Dec. 3, 2023 – Ocala, FL – In the pinnacle event of the HITS Ocala Holiday Premier week, grand prix veteran Tracey Fenney topped the leaderboard aboard one of her most successful horses, MTM Apple. The grand prix was the first of many throughout the 12 week series of top hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at HITS Post Time Farm throughout the winter. Fenney was one of nine original starters to advance to the short track and ultimately emerged with the best effort by shaving a little over a second off of the previous leading time.
The MTM Farm’s 12-year old Danish Warmblood mare (Favorit Ask) was the second of two rides for Fenney across the Chris Jones-designed track which saw a starting field of 20 horse-and-rider combinations. New Zealand Olympian Sharn Wordley was the first to put forth a fault-free first round effort aboard longtime partner Mick Jagger. As the first to return for the jump-off, he and the 15-year-old Hannoverian gelding (Chacco-Blue) set the standard with a double-clean round and clocking in at 35.618 seconds. Wordley appeared to have the hold on the class as Megan Wexler and Jenni McAllister produced the only other clean rounds at a slower pace, but Fenney was in fighting form after a miscommunication on course put her out of contention on her first mount Cool Girl PS.
“[Cool Girl PS] is much greener, so it was nice to get a feel for the course on her because then I knew everything would feel so much easier on Apple,” Fenney explained. “She is one we don’t practice jumping on at home. I show her most weeks so at home I just flat her and keep her fit because in general she definitely knows her job.”
Both Fenney and Apple displayed their years of experience together by executing a tidy and tight jump-off round that stopped the clock on 34.354 seconds to take over the lead.
“Apple tends to go wide at right turns so when I turned back to the second jump in the jump off I allowed for that and she did it well,” Fenney continued of her plan. “I knew the eight stride line would be easy, and then with a left hand turn you can just angle her and you will fly across it. She felt in really good form today – even a little fresh!”
Megan Wexler and Amen Corner Farm, LLC’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding (Quasimodo Z) Psalm took over the third and final position on the podium after adding a touch over a second to Wordley’s final time and finishing their effort in 36.918 seconds.
Jodie Camberg Takes the Top Call of the $5,000 HITS Open Prix
In a weekend that was full of gray horse victories, Jodie Camberg added one more to the list as she and Lord Cornet earned the honors in the $5,000 HITS Open Prix on Saturday. The callback for the class’s short course was an all-female showdown as four competitors consisting of Camberg, Dominique Damico, Callan Solem, and Martha Redman managed to produce clean first round efforts. After some tidy footwork, Camberg added another faultless finish to her record and earned the top title in a blazing 37.14 seconds.
“He was so perfect and rideable today,” Camberg shared of her seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Cornet Obolensky) gelding. “He has never shown here but the ring felt great and the jumps were pretty so he performed beautifully today. I made a fun turn on the grass and the jump off was just an exciting round for me today.”
With a partnership spanning over two years, Camberg and Lord Cornet have conquered a variety of events together.
“He is the most special horse I’ve ever had and I’m so fortunate to get to ride him,” she continued. “I show him also in the international derbies, and we are stepping him up to the 1.40m classes as he turns eight.”
Damico’s flawless finish aboard the Show Jumping Syndication, International’s 16-year-old Hannoverian gelding (Chacco Blue),Chatinus, was enough to secure the second place position while Callan Solem delivered the final double-clear effort with Narnia. She navigated Joan Burke’s 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve) over the jump off track in 40.68 seconds, closing in just behind Damico’s time of 40.16 seconds to round out the afternoon’s victory gallop.
Hunter, jumper, and equitation action will resume Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023 as the HITS Ocala Holiday Series continues. For a full schedule, please visit showmanagementsystem.com.