USHJA International Hunter Derby Series
 

Derby Series and Finals Press Releases


The Exciting Evolution of the Derby

USHJA CEO, Shelby French

August 27, 2012

The 2012 Derby Finals clearly demonstrated how small changes can have a huge impact. The addition of the $15,000 Consolation Round sponsored by Moyer Farms and the change in the qualifying criteria took the Derby entries to an all-time high of 95 horses. From talking with exhibitors, it was obvious that the most significant factor resulting in this increase was the addition of the Consolation Round which allowed 30 horses and riders a chance to come back and compete over a Steve Stephens’ Handy Course on Saturday afternoon. Of course, having a shot at winning some prize money was also a positive, but even those who didn’t think they were going to take home a ribbon or prize money were excited to have the opportunity to compete a second time.

While the excitement was building over the past three months for the 2012 Finals, a small task force of riders, trainers and competition managers from across the country was meeting weekly under the leadership of Ron Danta to develop a five year plan for the International Hunter Derby Program. The task force surveyed over 1700 riders, owners and trainers who have been involved in the Derby program during the past four years, as well as soliciting input from managers who have hosted Derby series events. The group members had very diverse viewpoints about the program’s future and they each spoke to exhibitors and managers to bring more input to the discussion. Over months of conversation, tough discussions and compromise, the task force developed a plan that provides flexibility and will allow the Derby program to grow and flourish over the next five years.

We are very sensitive to the number of changes that have been made to this growing program over the past four years and therefore, created a five year timeline for the gradual implementation of any future changes. The first amendments are as follows:

  • The 2013-14 Series will be an 18 month series beginning on June 2, 2013 and running through November 30, 2014. This change will allow the annual Series Awards to be in sync with our competition year beginning in 2015. Applications to host a Derby in the 2013-14 Series will be accepted starting September 1 through November 1, 2012.

  • The Finals will be renamed the International Hunter Derby Championship beginning in 2013 but the qualifying time period, date and location of the event will remain the same. Having the Series Awards tied to the normal competition year will allow them to become a bigger highlight of the program.

  • In order to grow the purse at the Championship, beginning in 2013, there will be a $750 entry fee with a minimum of 80% or $600 of each entry fee added back to the base prize money. This will allow us to build on the success achieved this year through the addition of the Consolation Round with its additional purse.

  • The final new aspect to the program for 2013-14 is revamping the Derby Regions and creating Regional Standings. To support monetary awards for the top competitors in each Region, we will establish a voluntary $200 enrollment fee for those riders who want to be eligible for regional awards, have their earnings included in the Derby Standings and be eligible to qualify for the 2014 Championship. A minimum of sixty percent of enrollment fee monies will be distributed to the top six placing riders in each region.

These are progressive and well thought out steps to be implemented over the coming months that the task force believes will have positive impacts for the program’s future. Keep reading your Hunter E News and In Stride to get the latest information.

Alfano and Jersey Boy Claim Victory In USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals

August 18, 2012

Lexington, KY - The fourth annual $115,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals tonight featured many top performances from among the country’s best show hunters, but it was Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano who were best of all.

Jersey Boy’s victory was especially sweet because after contesting the Derby Finals each of the past four years and winning the overall series title three times, it was the one major Derby accolade remaining for him to win.

“I’m so happy. I feel like Jersey Boy really deserved to win this class,” said Alfano of the 10-year-old warmblood gelding. “He was awesome. Right from the start when I was schooling he just felt perfect.”
Jersey Boy’s incredible Handy Hunter Round earned scores of 92, 91 and 88.5 with bonus points of 9,9 and 8 for an overall total of 588.25.

That quarter of a point became incredibly valuable at the end of the night when Liza Boyd and Brunello stepped into the ring to challenge. Their brilliant performance fell just that much short, scoring 588 for second place overall.

“Jen and I are really close friends, and I respect her so much as a horseman,” said Boyd, of Camden, SC. “If I had to lose to someone, I’m glad it was her.

“I’m really proud of Brunello,” Boyd added of the 14-year-old Hanoverian. “He was just incredible, and I’m so happy to be in the top three.”

Scott Stewart, of Wellington, FL, who held the top spot after yesterday’s Classic Hunter Round with Dedication, couldn’t quite repeat the performance tonight under the lights and retired on course with the 7-year-old. Stewart didn’t go home empty handed, however, as he guided Garfield to a gorgeous Handy Hunter Round that moved him up to third place overall.
Tonight’s competition at the Kentucky Horse Park featured a beautiful Handy Hunter course by acclaimed designer Steve Stephens. The fences and decorations created a feeling of cantering through hunt country, with natural jumps of planks and logs, abundant trees and shrubbery and decorative elements such as wagons and tack room settings and a pond. The fence heights ranged from 3’6 to 4’ and offered riders an opportunity to pick up bonus points by taking any one or all of the four optional fences set from 4’ to 4’3.
The 12-obstacle course featured several areas where riders could show off their handiness with tight turns and rollbacks, a trot fence at 8 with an optional track to fence 9, and for the grand finale riders could choose the safe route with a 3’6” oxer or an impressive higher option set in the center of the arena.

The judges included Rob Bielefeld, Linda Hough, Betty Oare, Patrick Rodes, Geoff Teall and Scott Williamson, who were split into panels of two and placed in strategic positions around the in the Sheila C. Johnson Ring at the Rolex Stadium.

The top-scoring 30 horses from the initial Classic Hunter Round yesterday were invited back to determine the 2012 International Hunter Derby Finals Champion. With six of the country’s best professional hunter riders in the top 10 after the Classic Hunter Round—Scott Stewart, Liza Boyd, Jennifer Alfano, Patricia Griffith, Kelley Farmer and Peter Pletcher (along with junior phenom Victoria Colvin)—it was clear that tonight’s competition would be fierce.

Colvin, 14, of Loxahatchee, FL, didn’t disappoint her fans. She moved up with Inclusive to earn fourth place overall and was the highest-placed junior. Last year’s victor, Lillie Keenan, earned the Junior-Owner award with her sixth-placed performance aboard Monterrey.
If there were an odds-on favorite tonight, it would have been Farmer, of Keswick, VA. The 2011-12 USHJA Derby Series Money Won title holder qualified five of her six mounts for the grand finale, including the series champion horse, Taken. Farmer was the only rider to earn two top-10 placings, taking fifth with Bases Loaded and seventh with Taken.

New this year was the $15,000 Consolation Competition, which featured the 31 highest-scoring horses from the Classic Hunter Round that did not otherwise qualify for the Derby Finals Handy Hunter Round. The class was held at 4 p.m., prior to the Derby Finals Handy Hunter Round, and allowed competitors another shot at one of Stephens’ challenging handy hunter courses.

Erin Bland will now return home to Carlsbad, CA with a championship and a check for $4,500 after claiming victory in the Consolation Competition, generously supported by Moyer Farm, LLC.

Bland returned in the 13th slot and clinched the win with scores of 82, 82 and 84 aboard her lovely gray Weatherly, for a total two-round score of 492.75. Her 9-year-old warmblood also sported an additional tricolor ribbon as Bland was the high-score Amateur.
“I think the Consolation Round is wonderful,” said Bland. “I’d like to thank USHJA for setting this up and also Moyer Farm, Dietrich and Charles Owen for sponsoring this class. Especially for riders coming from California, myself included, that loved to have another opportunity if the first day didn’t go quite as planned. And it’s a long way from California, and this is a great class to try and recoup a little prize money and get back into the ring.”

The 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals is generously sponsored by: Presenting Sponsor: Dietrich Equine Insurance; Official Ulcer Remedy: UlcerGard; Consolation Round Donor: Moyer Farm, LLC.; Official Helmet and Major Sponsor: Charles Owen Inc.; Awards Sponsors: Dover Saddlery, Essex Classics, The Clothes Horse, Grand Prix/Pikeur/Konigs, Ann Hubbards Tack Shop, Ariat, SmartPak, G4 Marketing, Diane Carney and Telluride Farms and McGuinn Farms; Hospitality Sponsor: Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; Jump Sponsors: EquiFit, inc., Chansonette Farm, Equestrian Sport Productions, Glassy Mountain Farm, The Gochman Family, MacLean Family & The Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby, Queenie Productions, R. Bruce Duchossios & H ‘n D Stables, Inc., SBS Farms Inc. & Helen Lenahan, USHJA High Performance Hunter Committee.

To learn more about Dietrich Equine Insurance’s line of quality products, please visit them at www.dietrich-insurance.com or call 800.942.4258.

For additional information on the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, Presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, please visit www.ushja.org.

Stewart And Dedication Dominate During USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Qualifying

Catch the Finals live Saturday night on the USEF Network!

August 17, 2012

Lexington, KY – If Scott Stewart had a moment of déjà vu today it would be understandable. After 81 contenders concluded the qualifying round of the $115,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby Finals, presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, it was Stewart who finished the Classic Hunter Round on top, just as he had last year.

This time, however, his best performer was one of his less experienced mounts, the 7-year-old Holsteiner Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm.
The bay gelding soared over Steve Stephens’ beautifully designed and built course, jumping brilliantly and galloping confidently to a score of 285 points from the panel of six judges.
Although the pair has a six-point lead going into tomorrow’s Final Handy Hunter Round, Stewart faces some serious competition as two Derby veteran partnerships—Liza Boyd and Brunello and Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy—are sitting in second and third places, respectively.

“Dedication was way better than I thought he’d be because he’s still pretty green,” said Stewart. “He sort of helped me out of the bending nine-stride line because I got a little lost. But I was really happy with him. The course was a lot harder than it walked.”
The Classic Round featured a track of 14 obstacles that simulated the fences found in the hunt field—such as logs, straw bales and stone walls—with heights ranging from 3’6 to 4’. The course offered riders an opportunity to pick up bonus points by taking any one or all of the four optional fences set from 4’ to 4’3.

The judges included Rob Bielefeld, Linda Hough, Betty Oare, Patrick Rodes, Geoff Teall and Scott Williamson, who were split into panels of two and placed in strategic positions around the Kentucky Horse Park’s Sheila C. Johnson Ring in the Rolex Stadium.

The riders raved about this year’s Classic Round, which offered many opportunities for veterans to show off their talents while also providing a safe and inviting course for greener horses and riders to tackle.

“When you looked at it on paper, it looked a little easy,” said Boyd, who took three of the four higher options with Brunello for a score of 279. “[My brother] Hardin [Towell] made a good point, he said, ‘Liza, Steve designed the Olympics. He’ll throw some tricks in there, and you’re not going to realize unless you really think about it. He’s got a plan’ he’s going to trick you into things!’ He did an amazing job.”

Boyd and Towell, both of Camden, SC, successfully negotiated Stephens’ tests and qualified within the top 30 who will contest the Handy Hunter Round tomorrow night under the lights. Boyd will be aboard Brunello as well as Quatrain, who placed 13th, while Towell took 19th aboard Yes Indeed.

Alfano, of Buffalo, N.Y., was thrilled to qualify third aboard SBS Farm’s star Derby contender Jersey Boy. Alfano experienced some bad luck last year and didn’t qualify for the second round with the flashy chestnut, but this time misfortune came earlier in the day aboard her mount Miss Lucy, who pulled a rail.
“That’s so unlike her; it’s not a mistake that she makes really,” said Alfano, who rallied with Jersey Boy for score of 278.75. “He felt really, really great. I thought the course rode really nice for him, because you could just keep flowing everywhere. It all felt good, and I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Stewart is also looking forward to the Handy Round, which tests the field on brilliance and handiness. The highest-scoring horse from the Classic Hunter and Handy Hunter rounds combined is crowned the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Champion.
Stewart, of Wellington, FL, who placed second last year, hopes this is his time to shine in the Derby Finals.

“I’m a little nervous going late in the order because I’ve never had a good class under the lights with him,” said Stewart, who also has Garfield qualified in the fifth slot. “[Dedication] is still really green. I’m hoping he matures a little bit by tomorrow night! He never does anything really bad, but he could get a little looky. He can pretty much jump any jump you want or any angle, so he’s really good about that.”

Professional Kelley Farmer, the 2011-12 Derby Series Money Won victor, was the busiest rider today and qualified five of her six mounts for the top 30. She stands sixth with Bases Loaded, Seventh with Clearly, eighth with Taken, 20th with Red Sky and 29th with Vox.

The 2011 Derby Finals winner Lillie Keenan finished the Classic Round as the top-placed Junior Owner/Rider with her Monterrey, while Victoria Colvin finished as the top-placed junior in 10th aboard Inclusive.

Kaitlin Campbell, a recent star in the grand prix jumper ring, showed her prowess in the hunters with October Road and received the top Amateur Rider Award after placing 14th.

With the top 30 pairs returning for action on Saturday, August 18 for $100,000 in prize money, you can watch the excitement live on the Internet. The USHJA, in partnership with the USEF Network, is providing a free live webcast of the evening’s activities, beginning at 4 p.m. with the newest feature of the Derby Finals, the $15,000 Consolation Competition. The highest-scoring horses from the Classic Hunter Round that did not otherwise qualify for the Derby Finals Handy Hunter Round will be invited back for their own second round over a handy course. The top-scoring horse from the Classic Hunter and Consolation Competition will take home the top prize, generously supported by Moyer Farm, LLC.
The cut-off score for today’s top 30 was 228.85 points, earned by Lauren Sogard aboard Concerto. Professional Gary Young will lead the way in the Consolation Competition tomorrow as he carries forward 228.50 points with Gold Coast.

LIVE COVERAGE ON SATURDAY

If you can’t make it to the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park to watch the Derby Finals in person- no worries! USEF Network will be live streaming all of Saturday’s action, beginning at 4 p.m. with the Consolation Competition followed by the exciting Handy Hunter round that will determine who gets bragging rights as the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Champion.

Visit the USHJA website for more information about the USHJA International Hunter Derby Series and Finals.

The 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals is generously sponsored by: Presenting Sponsor: Dietrich Equine Insurance; Official Ulcer Remedy: UlcerGard; Consolation Round Donor: Moyer Farm, LLC.; Official Helmet and Major Sponsor: Charles Owen Inc.; Awards Sponsors: Dover Saddlery, Essex Classics, The Clothes Horse, Grand Prix/Pikeur/Konigs, Ann Hubbards Tack Shop, Ariat, SmartPak, G4 Marketing, Diane Carney and Telluride Farms and McGuinn Farms; Hospitality Sponsor: Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; Jump Sponsors: EquiFit, inc., Chansonette Farm, Equestrian Sport Productions, Glassy Mountain Farm, The Gochman Family, MacLean Family & The Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby, Queenie Productions, R. Bruce Duchossios & H ‘n D Stables, Inc., SBS Farms Inc. & Helen Lenahan, USHJA High Performance Hunter Committee.

USHJA Kicks Off International Hunter Derby Finals with Welcome Reception, Awards and Calcutta

August 16, 2012

Lexington, KY - With less than 24 hours until the first round of the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals riders, owners and grooms got the opportunity to relax and fraternize at a special Welcome Reception hosted by presenting sponsor Shawna Dietrich of Dietrich Equine Insurance.

