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November 18, 2014

The New National Sunshine Series This Fall, the new National Sunshine Series kicked off with prime competition, festive celebrations, gourmet food and perfect desert weather as HITS, Inc. partnered with Nilforushan Equestrian Events to host the two-week circuit at HITS Desert Horse Park. Nilforushan Equestrian Events, a horse show management company owned by Ali and Francie Nilforushan, recently acquired the LA Preview and LA National Horse Shows from

previous owners Larry and Marnye Langer. The shows were moved from their former location at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank to Thermal and were renamed the National Sunshine Series.

Karl Cook Sweeps Sunshine Series Grand Prix Page 3

Elli Yeager Wins Onondarka Medal Final

The October 29 - November 9 shows included highly competitive top hunter/jumper events, medal finals and championships, including the 

continued on Page 8 Elli Yeager, 12, and Copperfield 39 jump in the Onondarka Medal Final, a long-running class for young riders. ©ESI Photography

The National Sunshine Series was honored to host this year’s Onondarka Medal Final, a prestigious long-running event for young riders, many of whom have grown up to become iconic Grand Prix show jumping stars.

Live entertainment drew crowds in the evenings.

©ESI Photography

The top prize went to 12-year-old Elli Yeager of Westlake Village, California, who rode in memory of her friend, Shelby Drazan, who was taken at the young age of 17, a fellow  continued on Page 10

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Karl Cook Sweeps Sunshine Series Grand Prix “Now, since a lot of the younger horses are getting older,” he said, “it takes the pressure off of Jonny; he doesn’t have to show as much as he’s the oldest—the old, experienced guy.” $75,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix “I loved how Basimodo rode. He has a lot of promise ahead of him,” said Cook, after his first Grand Prix win at the National Sunshine Series. “He’s pretty impressive for an 8-year-old.” All four riders in the jump-off were double-clear. Cook took advantage of his last-to-go spot. “The course was big enough and tough enough but certainly ride-able,” he said. “Jump Four was the tough one—a big vertical liverpool riding straight into the jumbo screen took all of us a little by surprise.” Karl Cook and Jonkheer Z jump in the $100,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix.

©ESI Photography

Twenty-three-year-old Karl Cook dazzled onlookers twice this series, conquering a pair of top classes aboard two different horses. Cook, of Woodside, California, rode 8-year-old Basimodo to victory Week I in the $75,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix November 1. The next Saturday, in Week II, he claimed the $100,000 Sunshine Series World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix win aboard Jonkheer Z. Cook’s mother, Signe Ostby of Pomponio Ranch, owns both horses, who are two of the 10 horses he shows for her. “She was really excited and, of course, very happy,” Cook said. “I only ride for my mom.”

Course designer Kenny Krome, of Westminster, Maryland, was also pleased. “I felt it was quite a good class. Of course, a designer gets a little worried that there might be too many or too few for a jump-off but this class was perfect in that aspect,” said Krome. “The course had everything—a narrow jump, a wall, and then the triple. It was an equal test for everyone.” Rich Fellers of Wilsonville, Oregon, led-off the timed round, piloting HTH Crazy for Crown to 40.79 seconds. With a time of 41.21 seconds, Jill Blunt and Udam of Lake Stevens, Washington, took third while Liubov Kochetova of Wellington, Florida, rode to fourth aboard Urus 2 with a time of 41.66 seconds. continued on Page 5

Cook’s trainer, Eric Navet, watched from the stands as well. Cook said he didn’t expect to win either prize, and rode in numerous other classes without placing above fifth throughout the two weeks. “I rode a lot,” he said. “To have all that work payoff with these two big wins was amazing.” In winning the two Grand Prix, Cook said he didn’t, in fact, go any faster than the other competitors, he just turned tighter. When asked what else led to the wins, he replied, “Just sticking to the plan that you made, without getting ahead of yourself.” Earlier this year, Cook and Jonkheer Z won the $100,000 Grand Prix at the Del Mar National Horse Show in Del Mar, California, beating 29 other horse and rider combinations. At HITS Thermal 2014, “Johnny (Jonkheer Z) just did the $1 Million class. He didn’t show in anything else. Bosi, I believe, was showing in the 1.35 meter classes. Johnny hit a rail in the Million Dollar this year and Bosi was good—maybe a rail, but very good.” Cook spent the rest of his time at National Sunshine Series 2014 helping the younger horses develop. 

