The 40th annual HITS Ocala Winter Circuit at HITS Post Time Farm was held from January 19th – March 15th. After the 9-week competition, Richmond Hill High School freshman Vivienne Heider and her horse Big Nickel, captured both the mid-circuit and final circuit champion title for the Thoroughbred Jumper Division, according to a press release.
The Thoroughbred Jumper is one of approximately 30 jumper divisions scored at this International event.
The Thoroughbred Jumper Division is an open division which means Heider competed against amateurs and professionals alike in 1.0-meter classes. Heider and Big Nickel also hold the distinction of currently being ranked Zone 4’s #1 Thoroughbred by the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA). This puts them in a very good position to make the National Finals this September in Lexington, KY. The division sponsor for finals is the Take2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program who is offering $20,000.00 in prize money to the top finishers.
Heider trains with Ben Merritt of Merritt Sporthorses in Ocala, FL. Merritt and Heider have worked together for just over a year and he had this to say about her performance and development.
“Vivienne and Nickel had a fantastic circuit. I am proud with how they have grown as a team. Vivienne has worked extremely hard and taken her role as a rider very seriously. This is evident in both the quality of her riding and results. To see them improve with every week is what a trainer hopes for. These two have a very bright future together.”