Obstacles are reminiscent of the hunt field and must offer a variety of appearances, such as natural post and rail,
stone wall, white board fence or gate, coop, aiken, hedge, oxer, brush, logs and natural foliage. Natural obstacles
such as banks and ditches are allowed. The Handy Hunter Round should simulate riding over hunt country and
incorporate options such as tight turns, clever options for jump approaches, hand galloping and trotting a fence. Fences are set at 3', with four high-option fences set at 3'5".
The 12 highest-scoring horse-and-rider combinations after the first round are eligible to return for the second round. The pair with the highest two-round score is declared the class winner. The top eight horse-and-rider combinations are expected to ride for ribbons and prize money.
USHJA National Hunter Derbies are open to any horse or pony registered with USHJA. In order to receive Zone Horse of the Year bonus points, horses, ponies and owners must be actively recorded with USEF and registered with USHJA, and riders must fill out the official USHJA Declaration Form in the horse show office.
At the conclusion of each competition year, USHJA recognizes the one Adult Amateur rider in each of the 12 zones, who has accumulated the most Zone Horse of the Year bonus points in their respective Adult Amateur section, through competing in the USHJA National Hunter Derby classes. Each high-point rider is awarded a Charles Owen helmet.
Whether an end goal or a stepping stone toward competing in an International Hunter Derby, the USHJA National Hunter Derbies have often proven some of the most exciting and coveted classes at competitions nationwide, while educating athletes, both human and equine, in the time-honored tradition of showing hunters.
For additional information on the USHJA National Hunter Derby, see the
USEF Rule Book, HU187,
and the Official Class Specifications.