Week VI of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit featured the $150,000 Crum & Forster Grand Prix at HITS Post Time Farm where Grand Prix veterans and new comers alike brought their A-game to the Grand Prix Stadium. The faults were spread throughout the course designed by Ms. Marina Azevedo, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, but the end of the course proved to be most challenging, with technical questions in the final line that foiled the hopes of many riders in their quest to make it to the jump-off. Six riders jumped a clean first round, setting up an exciting jump-off that rewarded efficiency and carefulness.
Securing the blue ribbon with a clear jump-off in 38.011 was Andre Thieme for his ride aboard CRAZY GIRL, an 11 year-old mare. “I always have the feeling that I’m just not quick enough and today I have to say I was quicker than usual and that’s why I’m really happy,” said Thieme about his ride in the jump-off. “It’s my wife’s favorite horse and I’m liking her more and more because this is now the fifth Grand Prix here that she’s gone clear. I slowly realized what kind of a horse I have with her so her name CRAZY GIRL is not really right because she’s not crazy. She’s fabulous!”
Thieme went fifth in the jump-off, but says that his plan doesn’t change based on order of go or other factors, “My plan is really the same from week to week – try to be faster than the others and this time it worked and I stayed strong with myself to keep going.”
Riders have begun preparations for the seventh Great American $1 Million Grand Prix that will close out the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit on March 28. While many riders, including Thieme, have already entered, there is still time to change the horse that they will show in the Million. “Now maybe I’ll change my plans with the horses,” said Thieme. “Normally that horse [CRAZY GIRL] was not going to do the Million, but she’s been the most consistent this circuit, so I may have to reconsider.” Thieme is no stranger to the Winner’s Circle at HITS Shows, and already has three HITS $1 Million Grand Prix wins under his belt. In fact, Thieme won the first ever Great American Million at HITS Ocala in 2014 with CONTANGA 3. Hit other HITS Million wins were at HITS Saugerties in 2011 and 2017.
“I just love it [at HITS Ocala] – I have been coming here for 20 years and have known Tom just as long. He’s always happy to have me and I’m always happy to be here. I may even bring a bit of International flair since I am German,” Thieme added with excitement. “It’s such a good chance to have classes every week for a really good amount of money and give the horses a great experience. It’s like family here so I just like everything about it.”
Click here for the full listing of results from the HITS Ocala Masters.