Junior/Amateur Jumper Classics Conclude Competition at 2024 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit

Competition in HITS Post Time Farm’s main jumper arena kicked off and closed out on Saturday, March 25, 2024 with the junior and amateur riders. The $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) Junior/Amateur 1.45m Classic precluded the main event and featured a win from young rider Kyle Perkovich and Quinto.

“I’m super proud of him,” enthused Perkovich of the eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vision Van’t Hazelarenhoekje). “At the beginning of the season, we were just working on getting really confident in the 1.30m division and getting the miles on him. He is still so young, but he’s got all of the confidence in the world.” 

Kyle Perkovich stands for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

For Perkovich, the process has been slow and steady to ensure the gelding continues to climb the ranks at a comfortable rate and reach his full potential. 

“I am aiming to get him confident and comfortable in the 1.45m classes this summer, and then I truly think he can be a good 1.50m prospect,” he explained. “I’ve been riding him since he was three and a half, so I’ve worked a lot with him, and David [Jennings] has been helping me so much to develop him and bring him along to the bigger 1.45m classes like today. I couldn’t be more grateful.” 

The second-place finish of the Classic came from Collin Reynolds and Chicco W, his own 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cabardino), as the only other pair to produce a double-clean effort across both rounds of competition. With a single unfortunate rail and a time of 34.59 seconds, Jamie Alnwick and Wild Kat, Scott Keach’s 10-year-old Australian Warmblood mare (Kannan), became the fastest four-fault combination to round out the top three. 

Madison Kondracki and Pure For Romance. Photo by ESI Photography

The $25,000 Pyranha Junior/Amateur 1.25m Classic bookended the competition in the Grand Prix Ring for Saturday and incurred yet another win for the young talent of Madison Kondracki, (17). This time aboard Pure For Romance, her own nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (For Romance), Kondracki bested a whopping field of 48 horse-and-rider combinations. Mira Korber and Patent Pending 3E, her 13-year-old Warmblood mare (Southern Pride), clocked in at second place, while Savannah Unger galloped into third with Fabio, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding (Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve) owned by Savannah Show Stables, LLC. 

“This is a young one I just got last year,” stated Kondracki. “She’s always a little quirky in the warm up ring, and she was super extra spicy today, but I think it helped her in the show ring. I didn’t really expect her to go around and do as well as she did because the course was super difficult in the first round, but I knew if I kept her moving forward and was accurate, then it would be hard for people to catch me.”

Kondracki wasn’t stopping there. With a final day of classics ahead of her, she was determined to take one final victory, this time in the $20,000 Signature Brands 1.35m Junior/Amateur Classic that kicked off the final day of the show. Thirty duos contested the track, and with an immediate-return jump-off format, the pace continued to pick up as the field dwindled. Kondracki brought forward two mounts, but it was her “pony jumper” Gold Rush VLV that proved unbeatable. Kondracki kicked on across the short course to stop the timers in 37.00 seconds flat aboard the 13-year-old KWPN gelding (Clinton). 

Madison Kondracki stands for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

“This is one of the more difficult ones I’ve got, but we’ve mainly just been working on consistency with him,” she detailed. “He had some issues in the beginning of circuit but he’s really come full circle, and I’m excited with what he’ll do. I won my first grand prix on him, and he’s really just my type of ride – small and spicy.” 

The gelding does indeed check the boxes for Kondracki’s preferred attributes, measuring at just under horse height and providing a little bit of “quirk” that the young rider is known for harnessing. 

“He’s funny about a lot of things and he has a big heart, but he definitely chooses when to use it,” she laughed. “Like a lot of my horses, he is a winner, but he requires a pretty accurate ride.” 

Madison Kondracki and Gold Rush VLV. Photo by ESI Photography

When asked about her success across so many classes throughout the HITS circuit, including the series win of the $15,000 STX Open Speed Series, Kondracki attributed a large part of her success to the multiple methods of training the family utilizes.

“My eventing background plays a big part in it,” she said. “We work with all of our horses to have those eventing basics and know how to gallop out and stretch across the fences. We also work a lot of cross-training with cow cutting and western riding, which plays into their ability to do tight turns well. They know a lot, and I think that plays into our success for sure.” 

Maude Filiatrault gave it her all aboard her 10-year-old Zangersheide mare (Zandor Z), Zambia Z, and the pair took second place just slightly off the pace in 37.31 seconds. With a time of 38.00 seconds, Caelinn Leahy held the top spot for a majority of the class and ultimately settled in third place with Steve Schaefer’s 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Guidam), Zarkava.

An abundance of prize money was awarded throughout the final two days of competition from the highest levels of the sport down to the .90m competitors. Three highly-anticipated classics were held in the venue’s stadium arena on Sunday featuring some of the largest prize money rewards to be seen at the lower levels of competition. Almost 50 pairings navigated their way over the morning’s debut track for the $10,000 Finish Line 1.15m Junior/Amateur Classic, but it was the pairing of Amy Wood and Laemi that claimed the winning honors. 

“I’m delighted,” expressed Wood. “This is my first circuit jumping around here, and he’s really just been teaching me the ropes. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

The success comes early into her partnership with the 15-year-old gelding (Pumped Up Kicks) owned by Katelyn North, with whom she has only been partnered with since the beginning of the season.

“I just got the ride on him for this circuit while we’re down here in Florida,” she explained. “He knows it all and is taking me around. My trainer said to me before I went in that there was no room to take a pole, so we just got a good canter to start with and I tried to keep from pulling. When I came out, I thought there were places I could’ve been faster, but it worked out for me in the end.”

The second stadium win came from Elieen O’Leary and Crossfire Hurricane as the winners of the $5,000 Stal Hendrix 1.05m Junior/Amateur Classic. O’Leary piloted the 15-year-old Holsteiner mare (Cortilo) to the top ahead of 34 combinations. 

“She’s been a great addition for me because I had a great jumper previous to her and he retired, so I got very lucky in finding her,” said O’Leary. “She’s great at slicing and she’s got an amazing gallop, so today’s jump-off really suited her well. I thought the jump-off was a great technical jump-off, and it was really nice to be able to do a combination of turns and speed.

“This was our first classic win together, so it’s incredibly exciting for me,” she continued. “We’re really happy with the HITS venue this year – the rings were great, staffing was amazing, and the gate people were awesome, so we’ll definitely be back.” 

Two dozen entries lined up for the final event of the day, the $2,500 .90m Junior/Amateur Classic. Aboard her 11-year-old RPSI mare (Alexander P), Azzaria, Jennifer Osgood put forward the best time to secure the class win. 

For a full list of the season’s results, please visit www.showmanagementsystem.com