California Riding Magazine • August, 2014

Here Comes The
Sun(Shine) Shows
Two big Los Angeles hunter/jumper events move to Thermal this fall.

The Los Angeles National Preview and Los Angeles National Horse Show, two of California's premier equestrian competitions traditionally held in early November, will move from their present location at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank to Desert Horse Park in Thermal this fall.

They will be known as National Sunshine I (formerly the LA Preview) and National Sunshine II (formerly the LA National). Their dates will remain consistent, falling Oct. 29-Nov. 2 and Nov. 4-9. The shows will host top hunter/jumper events, medal finals and championships including the Onondarka Medal Finals, WCE Medal Finals, Desert Pony Hunter and Pony Jumper Finals.

Both shows will be FEI Sanctioned with National Sunshine I offering a $50,000 and $75,000 FEI Class and National Sunshine II offering a $33,500 FEI Class, $100,000 CSIW2* World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix and $25,000 National Grand Prix.

Show jumper Ali Nilforushan and his wife Francie purchased the shows in June from Langer Equestrian Group, who developed them in the early 80s. (California Riding Magazine, July 2014) When Ali later realized the present facilities could not accommodate his vision and goals for the shows, he approached Tom Struzzieri about relocating them to HITS Desert Horse Park. This move will enable the events to develop their full potential, creating two of the most prestigious and well-attended equestrian competitions in the world.

The National Sunshine I & II will have a boutique flavor, with space and entries limited. Only permanent stabling will be used and entertainment and special classes will be tailored for each week. The shows will be designed for exhibitor and spectator alike. Evening competition will have additional touches and crowd pleasers with VIP luxuries and food second to none. They will provide riders and patrons with a unique experience and highly competitive levels.

Ali Nilforushan has a special place in his heart for the shows. The LA National gave him his first grand prix win early in his career. Born in Iran and now based in San Diego, he moved to the U.S. when he was 12 and loves California. He dreams of drawing top riders from around the world to the Sunshine Nationals. They will have the allure, quality and top prize money for becoming key stopping points on the trail to HITS' Championship Qualifiers and FEI World Cup Finals.
"I want to add special classes, evening events and give more riders opportunities to compete," Ali says. "Moving the shows to the Desert Horse Park will allow me to do that."

"My intention," he continues, "mirrors the FEI's and Tom's: To raise the quality of sport in California and all over America… the blend of HITS' energy, innovative history and Desert Horse Park's outstanding facilities with the legacy, cachet and loyal following of these two shows, will be a dynamite combo--attracting riders from across the country and around the globe." 

FEI sanctioning is still to be confirmed but Ali, who will act as Technical Coordinator, is thrilled the Desert Horse Park will host. "These events are flagship horse shows in California," he notes. "And HITS Desert Horse Park is the best facility on the West Coast."
There will be extensive online coverage, videos, photos and press releases with exclusives. "The 'buzz' HITS' generates, quality of service and competition--are essential elements for events of this type," he adds. 

"It's always an honor to offer another FEI Competition," Tom Struzzieri notes. "We host national and international riders at Desert Horse Park in Thermal every winter, and look forward to showcasing the world's best in the fall as well. It's a perfect time of year in Southern California."

Tom looks forward to working with Ali and making these events remarkable. "These shows will be the best of both worlds, " he says. "Combining panache, personal attention and world-class competition with outstanding facilities, crowd draw and sustained growth HITS' Horse Shows have maintained over time."

Press release provided by HITS.