Peter Petschenig Wins Opening Grand Prix of 2016 HITS Thermal Desert Circuit

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Week I of the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California began jam-packed with excitement, and there was no shortage of action with the circuit’s first feature competition, $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, getting underway on Friday, January 22.

Big money classes commenced on Friday in Week I of the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal California, with the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix. It  was Peter Petschenig of Murrieta, California, and his own Saint Quentin, who would go home with the blue ribbon and a $7,500 check.

Petschenig, first in the ring for round one, set the tone for the day after going clean over the 13-fence course designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Muenchen, Germany, to advance to the jump-off course. With his eyes on the prize, Petschenig sped through jump-off sticking to his plan: “to be fast,” and setting the time of 43.018, which would ultimately be the class winner. 

“I was just aiming to go fast, to be quick and precise,” said Petschenig. “It feels really great to win the first Grand Prix of the circuit.” 

“It feels really great to win the first Grand Prix of the circuit.”

Second-place belonged to Ashlee Bond of Hidden Hills, California, and Little Valley Farms’, Cornancer. Bond moved through the jump-off quickly, and as she cleared the final obstacle she fell just behind Petschenig by less than half a second after crossing the marker in 43.450 for a $5,500 prize money check.

Los Angeles equestrian Tiffany Sullivan took home third-place with Christian Grey, owned by Haley Farms, LLC. Entering the jump-off third, the big-strided grey jumped fault-free, but a wide turn to the home stretch vertical resulted in seconds lost to the clock, finishing in 47.785.

Nicole Haunert of Encinitas, California, and NJK No Regret, owned by NJK Show Jumpers, Inc., earned 4th place.  Last in the ring for the jump-off, Haunert cleared the first two fences until a tight distance forced a rail mid-course resulting in a 48.873 second round with four jumping faults. Haunert moved to fourth place after previous rider, Enrique Gonzalez’s horse Chacna shied towards the gate, forcing five time faults, moving him out of the top five to sixth-place.

The class rounded out the top five with Calgary native, Tamie Phillips and Cat Balou. Phillips navigated the course well until a rough negotiation of the mid-course combination resulted in a rail followed by a second rail at the vertical immediately after. Phillips completed the course in 43.899 with eight jumping faults. 

-Source: HITS Shows

Top 12 – $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix:






R.1 Faults

JO Faults

 JO Time 


Saint Quentin

 Peter Petshenig

Peter Petschenig





Little Valley Farms

Ashlee Bond




Christian Grey

Haley Farms, LLC

Tiffany Sullivan




NJK No Regret

NJK Show Jumpers, Inc.

Nicole Haunert





Cat Balou

Tamie Phillips

Tamie Phillips






Enrique Gonzalez

Enrique Gonzalez






Wells Bridge Farm, LLC

Paul Rohrbach




Zilox T

Haley Farms, LLC

Peter Petschenig





The Epic Group, LLC

Chris Pratt





Emily Cohodes

Kristen Hardin




Ace of Hearts

Little Valley Farms

Ashlee Bonds




 Feline VIII

Enrique Gonzalez

Enrique Gonzalez



$5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Riders and horses were put to the test during the first $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. Amidst the mountains that line the horizon of Grand Prix Stadium, competitors navigated a challenging 14-fence course designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Muenchen, Germany, but only three would conquer the first round to advance to the jump-off to claim the victory.

As the first week of the HITS Desert Circuit got underway, all of the riders in the $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome were gunning for a win, but the day belonged to Grand Prix veteran Susan Hutchison. The equestrian from Temecula, California, claimed both 1st and 2nd place with two, double clear rounds.

First to return to the ring for the jump-off was Hutchison and Ziedento, owned by St. Bride’s Farm. Hutchison and the powerful bay set the tone with flawless execution as they zipped through the 8-fence shortened course, crossing the timers in 39.471 seconds.

Following Hutchison was Enrique Gonzalez of San Diego, California, and his own Feline VIII. The jump-off seemed to be solid for Gonzalez until trouble at the third vertical, which ultimately cost them a rail. After an additional rail at the second to last fence, they finished the second round in 41.790 seconds with eight faults.

Already leading the class, Hutchison entered the jump-off for a second go, this time with Brisbane, owned by Barbara Phillips. She once again conquered the course, fence by fence with finesse and precision, producing her second double clear round, crossing the timers in 41.750.  

Fourth-place went to Quiz Z, owned and ridden by Calgary native, Tamie Phillips. Phillips and Quiz Z clocked in at 78.901 in round one after an inconvenient fault in the first double combination, resulting in four faults. The top five concluded with Macella O’Neill and Boccaccio, owned by Colleen May; they finished the first round with four faults in 79.076.