Big A: Huntfield Derby Under the Lights

Hunters compete in the Grand Prix Arena of the Georgia International Horse Park during the Huntfield Derby at the Big A.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Naturally Brilliant wins the open high derby portion of the Huntfield Derby on July 8 with Alfred Hewitt in the irons. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos, scroll to the slideshow below.

Riders saddled up their hunters and decked themselves in their most formal attire July 8 for the National Quarter Horse League’s Huntfield Derby.

In the prestigious traditional height open derby, a former AQHA world champion showed his brilliance with a win under the lights in the Grand Prix Arena of the Georgia International Horse Park.

AQHA Professional Horseman Alfred Hewitt rode Naturally Brilliant to first place in the derby for owners Joanne and David Farrar of Wellington, Florida. Naturally Brilliant, a 2005 brown gelding, was the 2010 AQHA world champion in junior working hunter as well as being the high-point winner for the year.

“Alfred just showed him brilliantly,” Joanne said. “We’re just so happy with how he did and how elegant he looked.”

In the Huntfield Derby series, horses and riders complete a first-round course with most riders choosing an option that let them ride up a grassy bank, jump a fence and then balance back down the grassy bank for an extra difficulty point. After the first round, the top scorers competed in a handy round.

Joanne rode her horse earlier in the day in the non-pro division. The bank jump had made her nervous before she practiced it, but with Alfred’s help, when it came time to show, she had conquered her fears, she said.

The horse park opened a year before the 1996 Summer Olympics and was home to all that Olympiad’s equestrian competitions. The arena – about three times the size of most horse show arenas – allowed the course to be spread out and test the horses’ stamina. Spectators bid on a silent auction at an exhibitor party while they watched and applauded the rounds.

The Huntfield Derby was just one of the special events the Georgia Quarter Horse Association offered during the Stars & Stripes/Big A circuit. Activities for children, a non-pro trail derby and exhibitor parties were also highlights of the two shows.

Journal Coverage of the Stars & Stripes and Big A Circuit

  • Huntfield Derby – Hunters compete in the Grand Prix Arena of the Georgia International Horse Park.
  • June 8 – Longtime horse show mom Marsha Stigge finds a way to keep on going to horse shows; plus view more photos from the show.
  • July 7 – Hunters and trail dominate the day.