Sunday, February 24, 2013

HITS 1993

In many ways, the 1993 HITS Winter Circuit was a repeat of the previous year. Once again, I made the journey to Ocala, Florida with...
Dave on CC
Judy with CC
one baby,
two big dogs, 
Mardi and Holiday
one little dog,
and one very nice Amateur Owner hunter.
Getaway AKA CC
I spent my days working in the same mobile tack shop...
which was parked next to the same Grand Prix jumper ring.
Nancy McClure on Mafito
Not every thing was the same, however. By this time, I'd been living on the A show hunter/jumper circuit for a year and a half. I was no longer dependent on my bosses for companionship. I had my own horse show friends. Even better, I had Cathy.
Cathy and Tsouri
I met Cathy at the tail end of the 1992 HITS circuit. We hit if off immediately and exchanged countless letters in the months that followed. By the time I returned to Ocala the next year, Cathy had become one of my closest friends.
Cathy and Jennifer on Valentines Day 1993
Cathy lived with her parents in a horsey community just a couple miles from the show grounds. She had a nice little barn,
a big pasture,
Bound and El Zortan
and lots of horses!
Jennifer with Seneca and RA Canadian Jade
Needless to say, I didn't spend a lot of time at the hotel that year. When I wasn't at the horse show, I was at Cathy's.
Cathy on RA Canadian Jade
Sometimes we rode in her front yard.
Jennifer on Seneca
Other times, we explored the trails...
Cathy on Tsouri
that wrapped around her neighborhood.
Jennifer on Seneca
When we were all done riding, we'd hang out in the pasture and talk and talk and talk.
Oh, I would have been happy to stay in Ocala forever! The weeks flew by and before I knew it, I was back in the truck, heading north and already looking forward to the 1994 edition!


  1. Sounds like the good life for sure :-)

  2. Reflectingstars StablesFebruary 24, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Sounds like so much fun! Wish I had Friends like that!

  3. I really enjoy these stories! What a shame there are not more opportunities available like this!

    And what gorgeous animals!

  4. I love that last picture of Tsouri sure is a gorgeous horse:)

  5. So many gorgeous horses. This sort of past makes me almost - almost - willing to move from the land of good Tex-Mex to try a working student position or some other horse-related job, like yours. It sounds like the job I keep on dreaming of getting if I quit grad school.

    1. I loved my time on the circuit and have never regretted one minute of those five years. However, the mom in me feels compelled to point out that horse jobs generally involve long hours, low wages and no health insurance. Stay in grad school!


  6. Now I know a little more about the Ocala horse scene, which I've only driven past and admired from afar. Thank you for sharing your history!

  7. Ocala is the heart of Florida horse country. It's like Lexington, Kentucky in a lot of ways, but it's not breed specific. In addition to hosting the HITS circuit, the area is home to a number of large, high dollar breeding farms. There are Thoroughbreds, Arabians and Quarter Horses. Cathy and I spent a lot of the 1994 HITS circuit visiting all of these. I'll share those pictures next February!

  8. I hear you about the long hours and the low wages is hard to follow your horse bug or what ever you want to call it when you have kids everything is put in the back burnner but thank God for model horses and for people like you that show us we can have it all even in miniature :)

  9. I love these sort of posts. I always wanted a horsie life but the closest I got was leading trails at the local stable on Saturdays. But it sure was fun.

  10. I wish I had had a job like that in my twenties. Looks like fun.

  11. Love hearing about the inner workings of the horse-show circuit. I would have loved to have done this at that age!

  12. Looks like even back then you were an avid photographer! ^.^

    1. It's funny you say that, because I think this was the circuit when I first started hanging out a lot with one of the horse show photographers. He also used a Nikon, so he'd encourage me by putting one of his lenses on my camera and letting me see the difference between good and great equipment. He also gave me a lot of pointers on shooting hunters and jumpers that I still use today!

  13. Wish we had trails like that here in England!

  14. What a great time you had! I can't get over the gorgeousness that was CC. WOW, whatta pony. Just once I'd love to take something like him around a course (I know you got to flat him, at least).

    All of Cathy's horses look terrific, too. I'm so glad you made friends with her and had the opportunity to ride and hang out at her place.

    Now I want to know how you met Seth (instead of a Dave-like rider/trainer, LOL) and wound up giving all this up! :-)

    1. CC was absolutely gorgeous and is still my standard of ideal Thoroughbred hunter type. I rode him a lot, mostly on non show days, but sometimes after his classes, too. Judy would bring him over to the mobile shop. I'd get on, ride him back to the stable and take out his braids and love on him. Those were some of my favorite times!

      I worked for Dave and Judy for five years and rode CC (and later Woody, too) at least occasionally the entire time. Unfortunately, there is no photographic proof of this. All those years, and not one single photo of me sitting on either horses back! :(

      And, um, I met Seth at a bar. No horses were involved!

  15. Did I miss what HITS in the "HITS Winter Circuit" stands for? Or is it common knowledge?

    *sigh* when I was that age I would have loved that life....

    1. Sorry, I'm pretty sure there's an explanation in one of the linked posts, but I was too lazy to define it this time around! HITS is the acronym for Horse Shows in The Sun which is a horse show management company that specializes in winter hunter/jumper circuits. They've expanded substantially since I lived on the circuit, but back in the day, the Ocala circuit was the six weeks of shows in one location. The shows averaged about 1,100 horses a piece, and entries came from all over North America. It wasn't as glamorous a circuit as the shows in West Palm Beach, but it was pretty fancy and lots of fun!

  16. Gorgeous horses! I'd love to have a job like that, on the road with horses.:)