shine Series e in the $75,000 Sun imodo win first priz Karl Cook and Bas

Photography Grand Prix. ©ESI

A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series | 3

GO HITS PRIZE AD_Final.indd 1

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 2014 National Sunshine Series Edition Publisher

Thomas Struzzieri

Associate Publisher Kristen Vale-Mosack

Staff Writers

Emily Glass Kathy Hobstetter Emily Stoermer


Chris Mayone Karl Cook and Jonkheer Z take the top prize in the $100,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix.

©ESI Photography

continued from Page 3 $100,000 Sunshine Series World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix Week II brought yet another victory for Cook who was back in the spotlight on November 8, for his win in the $100,000 Sunshine Series World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix, before a packed grandstand. “A class like this brings nerves,” he said. “It always feels great to be competing with riders of this caliber, let alone win.” Competition heated up early in the first round as 44 equestrians challenged the course, with only eight for the jump-off. Cook rode with determination and patience, taking a tighter track with some risky inside turns. In the jump-off, Jack Towell and Silence went clear in 36.96, with six competitors still awaiting their turn. Cook, on Jonkheer Z, was next in the ring, besting Towell by a fraction of a second and clocking in at 36.68. Kristen Coe, aboard Czardas 3D, was third to go clear, and their 37.35 finish secured a topfour finish after Darragh Kenny and Imothep placed second. “I think my greatest concerns in the jumpoff were Charlie Jayne and Darragh Kenny,” said Cook. 

Alan Wade of Ireland designed the course, which featured a sizeable triple bar and tight turn to the left by the in-gate that proved a recipe for success. “The course was really appropriate,” Cook said. “Maybe the time was a little soft but in the end, it was perfect. The footing was super. We could go fast and take quick turns and did not slide at all.” Cook, a middle child, left college to ride full-time. “I’m at the barn about six hours a day, six days a week—that’s when I’m home—and then a whole lot more when I’m at shows. We board our horses at a farm in San Diego,” he said. His younger sister used to ride but is at college. His older brother doesn’t ride at all and works for a tech company in northern California, where the family is from. Cook was competing in Las Vegas immediately after the National Sunshine Series. After that, his next stop is HITS Desert Circuit for eight weeks of shows from January 13 to March 15.

Sponsor Relations Chris Mayone


ESI Photography


HITS Art Department

HITS, Inc.

319 Main Street Saugerties, NY 12477 845.246.8833

National Sunshine Series HITS Desert Horse Park 85-555 Airport Blvd Thermal, CA 92274 760.399.9200

The written and visual contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission form the publisher is legally prohibited. Copyright ©2014 HITS, Inc.

“I’ll be there for the entire circuit,” he said. A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series | 5

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6 | A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series

Ringside Shots & Special Events

2. 1.


4. 3.

8. 6.





1. Trophies and ribbons line the show ring, waiting to be taken home. 2. All smiles at the Week I Welcome Party. 3. What better way to celebrate success in the show ring than a concert? 4. Exhibitors danced the night away to tunes from Common Sense Bands. 5. Costume Crazy. 6. Even Spiderman made an appearance at HITS Desert Horse Park! 7. Group Shot. 8. Cabanas, cocktails and handcrafted cuisine set the tone at the National Sunshine Series. 9. Augusta Iwasaki in the $3,000 Wast Coast Pony Hunter Finals winners circle. 10. Grooms battle it out in a Monday afternoon soccer game. 11. Will Simpson takes home first in the $15,000 Open Jumper Prix. Photos by HITS Staff & ESI Photography

A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series | 7

continued from Page 1 Onondarka Medal Finals, WCE Medal Finals, Desert Pony Hunter and Pony Jumper Finals. The FEI Sanctioned circuit also hosted a $50,000 and $75,000 FEI Class Week I, as well as a $35,000 class, a $100,000 CSIW2* World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix and a $25,000 National Grand Prix Week II.

