|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.