Saugerties, N.Y. – Sept. 10, 2018 – The 2018 edition of the Richest Week in Show Jumping has come to a close at HITS Saugerties, with hunter riders from across the country taking aim at the $600,000 offered in the two Hunter Prix Finals featured on the final day of the HITS Champsionship. Professionals, amateurs and juniors alike all had a fair shot at the first place trophy and hefty prize money check offered in the Platinum Performance $100,000 Hunter Prix Final and the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.
Sunday morning, the Grand Prix Stadium at HITS-on-the-Hudson was transformed into a giant hunter field for the first two classes of the day, before hosting the Black Barn $250,000 Jr/A-O/Am Jumper Prix Final and the Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix.
The third and fourth rounds of the Platinum Performance $100,000 Hunter Prix Final kicked off first, with the top twenty-five riders coming back from rounds one and two. Katlynn Butler, Sophia Ahearn, Tess Mahoney, and Lena Rae Reeb were within this group of twenty-five. With scores in the third round of 252.5, 255, 251.5, and 251.25 respectively, these four would move on to the fourth and final round, comprised of a shortened handy-type course. Ahearn was sitting in second place overall going into the fourth round, Butler was second, Mahoney was in third and Reeb was in fourth.
Ahearn was first to come back for the final round and maneuvered the course with ease and no major errors, earning a score of 247 with K.T. Four Seasons. Reeb came back second aboard Call Me and also had a beautiful course with no notable mistakes earning a score of 232. As Mahoney entered the ring riding Sastune, the crowd grew more anxious, waiting to see who would be crowned the winner and the crowd cheered as she laid down a skilled course scoring a 245. Butler was last to come back, but certainly not least, taking the high score of the round and putting her in first place overall with a score of 257 in the fourth round and 509.5 combined.
The 21-year-old rider from Virginia took the win aboard MTM Bazinga, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Nina Butler. “I was a little nervous going into the third round, I really didn’t want to place below the top four.” said Butler.
Following the Platinum Performance $100,000 Hunter Prix Final was the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. With the top twenty-five coming back for the third round, the competition heated up as the fourth round approached. Of the twenty-five riders, Amanda Steege, Tracy Fenney, Augusta Iwasaki, and Dorothy Douglas would be the top four to come back for the fourth round.
Following in the spotlight for MTM Farm, Douglas would be the first to come back for the fourth round aboard S & L Lion King with a smooth course earning a combined score of 351.25, putting the pair in fourth place overall. “We have an amazing permanent barn on property at HITS Post Time Farm so we love it there, but we also get excited to come to HITS Saugerties for the HITS Championship Week.” said Douglas.
Iwasaki took to the course next with her mount Small Occasion, quietly jumping fence after fence and earning a combined score of 353 and earning third place overall. Iwasaki was the winner of the 2017 $100,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final and joined HITS all the way from California for this prestigious class. MTM Outbid and Fenney, the second rider in the top four from MTM Farm, entered next, laying down a solid course and being a strong contender for the win earning a score a combined score of 356 and taking second place overall. “I primarily only show hunters and we don’t have any other classes in the country where you can win $150,000 in one class, so it is exciting,” Fenney stated when speaking about the uniqueness of HITS Saugerties. Last to go was Steege, maneuvering through an incredible course and holding her top spot from the third round with a combined score of 362, taking the win.
Steege was awarded first place aboard Lafitte De Muze, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Cheryl Olsten of New Hope, Pennsylvania. “This has been my first full year with this horse. I got him from Europe in the fall and took him to his first show at HITS Ocala this past winter, where I started doing the Devoucoux Hunter Prix with him. He has a lot of potential,” said Steege, a repeat HITS customer and champion. “I’ve been second and third in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final before here at HITS Saugerties, so it is really exciting to finally win at this great facility.”