courtesy of Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern’s Executive Chef Giuseppe Napoli. The show had a good feel, and attendees enjoyed being on the grounds in a more intimate setting, as space and entries were limited for these shows. Exhibitors stayed to watch first-class competition in the Grand Prix, followed by special events in the evenings. For the younger riders, particularly, seeing top competitors, such as Reed Kessler and Harrie Smolders, was a thrill. In January, HITS Desert Horse Park will once again be home to top-level competition when the HITS Thermal Desert Circuit returns for eight-weeks of hunter/jumper shows. “We look forward to welcoming exhibitors back in early 2015,” said Struzzieri. Trainer Kate Considine of Willow Brook Stables, near Los Angeles, enjoyed her time at the shows.

Soccer match.

©ESI Photography

The partnership matched HITS’ superior facilities and amenities, including superb new felt and sand footing which was installed before the shows began, with Nilforushan creating an ideal guest experience that included VIP parties, soccer matches for grooms, and under-the-stars classes. “The first-ever National Sunshine Series was a terrific two-week circuit. HITS’ focus is to host fantastic equestrian competition at topof-the line facilities for horse and rider, with unmatched event execution. Nilforushan ensured guests the best in hospitality for a world-class event,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. Cabana seating, craft cocktails, and a trendy taco bar adorned the berm the first Wednesday for an evening welcome party Week I. The next night in Grand Prix Stadium, the $50,000 FEI Sunshine Welcome was presented, complete with a large-screen TV and live feed, vibrant music, and top-notch VIP cuisine, 8 | A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series

“For me, finishing the year at a facility like this is wonderful. Ali and his group really made the show special—a lot of nighttime activities made it fun. It’s been an event—not just a horse show. But as far as the horses are concerned, it’s just such a nice place to show. To be able to finish the year and start the year at the same place is really beneficial for the horse.”

“We had a great time at the horse show. And the prize money was good, too! We look forward to next year. They made a big effort to cater to the riders and the people watching. The equine community should support those who are trying to better the sport.” —$50,000 FEI Sunshine Welcome winner Juan Pablo Gnecco of San Jose, California “The Nilforushans are fun, super people and it’s nice to have a little flair at the shows… The spectators and my clients seemed to be very pleased with the way the horse show was set up.” —Trainer Nicole Bloom, Round Meadow Farm, Atherton, California




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A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series | 9


Elli Yeager

HITS: Is this your first year competing in the Onondarka Medal Final? EY: Well, last year I made it to the second round and then I pulled out because my horse didn’t feel right.

HITS: Tell us about the competition. EY: Saturday morning, going into

Elli Yeager, 12, and her Dutch Warmblood, Copperfield 39, won this year’s Onondarka Medal Final.

continued from Page 1 prize-winning rider. Elli won the medal final aboard Copperfield 39, a Dutch Warmblood. Elli, who just turned 12 in October, also placed well in numerous other classes, including a win in the Zone 10 Equitation Championships for Riders 11 Years of age and under. The Onondarka Riding School at nearby Rancho Polo in Thermal sponsors the Onondarka Medal Class and its Final each year for riders 12 years of age and under. Besides the age requirement, competitors must be active members of the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association and qualify for the Final by winning an Onondarka Medal Class with five or more riders, or accumulating 12 points in qualifying classes since the preceding year’s Final.

©ESI Photography

felt there should be a medal class designed exclusively for them. It’s probably the oldest 3 foot medal class around,” said Simington. “It just really would have tickled dad how much the kids look forward to going into it and winning it.” In the Onondarka Medal Final, young exhibitors competed in rounds 1 and 2 for an averaged numerical score. Then, the top 15 riders contend again in round 3, the score from which is added to their total, to produce an overall score. “I think that as they learn to ride and they start to show a little bit more and then become aware of a medal level class, it gives them something to shoot for, ride to their best, and become great. Something to look forward to,” said Simington.

