Santiago Lambre of Mexico and Johnny Boy in the 2017 FEI Nations Cup at Ocala. Ph. ©StockImageServices.com
Saugerties, NY – July 28, 2017 — HITS, Inc., America’s leading horse show management company, is proud to announce that the USEF Board of Directors has again selected HITS to host the FEI Nations Cup Qualifier, which will be elevated to a CSIO-5*, in 2018 and 2019. The Nations Cup Jumping series is equestrian sport’s oldest and most prestigious team challenge. Pending FEI confirmation, the 2018 Nations Cup CSIO-5* will be held Week V of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, February 13-18.
“To host the Nations Cup for a fourth straight year is an enormous honor,” said Tom Struzzieri, HITS Founder and CEO. “To produce this event in the Horse Capital of the World demonstrates HITS’ continuing commitment to offer premier horse sport in Ocala and Marion County. Now, with three years of experience, HITS is prepared to create an event that will be the flagship FEI Nations Cup event for the United States.”
New to the 2018 and 2019 Nations Cup in Ocala will be a special Youth Nations Cup event for the Young Rider, Junior and Children’s age categories. “We are especially excited about the opportunity to expand the Nations Cup to include sections for these age categories,” noted Struzzieri. “It is our top priority to utilize our venues to continually provide new opportunities to strengthen and develop our up-and-coming riders.”
In 2017, the Nations Cup at HITS Ocala hosted seven teams: Canada, USA, Colombia, El Salvador, Ireland, Mexico, USA, and Venezuela. The City of Ocala and Marion County’s leaders and community welcomed the Competitors with an inaugural Parade of Nations which culminated in ‘Jump Downtown,’ a ceremony held in the Town Square to introduce the Teams to the community and kick-off Nations Cup Week in Ocala.
“Ocala has an eclectic mix of horse people who come out for this event and invite their horse-loving friends to join them. The love of horses connects us all, and that is what makes Ocala a unique location,” remarked Struzzieri. “We are already working with local councils and related groups to ensure that the next two Nations Cup events will be extraordinarily special for both the Exhibitors and the loyal Spectators of Marion County.”
In 2017, over 5,000 spectators packed the grandstand at HITS Post Time Farm, while a live webcast via FEI TV streamed around the world, as the seven Nations vied for Gold. The event has historically ranked among the highest in national and international media interest.
The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will host 12 USEF-rated shows during the 2017-2018 season, with the Ocala Holiday Series running for two weeks, December 1-3 and 13-17, 2017, and the Ocala Winter Circuit running for 10 weeks, January 16 – March 25. The Circuit culminates with the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on Sunday, March 25.