Category Archives: USHJA

Scott Stewart Takes Top Three Spots in 3rd Annual $100k USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals

Scott Stewart and Carlos Boy took top honors during Round One of the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Photo By: Heather Bellock/PMG.

Lexington, KY – August 19, 2011 – The day that riders, trainers, owners and spectators have been waiting for throughout the Kentucky Horse Shows Series has finally arrived. The 2011 $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals commenced this morning in the Rolex Stadium. Attendees could not have ordered a more perfect day with sunny skies and moderate temperatures to kick off the long anticipated event. This is the third annual USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals and it has returned to the Kentucky Horse Park. Scott Stewart and Carlos Boy won today’s class and Stewart placed in the top six with all of his mounts and is one of the top 25 horse and rider combinations to advance to tomorrow evening’s final event. Lillie Keenan took home the fourth and fifth place finish with Madison and C Coast Z, respectively.

This event was created to bring show hunters to the world stage, to increase spectators, media and sponsorship interest, and bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of show hunters. It is an event that involves a 12-month qualifying period and only the top 75 horses are invited to compete for the championship title. Opening ceremonies began at eight this morning, and soon after the competition got underway with the qualifying round for all 59 horse and rider combinations in the Rolex Stadium. The judges panels were comprised of Scott Hofstetter and Otis Brown for panel one, Russell Frey and Julie Winkel for panel two, Carleton Brooks and Jimmy Torano for panel three, and Jim Clapperton and Mike Rosser for panel four.

Bobby Murphy and Patrick Rhodes designed the qualifying round course, the first of three courses in the finals. This Hunter Derby style course challenged riders over 12 fences ranging from 3’6″ to 4’0″. The course offered four optional obstacles that would add an additional point per fence to their base score due to their added heights and elevated difficulty. The fences being used throughout the weekend are reminiscent of those that would be found out on a hunting field. Obstacles on the course included oxers made up of natural posts, rails and white board fences, gates, hedges, hay bales, a brush, logs, and natural foliage.

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Sarah Milliren Captures the USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Cup at HITS-on-the-Hudson

©ESI Photography. Sarah Milliren captured this year's prestigious USHJA/Essex Classic Hunterdon Cup at the 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championships - East Coast aboard Don Stewart's War Eagle.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 3, 2011) — Sarah Milliren of Sapula, Oklahoma was all smiles when the number 515 – her number – was announced as the winner of Tuesday’s USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Cup, the jewel of the equitation competition at the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast at HITS Saugerties.

Milliren, trained by Bibby Hill and Don Stewart, rode to victory in the three-round class aboard Stewart’s War Eagle. According to Milliren, her smiles were both of joy and a little bit of shock as Lillie Keenan of New York, New York was pinned second aboard Catherine Cowie’s Vidarco.

“I was so surprised when we won the class – I thought Lillie had it,” said Milliren. “I have never won anything like this before, so it is really exciting.”

She finished the first round with a score of 85 to sit sixth, and then scored an impressive 90 points in the second round, which placed her in third with a total of 175 points going in for the final test.

Milliren posted a score of 89 points in the third-round test of eight fences. Per the specifications of the class, judges Hap Hansen and Russell Frey had riders switch horses, to serve as the deciding factor for the class. Milliren, therefore, rode Scott Stewart’s Vip Z to the blue, originally ridden in the class by Victoria Colvin of Loxchatchee, Florida. Milliren, however, couldn’t deny her original mount the credit he was due.

“[War Eagle] made the course seem simple,” she added. “He was amazing and I could not have asked for a better performance from him.”

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Bolero and Stacey Arani Steal the Show in the USHJA National Hunter Classic at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Stacey Arani and Bolero won the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Classic at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.

Lexington, KY – July 31, 2011 – The final day of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show was filled with nothing but sunshine and a practically cloudless blue sky. The $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Classic witnessed talented horse and rider combinations striving to showcase their skills and claim the winning title in the Stonelea Ring. Stacey Arani and Bolero led the class from start to finish and eventually led the victory gallop after earning a total score of 185. Olivia Herbert and Capistrano finished second falling five points behind Arani and Bolero, while Abbygale Funk directed Enough Said to the third place award.

