When I first made the decision to travel to Florida for the winter circuit last summer, I was so overwhelmed with excitement I felt like a kid on Christmas (for 3 months straight). I’ve been horse showing on the H/J circuit since I was 7 years old, but nothing could prepare me for HITS in Ocala, Florida.
At the end of January, I packed up all my new show clothes, schooling breeches and polos, and my new horse Ruby Slippers, and headed for the Sunshine state.
I have never seen so many beautiful horses in one place in my entire life. The show grounds were massive with 7 show rings and 6 schooling rings, plus a racetrack the surrounded all of the show rings (which was my favorite part). Ocala has this mysterious way of making every rider feel like they have the fanciest grand prix horse or that they are the top rider in the country. Throughout my six weeks in Ocala, I learned so many things about my new horse, and different riding techniques by watching all of the different classes or from sitting by the schooling ring. Ruby and I had wonderful horse shows and pinned in almost all of our classes. Talk about icing on the cake!
SmartPak sponsors the $25,000 Grand Prix that was held every Thursday afternoon. One of the best parts of the trip was being able to represent SmartPak and hand out the awards to the top riders. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am beyond grateful to have experienced.