July 13, 2006 -- DerbyCross, a new equestrian sport, combines the speed and accuracy of show jumping with the bravery and endurance of cross country jumping. This year's premiere DerbyCross event will be held July 29 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va., and will showcase some of the best equestrian talent in the country.
DerbyCross was conceived and developed by Dunlavin Eventing, Equestrian Entertainment Partners and Juan Salinas-Bentley, director of Great Meadow Polo.
"The course is a strategically designed track combining cross country questions such as ditches, logs and water with show jumps," said Rebecca Howard, general manager of Dunlavin Eventing. "It will ask the horses to be brave over cross country fences and then careful over the show jumps, against the clock."
Five teams will compete this year. Riders will incur four penalty points per dropped rail, four per stop at a fence and four per fall. The team with the fastest time and the lowest penalties wins. U.S. Olympian and U.S. Equestrian Federation President David O'Connor is the course designer.
The catch? Each team must include one polo player. An easier course will be set for them but it will still be quite a challenge for riders who are used to playing a game at a full gallop on a flat field.
"We've always had respect for what it takes to jump a fence on a horse and after trying it a couple of times, now we just think these guys are crazy," says Salinas-Bentley. "This will certainly be entertaining."
"We wanted to make a sport that was exciting, easy to understand and multi-discipline so we could bring the different facets of the equestrian community together. DerbyCross draws on steeplechase, eventing, show jumping and polo, a great start. Maybe next year we'll add a little bull roping for fun," says Dana Voorhees, president of Equestrian Entertainment Partners.
There will be a select number of tailgate spots, a VIP tent and sponsorship opportunities. General admission and VIP tickets will also be sold. The DerbyCross competition will begin at 3 p.m., followed by a polo match at 7 p.m. Call 1-800-505-0604 for more information.