Bill Moroney, president of USHJA, thanked Shawna and Dietrich Equine Insurance for their continued support of the program, "Since its inception, Dietrich Equine Insurance has been a sponsor and provided ongoing support during the series and finals over the years, USHJA greatly appreciates all they do."
 

SPECIAL SERIES AWARDS
Ron Danta, Chairman of the High Performance Committee, presented three highly coveted awards. He started with the presentation of the George H. Morris Perpetual Trophy, donated by Diane Carney to honor the leading horse of the Derby series.

"For three years in row Jersey Boy and Jen Alfano have won this prestigious trophy. As we all know winning this award just one time is feat we all could hope for, to win this three years in a row is almost beyond belief. This year however, we have a new title winner for this award. We are pleased to present this trophy to Taken ridden by Kelley Farmer and owned by Jessica Stitt." Danta announced.

Farmer stepped forward to accept the honor, saying, "Wow-What an honor. He’s a fantastic partner and I’m so fortunate and grateful to Jessica for giving me the ride."

Taken and Farmer amassed an impressive $65,583 in the 2011/2012 Qualifying Series. The pair competed in 17 International Derby classes and chalked up five wins and 13 top 12 placings.

Joining Danta for the next award was Lynn Jayne, President of the USHJA Foundation, and Shawna Dietrich, President of Dietrich Equine Insurance to present the Emerson Burr Perpetual Trophy –also donated by Diane Carney. This trophy along with a $500 cash award provided by Dietrich, is presented to the Leading Rider of the International Hunter Derby 2011/2012 Qualifying Series.

"This year’s winner collected a staggering $189,367 – in the HUNTER ring! Congratulations Kelley Farmer." Danta said.

Based in Keswick, VA Farmer competed in 26 Derbies aboard 16 different mounts with five victories and 34 top 12 placings. "I have only my horses and my owners to thank, without them I wouldn’t be standing here. And I have to say USHJA has created something great with this Derby program. It’s fantastic to see hunters bringing people out- making the rings lively and exciting for owners, people watching the derbies and the riders." Farmer said.

The final award of the evening is a new one- the Emerging Professional High Earner-provided by an anonymous donor, this award is to honor the young pro between the ages of 21 and 35. Criteria for the award is that a rider may not have competed or placed in an FEI Grand Prix (excluding Young Riders), never won the Legacy Cup Restricted Pro Final, Emerging Pro Challenge at the Capital Challenge horse show and has never been Champion or Reserve Champion in a Professional Hunter section at 3’6 or higher at any of the following events: Royal Winter Fair, Menlo Charity, Del Mar National, Desert Circuit WCHR Member Event, Devon, Capital Challenge, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show or The National Horse Show. The inaugural winner for the 2011/2012 season is Courtney Calcagnini. Hope Glenn represented the Young Professional’s Committee and presented Courtney with $500 and an engraved picture frame as a keeper trophy.

CALCUTTA
Next up was the much anticipated Derby Calcutta with 50% of all funds donated going to benefit the USHJA Foundation Horseman’s Assistance Fund. But before the Calcutta kicked off there was a very special presentation made to the USHJA Foundation, Ila Lemonis and Kimberly Penfold of Camping World donated $10,000 to support the work of the USHJA Foundation.

With the giving bar set high the bidding began, and the carrot of the remaining 50% of Calcutta bids becoming the jackpot, hands were popping up all around in the hope of winning one of the eight Calcutta teams (each team was made up of approx. 10 Derby Finals horses). This year there will be two big winners: pick the team that includes the horse who is Overall Derby Finals Champion and receive 70% of the jackpot and the bidder whose team includes the horse that wins the Consolation Competition receives 30% of the jackpot. Now if you’re truly lucky and the Consolation team you bid on happens to include the Overall Derby Finals winning horse- you’ll walk away with 100% of the jackpot!

The evening’s big bidder was Laura Mateo who happily spent $8,000 to land Team Six, which includes these exceptional horses; Taken, Clearly, Amadeo, Rex the Wonder Horse, Ovation, Uncle Luc, Mamba, Celebrate, and Eloise. However, the biggest winner this evening is the USHJA Foundation Horseman’s Assistance Fund with the Calcutta raising $40,600 from bids.

CLASSIC HUNTER ROUND
The Classic Hunter Round will kick off tomorrow morning at 8:00am with 81 entries. Keep up to date on the action by following the USHJA on Twitter and Facebook!

LIVE COVERAGE ON SATURDAY
If you can’t make it to the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park to watch the Derby Finals in person- no worries! USEF Network will be live streaming all of Saturday’s action, beginning at 4:00PM with the Consolation Competition followed by the exciting Handy Hunter round that will determine who gets bragging rights as the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Champion.

Visit the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals webpage for schedule, courses and order of go.

Live This Week: The USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals

USEF

August 16, 2012



Watch USEF Network on your computer, smart phone, tablet, or Google TV device. And don't forget to follow USEF Network on Twitter or Facebook for live updates.

Having trouble with the live stream? Email networksupport@usef.org for help.

USHJA Welcomes Steve Stephens as Course Designer for the 2012 Hunter Derby Finals

Presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance

August 14, 2012

Based in Palmetto, FL, Steve Stephens is making his first appearance as course designer for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. Stephens has a resume that reads like a chapter from Who’s Who -a USEF R licensed hunter course designer; 4* FEI course designer; R jumper course designer and judge. Stephens has pretty much done it all, including tenure as the show jumping course designer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Though perhaps best known for his jumper stats it was actually a pair of hunters that helped Stephens launch his illustrious career. In the late 70’s he was asked to work for the late Gene Mische, who saw something special in Stephens and wanted to provide him the opportunity to flourish. A couple of hunters, owned by Mische, aided in drawing attention to Stephens’ talent. With Stephens in the saddle Horse of the Year Touch the Sun, a champion in the Green and Regular Working Hunters amassed an unbelievable 101 consecutive victories, beating on average 50 to 60 entries in each class. Let’s Dance, another incredible ride for Stephens, won Horse of the Year titles in both the Green and Regular Working Hunters divisions in the same year, along with numerous other national awards. Despite later joining the United States Equestrian Team and enjoying a successful career as an International Grand Prix rider, Steve’s always dabbled in the Hunter world. In 2011, Stephens was awarded the USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Course Designer Perpetual trophy by USHJA as designer of the year, making him the fourth individual to ever receive the accolade.
 


“I really do feel qualified to build the Derby Finals, because I did a lot of hunter riding myself. Touch of Sun probably still holds the record for most consecutive wins and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Such a great horse, he was champion with other riders after me- professional and down to even the amateur owner and junior divisions. I was honored to have the opportunity to ride such a horse.” Stephens said.

Stephens’ other passion lies in creating and building show jumps. With his artistic talents, drive and insatiable appetite for producing the unusual, it was an easy transition into course designing. He believed building his career on a solid foundation was the key to reaching his goal of becoming a World Class designer. Early in his career he studied with and assisted such renowned designers as Dr. Arno Gego and Bertalan de Nemethy at World Cup Finals and the Olympic Games. Stephens is also certified by the Aachen School of Course Design of Germany.

Regarding his debut at this year’s International Hunter Derby Finals Stephens said, “I was really honored to get the phone call from Bill to ask me would I design the Finals and to be chosen by the committee- I do appreciate it. To put it into perspective, the Hunter Derby Finals is the Hunter Olympics. At least I feel this is what it needs to be. The ultimate course-the ultimate test-the ultimate reward to the horse that wins the finals of the derby should be the best honor. Whatever combination wins it, it’s a super honor to keep that title for a year.”

Calling upon his experience as a competitor provides Steve a deep understanding and an appreciation for what both riders and horses endure on a course. Since the inception of the USHJA International Hunter Derbies, Steve has been drawn back into the Hunter world creating some of the most intriguing and visually beautiful natural courses for Derbies at venues such as Winter Equestrian Festival, Lake Placid, Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show and this year’s International Hunter Derby Finals.

Without giving away too much of his vision for this year’s course, Stephens did share some of the thoughts behind the layouts.

“Bobby [Murphy- course designer] has done a great job getting the program off the ground. He’s done wonderful work, he’s done a lot of theme work and I might say that mine won’t be as much a theme as what we’ve had over the past years. I’d like to go out and concentrate on getting a wonderful course and get some good high scores out of the quality of horses- let them perform and let the judges judge it. We’ve got some wonderful horses that participate in these events and some great hunter riders. I’m excited to get started and already counting the days down!” Stephens said.

USHJA is delighted and honored to have Steve Stephens as the course designer for this year’s International Hunter Derby Finals. Visit the Derby Finals page to learn more.

Photo Credit: Steve Stephens ©Flashpoint Photography
*Photo may only be used in relation to this press release

Limited Edition International Hunter Derby Finals Poster by Artist Jan Lukens Now Available

July 17, 2012

Lexington, KY- Renowned equestrian artist Jan Lukens has immortalized last year’s $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals champion Lillie Keenan on canvas. This beautiful piece is also the artwork for the 2012 Derby Finals poster which is now available at the shop USHJA web site.

There will be two offerings of this unique colorful poster; shopUSHJA.com with unsigned copies available for $10 each and a signed, limited edition version of the poster will also be offered at $20 each. Limited to only 200, the signed posters will feature the signatures of both the artist Jan Lukens and the winner of the 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, Lillie Keenan.

The posters will also be available for purchase at the USHJA headquarters in the Kentucky Horse Park and at the USHJA booth during the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals August 17 and 18, 2012.
 2011 International Hunter Derby Poster


Based in Greensboro, NC, Lukens has created an oil rendering of Lillie and mount
C Coast Z jumping in last year’s event, which will be on display in the lobby of the USHJA headquarters during the Derby Finals. Lukens was awarded a painting exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC in 1991 after taking top honors in a national portrait competition. This success fueled his decision to leave an illustrious advertising career behind for a life in the fine arts, something the artist has never regretted. His work has been featured on the covers of The Chronicle of the Horse, in the pages of The Artists' magazine, The Equine Image, Ink, and many other notable publications.

USHJA feels very fortunate to have Jan Lukens artwork as the focal point of the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals poster.

"I have known Jan Lukens for over 30 years, since my time living and teaching in North Carolina and we actually have one of his prints here in the office. He contacted me in early February to tell me that the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, VA added one of his equestrian portraits to their permanent collection on January 31. And to quote Jan: "This is the painter's equivalent of a musician winning a Grammy." I followed up with email congratulations and commissioned a portrait of my dog. He mentioned that he would love to do a painting for us of last year’s winner for the Derby prize list cover and that we could create a poster from it to benefit the Derby program. Needless to say we jumped at the opportunity. He and Lillie Keenan have very graciously agreed to sign a number of the posters that we will have for sale, making those even a more special memento of the Derby." Shelby French, CEO of USHJA said.

Visit the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals August 17 and 18 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. To grab your own 2012 Finals poster be sure to check out shopUSHJA.com and to learn more about equestrian artist Jan Lukens’ work visit www.janlukens.com.

World Equestrian Brands Awards Sponsor for the 2012 National Hunter Derby

March 23, 2012

Lexington, KY - The United States Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce World Equestrian Brands as the Awards Sponsor for the 2012 USHJA National Hunter Derby program.

“We are delighted to have World Equestrian Brands as the first sponsor for the National Hunter Derby program. It is exciting for the National Hunter Derby exhibitors to have World Equestrian Brands recognize their achievements.” stated Shelby French, CEO of USHJA.

Modeled from the popular International Hunter Derby program, the USHJA developed this separate series of competitions geared toward the up-and-coming horses and riders. The National Hunter Derby program was launched in 2010 to provide both horses and riders a place to gain experience in Derby type competition at a lower height and difficulty level.

At the conclusion of the competition year USHJA will recognize the top 10 nationally ranked horses in the National Hunter Derbies, with the overall winner receiving a World Equestrian Brands package which includes an Amerigo Vega Special saddle, Amerigo Leathers, Amerigo Special Jump girth, Mattes Hunter pad, Equilibrium Fetlock boots and Equilibrium Ankle boots. Horses placing second through tenth will receive a World Equestrian Brands package containing a Vespucci Bridle and Mattes Correction Half Pad.

“World Equestrian Brands is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the USHJA and the National Hunter Derby Program. The Hunter Derby is a great way to see the talents and capabilities of the horse and rider combinations. It is a perfect partnership for all of our brands, Amerigo, Mattes, Vespucci, and Equilibrium, because these products shine when the level of difficulty increases, and it is evident that the equipment we use on our horses really does influence success. Tack matters.” Robin Moore, owner of World Equestrian Brands said.

USHJA National Hunter Derbies are open to any horse or pony registered with USHJA. To receive Zone Horse of the Year bonus points horses, ponies and owners must be actively recorded with USEF and USHJA. Riders must fill out the official USHJA Declaration Form in the horse show office of the event where they are competing in a National Hunter Derby.

For additional information on the 2012 USHJA National Hunter Derby Program please visit www.ushja.org or contact Kelley Mallery at kmallery@ushja.org or 859.225.6717.

About World Equestrian Brands; Based in Buena Vista, VA- The mission at World Equestrian Brands, LLC is to provide world class, high performance equestrian products with hassle-free, personalized service backed by the experience of a team of riders.

WEB is dedicated to the equine industry and is continuously taking steps to be involved in the industry’s many facets. As riders, WEB is regularly reaching out to other riders, competitors, organizers, and retail stores to listen to their needs and the problems they are trying to solve with their equipment. WEB works very closely with many equine associations including USHJA and the USEA to support the equine industry and get feedback from different disciplines in the English market.

To learn more about World Equestrian Brands line of quality products please visit them at www.worldequestrianbrands.com or call 1-888-6EQUINE (1-888-637-8463).

Dietrich Equine Insurance Continues Support of the USHJA International Hunter Derby

September 1, 2011

USHJA is pleased to announce that Dietrich Equine Insurance will continue its support of the USHJA International Hunter Derby Series and Finals for the 2011/2012 season as Presenting Sponsor. Dietrich Equine Insurance has been a Major Sponsor of the “Derby” since its inception in 2008 and increased their support this past August to become the Presenting Sponsor of the 2011 Derby Finals.

Shawna Dietrich, Founder of Dietrich Equine Insurance, shared her excitement about the new role as Presenting Sponsor, “The International Hunter Derby is something I am personally passionate about. The Derby has breathed fresh air into the hunters by creating a class with a modern perspective that honors the roots of the sport. It has been a thrill to watch the “Derby” take off and know that I am able to personally contribute to the continued growth of this amazing class.”

USHJA CEO, Shelby French built on Shawna’s sentiments, “USHJA has been fortunate to attract sponsors who share a dedication to excellence. Dietrich Equine Insurance has been a perfect fit for the Derby and Shawna’s commitment to the program has been an added benefit. USHJA could not be happier to have a presenting sponsor for the Derby that cares about the program just as much as we do.”

The International Hunter Derby completed its 3rd series on August 20 when Lillie Keenan and C Coast Z sailed to victory. The 2011/2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance began on June 2, 2011 and will continue through June 1, 2012 with the series Finals occurring in August of 2012. For complete schedule details please visit the USHJA website.