“These kids riding are the Grand Prix stars of tomorrow,” said Don Simington, 81, whose father, Harry Simington, started the riding school in the mid-1940s and established the Onondarka Medal class–the first 3’ Equitation Finals for younger riders on the West Coast in the early 1960s.

After Round 3, the top eight riders, plus any rider within three percentage points, compete in a work-off, starting in the reverse order of their score. Elli, who was in second place going into the work-off, bested the leading rider, Katie Browne on Candle Light Van De Warande, to the win.

At that time, the few classes for younger riders were for 17 and under and had 3 foot 6 inch jumps.

“It was a big day. She was really excited,” said Elli’s father, Louis Yeager. “I also want to thank Elli’s trainers, Karen Healey, Melissa Jones, Tasha Visokay, and their groom, Luis. Elli started riding with Karen a year ago.”

“The 9-, 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds were competing against the 17-year-olds. He 10 | A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series

Round 2, he (Copperfield 39) was a little bit fresh, but then I schooled him for a while which got him quiet. Then, when we did the second round, I got a 90, combined with an 83 for an average of 86.5. Going into the third round we were in second place which I held with a score of 84, for the work-off. The work-off gave me the cutting edge to win as I chose a tricky inside turn towards the end of the work-off course. The jumps were all good, as were the turns, so that’s how I got her.

HITS: What motivated you throughout the final? EY: Shelby Drazan, who died in October. She was only 17-years-old and one of my best friends. I was really tight with her and her family. My love for her and her family motivated me through all of these classes—I’m going to do my best for her because that’s what she would have wanted me to do.

HITS: Who is your favorite rider? EY: Beezie Madden…Her style is very good and she rides all of the horses in a consistent form; she rides them all perfectly. It’s fun to watch her because she rides so accurately, with style.

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CPHA Foundation WCE Medal Finds a Home at Sunshine Series - Adrienne Dixon Proves Perseverance Pays Off Adrienne Dixon is a familiar face at the CPHA Foundation WCE Medal Finals, having placed second in the class since 2012. However, this year that all changed. Dixon and Ramazzotti 54 battled it out in a two-day, three-round competition highlighting the West Coast’s most decorated amateurs and juniors, proving that perseverance pays off.

MEET THE WINNER: Adrienne Dixon

“When they announced Hadley in second, I felt a huge sense of relief and looked straight at my trainer, Susie Hutchison, and said ‘FINALLY!’ and we both giggled.”

A Unique Class with a Long History Made possible by the CPHA Foundation, the WCE Medal Final provides an opportunity for advanced jumper equitation riders to showcase their skills in a competitive Dixon topped the leaderboard after Friday’s environment. Three judges stationed at first round scoring a 95 average with Hadley various positions around the show ring Boyd and Dream Catcher in a close second watch every stride and jump as these young riding to an 89.5 average. riders glide A game of cat-and- “Holding Round 3 right before around the ring mouse ensued in Round the World Cup Qualifier, under the looking to lead 2 when Boyd came out lights with the crowd, definitely the victory gallop. on top with a 91 average made it memorable.” and Dixon trailing more New this year, than five points. Twenty-eight competitors the CPHA added a third judge, Linda Allen, turned into ten qualifiers for the Final who assigned proficiency points (0-5) on the Round, leaving Dixon hungry for a long rider’s effectiveness as a show jumping rider. overdue victory. The other two officials judged exclusively using the current rules and standards of the “Being under the lights, my horse, as well as USEF equitation division. several others, was quite bright eyed,” said Dixon. “Fortunately, I know my horse very Since the CPHA took over the event in 2002, well and he is usually pretty lazy, so I used it has evolved from a 3’6” equitation class, this energy in my favor and made it work. to a class where time, faults, effectiveness, I went into Round 3 thinking ‘You’ve got and style of riding are all evaluated. nothing to lose,’ so I just went for it.” The WCE Medal Final, known in years past With a positive attitude in mind and her as the Barbara Worth Medal, hosts prior trusty companion below, Dixon finished champions that include the likes of Eva with an overall average score of 91.5 which Gonda, Daniela Curto, Katie Gardner, and placed her five points above Boyd. Jamie Taylor.

