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2006 Washington International Horse Show Presents the $15,000 AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge

Diana De Rosa

The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation (AHJF) continues to expand its innovative hunter competitions as it joins forces with the 2006 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) to present the AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge. The WIHS takes place October 24-29 at the Verizon Center in the heart of Washington DC. The Hunter Challenge will be showcased on the final Saturday afternoon, October 28th. The WIHS attracts some of the nation’s finest hunter and jumper riders including show jumping Olympic veterans from across the world.

“The WIHS is truly excited to host the AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge this year,” said Executive Director Susie Webb. “As part of our Saturday afternoon performance, we are looking forward to showcasing our best international riders and WIHS equitation riders in a very interesting twist to the Hunter Challenge held in Las Vegas. We look forward to working with the AHJF in making this a huge success!”

The $15,000 AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge will be a two round team hunter competition, pairing five riders from five countries from the WIHS International & Open Jumper division with five top American junior hunter riders. The ten riders will be matched to create five teams composed of one international jumper rider and one junior hunter rider.

The five International riders will be invited by show management from those who compete at the 2006 WIHS. The junior hunter riders will be selected from the rankings of the Hunter Phase of the WIHS Equitation Class. The top five ranked riders (after the Hunter Phase) will be invited to compete. A drawing will determine which international jumper rider each junior will be paired with.

Each of the 10 competitors will draw a horse. A redraw will take place should anyone draw a horse that he/she has competed during the 2006 competition year. The first round will take place over a hunter type course set at 3’6” and will be judged by three-teams of two judges whose numerical scores will be averaged for each rider. The two scores from each team will be averaged for a first round team total.

After the first round the teams will be ranked. The highest scoring rider from each team will advance for a second round handy course on the same horse. The paired judges will give a second round score which will be averaged with the first round score to produce a two round team total. The pair with the highest two round average will be the winner.

There will be no entry fee and the first place team will receive $7,500 from the total $15,000 purse, with $5,000 going to the second place team and $2,500 to third. In addition there will be an award presented to the owner of the horse with the highest two round average. The rider with the maximum score from their two rounds will receive the Leading Rider Award.

“This is such a great opportunity for our top junior riders to compete side-by-side with the best show jumping riders in the world,” commented AHJF President, Geoff Teall. “Having equitation riders competing in a hunter class is especially meaningful to me since the original purpose of the WIHS Equitation Finals was to bring these riders back to the basics of hunter riding. When we started the WIHS Equitation class, equitation had become so specialized that the juniors were rarely seen competing in the hunter divisions. I am looking forward to watching the top equitation competitors and the best jumper riders showcase some of the best show hunters in the sport.”

Photo Caption: The WCHR World Cup Hunter Challenge which took place in Las Vegas in 2005 received a warm welcome from an enthusiastic crowd. As a result of that success, the Washington International Horse Show and the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation have joined forces to present the inaugural AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge on Saturday afternoon, October 28th at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington DC. Olympic veteran Rodrigo Pessoa (pictured here) was a member of the winning international team in Las Vegas. © Diana De Rosa Photo