle for the championship in show jumping.

Abbey Slaven, 19, of Ocala, shows her horse, Renaissance, during the jump-off round of the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic at the Ocala Winter Festival of HITS on Feb. 16. Slaven has been participating in HITS for 10 years, and she is working to prepare Renaissance to eventually participate at the grand prix level.

Abbey Slaven, 19, of Ocala, shows her horse, Renaissance, during the first round of the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic at the Ocala Winter Festival of HITS on Feb. 16. Slaven had a fault-free round and therefore moved on to the jump-off, in which she placed 8th.

Edward F. Wilson, IV, 21-month-old son of Ocala trainer Kiera Wilson, participates in his first horse show, the Lead Line, during the fifth circuit of HITS in Ocala.

Edward F. Wilson, IV, 21-month-old son of Ocala trainer Kiera Wilson, participates in his first horse show, the Lead Line, during the fifth circuit of HITS in Ocala.

Jordan Coyne, a 22-year-old UF equine science graduate from New Port Richey, Fla., shows her horse, Lazaro during the jump-off round of the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Feb. 16. Coyne was one of the five out of about 50 Grand Prix participants who made it to the jump-off round, in which she placed fourth.

Jordan Coyne, a 22-year-old UF equine science graduate from New Port Richey, Fla., shows her horse, Lazaro during the jump-off round of the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Feb. 16. Coyne was one of the five out of about 50 Grand Prix participants who made it to the jump-off round, in which she placed fourth.

Whether it be locals or travelers from afar, HITS participants’ set up temporary stables for the 10-week circuit as each barn claims its territory with signs, decorations and ribbons from past competitions.

Alyson Gurney, 16-year-old rider from Washington D.C., participates in the Junior Hunter 16-17 competition during the sixth circuit of HITS, Horse Shows In The Sun, in Ocala on Feb. 23. Gurney has been showing horses since the age of 6.

Heather Musson, 14-year-old equistrian from Ontario, shows her new horse, Crackerjack, as her family captures her performance. HITS is Musson’s first international competition, and she was named Reserve Champion on Sunday.

Isabel Burgos of Philadelphia, Pa. placed first in the Children’s Hunter Horse 14 & Under competition of HITS on Sunday showing her horse, Way 2 Go.

Kiana Fiore of Annapolis, Md. shows her horse Zivago during the second round of the Children’s Hunter 14 & Under competition Sunday, placing third.

Mary Otto, of St. Louis, Mo., shows Dakota during the second round of the Children’s Hunter 14 & Under competition. Otto placed second in Sunday’s HITS competition.

Participants make one final round after the Children’s Hunter competition of HITS on Sunday before lining up to hear the announcer reveal the results.

Professional rider Amanda Flint from Long Valley, N.J., shows Superbad at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS on Sunday.

Daniel Damen of Ocala, Fla. starts his round with horse Quintus 66. Damen finished with a time of 82.890 at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS on Sunday.

Darragh Kenny of Wellington, Fla. rides Prof De La Roque at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS on Sunday. Kenny finished with a time of 79.579.

Darragh Kenny of Wellington, Fla. rides Prof De La Roque at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS on Sunday. Kenny finished with a time of 79.579.

Denise Wilson, of Blue Gate Farm, LLC from Dousman, Wis., shows Winter at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS Sunday.

Dr. Fernando Cardenas of New Hill, N.C., shows 10-year-old Quincy Car, making a clean round and qualifying for the jump-off at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS on Sunday. During the jump-off round, Cerdenas finished the fastest without faults and was declared champion of the grand prix competition.

The crowd watches in anticipation as Dr. Fernando Cardenas of New Hill, N.C., and his own horse, 10-year-old Quincy Car, finish the jump-off round at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS on Sunday. Cardenas was one of two participants who finished with a fault-free round, and he was declared champion of the grand prix competition.

Ian Silitch of Ocala, Fla. represents Gaston Family Investments, LLC as he shows Vanita during the second round of the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS on Sunday.

Jared Petersen, of Archer, Fla., shows Derek Petersen’s horse, Titus 2:11, at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix of HITS on Sunday.

Jared Petersen, of Archer, Fla., shows Derek Petersen’s horse, Titus 2:11, at the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix of HITS on Sunday.

Bryn Sadler, second place winner of the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix takes a victory lap in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium after the competition Sunday with champion Dr. Fernando Cardenas.

About Natanya Spies

Natanya is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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(Nicole Kocian/WUFT News)

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