Where Are The Top Show Jumpers This Winter?
Don’t miss the action and an enchanting escape to the desert At HITS 2016, Thermal, California
By Roblee Valentine
From now until March 20, equestrian stars light up the desert. Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Coachella Valley, with its lush canyons and majestic mountains, the HITS Desert Horse Park is a popular spot for horses and riders from all over the world. The 230-acre state-of-the-art equestrian facility hosts the HITS Desert Circuit, and is one of the largest horse show venues in the United States. With 14 competition rings, all with shaded spectator seating, excellent on-site food service pavilions, and the Desert Marketplace for finding the perfect horsey item, it’s an ideal option for a day in the desert.
February highlights include: Friday, February 5: $100,000 Purina Jumper Classic; Sunday, February 7: $350,000 HITS Thermal Grand Prix; Saturday, February 13: $170,000 FEI Longines World Cup Jumping.
The circuit closes with fabulous grand finale competitions. The $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, always a crowd-pleaser, is on Saturday, March 19, and the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, the first jewel of the HITS Triple Crown and the richest prize in American show jumping, will close out the competition on Sunday, March 20.
Parking is easy, and admission is free Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday admission is $5 per person, and children under 12 are admitted free. VIP seating is available and sells out quickly. Contact HITS to reserve. Grandstand and grass seating are free once parking is paid on Sunday.
Olympians, World Cup champions, and international show jumping stars, many of whom are our Ranch & Coast neighbors, will vie for top prize money in nail-biting competition during February and March. So gather your friends and family and head to the desert for the weekend.
Book a room at a resort, enjoy a hike and the spa, and then head over and watch some of the world’s best show jumping. hitsshows.com, facebook.com/hitsshows
Photography by ESI Photography