Thursday, February 20, 2014

HITS 1994

Every February I write a post about my life twenty years ago when I spent my winters working for a mobile tack shop on the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.  
Judy's Tack Shop
This year, however, I won't be able to limit myself to just one entry. HITS 1994 wasn't just my third and best Florida circuit--it was also my most photographed. In fact, I have an entire photo album filled with pictures taken during those seven wonderful weeks.
Rodney Jenkins on Equador
As in previous years, I didn't make the trek to Florida alone. Much the opposite, in fact. In 1994 our party consisted of six adults and two children, 
Laura and Chris
two big dogs, 
Mardi and Holiday
one little dog, 
two very nice...
Jennifer and  Getaway (CC)
Amateur Owner hunters,
Jennifer and  Asbury Way (Woody)
and one ancient pony.
Wendy, Laura and Little C
The second hunter was Asbury Way, a tall, bay Thoroughbred who'd been purchased at the tail end of the 1993 winter circuit. 
Judy and Woody
Although CC remained my favorite, Woody was a much fancier horse. The mobile shop was set up by the main jumper ring, but whenever I had a chance, I'd sneak over to the main hunter ring and watch him go.
Judy and Woody
While I was making my rounds, I'd check in with some of my other friends.
Leigh on Crown Jewel
In particular, I spent a lot of time with my new best pal, Shelly, who'd come from New Jersey to groom jumpers in the Florida sunshine.
Of course, one of the best things about Ocala was that it was the home of my good friend, Cathy.
Jennifer and Cathy
Most of my free time was spent with her, riding her horses... 
Jennifer on Tsouri (Grouchy)
and visiting some of Ocala's top barns. 
Jennifer and Rugged Lark
I enjoyed all my Florida circuits, but truly, 1994 was the best of them all. When I get nostalgic for the "good old days," these are the days I'm thinking of!


  1. This makes me miss mid-rise breeches and velvet helmets! Sport looks so different today.

  2. You know what I miss the most? All the nice Thoroughbreds hunters! There were a lot of Warmbloods in the hunter ring in 1994, of course, but they hadn't completely taken over yet.

  3. Right! Remember when they had "Non-Thoroughbred Hunter" classes to give the warmbloods a "chance"? Bahahhahahaa to that today!

  4. I always wanted to do the winter Florida circuit but I never had the talent. And riding western was a bit of a problem... :D Still, a girl could dream, and I did. Lucky you to get to be a part of it, and thanks for sharing. I loved seeing what it was like from your perspective.

  5. EEEE! Rugged Lark! I've been to Florida once when I was 15 and made it a point to make mom drive me around Ocala vising the farms. Carol was so welcoming when we popped in unexpectedly and led us straight to meet him. He's the first famous horse I ever met.

  6. 1994...was a horse year for me too. The first since I was a child. Daughter Marianne was 11 and one fine summer day she was invited to go along with a friend to watch the friend's riding lesson. Marianne came home and burst through the door telling us excitedly that at last she knew what extra curricular activity she wanted to do: RIDING LESSONS! The 'horse bug' bit her hard that day and now, 20 years later, she still only really the barn.

  7. A-ha! When you posted the photo on FB of you with Rugged Lark I wondered if Cathy was with you because I vaguely recall her sending me a picture of her with him and the picture resembled yours, just with her in it, but I mean in the photograph itself. The colors and saturation etc. Thanks for sharing. It looks like you had quite an experience.

    1. There will be a whole post about meeting Rugged Lark. That was really a memorable day!

  8. Tsouri is such a gorgeous colour and soooo shiny! :o