One Year Ago, HITS Took A Chance On A Start Up…It Paid Off

The Horse Show Management Company Recognized What This New York State Women-Owned Business Could Contribute to the Community and Took A Chance

Kingston, NY: June 8, 2024- Almost one year ago, Jessica Jones created Equestrian Gardens, a comprehensive landscape design firm tailored by an equestrian to cater to the needs of equestrians. The company’s primary focus is to enhance each equestrian experience with the natural beauty of fine gardens at home on the farm, and during horse shows. 

In the summer of 2023, Jessica pitched a new business concept to Joe Norick, HITS Chief Customer Officer, and Rian Beals, HITS VP of Horse Show Operations. After hearing the idea, Norick described how well-aligned the concept was with HITS’ goal to transform the exhibitor experience. Jones was brought on board to test out the concept, starting at the HITS Hudson Valley venue. There she launched the Flower Barn, a retail experience where she creates one-of-a-kind designs for exhibitors to dress up their barns, which were showcased throughout the showgrounds. 

“While we had a lot of interest from exhibitors, HITS quickly became our largest customer,” said Jessica. “I leveraged our existing inventory and brought in new flowers to design and add to the derbies. With all living materials, we created a seasonal look for The League, presented by Marshall & Sterling, National Finals using perennials and dressed up the exhibitor lounge to create a flower show-like experience around every corner.”  

During the day, Jessica and her team tended the shop, and in the evenings, she dressed up the courses and hospitality spaces.  The plants moved often to serve different purposes later in the season and the Ulster Chamber of Commerce event to support the local community.

Equestrian Gardens collaborated with Jared Ehro, Chris Collman, and Brian Lenehan to design multiple derbies throughout the summer and fall, culminating in the prestigious 100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby won by Brian Feigus.  Natural materials were used throughout the derbies, with the only exception being the flower boxes. Jessica worked diligently to design a beautiful and significant living log for the final, along with one-of-a-kind gardens and birch toppers. Many of these plants and flowers were replanted on the property or locally to promote environmental friendliness through reuse and waste reduction.

HITS took a chance on Jessica and Equestrian Gardens, recognizing the potential to enhance the exhibitor experience while also being environmentally conscious. In the fall, Jessica and team emptied all containers, returning annuals to compost and replanting perennials, which you’ll now find in containers at the cafe and around the ring.  They also designed a look around the ring to surround it with hydrangea trees and shrubs, ultimately creating a backdrop of green and white blossoms all season long.

“Jess brings an unbelievable freshness and living spirit to the competition rings and entire showgrounds,” says Joe Norick, HITS Chief Customer Officer.  

With the successful 2023 collaboration, continuing a partnership in 2024 was a no-brainer for HITS. Planning for the 2024 HITS Hudson Valley show season started in January. Jessica reached out to trusted suppliers and worked closely with Rian Beals. 

“We were eager to continue our successful partnership with Equestrian Gardens for 2024,” stated Beals. “Jessica is a great partner and understands our vision for the showgrounds.”       

Jessica inventoried what Equestrian Gardens and HITS had available for reuse from 2023, designed a layout for key areas, selected a color palette and plants, placed orders, set up a nursery, organized crews, received all the foliage, installed, and adjusted. The property is now fully in bloom for both equine and human exhibitors to enjoy throughout the 2024 season.

About Equestrian Gardens: Equestrian Gardens is a comprehensive landscape design firm created by an equestrian, specifically catering to the needs of equestrians. Our primary focus is enhancing the equestrian experience at home on the farm and during horse shows.  Equestrian Gardens provides design services to customers in Ocala, Wellington, NY, NJ, and CT.  To learn more, visit their website at www.equestriangardens.com.