About Dietrich Equine Insurance: Based in Louisville, KY- Formed in 1978 to offer the sport horse community numerous comprehensive equine related insurance products on a more personal and professional level. Staying abreast of the latest market trends enables Dietrich Equine Insurance to provide programs accommodating your individual requirements, through qualified companies at competitive premium prices. To learn about Dietrich Equine Insurance’s line of quality products please visit them at www.dietrich-insurance.com or call 800-942-4258.

Keenan Coasts To Victory In USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals

August 20, 2011

Lexington, KY—It was no surprise that the third annual $100,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby Finals concluded with a thrilling finish. After all, the 2010-11 series finale brought many of the nation’s top show hunters to the Bluegrass State, where they vied for the title tonight over a masterful course with a Kentucky Horse Farm theme.

In the end, 14-year-old Lillie Keenan and C Coast Z topped a star-studded field with 765.50 points in front of an appreciative crowd of close to 900 and thousands more from every continent (except Antarctica) who tuned in live online via the USEF Network. Scott Stewart guided Fashion Farm’s Declaration to second place with 758, while Tammy Provost and Carlson claimed third with 725.50.
“This is amazing. Winning this really hasn’t sunk in,” said Keenan, who trains with Andre Dignelli and Patricia Griffith of Heritage Farm. “I couldn’t give my horse more credit. He’s a wonderful, wonderful horse. He wanted to win as much as I did, and he took care of me. I love him.”

Although Scott Stewart was the odds-on favorite after placing four of his mounts in the top six in the qualifier yesterday, he entered the Classic Round with a clean slate, as did the other top-25 competitors who qualified from the field of 59 starters. Keenan qualified two of her mounts, Madison and C Coast Z, respectively, in the fourth- and fifth-placed spots.

Tonight’s courses in the Sheila C. Johnson Ring at the Rolex Stadium featured a farm-themed setting, designed by Bobby Murphy (KY) and Patrick Rodes (TX). The fences and decorations created a feeling of cantering through a Kentucky Thoroughbred farm, complete with a tack room, stables and paddocks. The fence heights ranged from 3’6 to 4’ and offered riders an opportunity to pick up bonus points by taking any one or all of the four optional fences set from 4’ to 4’3.

Bettors may have still had their money on Stewart after tonight’s Classic Round, however, when he and Carlos-Boy topped the field with a beautifully consistent round. Keenan and C Coast Z placed second, while her trainer, Patricia Griffith, claimed third aboard Sienna.

The final Handy Round shook up the standings, though, with riders taking chances, angling fences and galloping all out in an effort to make an impression on judges, Scott Hofstetter (FL), Otis Brown (KY), Russell Frey (MD), Julie Winkel (NV), Carleton Brooks (CA), Jimmy Torano (FL), Jim Clapperton (MI) and Mike Rosser (NC).

Winkel was impressed with Keenan from the moment she walked in the ring. “She rode to win. She was consistent, and you could see the teamwork between her and her horse,” said Winkel.
Stewart, the final rider on course, couldn’t catch Keenan when Carlos-Boy, 16, a veteran grand prix show jumper, acted up on course to eventually place fifth. “He thought he was in a jump-off,” said Stewart simply.

Provost, Westfield, IN, and Alliy Moyer’s Carlson moved up to third with a beautiful, bold round that drew cheers and whistles from the spectators. “This was one of his best rounds,” said Provost of the 7-year-old Hanoverian. “I couldn’t have asked him to be better.

Keenan, New York, NY, has owned C Coast Z for two years. She originally purchased the 11-year-old gray warmblood, owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC, as an equitation prospect. The former jumper turned out to have an affinity for the hunters, though, and that’s where they’ve allowed him to blossom under Keenan’s guidance.

“She’s been awesome to teach since she was 7 years old,” said Dignelli. “My advice to her going in the handy round was to ride like Jen Alfano. Go in and ride like you want to win.”
In addition to her victory, Keenan earned the top junior award, and Susan Baker, who guided Tell All to 14th, the best amateur performance.
The USHJA thanks its generous sponsors Dietrich Equine Insurance, Charles Owen, Frantisi Incorporated/Grand Prix, Dover Saddlery, The Clothes Horse, Essex Classics, G4 Marketing, Telluride Farm, McGuinn Farms Ann K. Hubbard’s and Texas High Performance Series.

To learn more about Dietrich Equine Insurance’s line of quality products, please visit them at www.dietrich-insurance.com or call 800-942-4258.
For additional information on the 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, Presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, please visit www.ushja.org.

Stewart & Keenan Dominate During USHJA Hunter Derby Finals Qualifying

Catch the Finals live Saturday night on the USEF Network!

August 19, 2011

Lexington, KY-After 59 contenders concluded the qualifying round of the $100,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby Finals, presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, it was Scott Stewart and Lillie Keenan who took the lion's share of the awards. Stewart placed his mounts in the top-three positions, while Keenan finished in fourth and fifth.
With the top-25 pairs returning for action with clean slates on Saturday, August 20, you can watch the excitement of the final two rounds live on the Internet. The USHJA, in partnership with the USEF Network, is providing a free live webcast of Saturday evening's activities, beginning with the opening ceremonies at 6:25PM.



Photo Credit: Shawn McMillen Photography



Viewers will be treated to the Parade of the Top 25, the carriage arrival of the officials, a mounted color guard, and a special guest to sound the arrival of the first horse on course. No need to search the Internet for results during or after the show-just sign on to www.usefnetwork.com at 6:25PM and enjoy the event live!

The qualifying round featured a course of 12 obstacles designed by Bobby Murphy (KY) and Patrick Rodes (TX). Created to simulate a hunt field-using natural fences such as logs, hay bales and stone walls-the heights ranged from 3'6 to 4' and offered riders an opportunity to pick up bonus points by taking any one or all of the four optional fences set from 4' to 4'3.
The judges included Scott Hofstetter (FL), Otis Brown (KY), Russell Frey (MD), Julie Winkel (NV), Carleton Brooks (CA), Jimmy Torano (FL), Jim Clapperton (MI) and Mike Rosser (NC) who were split into panels of two and placed in strategic positions around the arena.
At the halfway point, Keenan, New York, NY, one of the youngest competitors at age 14, led the pack aboard the brilliant 9-year-old warmblood mare Madison, owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC. "I loved the course; it was a true hunter course. It reminded me of the pictures of my mom when she was a kid riding an outside course," said Keenan, who scored 354 points.

The 35th horse in the order, Carlos-Boy, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding and veteran grand prix show jumper who has transitioned to the hunter derbies, was in complete harmony with Stewart and garnered a score of 366 to take the lead.

"I thought the course was great. I thought for once I couldn't complain if I had a bad day, because it was really huntery and exactly what I would expect this type of class to be," Stewart said.

Eight rides later aboard the 9-year-old bay Westphalian gelding Declaration (owned by Fashion Farm), Stewart, Wellington, FL, jumped into second
place with a score of 364.50. "He [Declaration] has been doing the amateurs with his owner, and, to be honest, I haven't jumped him myself since last winter in Florida," said Stewart. "He was great today."

The final 11 horses in the order included many favored to qualify for the top 25; however, a few stunned the crowds when they fell short of advancing. Not so for either Keenan or Stewart. Keenan's next mount, C Coast Z, an 11-year-old gray warmblood also owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC, posted a 351.65 for fifth, while Stewart's greenest mount, 8-year-old Empire (owned by Becky Gochman), cinched a top-three sweep for Stewart with a 363.50. "He did great, and I couldn't be more proud of him," Stewart said of the youngster.

Check out the Order of Go for the Top 25 headed into the Classic Round on Saturday evening, and don't forget to visit www.usefnetwork.com beginning at 6:25PM to catch all the excitement of the Finals live.
To learn more about Dietrich Equine Insurance's line of quality products, please visit them at www.dietrich-insurance.com or call 800-942-4258.

For additional information on the 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, Presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, please visit www.ushja.org.

Derby Finals Media Credential Applications Due August 12

Presented By Dietrich Equine Insurance

August 2, 2011

Lexington, KY- Members of the media wishing to provide coverage of the 2011 $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance are required to submit an application by noon on August 12, 2011. This event will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY August 19-20, 2011.

The USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals are the culmination of the Derby Series with the Nation’s best of the best converging on Kentucky to showcase their talents. Seventy-five of the most elite Hunter equine athletes will vie for their stake in the $100,000 purse.

To request a draft of the event’s schedule, or if you are unable to attend the event, but would like a media kit, please contact Robbi Meisel at rmeisel@ushja.org. For more information about the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals please visit the USHJA website.


Medial Credential Application (PDF)

Dietrich Equine Insurance Presenting Sponsor for the 2011 Derby Finals

July 27, 2011

Lexington, KY- The United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) is pleased to announce Dietrich Equine Insurance as the Presenting Sponsor for 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals.
“Dietrich Equine Insurance has been an avid supporter of the International Hunter Derby Program since its inception and it is exciting that they will continue that support as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2011 Derby Finals.” stated Shelby French, CEO of USHJA.

Each year since 2009 the top 75 horses, on the money won qualifying list from across the country are invited to compete for the prestigious title of Champion and vie for a share of the $100,000 purse at the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. The fan base of this event grows with every new season, helped greatly by committed sponsors such as Dietrich Equine Insurance. Spectators coming to the Kentucky Horse Park for the event will enjoy three rounds of competition, beginning with the Qualifying Round in which all 75 horses compete. The top 25 competitors (including those tied for 25th place) will advance to the Classic Hunter Round which features classic hunter type jumps. The top 12 from the Classic Hunter Round will then move into the Handy Hunter Round. This final course will simulate a hunt, composed of handy options such as tight turns and clever jump options.

“I am thrilled to continue my support of the USHJA International Hunter Derby. Show hunters have always been special in my heart; this is why I started in the business. When Diane Carney, came to me four years ago, about this new, unique program, I immediately said to sign me up as a sponsor. Many of our insurance clients have participated in the qualifying classes, as well as the Finals. It is a joy to support our customers in this exciting manner. In addition, I am pleased that the show hunters are now showcased in their own special fashion. And what better place to show and shine, than at the Kentucky Horse Park, right in my back yard!” Shawna Dietrich, founder of Dietrich Equine Insurance stated.

About Dietrich Equine Insurance; Based in Louisville, KY- Formed in 1978 to offer the sport horse community numerous comprehensive equine related insurance products on a more personal and professional level. Staying abreast of the latest market trends enables Dietrich Equine Insurance to provide programs accommodating your individual requirements, through qualified companies at competitive premium prices. To learn more about Dietrich Equine Insurance’s line of quality products please visit them at www.dietrich-insurance.com or call 800-942-4258.

The 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance will be held August 19-20th in Lexington, KY at the Kentucky Horse Park.

2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Specifications Announced

Author: Mollie Bailey

June 8, 2011

The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association released the specifications for the 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, to be held Aug. 19-20 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.

The competition will follow a similar format to the previous two years, with the top 75 horses in the series from the 2010-2011 season invited to compete in the qualifying round on Aug. 19. The top 25 horses from the qualifying round will return for the classic round on Aug. 20 with a clean slate, and the top 12 of those horses will compete in the handy round. The total points from the classic and handy rounds will determine the overall placings.

Last year’s competition was held in the indoor Alltech Arena due to upgrades at the Horse Park in preparation for the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games, but the 2011 Finals will return to the outdoor Sheila C. Johnson Arena, the site of the inaugural Finals.

The new specifications clarify tie-breaking procedures at the Finals and call for two jogs: one on Aug. 18 and another on Aug. 20 for the 25 horses advancing to the classic and handy rounds.

On June 5, Devon (Pa.) hosted the final derby in the 2010-2011 series. Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano were the winners.

Visit The Chronicle of the Horse for entire press release.

National Show Hunter Hall of Fame - "2010 International Hunter Derby of the Year"

April 21, 2011


USHJA International Hunter Derby 2010 Finals named "2010 International Hunter Derby of the Year" by the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame
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Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy Light Up the Night

$50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

April 2, 2011

Wellington, FL - Jennifer Alfano and SBS Farms' Jersey Boy have led the USHJA International Hunter Derby program since its inception, winning classes all over the country in the last few years and proving their expertise in the handy rounds and finesse over the jumps. Tonight was no different, as the pair jumped their way to victory in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during the twelfth and final "Saturday Night Lights" event at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.

Competition for the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby began on Friday afternoon in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring where sixty of the nation's most talented horses and riders jumped the first round course. The top twenty five were invited back to compete under the lights in the International Arena this evening, coming back in reverse order from lowest to highest returning scores.

Presented by Dietrich Insurance and Hosted by Tailored Sportsman, the class was held in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The series is also generously supported by Charles Owen & Co., Dover Saddlery, The Clothes Horse, and Essex Classics.

Tonight's beautiful handy course, reminiscent of a scenic country farm complete with picket fences, fresh water ponds, banks, brush walls, and stone columns, was designed by Bobby Murphy and Skip Bailey.

Judging was done by three panels, with each panel awarding scores out of 100 and additional bonus points for height options and handiness. Tonight's overall score was combined with scores from yesterday to give each horse and rider their two round total. Panel one was made up of judges Kitty Barker and Danny Robertshaw, Panel two included John Barker and Paddy Downing Nyegard, and Panel three included Jim Clapperton and Scott Fitton.

Prizes were awarded through twelfth place in tonight's class with the top finisher receiving $15,000 for the winner's share. After finishing second to Scott Stewart and Empire in round one, Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY, and Jersey Boy moved to the top with their fantastic trip over tonight's course. The pair scored a 188 in round one with scores of 94 from both judges, including points for high options. A 325 in the handy round pushed them into the lead for a two round total of 513. The pair took all four high options over tonight's course as well and earned a 9 and two 10s for handiness to add to their scores of 97, 92, and 95 from the three judging panels.

Stewart, of Flemington, NJ, and Empire, owned by Becky Gochman, finished round one with a 189.5 with scores of 94 and 89.5 plus bonus points for three height options. They then finished tonight's round with a 318 to total 507.5 for second place. The pair took all four high options tonight and scored 95, 91, and 92 from the judges with additional handiness points of eight, ten, and ten.

In an exciting move from ninth to third place overall, Holly Orlando of Wellington, FL, rode Sailor's Valentine, owned by Westerly Farm, to a two round total of 472.5. The pair had a score of 177 coming into tonight's competition and finished with a 295.5 over the handy course to jump to the top three in the standings.

Louise Serio and Rock Star, owned by Bright Star 158, LLC, finished in fourth place overall with a score of 466. Kimberly McCormack and Sundance jumped from eighteenth place in round one to third place in the round two standings and placed fifth overall with a total of 465.10. Scott Stewart and Carlos Boy, owned by Alexa Weisman, had an overall score of 452 to place sixth.

