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.