Adrienne Dixon cruised to first at the two-day, three-round CPHA Foundation WCE Medal Final. ©ESI Photography

HITS: Tell us about your riding career. AD: I have been riding since I was four years old. We have a ranch in Montana, so my parents got me into lessons when I was little, to get me comfortable and familiar around horses. HITS: Who is your industry idol? AD: Susan Hutchinson, my trainer for the past year and a half. She is an amazing rider, trainer, horsewoman, and all around human being. It is an absolute honor to be able to train with her on a regular basis and be part of her amazing team. HITS: What was the best moment of your WCE Medal Final Win? AD: I was so happy that my dad was able to fly down for Saturday and watch me clench the WCE victory. He has been by my side my entire riding career, especially the equitation journey. I am very happy he was able to be there for my last (equitation) hurrah! HITS: What does your winter show schedule look like? AD: HITS Thermal! Since winning the WCE finals last week, my equitation career is officially over. I am really ready to take the next step in my jumper career and hopefully start in the big classes sooner than later. HITS: When you’re not riding, how do you spend your time?

Adrienne Dixon and Ramazzotti 54.

12 | A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series

©ESI Photography

AD: I am an event planner with WHITNEYfusion events. We do events all over the country, which is super fun and keeps me busy.

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Class Recaps & Highlights From Pony hopefuls to Grand Prix heroes, the inaugural National Sunshine Series welcomed exhibitors to HITS Desert Horse Park for top-notch footing, excellent facilities and a world-class VIP experience. Over the two week series, international talent battled it out for bragging rights, show jumping glory and their piece of over $500,000 in prize money. The event proved true that the sun never sets on a champion. WEEK I

$50,000 FEI Sunshine Welcome

On Thursday night, an air of excitement could be felt for the $50,000 FEI Sunshine Welcome class which featured familiar West Coast faces—on four legs and two. New York and Juan Pablo Gnecco of San Jose, California, cruised to victory after two clean founds, besting 12 in the jump-off to take home their piece of inaugural National Sunshine history.

John French and Sochi, winners of the Scott Wilson Perpetual Trophy in the $2,500 Pre-Green Hunter Championship 3’.©ESI Photography

Katherine Madruga of La Quinta, California, riding Zapateada, with scores of 81 and 83, for a 163 total and the blue ribbon.

series, allowing them an opportunity to prove themselves in the show ring and watch with their seniors in the hunter and jumper rings.

$75,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix

WEEK II Week II of the series saw seven active competition rings, VIP socials, all with superb fall weather.

On Saturday, with an enthusiastic crowd in attendance, Karl Cook and Basimodo, won the $75,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix, the first of his two Grand Prix wins at National Sunshine Series.

