Feb. 9, 2006 -- The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation (AHJF) Hunter Classic Spectacular will be held February 18 from 7-10 p.m. at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla.
This qualifying, no entry fee event showcases the top national amateur, junior and professional show hunter riders under the lights in the Internationale Arena, while the AHJF's major fundraising dinner and silent auction take place in the Jockey Club Pavilion.
Since its inception in 1997, the AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular has been a highlight event for hunter horses and riders, who put great effort into being one of roughly 25 riders to qualify. Champion and reserve champion riders, who are current members of the AHJF, qualify throughout the week (February 15-18) in the various hunter divisions to compete in this two-round competition. Approximately $50,000 (through 12th place) is awarded with $12,000 guaranteed to the winner. Since it is an add-back competition the final prize money is not determined until that night.
The final list of competitors won't be decided until the day of but a number of horses and riders are already qualified. These include Louise Serio of Kennett Square, Pa., who was last year's winner; Jenny Karazissis of Calabasas, Calif., the winner of the 2005 Pro Challenge; Caroline Moran of Wellington, Fla., the 2005 Amateur-Owner Champion; and Jack Hardin Towell, Jr. of Camden, S.C., 2005 Junior Champion. These riders can compete on any horse, but must show at the height for which the combination is eligible.
The annual dinner party and silent auction in the Jockey Club Pavilion overlooking the main arena is one of the AHJF's major fundraisers. The activities start around 6:30 p.m. and offer a perfect view of the Internationale Arena. At 7 p.m. the dinner and silent auction begin and continue throughout the evening.
While the VIP tent is humming, riders and horses will be prepping in the schooling area shortly before they enter the show ring at 7:30 p.m.