There are so many ways to enjoy the pleasures of summer in the Valley — it all depends on your mood. Looking for something relaxing? Take a stroll through a formal garden or a cruise down the Hudson. Need more excitement? Watch a stock car race, rock out at a summer concert, or hurtle down a 600-foot water slide. The choices are endless. So gas up the car, and get going!
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Take in a Horse Show
If you haven’t yet found your way to HITS-on-the-Hudson, the 200 plus-acre equestrian facility in Saugerties, you should pencil it in on your calendar for this summer. “We’ve got an exciting season,” says Danette Kadlic, a member of the site’s marketing team, with just a hint of understatement. With a one-million dollar purse up for grabs, there’ll be excitement indeed.
With five facilities located throughout the U.S., HITS (the acronym stands for Horse Shows in the Sun) is the largest producer of hunter/jumper shows in the nation. Horses and their riders compete in two different events: the hunters jump over a series of (relatively low) fences; scoring is based on the style and form they use while completing the circuit. Jumpers, on the other hand, race against the clock, hurdling five-foot-high obstacles as quickly and cleanly as possible.
Between late May and mid-September, HITS in Saugerties hosts eight weeks’ worth of shows (which take place Wednesday through Sunday). For a mere $5, spectators can watch riders at every level — from kids all the way up to former Olympians — go through their paces at one of the site’s 10 competition rings. Grand Prix events (which feature the sport’s top competitors) are held on Fridays and Sundays; besides offering purses from $25,000 to $150,000, the riders in these shows have the chance to qualify for and compete in the September 12 show, in which a top prize of $1 million will be on the line. According to Kadlic, this is the largest purse offered in the world of show jumping; she expects many of the sport’s top riders to come to Saugerties throughout the summer in order to earn a chance to vie for the big payout.
Although the horses and riders provide plenty of action, HITS offers other attractions too. As of press time, many special events were still in the planning stages, but the site’s popular Kid’s Day — with clowns, arts and crafts, family-friendly music, and other entertainment — is set for June 13. A summer-long equestrian art exhibit, showcasing works created by artists from throughout the country, will be on display at locations in and around Saugerties from May through September. And — perhaps best of all — an afternoon at HITS provides the unique opportunity to get an up-close look at some magnificent horses (a number of which are worth upwards of six figures or more) in a picture-perfect setting.
Want to skip ahead? Click on one of these links to:
Become a Beach Bum! Play a Round of Miniature Golf! Get Creative Outdoors! Go to the Zoo! Go Fruit-picking! See some Al Fresco Art! Get Fast and Furious! Visit a Formal Garden! Take in a Horse Show! Rent a Bike on the Walkway! Take a River Cruise! Go to a Water Park! Go to the Drive-in! Enjoy an Outdoor Concert! Picnic at Vanderbilt Mansion! Ride the Rails! Indulge in Dining Delights!
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