A winner of hunter derby classes all over the country, Jersey Boy has been highly praised for his style, handiness, expression, and most of all, his talent. The nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (by White Star) has become a national sensation for his derby fame. With the guidance of his fantastic rider, Jennifer Alfano, Jersey Boy seems to meet every challenge. He is a specialist in the unique derby setting and becomes a total professional when he sets his mind to the distinctive courses. Alfano thought he handled the course flawlessly tonight and explained that he did well throughout the week.

"In the first High Performance class he was a little naughty, but he was great in the Working Hunters. I thought yesterday in the first round, he was really good. He's a funny horse; you know when he's on," she laughed. "All week here, he definitely felt like he was on. From the first jump, you can usually tell with him, and tonight he felt amazing. Tonight I could feel his energy, and he knew it was big. He knew even right from the beginning in the schooling area. Usually when you walk in the ring and pick up the canter, how he takes you to the first jump can tell you a lot. He was alert and bright, but not starstruck."

Jersey Boy, known to many as Lewis, has a good luck charm that some may not know about. A special braid with a small jewel is braided into his mane before every derby class for good luck. Alfano jokes that it his "pony bling." Jersey Boy may not need luck with the amazing talent he brings to the table, but Alfano admits that he can be a challenge sometimes.

"He is so scopey, and everything he has done in life has been so easy for him, which is why he can goof around," she stated. "He doesn't have to put forth a lot of effort usually, but the derbies are harder for him. Like tonight, he really had to focus on the task at hand. The derbies have been a great, great thing for him. Just jumping eight jumps gives him a lot of time to think about what he could do wrong. Being able to turn right to the first jump like that and go on with it sort of sets the tone for him; then he's really thinking. He just needs a challenge."

Commenting further on the night's course, Alfano noted, "I liked the course, but I have a very seasoned derby horse; he has done a lot of these. I know he's always going to rise to the occasion. He's seen everything, so it worked out great for me and it suited my horse."

Tonight was very special for third place rider Holly Orlando. This was Orlando's first time competing in a hunter derby class, and she was very pleased with her finish. Orlando just started riding Sailor's Valentine at the beginning of the WEF circuit, and although the horse had great experience with Louise Serio last year, he is a new mount that she is still getting to know.

"I thought my horse was great. I've never done a derby before and I am glad it went well!" Orlando smiled after the class. "He rose to the challenge and I was thrilled with him; he couldn't have been better. It was my first derby and I really wasn't sure what to expect. For my first one, I was relieved that it went well and I thought it looked beautiful and it rode nicely."

Orlando noted that although Sailor's Valentine is a new ride, she could see him being a specialty horse like Jersey Boy. "He is very scopey and he is a good jumper," she stated. "You have to open up his stride a bit to get down the first line and then he wakes up and you have to contain him after that. I think that, like Jersey Boy, if he gets more experience, he could be more of a special derby horse. He's very brave, but you just have to keep his brain where it should be. He's so much fun!"

See complete press release & photos.

Stewart and Empire Wow the Crowd

With Their High Scores in the Qualifying Round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Brooke Bidgood for Equestrian Sport Productions

April 1, 2011

Wellington, FL - It was an important day for hunters at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Sixty entries took their shot at a chance to compete in the $50,000 USHJA Hunter Derby, one of the biggest purses offered for hunter competitors in the world. The class began this afternoon in the E.R.Mische Grand Hunter Ring. With a large number of spectators standing by, each horse and rider combination took their turn over a course of eleven jumps, with four high option fences.

There were two teams of judges - Danny Robertshaw and Jim Clapperton (Panel 1 - tiebreaker), John Barker and Scott Williamson (Panel 2) - one team on either side of the ring. Each team of judges awarded a numerical score plus a bonus point for each high option fence that was jumped. The sum of the scores was given as each rider's final score for the first round of competition.

Scott Stewart wasted no time getting down to business on the first of his six mounts in the class. Going fourth in the order, Stewart led the Fashion Farm's entry Dedication to a combined score of 186, which was good enough to leave the pair in fourth overall going into tomorrow night. "Dedication is a First Year horse, who has been champion a few times here. He's very scopey and very easy, but he just turned six, so he's still pretty green. I was very happy with him," beamed Stewart.

It wasn't until Stewart went on the last of his six mounts that he secured the lead for round one of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Empire, an entry of Becky Gochman, left the crowd and the judges speechless as he exited the ring. Empire and Stewart secured a score of 94 plus 3 bonus points from the first pair of judges, and an 89.5 plus 3 bonus points from the second pair of judges, giving the winning duo a total score of 189.5 to take the class. "What made me decide to do it on him was a couple weeks ago I was schooling him out here, and we put the jumps up pretty high, and he just did it so easily," Stewart explained about his decision to show the young Empire in the derby.

Adding a little icing to the cake, Victoria Colvin rode Stewart's horse Inclusive to the third place ribbon after today's first round class. The pair left the ring with a combined score of 186.

Stewart doesn't anticipate any problems with tomorrow's second round in the International Arena under the lights. "He was champion in World Hunter Rider Week out there, so hopefully he'll be good tomorrow night," smiled Stewart. "He's just very brave."

The course was comprised of natural looking obstacles, some which have not been used yet this winter in the hunter rings. Most contained some form of hedge, shrubbery, or wall as well. Stewart shared his views of today's course. "I thought it was nice. I was a little worried about the brick wall at the end, but I don't think anybody had too much trouble with that. The rest was really huntery and nice, I thought."

With four high options throughout the course, most riders chose to do all or none of them. However, Stewart opted to do three high options, leaving out the first one. "The first high option was so early in the course, and it rode quite big away from the gate. I was afraid with most of my horses that they would try too hard and get playful, so I played it safe. The others were more inviting," he explained.

Now that today's course is history, riders have to look forward to tomorrow night's course, which is sure to be even more impressive, with impressive jumps and a longer course. "Last year's course was very huntery, nice, and flowing. I'm hoping this year's will be the same thing, and just a fun class," stated Stewart about his expectations for tomorrow night.

All of the riders in today's qualifying round worked hard to make the top twenty-five, and now those riders have to work even harder to get a piece of tomorrow night's very large purse. The $50,000 in prize money is a rarity in the hunter ring, and gives riders and owners the opportunity to take home a nice prize and some good recognition too. "I think its great," said Stewart. "To be at night again is fabulous, and hopefully there will be good attendance."

Join the crowd tomorrow night as the top 25 vie for the number one spot in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. For those that are away and unable to attend, the class will be aired live on the USEF Network at the following web address: http://www.usefnetwork.com/WEFDerby2011/.

See complete press release and photos.

USHJA International Hunter Derby 2012-13 Host Applications

March 16, 2011

Applications for the USHJA International Hunter Derby 2012-13 Series Hosts will open June 1, 2011 with a deadline of August 1, 2011. The August deadline will allow the USHJA to announce selected Host Competitions earlier than in previous years and provide those Competitions the maximum benefit of USHJA advertising for their event. The USHJA International Hunter Derby 2012-13 Series begins June 2, 2012 and concludes June 1, 2013. Host application packets will be available on the International Hunter Derby homepage.

2010/2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Returns To Kentucky Horse Park

November 15, 2010

The United States Hunter Jumper Association announced on Nov. 15 that the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, now in its third year, will return to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The finals are scheduled for August 19-20, with Round 1 taking place on the 19th and Rounds 2 and 3 on the evening of the 20th. This year, the finals will relocate to the KHP’s outdoor Johnson Arena, where the inaugural finals were held.

"The inaugural finals were nothing short of spectacular. In the Johnson Arena, the creativity of course designers Bobby Murphy and Patrick Rodes played a huge role in making the event so special. The sizable outdoor arena with the lakeside view helped create a thrilling yet traditional venue. The USHJA High Performance Committee is excited to bring the Derby finals back to the Johnson arena," said Ron Danta, chairman of the USHJA High Performance Hunter Committee.

The top 75 horses in the USHJA International Hunter Derby standings qualify to compete in Round 1. They’ll be judged over a course that includes natural fences with height and handy options. The top 25 horses, who showed the most brilliance and handiness, qualify to compete on the second day. Round 2 tests the riders' abilities to showcase their horses over a classic hunter course that determines the top-12 horses for Round 3. The top 12 compete over an exciting handy hunter course that decides the champion.

The USHJA International Hunter Derby series and finals were created to bring show hunters to the international level, to increase spectator, media and sponsorship interest, and to bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of showing hunters.

Visit the USHJA website for the 2010/2011 International Hunter Derby series schedule, class specifications, and current standings.

Over 1000 Spectators Attend the USHJA Hunter Derby Demonstration at WEG

October 4, 2010

Lexington, KY - The USHJA International Hunter Derby made its debut to the world this morning, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Four of the country’s top hunter riders, demonstrated and educated over 1000 spectators about the exciting International Hunter Derby. The course, which demonstrated the tight turns necessary for a handy hunter, a variety of derby fences and the hand gallop, was designed by Bobby Murphy.

The USHJA demo riders were: Jen Alfano and Jersey Boy, Peter Pletcher and Argentum, Louise Serio and Rock Star, Liza Boyd and Brunello and Tammy Provost and Peridot. Today’s performance was with four of riders including fan favorite, Peter Pletcher who expressed his excitement about showcasing the hunters during the Games.

“It was amazing and I thought it was great. The crowd was so much bigger than I had thought it would be, and it was so much fun.” Said Pletcher. “It was such an enthusiastic crowd, the kids loved it and the autograph signing was a huge hit and all the kids were talking about wanting to ride hunters.”

Commentators for the demonstration were Danny Robertshaw and Chairman of the High Performance Hunter Committee, Ron Danta. Danta shared the goal of the committee in holding this demonstration during the Games. “Our dream is to get Hunters recognized so they will be part of WEG in the future, and this is the first step in doing so,” he said. “It is an incredible opportunity for the American Hunter system to be shown to the world.”

The International Hunter Derby Demonstrations will continue throughout the week in Equine Village behind the USHJA headquarters. Upcoming demonstration will be held on:
Tuesday October 5th at 3pm
Wednesday October 6th at 4pm
Thursday October 7th at 2pm
Friday October 8th at 4 pm
Saturday October 9th at 4 pm
Sunday October 10th at 10am

Tosh, Lonestar Victorious in International Hunter Derby Finals

August 21, 2010

Lexington, KY- Hunt Tosh waited in anticipation after his final round. He’d dominated the first round and after a powerful second round he thought there was a chance this night could be his but it wasn’t until the scores went up that he knew he’d become the winner of the second annual 2010 $100,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals.

It was August 21, the night everyone had been anxiously waiting for and there were only two more rounds to go before Tosh’s victory was secured. Being held in the lovely venue of the indoor arena at the Kentucky Horse Park only added to thrill and to add a touch of class and tradition, black tie dress was asked.

Those who placed in the top 25 after the qualifying round held August 20, battled it out in a Classic Hunter round to determine the top 12. Winner of the qualifier, Scott Stewart, 2nd place Jennifer Alfano, and 3rd place Liza Boyd, were among the few showing. The high scores these riders obtained in the previous round would not help them here, at the start of the second round all points were erased. Everyone started with a clean slate.

Louise Serio, of Kennett Sq., PA kicked off the first of two final rounds, riding Rock Star, a 12-year-old, bay Warmblood. Listen, a 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood, owned by Jane Gaston and ridden by Kelley Farmer, Keswick, VA, claimed the 25th spot.

Louise Serio navigated Rock Star, owned by Bright Star 158 LLC, through a beautiful course, earning a 348, but it was the 10th spot rider, out of Camden, SC, Liza Boyd and Brunello who stole the show early on bringing in an incredible 384. Three rides later however Hunt Tosh, of Alpharetta, GA, did what was thought impossible, he upped the bar a whole 10 points, earning a 394, on Lone Star.

After all 25 navigated over the hedges, through the circle of hay bales, under the arch and around the gazebo a winner was announced. Hunt Tosh and Lone Star, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, could not be beat out. Scoring an unbelievable 394 left a comfortable margin between Tosh and the rest. Coming in close were Liza Boyd on Brunello (384) and Scott Stewart on Summer Place (375).

The talented 12 were the lucky recipients of stall plaques, Charles Owen Helmets and Essex gift certificates, along with being able to compete in the final round.

Those that made the cut didn’t have long to rest before the next round. The third and final round was a Handy Hunter- type class and took place right after the completion of round two. The scores from the both classes were added together to come up with a final winner.

Exceptional hunter riding was showcased throughout the class starting off with Maggie Jayne, Elquin, IL and Sander, owned by Pony Lane Farm, who had a final score of 736. However, it was 12-year-old Victoria Colvin, who really won the crowd over, on her trip with World Time, getting a score of 403, which when combined with her other round gave her an overall score of 756. However, Tosh and partner Lonestar managed to stay on top, becoming the 2010 International Hunter Derby Finals Champion.

When the class was over and Hunt could reflect on the night his wife Mandy and 4-year-old daughter Madison watched proudly as Hunt spoke about the courses he negotiated and how his talented horse Lone Star put the icing on the cake this night after an incredible 2010 line up of victories. In the first round Tosh put Lone Star to the test but after his 394 score he decided “to play it safe so I could just hang in there, he later commented.

Coming in Second was the winner from yesterday’s qualifying round, Scott Stewart on Summer Place. “I just had to go for it,” quoted Stewart, which in fact worked for him. He took all the high options and didn’t play it safe.

The third-place title was owned Liza Boyd on Brunello, who only had one thing she would change about her ride. “I would have ridden him to the base of the one fence a little more, but who knows, then something else could have happened.”

The champion Tosh was awarded with the Wrenwood Farms crystal trophy donated by Wrenwood Farms and Mrs. Jenny Sutton. The winning rider received the Beaver River Farm Perpetual trophy donated by Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw. Champion and Reserve, Scott Stewart were honored with a custom bit box designed exclusively for the USHJA Hunter Derby Finals by McQuinn Farms.

Sponsoring this event: Title Sponsor: The Chronicle of the Horse, Presenting Sponsor: Dietrich and Company Insurance, Major Sponsors: Charles Owen, Inc., Dover Saddlery, Award Sponsors: Ann Hubbard Tack Shop, Essex Classics, The Clothes Horse, DermaSpa RX EQ, Frantisi & Grand Prix, Personalized Products, McGuinn Farms, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.

Year two of the Derby Finals brought many thousands of spectators to the Finals both onsite and online. As a result of the popularity and the excitement generated by the Finals, the online viewing provided by EquestiranLife.com had over ten times as many viewers as the inaugural year. USHJA and Equestrian Life apologize for any delays members and enthusiasts may have experienced accessing the live feed of the Finals. We encourage everyone to continue to visit EquestrianLife.com/derby to view all of the rounds, which will remain available for reviewers to enjoy.

USHJA Officially Opens Building with Ribbon Cutting

August 20, 2010

Lexington, KY- The United States Hunter Jumper Association officially opened its new headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY August 20 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a donor reception.

The evening also featured a Calcutta auction of the top 25 Derby horses and the order of go for round two of the $100,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. August 21 at the new Indoor Arena, was released. The top 25 will then be cut to the final 12 for the Handy Hunter round, beginning at 8 p.m.