“It was very close. My trainer (Enrique Gonzales on Quiebo Du Tillard) was actually ahead of me–he went first. I had seen the track that he had chosen, and he was very $35,000 FEI Sunshine Welcome fast. So I just tried to go as fast as I could, Sixty-three competitors eyed the Thursday and it worked,” said Gnecco. “I was evening $35,000 FEI Sunshine very pleased that I had beaten ‘the “I loved how Basimodo rode. He’s pretty Welcome prize, but just enough Round 1 faults kept the majority master,’ especially as he is such a super impressive for an 8-year-old,” said Cook. “The at arm’s length from the top six. rider.” course was big enough and tough enough, but Several contenders clocked in just split seconds over the time allowed, But the rivalry stayed friendly. certainly ride-able.” so one-fault-rides put five more in ribbons after the jump-off riders. “Gonzales was also very happy,” In the end, Belgian rider Harrie Smolders Gnecco said. “It was a fun night for sure.” Ken Krome, the course designer, seemed and Enjoy Louis won with a time of 35.20. pleased—his course yielded four clear $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix rounds out of 28 starters. $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix On Friday evening, Michael Leon and Hunter Rings took center stage Friday Freedom, sailed through to capture the $3,000 West Coast Pony Hunter Final afternoon. A fun and relaxed setting was $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix win and To close out Week I of National Sunshine, ideal for those waiting to take flight in the secure the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Augusta Iwasaki and Bit of Laughter took $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. Prix Final qualifier. The duo received an 85 home the win in the $3,000 West Coast Pony in the first round and posted an 88 in the Hunter Final. The pair, scoring 87 and 80 Twenty-seven glided quietly over the course second for the blue. for a total 167, was presented with the iconic as competitors basked in the sun, enjoying Cymraeg Rainshower Memorial Trophy, moments of camaraderie about the trip “What a fantastic class on the Grand Prix donated by the Zucker Family, a tradition they just finished. The course was set with field,” said Leon, of Agoura Hills, California. since 2002. intention of giving riders a chance to open “It was a great opportunity to have the up the gallop and show off beautiful styles hunters showcased like that tonight—it was Iwasaki, of Calabasas, California, stacked of jumping. quite special.” the leaderboard, also placing fourth on Owner Laura Strasburg from Los Altos Super Cool with 77 and 82, sixth on Grand The colorful and inviting course was set by All Over with 73 and 84, and seventh on Hills, California, showcased a tall, leggy, chestnut gelding, Social Hour, who proved Rian Beals. Horse and rider both responded Somekindofwonderful with 78 and 76. to be the most consistent, ultimately favorably to the design and provided flawless hunter rounds under picturesque desert stars. “All of my ponies were really good,” said taking the win. Arriving just two weeks ago from Europe, Social Hour, ridden by Iwasaki. “I have so much fun riding each of John Bragg, pleasantly surprised everyone $1,500 Platinum Performance the different ones and they all were nice.” involved with his win, with an 85 and an 88 Hunter Prix Also held on Friday, the $1,500 Platinum Many of young riders took advantage of for a total of 173. continued on Page 21 Performance Hunter Prix was won by the competitive pony classes offered at the  

A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series | 15

Photo: Sportfot

Setting the


Anne Kursinski wearing the Gr8

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National Sunshine Series


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11/12/2013 13:45

A Look Ahead: HITS Thermal Desert Circuit HITS THERMAL DESERT CIRCUIT I, January 13-18 DESERT CIRCUIT II, January 20-25 DESERT CIRCUIT III, January 27 - February 1 DESERT CIRCUIT IV, February 3-8 DESERT CIRCUIT V, February 17-22 DESERT CIRCUIT VI, February 24 - March 1 DESERT CIRCUIT VII, March 3-8 DESERT CIRCUIT VIII, March 10-15

HITS Desert Circuit returns to Thermal, California, January 13, for eight weeks of international show jumping in the heart of cool Coachella Valley. Featuring qualifiers for the HITS Championship and the thirdannual AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, presented by MortgageCall Sunday, March 15, HITS Desert Horse Park is your winter show destination. Top-notch competition and aren’t the only hot topics at Horse Park. New footing has in the state-of-the-art Grand

prize money HITS Desert been installed Prix Stadium

and the adjacent schooling area. Consisting of a felt sand blend, the new competition surface is the perfect addition for continued show ring success. 2015 HITS Thermal highlights include: • Expanded 8-week show schedule with 18 Grand Prix including the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, presented by MortgageCall; • Two FEI World Cup qualifiers—DC IV & DC V; • Bi-coastal competition for bragging rights and a piece of $50,000 at the East Meets West Hunter Challenge, returning DC Week VII; • Stylish Go Rentals VIP Club with ringside seating and a delightful menu prepared by Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern Executive Chef Giuseppe Napoli. Now accepting table reservations. For details, contact Chris Mayone at Permanent stalls are limited and expected to sell out. Top priority will be given to full circuit reservations. To reserve, contact HITS at 845.246.8833. For additional information, please visit

Hot off the Press The 2015 HITS Desert Circuit – Thermal, California Prize List is now available. This glossy, go-to guide holds everything you need to know for the upcoming winter show season. Need a copy? Contact HITS at or by phone at 845.246.8833 to request a mailed Prize List.

A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series | 17

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continued from Page 15 “My gosh, he is a really fun horse, and this Devoucoux Hunter Prix was a chance to get to know him,” said Bragg. “He has adapted really well and 2015 is going to be a very nice year for him.”

