WHAT: The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation Hunter Classic Spectacular. This is a qualifying event featuring the top national amateur, junior and professional show hunter riders. This premier equine event offers the top money in the nation. It is the one event hunter riders aspire to compete in. There is no entry fee for the competitors. Riders qualify through preliminary competitions held during the Winter Equestrian Festival, February 16-19, 2005.
The annual AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular dinner party in the tent overlooking the main arena is one of the AHJF's major fundraisers. The first Hunter Classic took place in 1997 and to date this event continues to be the class in which top hunter riders seek to compete. The tent filled with sponsors who have purchased tables buzzes with conversation while on the grassy hillside around the arena friends, family and newcomers enjoy watching the nation’s top hunters.
Riders qualify throughout the week in the various hunter divisions. Roughly 25 riders earn the honor to compete in this prestigious two-round competition under the lights. The top eight riders return for a second round and when the two round scores are combined, the winner is the rider with the highest cumulative average. A total of approximately $50,000 is given out with $12,000 going to the winner. Since it is an add-back competition the final prize money is not determined until that night.
WHEN: Saturday, February 19, 2005, 7:00-10:00 PM
WHERE: Winter Equestrian Festival, 14440 Pierson Rd., Wellington, FL. Event will take place in the International Arena, a large grassy field in a beautiful tropical setting, surrounded by spectator and sponsor tents. The arena is lower than the surrounding tents offering viewers a great chance to see the competition.
WHY: This is a major fundraiser for the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation, Inc. (AHJF) and its programs. The AHJF was formed to further the development of the equestrian sport of show hunter rider and show jumping competition by providing a national office to organize, coordinate and support hunter rider and show jumping equestrian competition. Programs of the AHJF include the World Championship Hunter Rider Awards, the AHJF Emergency Relief Fund, AHJF Educational Programs, the AHJF BSA Inc. 401k and Profit Sharing Plan and the Legacy Cup.
HOW: Riders who have earned the title of champion and reserve champion in the preliminary competition in the junior, amateur and professional divisions and are current members of the AHJF qualify to compete in this no entry fee class.
WHAT THE JUDGE IS LOOKING FOR: Show hunters are judged on the style of the horse. The horse should look as if it could carry a rider smoothly, comfortably and safely over a course of natural style jumps. The horses should be both elegant and agile as they negotiate obstacles similar to those encountered on a foxhunt.
THE JUDGING SYSTEM: Eight judges are paired in teams of two and positioned in four places around the arena. Each team presents a single numerical score (0-100) and the four scores are averaged for a single round score. After the second round, the two scores are averaged for a final two round score. Roughly, 25 horses compete in the first round and the top eight highest performers come back for a second round. The height of the fences varies from 3’6” to 4’. The winner of the class is the horse with the highest two-round score.
JUDGES: Karen Healey, Fred Bauer, Patick Rodes, Jim Torano, Kim Williams, Julie Winkle, Diane Grod, TBA.
COURSE DESIGNER: Patrick Rodes
ANNOUNCER: Kenneth Kraus
RIDERS ALREADY QUALIFIED: Clara Lindner--Last year's winner; Peter Pletcher--the 2004 WCHR Pro Champion; Heidi Fish--winner of the 2004 Pro Challenge; Leah Schwendeman--2004 A-O Champion; Stephanie Danhakl--2004 Junior Champion. (All the above people are eligible to compete on any horse, but must show at the height for which the combination is eligible.)
1997 - Monday Morning, rider - Liza Towell
1998 - Hudson, owner - Peter Wetherill, rider - Elizabeth Bross
1999 - High Hearts, rider - Clara Lindner
2000 - Most Wanted, Hanoverian gelding, chestnut, 16.2 hands, Large Junior 15 & Under, Shows at 3'6",
rider - Cody Baird, Greenwich, CT
trainer - Scott Stewart - Score: 91.33
2001 & 2002 & 2003 - Strapless, Dutch Warmblood mare, Regular Working Hunter, 4',
rider Emily Williams, Cincinnati, Ohio, owner - Clara Lindner, trainer - Tom Wright
2001 Score: 93.66 2002 Score: 91.375 2003 Score: 95.750
2004 - Strapless, Dutch Warmblood mare, Regular Working Hunter, 3'6,
rider / owner Clara Lindner, Cinncinatti, OH, trainer - Tom Wright
PURCHASING A TABLE: To purchase a table for the sponsor reception and dinner, please call The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation at 508-835-8813
SPONSORS: The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation, Inc. and Hadfield’s Saddlery who will present the winner of the class with a custom saddle.
MEDIA CONTACT: Press Link, 631-773-6155, Fax: 631-773-6165 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AHJF CONTACT: AHJF, 335 Lancaster Street, West Boylston, MA 01583-0369, Phone: 508-835-8813, www.ahjf.org, E-mail: AHJF@earthlink.net
International Arena where the 2005 AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular will be held on February 19, 2005 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Diana De Rosa Photo