“The USHJA has always prided itself on offering every member a voice and an opportunity to be a part of the equestrian community. The development of these headquarters was no exception,” said USHJA president Bill Moroney as he welcomed the many USHJA Foundation donors into the new headquarters. “We have received incredible support from our community through general donations and purchases of bricks, trees, and benches.”

The USHJA started its journey to recognition as the National and FEI Affiliate for the Hunter/Jumper discipline in 2003 and was awarded the national affiliate for hunters and jumpers in July 2004. The “Building for Growth” capital campaign began in September 2008, and the 14-member staff moved into the building in December 2009.

Many of the charter USHJA “Building for Growth” capital campaign donors were on-hand to celebrate the opening of the new facility.

“We celebrate a growing community of horsemen and horsewomen who have embraced the USHJA for its mission; and we celebrate each and every donor that has given their faith, time and support, as an investment into the future of our sport,” Moroney said.

The Calcutta auction, which divided the top 25 horses into five teams of five horse and rider combinations, raised $12,400 with a portion of the proceeds going to the USHJA Foundation Horsemen’s Assistance Fund.


EquestrianLife.com will provide a free, live streaming broadcast of the Derby and expert commentary of the event with Olympic gold medalist Melanie Smith Taylor and Equestrian Life’s R. Scot Evans to web viewers worldwide via an exclusive International Hunter Derby Finals page at www.equestrianlife.com/derby.

Watch the $100,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals LIVE and FREE Satu

Jennifer Wood for Equestrian Life

August 21, 2010

Lexington, KY – August 21, 2010 – The final two rounds of the 2010 $100,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals is being offered LIVE and FREE! Go to www.equestrianlife.com/derby to watch the final two rounds of the most exciting hunter competition in the country. Equestrian Life’s broadcast will begin online tonight at 6:30 p.m., with the first horse on course at 7:00 p.m.

After a fantastic first round on Friday of 61 horses and riders, the field was narrowed to the top 25. They will return for their classic hunter round tonight. This will be followed by the final round of top 12, who will compete over a compelling and competitive handy hunter course.

Of course, if you missed any of the rounds today, you can watch the replay anytime in its entirety! Equestrian Life had a record amount of live viewers, as well as views of the replay of the event in just the hours since the event finished, so click over to the Equestrian Life website to see what you missed.

All of the live, free webcasts from the 2010 $100,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals feature the engaging and informative commentary from experts Melanie Smith Taylor and R. Scot Evans. A leaderboard on the Equestrian Life Derby page has links to biography pages on the riders and horses competing. The leaderboard is also live and shows up-to-the-round scoring.

You too can be involved at the International Hunter Derby Finals! You do not have to be a member to watch but if you would like to participate in the live chat with others who are watching the competition, just log in as a member to the website, www.equestrianlife.com. Discuss rounds and cheer on your favorite horses and riders. USHJA invites you to participate in this unique experience and be part of the Derby Finals as if you were there.

2010 $100,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Top 25
(to compete tomorrow evening on even scoring)

1. Summer Place, Scott Stewart, Fashion Farm - 377
2. Jersey Boy, Jennifer Alfano, SBS Farms, - 375
3. Brunello, Liza Boyd, Janet Peterson and Liza Boyd - 374
4. The Specialist, Jennifer Alfano, Meredith Lipke - 357.5
5. World Time, Victoria Colvin, Scott Stewart - 356.50
6. Declaration, Scott Stewart, Fashion Farm - 355
7. CR Harbio, Colleen Acosta, Emily Allen - 354
8. C Coast Z, Lillie Keenan, Chansonette Farm-- 352
9. NLF Shakespeare’s Rhythm, Peter Pletcher, Nordic Lights Farm - 351
10. Listen, Kelley Farmer, Jane Gaston — 347.5
11. Peridot, Tammy Provost, Stephen Martines — 346.25
12. Rock Star, Louise Serio, Bright Star — 345.5
13. Francesca, Maggie Jayne, Pony Lane Farm — 344.25
14. Sander, Maggie Jayne, Pony Lane Farm - 344
15. Poetic, Maggie Boylan, Maggie Boylan - 343
16. Castello, Liza Boyd, Roger Smith — 342.5
17. Borealus, Katie Dinan, Katie Dinan — 341.5
18. Early Applause, Maggie Jayne, Pony Lane Farm - 338
19. Taken, Kelley Farmer, Susan Baker — 336.25
20. Maui, Tiffany Morrissey, Kate Goodman — 335.25
21. Lonestar, Hunt Tosh, Dr. Betsee Parker - 330
22. Tell All, Peter Pletcher, Susan Baker — 329.5
23. Castle Rock, Louise Serio, Meralex Farm — 329.25
24. Westview, Peter Pletcher, Eva Bisso — 328.75
25. Colleen Acosta, Posse, Chris Guthrie — 328

Stewart, Summer Place, Lead Way After Derby Round One

Diana DeRosa

August 20, 2010

Lexington, KY- “It has a mini World Cup feel to it,” said USHJA president Bill Moroney after Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL topped the leader board in the qualifying round for the 2010 $100,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals August 20 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Stewart led the way with an impressive ride on Summer Place, an 8-year-old, grey, Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding owned by Fashion Farm, giving him a score of 377. “Once you qualify, you’re good to go,” added Moroney. Stewart agreed saying, “It’s stressful today because you are just trying to qualify, but tomorrow will be fun.”
Those who qualified will move on to the second round August 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. The top 25 will navigate through a classic hunter course, and from there be cut to the top 12, who will then compete in the final showdown.

Coming in close behind Stewart with a score of 375 was two-time series champion Jennifer Alfano, Buffalo, NY, on SBS Farm’s Jersey Boy, an 8-year-old, chestnut, Warmblood gelding. In third was Liza Boyd, of Camden, SC aboard Brunello, a 12-year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding co-owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson, scoring 374.
The new Indoor Arena was the setting for the Hunter Derby Finals. The riders were off to an early start as they all competed over a creative Hunter Derby-style course.

Lillie Keenan, of New York City, NY, was the youngest competitor being only 13-years-old, and the first to go. She set the bar high early on, with her second ride of the day, receiving the first 90 from the judges and an overall score of 352 on C Coast Z. However, one 90 wouldn’t be enough to beat Stewart, after receiving scores of 90,93,94 and 92, Stewart and Summer Place pulled ahead. “My horse was great, it was the first time he’s ever shown in an indoor arena, but he was perfect.”

Alfano was also happy with her horse’s performance, commenting, “My horse (Jersey Boy) can be a little bit spooky but he’s great and an excellent jumper so he can get himself out of situations.”
Boyd let us in on her trick to having a great ride on Brunello saying, “I have to make sure not do overdo it, and just keep him happy. I flatted him lightly and let him eat grass with his bridle on,” Boyd joked. “It’s a big no-no but whatever makes him happy today.”

The course was designed by Bobby Murphy from Lexington, KY and Patrick Rodes of Argyle, TX. The brilliantly crafted jumps gave off the vibe of a real hunt through the woods. Everything in the ring was something that you would see on treks through the forest. There were fallen logs, brush boxes, oxers covered in shrubs, hedges, brick walls and gates that looked as though they were from an old fence. The ring was also beautifully dressed with plants and shrubs all along the outside. Creating a course this detailed wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Kentucky Horse Park explained Rodes, who applauded the huge variety of materials they had to work with.

Each rider got one chance to showcase their brilliance to the eight judges. The judges were looking for fluidity, quality movement and cleverness. The riders had to decide on the long way or the tight turn, the high or the low option, getting back to the traditional hunter.
The Hunter Derby has brought back the hunter tradition, helped to recreate the sport and added more awareness. Not only is it just something for the riders, but it allows for an increased spectator following, along with owners and trainers. “The Derby gets the owners more excited to come and watch,” said Stewart. After only two years the Hunter Derby has already expanded. Next year there will be 45 qualifying series compared to the 36 this year. Without the support of the USHJA the sport of hunters would not be what it is today.

At the awards ceremony that followed, all riders received ribbons, a gift from Charles Owen and $1,000 in prize money. The 1st place horse also received a gift basket with products from Ann Hubbard’s Tack Shop.

Sponsoring this second annual event: Title Sponsor: The Chronicle of the Horse, Presenting Sponsor: Dietrich and Company Insurance, Major Sponsors: Charles Owen, Inc., Dover Saddlery, Award Sponsors: Ann Hubbard Tack Shop, Essex Classics, The Clothes Horse, DermaSpa RX EQ, Frantisi & Grand Prix, Personalized Products, McGuinn Farms, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.

International Hunter Derby Finalists are Ready

August 19, 2010

Lexington, KY- The 2010 $100,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals is set to kick-off, August 20 with a field of 61 riders. They will be narrowed down to the top 25 who will compete in the second round, August 21. After that, the top 12 will return to compete over a handy hunter course. Once the scores from both August 21 rounds are tallied the 2010 champion will be named.

Last year Californian John French, aboard Rumba (owned by Stacey Siebel), took home the title while Jennifer Alfano, Buffalo, NY, who was the International Hunter Derby series champion, took reserve championship honors. Alfano and Jersey Boy earned back-to-back Derby series championship honors. Her score of 24,900 points on Jersey Boy has a strong lead over second-place finisher Castle Rock, ridden by Louise Serio and owned by Bryan Baldwin of Meralex Farm.

Alfano was awarded the George H. Morris Perpetual Trophy, donated by Diane Carney, August 19 to honor their remarkable series victory. Jersey Boy, an 8-year-old chestnut, Warmblood gelding, from Susie Schoellkopf’s SBS Farm, helped Alfano to win four classes and rank in the top 12 in three others in the series, which offers 36 classes in all. Alfano earned $24,900 for her efforts. Her groom, Erin McMurray, was also awarded a $250 cash Groom’s Award.

Spectators can watch the Derby action for free starting at 8 a.m. August 20 in the beautiful indoor arena of the Kentucky Horse Park in the heart of Lexington, KY. The events on August 21 begin at 6:30 p.m. In addition to watching on site, you can also watch live at www.equestrianlife.com/derby. Leading off the first qualifying round on Friday morning will be Lillie Keenan on Valedictorian.

The round will be scored by eight judges, including Kitty Barker, VA; Rob Bielefeld, FL; Ralph Caristo, NY; Bob Crandall, VA; Linda Hough, FL; George Morris, FL; Danny Robertshaw, SC; and Chrystine Tauber, FL. The courses will be designed by Bobby Murphy, KY and Patrick Rodes, TX.

Sponsoring this event: Title Sponsor: The Chronicle of the Horse, Presenting Sponsor: Dietrich and Company Insurance, Major Sponsors: Charles Owen, Inc., Dover Saddlery, Award Sponsors: Ann Hubbard Tack Shop, Essex Classics, The Clothes Horse, DermaSpa RX EQ, Frantisi & Grand Prix, Personalized Products, McGuinn Farms, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.

The Countdown for the Derby Finals is On

July 22, 2010

Lexington, KY.- The clock is ticking down for the start of the second annual The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, which will be held at the new indoor arena at the Kentucky Horse Park August 20-21.

The Hunter Derby is rooted in tradition and all trainers, owners, and spectators are encouraged to make August 21 a “Black Tie Affair” and wear formal or evening attire. A full schedule of Derby events is available on the Derby website.

The two days of competition will feature the top 75 horses based on the 12 month qualifying period from June 2, 2009 through June 1, 2010. The first day of the Finals, all 75 horses will compete over a qualifying course featuring hunter derby style fences, which will include height and handy options.
The top 25 horses who show the most brilliance and handiness will be called back to compete on the second day of the Finals. Round 2 will test the riders’ abilities to showcase their horses over a classic hunter course and determine the top 12 horses of the Finals. The top 12 will return to compete over an exciting handy hunter course that will decide the champion of the $100,000 Finals.
Media partner, Equestrian Life will again broadcast the 2010 Finals live.

“It is very exciting to watch the evolution of the program from where it started, and by just our second series how far it has come,” said Ron Danta, High Performance Hunter Committee Chairman. “I feel our Derby horses have more experience this year and are more seasoned. We have raised the bar in what we are expecting with the hunters and I expect it to be a very exciting event.”

The Derby Series and Final was developed to bring the lost art of tradition and horsemanship back to the show ring and was created to bring show hunters to the international level, to increase spectator, media and sponsorship interest and to bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of showing hunters.

Filling the judge’s box will be Kitty Barker, Rob Bielefeld, Ralph Caristo, Bob Crandall, Linda Hough, George Morris, Danny Robertshaw, and Chrystine Tauber.

Bobby Murphy and Patrick Rodes will serve as course designers. Karen Golding and Peter Lane will be the stewards.

For more information on the USHJA International Hunter Derby visit the USHJA website.

USHJA Hunter Derby to make International Debut at WEG

Leslie Deckard

July 13, 2010

Lexington, KY- The hunter discipline will make its debut on the international stage at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., Sept. 25-Oct. 10. Live, daily, one-hour hunter derby demonstrations will be featured Oct. 4-10 at the WEG Equine Village Demonstration Arena.

Participating riders in the demonstrations reads like a who’s-who list of the sport. The participating riders are: Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy, 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series champion, as well as Liza Boyd and Brunello; Tammy Provost and Peridot; Peter Pletcher and Argentum; and Louise Serio and Rock Star. Bobby Murphy will design the demonstration course.

Bill Moroney, President of the USHJA, said one of the founding principals of the International Hunter Derby was to create a program that would have international appeal.

“The time had arrived for hunters to be given an opportunity to showcase their strength and unique qualities. The sport of hunters is incredibly versatile in this country, not only in the traditional arenas, but also among the breeds,” Moroney said. “The Derby has become the vehicle for taking the hunter discipline to the next level. The International Hunter Derby demonstration at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is an incredible opportunity. I applaud the horse owners, as well as the riders and horses which will be performing during the demonstrations as they forgo several, major competitions, to produce a lasting impression on the world, for the future of our sport.”

Ron Danta, chairman of the High Performance Hunter Committee, said the goal of his committee is to spread the tradition of the American Hunter throughout Europe and make the world excited about the sport. “Our dream is to get Hunters recognized so they will be part of WEG in the future, and this is the first step in doing so,” he said. “It is an incredible opportunity for the American Hunter system to be shown to the world.”

The USHJA International Derby was developed to bring the lost art of tradition and horsemanship back to the show ring and was created to bring show hunters to the international level, to increase spectator, media and sponsorship interest and to bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of showing hunters.

The USHJA International Hunter Derby Series consist of qualifying classes held nationwide over 12 months culminating in $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. For more information on the USHJA International Hunter Derby visit the USHJA website.

Patricia Griffith and Travino Take Hunter Derby at Old Salem Spring Show

May 28, 2010

Patricia Griffith and Travino, owned by Heritage Farm, kept their winning streak alive at the Old Salem Farm How Shows in North Salem, N.Y. and came home with the big one, a win in the $10,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by The Premier Collection/Land Rover of Mt. Kisco and Land Rover of Larchmont.

The winning duo had a first round score of 199, placing themselves at the head of the class going into the second “handy” round of competition. Griffith and Travino displayed their talents as they mastered the nine-fence test and emerged from the ring with a score of 211 to take the top spot. They finished with a total score of 410 points.

