July 14, 2010 -- The hunter discipline will make its debut on the international stage at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., September 25-October 10. Live, daily, one-hour hunter derby demonstrations will be featured October 4-10 at the WEG Equine Village Demonstration Arena.
Participating riders in the demonstrations are: Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy, 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series champion; Liza Boyd and Brunello; Tammy Provost and Peridot; Peter Pletcher and Argentum; and Louise Serio and Rock Star. Bobby Murphy will design the demonstration course.
Bill Moroney, U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) president, said one of the founding principals of the International Hunter Derby was to create a program that would have international appeal.
"The time had arrived for hunters to be given an opportunity to showcase their strength and unique qualities. The sport of hunters is incredibly versatile in this country, not only in the traditional arenas, but also among the breeds," Moroney said. "The Derby has become the vehicle for taking the hunter discipline to the next level. The International Hunter Derby demonstration at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is an incredible opportunity. I applaud the horse owners, as well as the riders and horses which will be performing during the demonstrations as they forgo several major competitions to produce a lasting impression on the world, for the future of our sport."
Ron Danta, chairman of the High Performance Hunter Committee, said the goal of his committee is to spread the tradition of the American Hunter throughout Europe and make the world excited about the sport.
"Our dream is to get Hunters recognized so they will be part of WEG in the future, and this is the first step in doing so," he said. "It is an incredible opportunity for the American Hunter system to be shown to the world."
The USHJA International Derby was developed to bring the lost art of tradition and horsemanship back to the show ring and was created to bring show hunters to the international level, to increase spectator, media and sponsorship interest and to bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of showing hunters.
The USHJA International Hunter Derby Series consist of qualifying classes held nationwide over 12 months culminating in $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. For more information on the Derby, visit www.ushja.org/IHD.