$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Earlier that day, at the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, 20 hopefuls took their chance at the blue ribbon and bragging rights, and Ainsley McGovern of Carpinteria, California, took home both. Riding second, McGovern and her own Cirque du Soleil gained the top prize after a set of flowing trips, placing her three points above the competition. The duo clutched the win with a 79 and 85 for a 164 total. Halley Culver rode Quinero to second with scores of 83 and 78. Elli Yeager posted scores of 81 and 79 with Gruyere SM for third, while Gwen Mccaw and Prescott rode to 78 and 77 for fourth. Rachel Penner and Sinclair received scores of 70 and 84 to cap the top five.

Pre-Green Hunter Championships

At Friday’s Pre-Green Hunter Championships, familiar faces topped the leaderboards, albeit many of them on new horses. Sochi, ridden by John French, took top honors in the $2,500 Pre-Green Hunter Championship 3’. In addition to the blue ribbon, Sochi was presented with the Scott Wilson Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the highest-scoring horse in the Pre-Green Championships. “Sochi is probably one of the easiest and most willing horses I have ever ridden,” said French, who rode to a 92 and 94, totaling 186. “Wow, this is an introduction to the hunter ring as an owner, and it’s pretty fun.” Hunter glory continued at the $2,500 Pre-Green Hunter Championship 3’3” as Jenny Karazissis and Soleil chased victory, successfully riding to first place for owner Emily Sukert with scores of 87 and 87, totaling 174.

“I am really happy for Emily to have such a wonderful horse,” said her trainer, Mary Morrison. “We have talked about this class all year, and to actually win it is so exciting.”

$100,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix

USHJA Zone 8, 9, 10 Regional Medal to Return to National Sunshine Series

“The course was really appropriate. Maybe the time was a little soft but in the end it was perfect.” Cook continued, “The footing was super. We could go fast and take quick turns and did not slide at all.”

HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce that the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) has named National Sunshine II the host the USHJA Zone 8, 9, 10 Regional Medal Challenge in 2015 and 2016. HITS is pleased to carry on the tradition this Equitation Championship on the West Coast.

Karl Cook, who captured the $75,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix win in Week I was back in the spotlight Saturday evening to claim his $100,000 Sunshine Series World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix victory— this time on Jonkheer Z.

Cook was presented with the Montey Carlo Perpetual Trophy, donated by Lancer Farms. The Monte Carlo trophy has been a tradition at the LA National horse show for years, and will continue to be presented to the winner of the Sunshine National II Grand Prix each year.

Qualifying criteria will be available at Entry information will be listed in the National Sunshine Series Prize List, available in summer 2015 and on

Onondarka Medal Finals

Twelve-year-old Elli Yeager of Westlake Village, California, won this year’s Onondarka Medal Finals on Copperfield 39, a Dutch Warmblood. Elli, who turned 12 in October, also placed well in numerous other classes, including a win in the Zone 10 Equitation Championships for Riders 11 Years of age and under. The Onondarka Riding School at nearby Rancho Polo in Thermal has sponsored the riding class each year since the early 1960s, when owner Don Simington’s father, Harry Simington, felt there should be a 3’ Equitation Finals for younger riders on the West Coast.

$25,000 Sunshine Classic

The Series finished strong with Jill Humphrey riding Zubliem to a win in the $25,000 Sunshine Classic late Sunday afternoon. Thirty-eight took a go at the 13-fence course designed by Alan Wade, which proved tricky for all but eight who would move into the jump off. Humphrey, of Sacramento, California, and Zubliem lead both rounds in time and secured the win in 42.21.

HITS is pleased to welcome back the USHJA Regional Medal and carry on the tradition this Equitation Championship on the West Coast. ©ESI Photography

A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series | 21

22 | A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series

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A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series | 23

24 | A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series

A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series  

International talent battled it out for bragging rights, show jumping glory and their piece of over $500,000 in prize money at the 2014 Nati...

A Look Back: 2014 National Sunshine Series  

International talent battled it out for bragging rights, show jumping glory and their piece of over $500,000 in prize money at the 2014 Nati...