Lillie Keenan and Chansonette Farms’ Genuine took the reserve position with a final total of 391 points. Poetic and Maggie Boylan were third with 380 points. Heritage Farm’s Drumline finished fourth with Laena Romson aboard.

"The Derbies are a great thing for our sport," Griffith said in a release from Old Salem. "The hunters were really dying and there was no atmosphere and no crowd—no draw. The Derbies are a huge draw now. People are excited about it and the crowds love it. This is just as hard as some of the jumper classes where they are giving away a significant amount of money, so the money is great. It’s nice that we can get this kind of recognition in the hunter ring. It is not easy to do this smoothly, without touching the reins, clear, it is hard—just as hard as the jumpers. This is our system here in the states—the hunters are very important and the classes like this are what it is all about."

The Top 12 Finishers in The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby at Old Salem:

1—Travino (Griffith, Heritage Farm)

2—Genuine (Keenan, Chansonette Farm)

3—Poetic (Boylan)

4—Drumline (Laena Romon, Heritage Farm)

5--C Coast Z (Keenan, Chansonette)

5—Allejandro ( Katherine Dinan, Katie Dinan LLC)

7—Spock (Sylivia De Toledo, Brianne Link)

8—Amalfi (Danielle Cooper)

9—Curacao (Kate Mahoney)

10—Bartholomous (Hannah Isop, Ghylaine Manning)

11—Elysium (Danielle Franchi)

12—Wind Dancer (Naomi Weirens, Charlotte Jacobs)

French and Crown Affair Score Another Derby Win

5/19/2010 9:11:27 AM

John French and Crown Affair continued their winning roll by taking the $10,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby held during the Ranch and Coast Tournament horse show May 14 at Showpark Ranch and Coast in Del Mar, CA.

Keri Kampsen aboard On Top took reserve honors, with Jenny Karazissis and Forbes finishing third.

Thirty-eight horses hunted around the Derby course designed by Scott Starnes, which included three 4’ options and a diagonal line across the field with two verticals and two oxers. The early part of the line rode easy in five strides then continued to flow in four strides and finished with three strides.

The top scores in round one went to Yellow Dog Farm’s stallion Crown Affair with French in the irons. Literally earning points for their style, the pair earned a 93 plus five bonus points and a 91 plus three bonus points for a total of 192.

The handy round required a hand gallop to an oxer, an uphill ride to a trot jump and a downhill gallop to the last line. Kampsen and On Top mastered the handy course, earning five bound points from each judge, and moving up to second. Although second in scores for the handy round, Crown Affair couldn’t be beat and led the victory gallop gallantly as he did in Thermal for the same event.

“It was great to be able to show on the grand prix field at Showpark, the footing is so good,” French told Belnheim EquiSports after the competition. “It was a hard class to win, a lot of horses jumped well. The interest and enthusiasm from the crowd made it even a more special win.”

With the qualifying period for the 2010 The Chronicle of the Horse /USHJA Hunter Derby Finals coming to a close after The Devon Horse Show (June 1), horses, riders, and owners are making their plans to head to Kentucky in August.

French won the inaugural Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA Hunter Derby aboard Rumba last year.

“Crown Affair is another horse like Rumba who knows when it’s a special event and rises to the occasion,” French said to Belnheim EquiSports. “I’m really looking forward to going to Kentucky twice this year, for the Derby finals in August and for the hunter demonstration on Crown at the World Equestrian Games in October. It is such an honor to have been chosen to ride a demonstration at the WEG.”

The Top 12 finishers include:
1—Crown Affair (French, Yellow Dog Farm)
2—On Top (Kampsen, Laurel Ridge Sport Horses)
3—Forbes (Karazissis, Tonia Cook Looker)
4—Querido (John Bragg, Heritage Farm)
5—Best Man (Melissa Doddridge)
6-- Cunnhingham (John Bragg, Mary Slouka)
7—Catani (Georgia Hunt, Ann Lindwall)
8—Over the Moon (French, Victoria Komisar)
9—Relentless (Teddi Mellencamp, Artisan Farm)
10—Azlan (Gabbi Langston, Fastball Farm)
11-- Catwalk (Nick Haness, Kendall Perrin)
12—Landmark (Tracy Baer, Emily Winkler)

The 2010 $100,000 The Chronicle of the Horse /USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals will be held Aug. 20-21 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor.

A complete Derby schedule and more information can be found on the USHJA Derby website.

WEG Derby Demo

USHJA International Hunter Derby Demonstration to be held during World Equestrian Games

Leslie Deckard

April 19, 2010

Lexington, KY- The Hunter discipline will make its debut on the world stage at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., Sept. 25-Oct. 10. The International Hunter Derby demonstrations will be held daily Oct. 4-10 at the dressage complex at the park. Demonstration times are yet to be announced.

Participating riders in the demonstrations will be Jennifer Alfano, 2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series champion, as well as John French, 2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals winner. Bobby Murphy will design the demonstration course.

The names of three additional riders chosen to participate in the demonstration will be announced in mid-May. A selection committee is reviewing a list of riders based on criteria such as their standings in last year’s Derby series and finals, as well as, what horses they are eligible to ride in the demonstration and their current standings in the Derby series.

An overview of the event will be presented to the crowd before the riders take the course for the demonstration.

Ron Danta, chairman of the USHJA high performance hunter committee, said it was the committee’s goal from the inception of the Derby to have it recognized on an international level. The committee last year made an application with WEG to have the International Hunter Derby presented in demonstration during the 2010 games. As part of the application, WEG officials attended the first inaugural International Hunter Derby Finals in 2009 where French took home top honors.

“Our dream is to get Hunters recognized so that they will part of WEG, and this is the first step in doing so,” he said. “It is an incredible opportunity for the American Hunter system to be shown to the world. All of us on the committee are all working to get the other countries to begin the trend of American Hunter going throughout Europe and other countries. We hope the world becomes excited by it.”

Alfano, who will ride her lead Derby horse Jersey Boy in the demonstration, said she is excited to participate in the World Equestrian Games and believes the inclusion of the event in the games is a positive for the hunter discipline. “I hope that someday it will be an international sport,” she said. “It takes a special horse, a true athlete that is brave and scopey, because the jumps keep getting bigger.”

The USHJA International Derby Series and Finals were developed to bring the lost art of tradition and horsemanship back to the show ring and was created to bring show hunters to the international level, to increase spectator, media and sponsorship interest and to bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of showing hunters.

The USHJA International Hunter Derby Member Event Series consist of qualifying classes held nationwide over 12 months culminating in the 2010 $100,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/ USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Presented by Dietrich Insurance, August 20-21, 2010 at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor.

Serio Claims First Derby Win Aboard Castlerock

April 5, 2010

Lexington, Ky—Louise Serio notched the biggest victory of her career when she piloted Castlerock, owned by Bryan Baldwin, to win the $50,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

This was Serio’s first Derby score. “It felt awesome,” she said. “What a great place to do it. For sure, it’s the most exciting thing I have ever won.”

Scott Stewart and Fashion Farm’s Summer Place took reserve honors, and the yellow ribbon went to Tamara Provost and Peridot, owned by Stephen Martines.

The record-high class of 78 entries was scored cumulatively over two rounds, and the final round took place under the lights in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The first team of judges consisted of Danny Robertshaw and Bob Crandall, while John Roper and Paddy Nyegard were slated in the second position. Keith Hastings and Pat Dodson were the scribes for the two judges’ panels. Judges awarded competitors with a score for their jumping rounds, as well as a bonus point for any large height option they chose to jump (out of five available), and a bonus score out of 10 points rewarding riders for their handiness.

“One of the most exciting things was that we had a record-breaking number of entries for the Derby, said Ron Danta, USHJA High Performance Hunter Committee Chairman. “It proves the Derby program is popular and growing, and as we have progressed more people are calling several horses Derby horses. I think people are going out and purchasing horses that will travel around the country and be Derby horses. This program has brought hunters to a whole new level and has really raised the bar.”

The course was designed by Bobby Murphy with Skip Bailey and was assisted by Danta. Five different height options over 16 total elements made up the unique course, which featured a horseshoe bank, a table bank, as well as an interesting one stride in and out that was made up of hay bales and were arranged in a large circle. Each fence on the course emulated a natural element that would be found on an old-fashioned hunt course. Several areas were featured on the course where riders could show off their hardiness and flowing hunter strides. The riders finished over a long run to an oxer option heading toward the in-gate, where riders were asked to hand gallop almost a quarter of the way around the International Arena to the final fence.

“Skip, Bobby, and I worked together during the week on the course and a lot of thought was put into making sure that all the jumps were visible to the judges,” Danta said. “The crowd really enjoyed the one point for every high option. In the handy course, the circle of the bales of hay was very creative on Bobby’s part. The horses all jumped it beautifully.”

Serio and Castlerock were untouchable during the two rounds of competition, and the rider earned the highest score of her career when the second panel of judges awarded her a 99 after an amazing second round.

“I watched everyone go and felt I had a good plan,” Serio said her of her second round. “I thought my horse was mentally and physically in a great place, and he is very reliable and consistent. I got in the zone and it all worked. It was a round of a lifetime. Everything came out perfectly. I can always criticize my rounds and I loved that round. I woke up at 5 a.m. the next day to watch it on video. I could not believe it and I still go over it jump by jump.”

Rounding out the list of the top 12 finishers were: Listen (rider Kelly Farmer, owner Jane Gaston); Jersey Boy (rider Jennifer Alfano, owner SBS Farms); Maui (rider Tiffany Cornacchio-Morrissey, owner Kate Goodman); World Time (rider Victoria Colvin, owner Scott Stewart); Declaration (rider Scott Stewart, owner Fashion Farm); Due West (rider Shane Sweetnam, owner Popish Farm); Sander (rider Kelsey Thatcher, owner Pony Lane Farm); Namesake (rider Maggie Jayne, owner Pony Lane Farm); and Bella Blue (rider Maggie Jayne, owner Pony Lane Farm).

The 2010 $100,000 The Chronicle of the Horse /USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals will be held Aug. 20-21 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor.

A complete Derby schedule and more information can be found on the USHJA Derby website.

Peter Pletcher Dominates Texas Sport Horse Cup Derby

September 10, 2009

Lexington, KY – Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, Texas was a dominating force in The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby this past weekend in Tyler at the Texas Sport Horse Cup. He took home $4,500 in first place prize money with Melanie Barnes’ Camira and placed third with Eva Bisso’s Westview. His third mount, Dominick, owned by Meridian Farm, was also a strong contender in the class finishing sixth.

Judged by George Morris, Ginger Black, Carol Dean-Porter and Dacia Johnson, the class saw 32 entries compete over the two derby courses for $15,000 in prize money. Camira and Pletcher made easy work of the first round classic course, going straight to the top of the field. They were followed by Courtney Calcagnini of Pilot Point, Texas on Ovation. Both of Pletcher’s other mounts, Westview and Dominick, finished the classic round in third and fourth place.

The handy round proved more of a challenge with its fence height and difficult track options. Jana Rodes and Dress Up who were sitting in fifth place after the classic round took first place honors followed by Ovation and Camira. Camira’s solid performance in the handy round was enough to clinch the overall class championship while Ovation settled for reserve honors. Ovation, a Holsteiner gelding owned by junior rider Taylor Reid of Pilot Point, Texas, finished five points behind the class leader.

As a 10-year-old mare, Camira is just coming into her own and has taken a liking to the derbies according to owner Melanie Barnes. “She just loves them. She puts her ears forward and goes after them,” Barnes said of the hunter derbies and natural fences. With Pletcher in the irons, Camira has competed in 10 derbies and won two since the inception of the class. Last month at the ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, Pletcher rode her to a seventh place finish.

A complete schedule and more information can be found at www.ushja.org.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor

John French and Rumba Win Inaugural Hunter Derby Finals

After three brilliant performances, John French and Rumba will go down in history as the inaugural winners of the ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. Before the start of the final day of competition, George Morris addressed the crowd gathered in the Johnson Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. “The hunter derby courses are bringing us back to tradition, we’re surrounded by lovely horses and no doubt we’ll see a championship performance tonight,” Morris said, wishing the horses and riders the best of luck.

The top 25 horses and riders then returned to compete over a classic hunter course. They were judged by four panels of judges, each of which could award an additional 10 points for brilliance. The top 12 would then move onto the third and final handy round. Patrick Rodes and Bobby Murphy put together two magnificent courses that challenged both horses and riders and allowed the brave and bold to shine. “They’ve really outdone themselves this week for us,” USHJA President Bill Moroney commented about the course designers and show management staff.


Roger Smith’s Castello ridden by Jack Hardin Towell got the evening’s event started with a solid performance. But once again, it was John French and Mountain Home Stables’ Rumba that stole the show with a high score of 400. French’s ride received the full set of 10 points from one panel of judges and 9 points from the other three panels.


Series champion Jersey Boy of SBS Farms and Jennifer Alfano took a commanding lead with only two horses left to go. Alfano guided the chestnut gelding through the challenging course that called for a walk to canter transition and included four option jumps set at 4’. The pair received scores in the 90s from judges with a total of 776, making them the team to beat. Tammy Provost and Peridot followed, but unfortunately didn’t duplicate the same strong performance they put in during the classic round. They had a refusal at fence five, which left it all up to leaders French and Rumba to upset Alfano and Jersey Boy. The pair from California didn’t disappoint, putting in a smooth, clean round and taking the higher fence options. Tension was thick in Johnson Arena as the audience waited for their scores to be announced. The stadium erupted when the grey gelding’s scores came over the loud speakers. With scores in the 90s from all four sets of judges, French and Rumba had a resounding win with 782.

“I couldn’t have been happier with his performance – he was unbelievable tonight,” French said of Rumba.

French’s win was viewed by over 30,000 hunter enthusiast via Equestrian Life.com’s free, live streaming coverage.

For a complete list of the ASG Software Solutions/International Hunter Derby Finals placings, visit the USHJA website. Equestrian Life provided free, live streaming of the event, which the public can still view on their website. Information on the 2009/2010 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Series can be found on the USHJA website.

The 2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solutions – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor; Grand Prix – Award Sponsor; Personalized Products – Award Sponsor; McGuinn Farms – Award Sponsor.

Official Order of Go Posted for ASG Software Solutions Hunter Derby Finals

August 21, 2009

The top 25 riders, owners and trainers gathered for the ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Draw Party this evening. USHJA International Hunter Derby sponsors were on hand for the event to encourage the select group of horsemen that will advance to the final two rounds of competition for the prestigious title of International Hunter Derby Champion. Sponsors present at the party included: Lee Ann Pepper representing title sponsor ASG Software Solutions, Shawna Dietrich representing presenting sponsor Dietrich Insurance, Katrina Coldren representing award sponsor The Clothes Horse and Amy MacDonald representing award sponsor Essex Classics.

Before the official draw was held, High Performance Hunter Committee Chairman, Ron Danta, thanked committee members and other key individuals who contributed their time and insight to the development of the derby series. “It’s been an amazing journey chairing this committee. I appreciate your dedication to the development, implementation and success of the Hunter Derby Series,” Danta said to the group, and handed out gifts as a token of his appreciation.

