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.

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