Today’s courses were designed by Bobby Murphy and simulated riding over a hunt country with all of the fences set to 3′ with four 3’5” high options and four handy options. Stacey Arani of Dover, MA, and Bolero took an early lead as the first rider of the Classic, scoring a 90 during the first round with three bonus options for a 93 total. Although they were the last to return during the handy round, the duo did not hold back. After executing a slice during an inside turn to an optional fence, they stayed consistent and smooth, receiving scores of 88 with four bonus points for a score of 92. Their two-round total of 185 points landed the pair the blue ribbon prize.

“I had so much fun out there with him,” Arani exclaimed as she patted Bolero’s neck. “He was great in both rounds and I feel as though everything went really smooth and flowed really nicely. The handy was slightly more difficult, but Bolero was so good, he turned back for me, I did a slice I wasn’t intending, but when I was out there and turned, the option presented itself and we took it.”

Since the introduction of the National Derby in 2010, the program has continued to grow and experience success. “The National Derby is a great option for people that don’t want to do the big derby classes,” Arani explained. “I haven’t been able to compete in a classic since I was a kid.” For Arani the USHJA National Hunter Classic provided a fun class with a course that has 3′ jumps with higher options,which make it so she can relax and enjoy the ride. According to the USHJA, the popularity of the International Hunter Derby Program prompted them to develop a separate series of competitions modeled after the Derby but geared toward the up and coming horses and riders. The National Hunter Classic Program was launched in 2010 to provide both horses and riders a place to gain experience in Derby competition at a lower height and difficulty level.

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Team Show Jumpers Take the Stage at the 2011 Adequan/FEI NAJYRC

Junior Gold Medal Jumping Team, U.S. Zone 4. Photo by Sportfot.

Lexington, KY – It was a clean sweep for the U.S. when Junior and Young Rider Show Jumping Teams vied in the USHJA North American Show Jumping Championships today.

In the Junior division, the team from U.S. Zone 4 led the victory gallop with their Gold medal in tow while the U.S. Zone 2 carried the Silver, and U.S. combined Zones 1/6 took the Bronze.

Michael Hughes and Shockwave, Hayley Barnhill aboard Toucan Tango, Hasbrouck Donovan on Delilah, and Frances Land with Merlin earned the first-ever Gold for Zone 4 with a team total of only 12 faults after two grueling rounds in the Rolex stadium.

While a steady four on the outside line and a difficult water jump caused rails to come down for many, the Zone 4 team persevered. Barnhill, aboard the 9-year-old Tango, went clear for both rounds, one of only six to do so.

“It feels amazing,” said the 18-year-old Barnhill. “Zone 4 has never won a gold medal here, and it’s just awesome to be the first ones to do it.”

Team Chef Kim Land (Frances Land’s mother) could not have been more excited. “I’m really proud of them, with how they helped each other,” she said. “They’ve had their ups and downs this week and today everybody just came together and got better and better.”

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Charleston Summer Classics – A Vacation for Horses and Riders

Elizabeth Boyd and Marksmann Win $2500 USHJA National Hunter Classic

Liza Boyd & Marksmann ©Flashpoint Photography

Johns Island, SC — July 17, 2011 — How often during the heat of summer can an exhibitor in the Southern portions of the US say they enjoyed horse showing? While much of the equine community is experiencing uncomfortable temperatures, participants at the Charleston Summer Classics are being treated to a resort like atmosphere.

Week one at the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center welcomed riders with a vacation sensory overload – from pleasant ocean breezes billowing across the beautiful grounds – to put them in a beachy frame of mind to tropical drinks under the ringside tent each afternoon. “Exhibitors are enjoying a resort escape that just happens to include a horse show! Everyone is having a ball,” Bob Bell, President of Classic Company, said.  The Charleston Summer Classic is one of Bell’s Boutique Shows, which he defines as: “Boutique (boo teek)-noun- A horse show that is fashionable and unique. Always held at wonderful venues with excellent accommodations for special horses, owners, and riders. Always includes parties, trendy classes, and fun events. Always has stylish trophies and rewards for Grand Champions. Always has Mimosas on Sunday mornings.”  Bell even designed class schedules to allow exhibitors and their horses more time for fun on the multitude of white sandy beaches, a mere 10 minutes away.

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