Peter Pletcher was the first rider to draw his order of go for Alta Basaldua’s Argentum. He’ll be the fifth in the ring on the grey gelding. Based in Magnolia, Texas, Pletcher made the top 25 cut with all four of his original mounts. Jack Hardin Towell on Roger Smith’s Castello will start the second round, which is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Johnson Arena. Current leader, John French and Mountain Home Stables’ Rumba, will ride 14th. The official order of go for tomorrow evening’s second round can be found on the USHJA website.

Free, live streaming of both the second round classic course and the third and final handy round can be viewed on Equestrian Life’s website www.equestrianlife.com/derby. All of the latest ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals news can be found on USHJA’s Twitter page http://twitter.com/ushja as well as www.USHJA.org where you will be able to find the latest information and follow our Derby Blog.

The 2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solutions – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor; Grand Prix – Award Sponsor; Personalized Products – Award Sponsor; McGuinn Farms – Award Sponsor.

John French and Rumba Take Early Lead of the ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby

August 21, 2009

On the first day of competition at the ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals presented by Dietrich Insurance, 56 horses and riders put it all on the line for their chance at the coveted Derby Finals Champion title. The top 25 horses from this morning’s round are invited to Saturday evening’s round two classic course and were given $1,000. The top 12 horses from round two will compete for over all derby final’s champion honors and a share of the $100,000 prize money.

This morning’s classic hunter round designed by Bobby Murphy and Patrick Rodes featured 12 obstacles with three option jumps. Early in the draw, the sixth horse and rider on course, Curtain Call and Courtney Calcagnini, set the top score of 345. The pair held the top spot until John French’s brilliant performance on Mountain Home Stables’ Rumba took over with a score of 367. French and the 9-year-old gelding held the lead for the rest of the class.

“He is very adjustable and is happy to have courses that ask more of his scope, range and handiness,” French says of Rumba’s ability to handle the derby courses. The grey gelding came into the final’s competition with two back to back wins at this year’s derbies at HITS Thermal.

Maggie Jayne and Pony Lane Farm’s Early Applause hold the number two position heading into tomorrow’s round two, while Jessica Springsteen and Stone Hill Farm’s Tiziano are currently in third place. To view a complete list of the top 25 horses, visit the USHJA website.

Today’s classic round was streamed live on Equestrian Life at www.equestrianlife.com/derby. Deana Bergquist, Co-founder and President of Equestrian Life, reported that the site received 10,000 hits during its coverage of this morning’s qualifying round. Tomorrow evening, live coverage will resume at 6:00 p.m. for the opening ceremonies, with the first horse expected to be on course at 6:30 p.m. The third and final round of the competition is estimated to start at 8:30 p.m. If you missed this morning’s qualifying round, you can view full coverage of the class on the Equestrian Life website.

Chris Stafford, Equestrian Life’s expert journalist, expressed the company’s excitement for sharing the inaugural derby finals with the public. “We’re very excited to partner with the United States Hunter Jumper Association in bringing coverage of the derby finals to a worldwide audience,” Stafford commented at the rider’s meeting held Thursday evening at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Visitor’s Center.

Stay up to date on all of the latest ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals news on USHJA’s Twitter page http://twitter.com/ushja as well as www.USHJA.org/Derby where you will be able to find the latest information and follow our Derby Blog.

The 2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solution – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor; Grand Prix – Award Sponsor; Personalized Products – Award Sponsor; McGuinn Farms – Award Sponsor.

Free, Live Streaming Coverage of the 2009 Inaugural Derby Finals

July 22, 2009

The United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) is proud to announce that the $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals will be broadcast live online, free of charge in partnership with EquestrianLife.com. USHJA has selected EquestrianLife.com as its official media partner for the inaugural International Hunter Derby Finals to be held August 21-22, 2009 in the new outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY.

EquestrianLife.com will provide a live streaming broadcast and expert commentary of the event to web viewers worldwide via an exclusive International Hunter Derby Finals page on EquestrianLife.com at USHJA Derby Finals website .

“We are thrilled at the growing excitement across the country for the first International Hunter Derby Finals. We have some of the best Hunter horses and riders coming to Lexington from as far as California and are thrilled that EquestrianLife.com will be making it possible for those who cannot attend in person to still enjoy this historic event via the live, online broadcast of the event,” commented Whitney Allen, USHJA Director of Marketing & Communications.

Live coverage will begin at 8:00 am Eastern Time on Friday, August 21st and will include all 75 competitors. On Saturday, August 22nd coverage of the final championship rounds will begin at 6 pm ET. Viewers will feel like they are at the ringside watching some of the top Hunter horses and riders in the world with the expert, live commentary of the event, offering insights on the riders, horses and the competition as it happens.

“We could not be more excited to bring the inaugural International Hunter Derby to a broad audience via our live, online broadcast. Not everyone will be able to be at the Kentucky Horse Park for the event, but we will make it possible for everyone who wants to experience the competition to ‘virtually’ be there via the Internet,” said Deana Bergquist, Co-Founder and President of EquestrianLife.com.

The USHJA would like to acknowledge the following sponsors of the 2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals: Dietrich Insurance (Presenting Sponsor); Walsh Harness & Saddlery (Featuring Sponsor); Charles Owen & Co (Major Sponsor); Dover Saddlery (Major Sponsor); The Clothes Horse (Awards Sponsor); Essex Classics (Awards Sponsor); Grand Prix Riding Apparel (Award Sponsor).

For more information about sponsoring live event coverage of the International Hunter Derby Finals or to discuss other online advertising opportunities during the event contact Deana Bergquist, deana@equestrianlife.com or 650-619-8020.

About EquestrianLife.com
EquestrianLife.com is a social media web site dedicated to the equestrian community and horse lovers across all breeds and disciplines. Awarded the Best New Equestrian Web Site in 2008, EquestrianLife.com is focused on providing visitors with all the information and tools they need to connect with each other and learn.

EquestrianLife.com’s proprietary social media platform gives users leading applications such as member and horse profiles, social Q&A, photo galleries, status updates, comments, groups, event and business directories, birthday reminders, and other ways of expressing their passion for horses and connecting with others who share the same passion. Expert content, focused around high-definition videos, provide users with instruction on topics across veterinary medicine, horsemanship, riding styles, lesson ideas and horse and rider health. Live event coverage provides site visitors with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of exciting events from their computers.

The team behind EquestrianLife.com has spent 20 years in Silicon Valley’s top technology, social media and ecommerce companies and has taken this experience and applied it to their own passion for horses and the equestrian community.

Dinan Bests Competitive Field Derby Win

August 3, 2009

August 3, 2009 – Lexington, KY – Katie Dinan and Angelo put in a daring performance in the handy round of the $10,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby to claim victory at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. The Thursday afternoon class marked the third derby start for Angelo, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding.

Course designer, Rian Beals of Saugerties, New York, built two courses that challenged horses and riders, and allowed the best to prove their brilliance and daring. The handy course included a trot fence and five option jumps that tested the 46 horse and rider combinations entered in the prestigious class.

Dinan of New York, New York made the top 12 cut after the classic hunter round to return for the second course handy round on both Angelo and Borealus. She posted a first round score of 174 on Angelo and a 163 on Borealus. Trained by Steve Weiss, Dinan entered the handy round portion of the class trailing Patricia Griffith and Cool Boy. By choosing some of the more difficult tracks and options, the 15-year-old junior rider was able to come from behind for the win.

Matthew Metwell piloted Zeidler Farm Canada’s Pioneer to a second place finish and Kirsten Coe took third and fourth place honors aboard Radscha a.w. and Double Diamond.

The Saugerties derby is the first class of the 2009-2010 series that HITS has hosted. On Wednesday before the derby, HITS president, Tom Struzzieri, hosted a reception in the VIP tent to raise awareness and interest in the USHJA’s “Building for Growth” Capital Campaign. Organized by HITS’s Lisa Engel, the event included information on the campaign’s goal to raise $6.5 million to fund and maintain a nationally recognized headquarters for the rapidly growing USHJA at the Kentucky Horse Park. The building is to be completed in the fall of 2009. “We were very excited to be able to participate in such a worthy cause and look forward to working with the USHJA in the future,” Engel said after the event.

For more information regarding the Capital Campaign or to learn how to make a donation, please visit the USHJA Capital Campaign website.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor

Castello Posts Another Derby Win

August 3, 2009

Lexington, KY – August 3, 2009 – Castello proved why he is one of the top ranked derby horses in the nation when Jack Hardin Towell rode him to victory in the $10,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.

Owned by Roger Smith of Wellington, Florida, Castello finished the first round classic course in sixth place. But in the second round handy course, the 12-year-old gelding bested 11 other horses with his brilliance and athletic ability. Course designer, Blake Alder, set a challenging track for the field that included fence height and track options.

The gelding who was originally imported from Europe as Smith’s jumper has proven himself quite adept in the hunter ring. “We started showing him in the derby because he’s very scopey and never stops at a jump,” Smith’s wife, Jennifer, says.

Hunt Tosh and Rosalynn took reserve champion honors followed by Val D’Isere also ridden by Hardin Towell.

Castello was the winner of three derbies last year and will be competing in the inaugural 2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals on August 21 and 22 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Castello will enter the finals as the number two ranked horse in the nation behind SBS Farm’s Jersey Boy.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor

Young and Colorado Shine in the Atlanta Summer Horse Show Derby

June 13, 2009

Lexington, KY – Gary Young and Colorado won their second The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Atlanta Summer Horse Show on June 12. The victory comes as their first for the 2009/2010 series and their second of this year. In early May, they won the Texas Shoot Out derby at the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler.

The German-bred warmblood is owned by Nancy Jones of Little Rock, Arkansas and placed third in his first derby attempt at the 2008 Aiken Spring Masters. Jones is a major proponent of the derby series and is excited to see the impact it’s having on the hunters. “I see such excitement and a renewed interest in hunters and even in handy courses in general,” Jones says. “It is great to have such interest in a hunter class.” Jones who is also a USEF R rated judge, judged the first derby class held at the Lake St. Louis Holiday Series in December of 2007 and found the concept well-placed, exciting and well-sponsored.

Young says that it’s Colorado’s heart that makes him suited to the derby courses. “He always tries to please, and the bigger the jump, the better he is. He has the biggest heart of any horse I’ve ever ridden, and he knows when it’s show time,” the Camden, South Carolina based Young says.

Both Jones and Young hope the 10-year-old gelding brings his competitive side to the ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals that are being held at the Kentucky Horse Park on August 21-22. The two-day event will feature the 75 top-ranked horses in the nation competing against one another for the title of derby finals champion and a share of the $100,000 prize money.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor

Waxman & Falcon Capture First Place Honors in the $15,000 Country Heir Derby

June 13, 2009

Lexington, KY – Jennifer Waxman rode Falcon to a first place finish in the Country Heir II The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby on June 13. The $15,000 class was held in the new outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, which will be the location of the 2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals in August.

Waxman and her 15-year-old gelding lead the class after the first round’s classic course. The course featured natural obstacles and long distances with fence height options. Kaitlin Campbell on Douglas Wheeler’s Vulita H and Hunt Tosh on Wheeler’s Lone Star followed closely behind Waxman heading into the handy round.

A veteran of the class, Waxman knew she had to put in a strong handy round performance to remain in the lead and win the class championship. The Country Heir II derby marked her and Falcon’s sixth derby start. Last year in the Kentucky Summer derby, they finished a close second to Aaron Vale and Second City.

Saturday evening’s course included a challenging inside turn to a trot jump then a long 10 strides to an oxer, but the obstacles on course gave Waxman and Falcon little trouble as they earned 10 bonus points from both sets of judges for their brilliance. Coupled with their classic round score, their handy round performance was enough to keep them in the lead and earn first place honors.

Waxman points to her horse’s bravery and competitiveness for their success in the derby ring. Her trainers, Ken and Emily Smith found the Holsteiner gelding for her four years ago at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Palm Beach. The pair will return to the Kentucky Horse Park at the end of August to compete against the top-ranked horses in the nation for the derby finals championship. Falcon finished the 2008/2009 derby series as the number 14 ranked horse.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor

Griffith and North Country Notch Another Derby Win

July 16, 2009

Lexington, KY – July 16, 2009 – Patricia Griffith and North Country’s daring performance in the handy round of the Horse Shows by the Bay $15,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby was the decisive factor in the outcome of last Saturday’s prestigious hunter class. When the last horse left the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park, Griffith and Lillie Keenan riding Genuine were tied with a score of 373. Top honors were awarded to Griffith based on her round two handy score, where her decision to take higher fence options and make tight inside turns paid off.

Course designer Dean Rheinheimer set a challenging track for the 37 entries that included a bank jump, in and out options and optional inside turns. “The course included several options and the riders that chose to take the higher fences and make the inside turns were rewarded,” Rheinheimer says.

Griffith and North Country finished the classic round in fourth place behind Stephen Martines’ Peridot ridden by Kara Raposa, Keenan on Genuine owned by Chansonette Farm LLC and Ellen St. John’s Bring It On ridden by Shane Sweetnam. In the handy round, the 10-year-old gelding put in a near-perfect performance to secure the lead. Griffith’s decision to take the higher in and out option followed by a challenging inside turn earned the pair 10 bonus points from both sets of judges for a handy round score of 195. Keenan finished the handy round in second place with a score of 185.

“Overall it was a good class and top honors went to the horses and riders that chose the more challenging track,” Rheinheimer says. “Patricia Griffith did a good job of riding the course and deserved the win.”

The Horse Shows by the Bay derby comes as North Country’s second derby victory. He jumped to first place in last year’s Showplace Spectacular derby in Chicago and has been invited to compete in the 2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals held at the Kentucky Horse Park on August 21-22. Up-to-date 2009/2010 Derby Series standings and a schedule can be found on the USHJA website.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor

Free, Live Streaming Coverage of the 2009 Inaugural Derby Finals

July 22, 2009

July 22, 2009, Lexington, KY. The United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) is proud to announce that the $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals will be broadcast live online, free of charge in partnership with EquestrianLife.com. USHJA has selected EquestrianLife.com as its official media partner for the inaugural International Hunter Derby Finals to be held August 21-22, 2009 in the new outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY.

EquestrianLife.com will provide a live streaming broadcast and expert commentary of the event to web viewers worldwide via an exclusive International Hunter Derby Finals page on EquestrianLife.com at USHJA Derby Finals website .

“We are thrilled at the growing excitement across the country for the first International Hunter Derby Finals. We have some of the best Hunter horses and riders coming to Lexington from as far as California and are thrilled that EquestrianLife.com will be making it possible for those who cannot attend in person to still enjoy this historic event via the live, online broadcast of the event,” commented Whitney Allen, USHJA Director of Marketing & Communications.

Live coverage will begin at 8:00 am Eastern Time on Friday, August 21st and will include all 75 competitors. On Saturday, August 22nd coverage of the final championship rounds will begin at 6 pm ET. Viewers will feel like they are at the ringside watching some of the top Hunter horses and riders in the world with the expert, live commentary of the event, offering insights on the riders, horses and the competition as it happens.

