Wellington, FL – April 1, 2011 – It was an important day for hunters at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Sixty entries took their shot at a chance to compete in the $50,000 USHJA Hunter Derby, one of the biggest purses offered for hunter competitors in the world. The class began this afternoon in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. With a large number of spectators standing by, each horse and rider combination took their turn over a course of eleven jumps, with four high option fences.
There were two teams of judges – Danny Robertshaw and Jim Clapperton (Panel 1 – tiebreaker), John Barker and Scott Williamson (Panel 2) – one team on either side of the ring. Each team of judges awarded a numerical score plus a bonus point for each high option fence that was jumped. The sum of the scores was given as each rider’s final score for the first round of competition.
Scott Stewart wasted no time getting down to business on the first of his six mounts in the class. Going fourth in the order, Stewart led the Fashion Farm’s entry Dedication to a combined score of 186, which was good enough to leave the pair in fourth overall going into tomorrow night. “Dedication is a First Year horse, who has been champion a few times here. He’s very scopey and very easy, but he just turned six, so he’s still pretty green. I was very happy with him,” beamed Stewart.