By Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse JournalJanuary 25, 2012
AQHA Professional Horseman Linda Crothers and Slow N Natural take their victory gallop. (Photo credit: Shane Rux Photography)
Open to professionals and non-pros, the first Huntfield AQHA Derby Series offered a new - and exhilarating - format of competition for AQHA hunter competitors. The event, held January 14 at the Fox Lea Farm Winter Circuit in Venice, Florida, boasted a $1,500 purse, with an added $100 to the non-pro winner.
The event saw 12 entries total, four non-pros in that number. Fox Lea brought in United States Equestrian Federation judge and AQHA specialty judge Ann Pennington to officiate multi-round event.
“In the first round, there are four option jumps,” explained AQHA Professional Horseman Lainie DeBoer of Hugo, Minnesota. “They are side-by-side jumps that look similar but one is higher than the other. You can choose to jump the 3-foot side, or you can take a risk and jump the higher side. If you take the higher side, it might change your track a little, but you get a bonus point. They announce your score after the first round, and then say plus one or two, your bonus points, for your total score.
“The second round is the ‘handy’ round,” she continued, “and you make it what you want. You can jump the option jumps and gain zero to four bonus points, but you also get a score from zero to 10 based on your ‘handiness.’
“If you go in there and take tight turns and hand gallop and you show a lot of exuberance – but correct, not out of control, showing you can also bring your horse back and make a tight little turn – you can really add up your points. You get your score, you get your option bonus points, and you get points on your handiness. You basically can dial it up or down depending on your horse and your level."
AQHA Professional Horseman Linda Crothers of Sarasota, Florida, and Slow N Natural won this first event, with the reserve going to AQHA Professional Horseman David Connors of Ocala, Florida, on Skys Claim To Fame. Kristin Hull won the non-pro on Into The Blue.
Owned by Alexis Parisek of Elgin, Illinois, Slow N Natural was bred by Stanley and Susan Scott of Ocala, by Natural Iron and out of Secret Lil (TB) by Cimarron Secret. The gelding won the 2011 youth hunter hack world championship with Alexis and the 2011 progressive working hunter world championship with Linda.
The next Huntfield AQHA Derby Series will be held at the Kansas Quarter Horse Association Prairie Classic in February in Oklahoma City – which also happens to be the first pilot show for AQHA’s new leveling program.
For more information and to find a Huntfield AQHA Derby near you, check out the Huntfield AQHA Derby Series Facebook Page.
Want to learn more about the Huntfield AQHA Derby Series? Check out Christine Hamilton's coverage of the event in the February
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