“We could not be more excited to bring the inaugural International Hunter Derby to a broad audience via our live, online broadcast. Not everyone will be able to be at the Kentucky Horse Park for the event, but we will make it possible for everyone who wants to experience the competition to ‘virtually’ be there via the Internet,” said Deana Bergquist, Co-Founder and President of EquestrianLife.com.

The USHJA would like to acknowledge the following sponsors of the 2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals: Dietrich Insurance (Presenting Sponsor); Walsh Harness & Saddlery (Featuring Sponsor); Charles Owen & Co (Major Sponsor); Dover Saddlery (Major Sponsor); The Clothes Horse (Awards Sponsor); Essex Classics (Awards Sponsor); Grand Prix Riding Apparel (Award Sponsor).

For more information about sponsoring live event coverage of the International Hunter Derby Finals or to discuss other online advertising opportunities during the event contact Deana Bergquist, deana@equestrianlife.com or 650-619-8020.

About EquestrianLife.com
EquestrianLife.com is a social media web site dedicated to the equestrian community and horse lovers across all breeds and disciplines. Awarded the Best New Equestrian Web Site in 2008, EquestrianLife.com is focused on providing visitors with all the information and tools they need to connect with each other and learn.

EquestrianLife.com’s proprietary social media platform gives users leading applications such as member and horse profiles, social Q&A, photo galleries, status updates, comments, groups, event and business directories, birthday reminders, and other ways of expressing their passion for horses and connecting with others who share the same passion. Expert content, focused around high-definition videos, provide users with instruction on topics across veterinary medicine, horsemanship, riding styles, lesson ideas and horse and rider health. Live event coverage provides site visitors with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of exciting events from their computers.

The team behind EquestrianLife.com has spent 20 years in Silicon Valley’s top technology, social media and ecommerce companies and has taken this experience and applied it to their own passion for horses and the equestrian community.

Posse Victorious in The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby

July 20, 2009

Lexington, KY – July 20, 2009 – Colleen Acosta and Posse put in an impressive handy round performance to clinch the overall win in the Colorado Summer Classic $10,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby. Owned by Chris Guthrie of Austin, Texas, the Colorado derby was Posse’s second derby start this year. Acosta rode the 12-year-old gelding to a tenth place finish at the Spring Gathering Derby in April.

Thirty horse and rider combinations entered the Sunday event and rode the classic course that featured natural obstacles reminiscent of the hunt field. Posse finished the classic round in third place behind Sue Takata’s Docle and Margot Snowdon’s C. Quito. Gayle Cox’s Dubari and Rex the Wonder Horse owned by Moral Masuoka put in solid first round performances to finish close behind Posse.

The top 12 horses from the classic round were then invited to negotiate the challenging handy course. The handy course included several jumps with height and track options. “Jumping out of the ring and then into another ring was the most challenging part of the course for us,” Acosta says, but the game gelding jumped the obstacle in style. “Posse is an experienced horse and doesn’t care what comes at him. He’s adjustable and rideable which makes him well-suited to the class,” Acosta explains.

Acosta of Flower Mound, Texas has been riding the Westphalian gelding for the past three years under the guidance of trainer Matt Cyphert of Woodhill Farm in Argyle, Texas. “The course designer did a great job and the courses rode really well,” Acosta says. “I’m lucky to have Matt and Chris’ support and to be able to ride a horse with Posse’s ability.”

Rex the Wonder Horse ridden by Kris Killam finished second behind Posse, and Dubari ridden by Will Roberts took third place honors.

The Colorado Summer Classic derby marks the seventh derby class of the 2009/2010 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Series.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor

Sixteen-Year-Old Junior Places First and Third in Second International Hunter Derby Attempt

June 26, 2009

Abby O’Mara, a 16-year-old junior from Rumson, NJ, earned more than $6,000 in prize money after riding to a first- and third-place finish in the $15,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby at the State College Classic on June 26. The talented junior rode Don Stewart’s Walk Away to victory and finished third with her seven-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Terrapin Station.
The State College Classic Derby held at Kocher Farm in Pennsylvania Furnace, PA, was O’Mara’s second derby start. She had previously competed in last month’s derby at Devon aboard Terrapin Station. Though the pair gave their best effort over the first round’s classic course, they didn’t make the top 12 callback to compete in the second handy round and overall derby champion honors. Last week’s State College Classic derby proved to be a more successful venture for O’Mara. Not only did she and Terrapin Station finish the classic course in fourth place, but she rode the seven-year-old Thoroughbred, Walk Away, to a third-place finish behind Allegre McLaughlin’s Infinity’s End and Samantha Gauvain’s Roar With Laughter.
“The fences were set a little higher than what I normally show at, but it was a lot of fun. It was nice to have a couple of big jumps on course because you can really see the horse’s style come out,” O’Mara explained.
Derby courses feature natural obstacles set at 3’6–3’9 with several 4’0 fences included on course set as option jumps. In her first year of competing on Terrapin Station, O’Mara has shown the bay gelding in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division and Hunter Seat Medal classes. Her partnership with Walk Away is even more recent, having only shown him once before in the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division at HITS On The Hudson III where they received reserve champion honors.
In the derby’s second round, a handy course complete with fence height options and bending lines, O’Mara and Walk Away put in an exhilarating performance to finish the round in second place behind Jane Hosack’s Rich And Famous. Terrapin Station finished behind Felicia Harrsch’s Headlines for a fourth-place finish.
“At the end of the handy round, we had to dismount and then walk our horses over a log on the ground,” O’Mara explained. “Both of my horses handled it perfectly. Before competing in a derby, I had watched one of the classes where riders were required to do a similar thing. I was hoping we’d be asked to do something along the same line and was excited when we were.”
After points had been totaled from both rounds, Walk Away and O’Mara were declared class champions followed by Rich and Famous ridden by Carol Delacy as reserve champions, and Terrapin Station and O’Mara for third-place honors. Twenty-two horse-and-rider combinations competed in the class.

Visit www.ushja.org/ihd for a complete Derby schedule and more information.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse–Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor.

Maggie Jayne Wins First Derby of the 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series

June 10, 2009

Lexington, KY – June 10, 2009 – Maggie Jayne and Early Applause jumped into the 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series with a decisive win at the $15,000 Showplace Spring Spectacular Derby on June 9. Held in the Grand Prix Ring at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois, the pair bested 36 other entries to win the class.

Course designers, Pat Boyle and Skip Bailey, set two challenging courses that tested the athleticism and bravery of horse and rider. “It was a very fair and beautiful course,” Bailey says. “There were a lot of creative jumps that gave riders the opportunity to really show what their horses could do and allowed them to take advantage of the different options available.”

Jayne and Early Applause, a 7-year-old Warmblood gelding, finished the first round of the class in second place behind Jane Gatson’s Upshot ridden by Kelley Farmer. “The first round was straight forward. There were natural obstacles – brush jumps and a coup, and my goal was to get a smooth ride. He’s got a great stride and he’s a big jumper, so it wasn’t hard getting the ride out of him,” Jayne says of her trip on Early Applause in the classic round.

The top 12 horses and riders from the first round were invited to test their skills over a handy course that included fence height and track options, and proved more challenging than the first course. “There were a lot of inside turns, which was a challenge because I haven’t ridden a lot of them,” Jayne says. “But it was a lot of fun and he’s a great horse to ride.” The pair’s effort was enough to secure the class championship while Upshot and Farmer earned reserve champion honors and Missy Clark’s Raven ridden by Kelsey Thatcher took third place.

A relatively new team, the Showplace Spring Spectacular marked Jayne and Early Applause’s fourth show together and second derby attempt. They entered the class off a third place finish at the Devon Horse Show Derby held at the end of May in Pennsylvania. The gelding owned by Maura Thatcher’s Pony Lane Farm located in South Jordan, Utah was purchased in April from Larry Glefke. With Glefke, he had a second place finish at the WEF II Derby in March, and finished the 2008/2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series in eighth place. Along with the other 75 top qualifiers, Early Applause and Jayne are invited to compete at the International Hunter Derby Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 21-22.

“We’ll definitely be at the finals in August,” Jayne says of her future plans with the bay gelding. “We think the derbies are great and love competing in them.”

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solutions-Title Sponsor; The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Walsh Harness & Saddlery-Featuring Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor

Weeden and Croquet are Victorious in $15,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby

May 11, 2009

Lexington, KY – May 11, 2009 – Caroline Weeden and Croquet rode to their first ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby victory at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show on May 9, 2009. The $15,000 class took place at the Kentucky Horse Park and attracted 26 horse and rider combinations from around the country.

Weeden of Lake Forest, Illinois has ridden the 12-year-old warmblood owned by Karen Lackinger in five previous derbies. The pair finished second at last year’s Evergreen International derby and fifth at the 2008 Kentucky Summer Horse Show derby. The prestigious hunter class features a two-round format comprised of a classic round and a handy round that is designed to test the athletic ability and bravery of horse and rider. Saturday’s course designer, Bobby Murphy, set two challenging courses for riders that featured natural obstacles, brush jumps, tall verticals and height options set at 4’.

Weeden and Croquet were one of only eight horse and rider combinations to go clear in the first round. They finished the classic round in second place with a score of 169. The class attracted some of the top placed horses in the Derby Final Standings including Linda Sogard’s Concerto with Louise Serio in the irons, Alta Basaldua’s Argentum ridden by Peter Pletcher and Skara Glen Stables’ Skara Glen’s Corsani also ridden by Pletcher.

The top 12 riders from the classic round were invited to ride the handy course and compete for overall honors. Murphy’s second course included a steep bank jump that proved challenging for the horses and riders. After galloping up a bank, horses had to jump a vertical at the top of the hill and then canter down the opposite side. Weeden and Croquet had no trouble negotiating the obstacle and finished the handy round with a score of 194, 13 points ahead of reserve champions Serio and Concerto. The win puts Croquet in eighth place in the Derby Final Standings.

The 18 month derby series will culminate at the 2008/2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals on August 21-22, 2009 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The top 75 money earning horses will be invited to compete for international recognition. For up to date standings, click here.

Visit USHJA.org for a complete schedule and more information. Questions concerning the Derby can be directed to Melanie Fransen, USHJA’s Director of Programs and Education, at mfransen@ushja.org or 859-225-6960.


The 2008/2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solutions-Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Walsh Harness & Saddlery-Featuring Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor

Elizabeth Towell-Boyd and Castello Win Aiken Spring Classic Hunter Derby for the Second Year

April 21, 2009

Lexington, KY – April 21, 2009 – Elizabeth Towell-Boyd and Castello won their second straight Aiken Spring Classic $10,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby in Aiken, South Carolina this past weekend. Last year, the pair bested a field of 33 to win the prestigious hunter class. Castello, owned by Roger Smith of Wellington, Florida, currently sits in fourth place in the International Hunter Derby Finals Standings.

Towell-Boyd and the 12-year-old Holsteiner entered the Aiken Derby coming off of a fourth place finish in the $50,000 WEF Derby at the end of March in Palm Beach. Castello was imported from Europe five years ago with the hopes of being Smith’s next jumper. “I was with Jack Towell at the time and he helped me find Castello as a present for my husband,” Jennifer Smith explained. “We originally bought him as a jumper, but he’s turned into a really nice hunter.”

That was evident during Saturday’s event at the Highfields Event Center where the bay gelding put in two impressive rounds to win the Derby class. Each Derby features two courses, a classic round and a handy hunter round that are built to encourage and reward daring from both horse and rider. Both courses were designed by J.P. Godard and challenged the 37 horse field with several options and tough obstacles. Towell-Boyd and Castello rode to first place finishes over both courses before being named the Derby champion. Sixteen-year-old Junior rider, Chase Boggio and his gelding Graphiq earned second place honors and were followed by Gary Young on Nancy Jones’ Colorado.

Smith said that she and her husband decided to first enter Castello in the Aiken Derby last year. “He’s very scopey and never stops at a jump,” she said. “We thought it would be a lot of fun to watch him in the class and it turns out that it is.” Besides wins at both Aiken Derbies, the gelding also won the Atlanta Summer Classic I Derby last June with Towell-Boyd in the irons.

The 18 month derby series will culminate at the 2008/2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals on August 21-22, 2009 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The top 75 money earning horses will be invited to compete for international recognition. For up to date standings, click here.

Visit USHJA.org for a complete schedule and more information. Questions concerning the Derby can be directed to Melanie Fransen, USHJA’s Director of Programs and Education, at mfransen@ushja.org or 859-225-6960.

The 2008/2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solutions-Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Walsh Harness & Saddlery-Featuring Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor

Pletcher and Argentum Claim Third Derby Victory

March 31, 2009

Lexington, KY – March 30, 2009 – Peter Pletcher and Argentum claimed their third hunter derby victory after winning the $15,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby hosted by the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show on March 27, 2009. Held at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas, the event was a successful venture for Pletcher who rode four horses to top 12 placings in the class.

Each Hunter Derby features a traditional hunter course and a handy hunter course that are built to encourage and reward brilliance and athletic ability from horse and rider. Pletcher of Magnolia, Texas guided Alta Basaldua’s Argentum around the two courses to best a highly competitive class that included Dallas Harvest Derby winner Camira.

“Course designer Patrick Rodes brilliantly set an inviting, yet challenging course for this event which provided the riders with the ability to select the route best suited to their horses,” commented USHJA President Bill Moroney who judged the class.

Basaldua bought Argentum, an 8-year-old Oldenburg, last year while riding with Pletcher on the HITS Thermal Desert Circuit. The Pin Oak Derby marked the pair’s seventh derby start since the inception of the USHJA Hunter Derby Program in December 2007. Previous accomplishments include winning both the 2008 Pin Oak Charity Derby and the 2008 Spring Gathering Derby.

After claiming first place honors in the first round over a traditional hunter classic course which featured natural obstacles reminiscent of the hunt field, Pletcher and Argentum negotiated the handy hunter course along with 11 other top contenders. The grey gelding executed a near-perfect trip around the challenging course to clinch the overall champion title. Camira, owned by Melanie Barnes and ridden by Pletcher, took reserve champion honors, and Tell All, ridden by Russell Frey and owned by Susan Baker, finished third. Pletcher had two other mounts finish in the top 12, including Skara Glen Stables’ Skara Glen’s Corsani (5th) and Lynn Walsh’s Ocean Park (12th).

“The determination and intensity of the riders made for a very exciting class and handy hunter round. The combination of exceptional hospitality, spectator enthusiasm and Pin Oak traditions provided an atmosphere of excellence in hunter competition,” Moroney said.

The 18 month derby series will culminate at the 2008/2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals on August 21-22, 2009 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The top 75 money earning horses will be invited to compete for international recognition. Click here for up to date standings.

Visit www.ushja.org for a complete schedule and more information. Questions concerning the Derby can be directed to USHJA’s Director of Programs and Education, Melanie Fransen or 859-225-6960.

The 2008/2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solutions-Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Walsh Harness & Saddlery-Featuring Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor.

Visit the USHJA News page for more news.




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