Sunday, February 21, 2010

HITS - Ocala Winter Circuit





The HITS (Horse Shows in the Sun) Winter Circuit in Florida was introduced in Ocala in 1982. It is an "Eight-week hunter/jumper horse show circuit ... that runs from January through March annually.

"Each winter, the Circuit attracts national and international participants from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Located in Marion County, the heart of Florida's horse country, the area is home to over 600 horse farms ... The Circuit features 14 Grand Prix events worth a total of $575,000 in prize money..."

We attended HITS for the first time this afternoon. It is held at the huge Post Time Farm in Ocala, which "was originally built as a training center for thoroughbred racehorses." It offers "52 miles of four-board fencing, 24 permanent barns that house 500 stalls, numerous paddocks, bridle paths and additional buildings for the horse show office and restaurant."

It was a great experience and we'll have a number of other photos to share with you in the upcoming days.

The second and fourth photos are by Lois Anne.

Addendum: Ocala, they say, is the horse capitol of the world. They may be right. From Ocala's 600 thoroughbred farms and training centers have come:

45 National Champions
6 Kentucky Derby Winners
7 Preakness Stakes Winners
6 Belmont Stakes Winners
20 Breeders' Cup Champions
6 Horses of the Year

And the last horse to win the Triple Crown, Affirmed.

39 comments:

Three Rivers, Michigan said...

Wow, everything looks so crisp and absolutely perfect in the fist photo - the flowers, the horse - and even the rider's white pants! It has an unreal quality to it.

Looks like fun. I like watching horse shows, despite being somewhat afraid of horses (even though I grew up riding, figure that...)
Three Rivers Daily Photo

Hilda said...

Such young contestants! I would love to watch a horse show some day. I hope there will be no accidents to riders or horses in any of the events.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Nice photos, both of you! I love to see kids (and adults) jumping, how fun!

Paula said...

Beautiful photos. My daughters used to ride also while I held my breath. I never truly believed an animal that strong would follow the will of an eight-year-old. Great set, looks like a fun day.

susieofarabia said...

Wonderful action shots!!! And the colors - wow! How cool to be in the midst of this event!

Renee said...

I'm terribly frightened of horses, but I respect them and those that ride them. Wonderful shots here.

Memphis MOJO said...

Wow, Ocala really is the horse capital of the world. Great photos!

Small City Scenes said...

Excellent pictures. Don't you just love the youngsters.
My Kids all rode western and mostly gamed, but my youngest rode English and showed her horse, an appy named Pappoose.
Nothing as fancy as that show ring though.
Horses are so neat and teach a child responcibility and patience---among other things. One of the other things is just to have fun. MB

Don and Krise said...

I'm glad you went and that you're sharing it with us. This set of photos just made me want to see more. I have to agree, that first rider looks pretty young.

Boy you two took some crystal clear shots.

Olivier said...

magnifique ces photos du concours, surtout la premiere, elle est superbe

VP said...

I don't know much about horse racing but every year I follow the races of the Triple Crown.
No luck since Affirmed, but I'll keep watching, now with the Ocala factor. more than ever.
I was so thrilled when a horse with my name won Kentucky Derby in 2005...

magiceye said...

wow!
love the 1st pic the best!

Louis la Vache said...

Nice capture of the grace of the jump in the first photo.

«Louis» had no idea Ocala was such an equestrian center.

Bibi said...

Gorgeous shots. I can hear the sound of the hooves....

Cezar and Léia said...

You and Lois Anne did great pictures.I love horses and this kind of competition looks so interesting.The kids are adorable!
I would love so much to be there in this event with you both, I've never visit a place like this one, maybe some day...
I want to see more!!!!
hugs
Léia

Jim Klenke said...

Beautiful pictures, looks like everything was perfect.

Small City Scenes said...

regarding your comment on my 'day4plus' blog: Stanwood is almost surrounded by water. Skagit Bay on the north side--Port Susan Bay on the south side and Stillaguamish river cut through southeast to west with many sloughs cutting across farmland. Camano Island is connected on the west by bridge over the Stilly River (now delegated to not much more the a trickle of it former self) and Davis Slough. MB

Johnny said...

La primera foto es impresionante, muy buena captura. Buenos colores y bellas imagenes.
Eres muy amable con tus comentarios
Abrazos, Jacob

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Horses are big here in East Gwillimbury too...but nothing like Ocala!

Lois said...

They are all magnificent looking animals and it looks like you had some nice weather to enjoy too! We have a small event here in March called the Red Hills Horse Trials. I have always wanted to go.

lizziviggi said...

Wow, interesting information-- I never would have guessed a Florida place would have such a horsey history! I love your very first shot, that's a great one.

Allison said...

Thanks for your kind words this weekend Jacob. Mollie had a gastric torsion, a condition where the stomach suddenly flips in the abdomen. It's also common in the horse world apparently. Fatal if not surgically corrected and at 11 years old, we just couldn't justify the enormous expense of the surgery or the uncertainly of the outcome. So many "firsts" to get through. Yucko. Love on your Haley for me!

Marie said...

These young people are very brave and your photos are really great. You captured the movements perfectly.

B SQUARED said...

I remember way back when, the horsey set was just starting to arrive in Ocala.

Leif Hagen said...

Great horse photos! I especially like the middle one of the girl walking her horse! But now you have to change your blog title to "Ocala daily photos" blog - ha!

Allison was surprised by your "Zingy wingy" car, too! I just hope your clothes don't match your car!

cieldequimper said...

I love show jumping, these are fantastic Jacob.
It may or not be true about Ocala being that capital but one thing I've noticed in the USA over the years is the way a lot of places call themselves "most famous in the world", "best in the world" etc, even in the remotest little towns. It never fails to make me smile!

Daryl said...

Wonderful shots!

Per Stromsjo said...

So, basically, winter is when the green stuff is slightly less green?

Halcyon said...

I am sure those kids had a great time at the competition. And nice to hear that Ocala has so many winners!!

Jarart said...

Hubby and I would have loved to join you two there. Looks like a wonderful day. Great pictues too!

Irina said...

The shots are great. And very interesting information indeed.

Trillian said...

These photos with the riders are very beautiful, they show the elegance and skill...perfect!

Jacob said...

@ Per Stromsjo - That is true only when we have a hard freeze for more than one night. And we've had several of those this year. Some years we have no freezes. In South Florida everything is green all year round.

Virginia said...

Excellent shots. I've been wanting to visit some stables and shoot. Yours are just wonderful!
V

Per Stromsjo said...

And over here we haven't seen anything except freezing temperatures for well over a month now. Winter is in the eye of the beholder and lots of Swedes would gladly trade places with you.

tapirgal said...

I missed all these horses while I was gone. Maybe Ocala really IS the horse capital. I wouldn't have guessed it.

Lisa Wilson said...

Those are wonderful! Before your blog I had no idea there were so many horses in Florida.

Dan J. said...

AMAZING horse shots !!!! This type of things turns me green wishing we had something similar here. Beautiful animals and beautiful captures.

I am back in the world of the blog-o-sphere Jacob. New site and some new pics. It has been a busy couple of months but I will be getting back on track in the next week or so. Come check it out. :-)

hayhunterjumper said...

Did you guys happen to take any pictures of the riders schooling on Wednesday, the 2nd? please email me at parentimadison@yahoo.com
I was riding a large named mizz.

"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." — Henri Cartier-Bresson