After a great winter season in Ocala, it is time to say goodbye. But before we move on to Spring weather just yet, lets take a look at some highlights from this past circuit.
The year started with lots of unknowns, as we were still figuring out a lot of the new horses and what they were capable of. The two Grand Prix horses, Darius and Banco Du Moulin, finished last years season very strong at the World Equestrian Center. This year we started their Grand Prix season at Fox Lea Farm in Venice, FL. Their first Grand Prix this year was a massive success with Sean Jobin and Banco bringing home the win in the $25,000! Not to mention, Darius had a beautiful double clear as well, finishing third place. You could say the year started off with a bang.
Fox Lea Farm became our destination of choice for the beginning of the circuit. The horse show provides a fun atmosphere, with drinks available, free food, and fantastic prizes. They also feature various performances before the 'under the lights' Grand Prix, making it a great horse show environment to take part in. We frequented Fox Lea, having more success in the Grand Prix and trying our luck in the hunter rings.
Once the horses were feeling ready to go, we went back to our home base of Ocala, FL and spent the rest of the winter at HITS. During the second half of the season is when all of the hunters started to shine. The baby of the group, Stella Artois, went through some great training with Sean before she stepped into the ring and marched around like a champ. Storyteller and her new partner, Grace Debney, qualified for Junior Hunter Finals their first time out taking home Champion or Reserve Champion every time they stepped in the ring. Happy Hour gave it a go in the very competitive Adult Medals and finished with a number of great top 6 placings. Zaffire and Emily Rickert killed it the last two weeks and finished 4th out of 30 in the M&S Adult Hunter Classic, along with many other high placings. The new kid, Cusiena Q, showed with Sean Jobin and brought back Reserve Circuit Champion for the first half of the season.
Now lets not forget about our amazing clients, that fly into Florida from the cold north of Columbus to compete. Sarah Nichols and Quintero 14 had some stellar trips and placed in almost every single class. Chris Locke, aboard her new mount Zindiloma, also had some great rounds with the highlight being the Adult Classic under the lights when they took home 6th place out of 40 competitors! And lastly, Kathy Dixon got in the ring again and put in some solid hack trips with Cusiena Q. Great season guys!
Back to the Grand Prix boys, Darius made his HITS debut and started very strong, placing 7th and 9th out of 40+ horses his first few times out in the $25,000's. Banco also did his first ever 1.50 classes and came home with a 6th in the $50,000 by the end of the circuit.
Overall, this season was a supreme success, a lot of the horses experienced "firsts" and rose to their new challenges. Not only did they rise to the challenge, but they exceeded expectations and surprised everyone with their success. Everyone at Double Clear LLC can say we are incredibly proud of all ours horses and riders this season and look forward to the summer circuit!