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2007 AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular Fast Facts

WHEN: Saturday, February 24, 2007, 7:00-10:00 PM (Dinner in the Jockey Club begins at 6:30 PM)

WHAT: The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation Hunter Classic Spectacular. This is a qualifying event featuring the top national amateur, junior and professional show hunter riders. This premier equine event offers the top money in the nation. It is the one event hunter riders aspire to compete in. There is no entry fee for the competitors. Riders qualify through preliminary competitions held during the Winter Equestrian Festival, February 21-24, 2007. The first Hunter Classic took place in 1997 and to date this event continues to be the class in which top hunter riders seek to compete.

Riders qualify throughout the week in the various hunter divisions. Roughly 25 riders earn the honor to compete in this prestigious two-round competition under the lights. The top eight riders return for a second round and when the two round scores are combined, the winner is the rider with the highest cumulative average. Approximately $50,000 (through 12th place) is given out with $12,000 going to the winner. Since it is an add-back competition the final prize money is not determined until that night.

The AHJF is also hosting a fundraiser for its Emergency Relief Fund, a fund that assists equestrians in their time of financial crisis. “Bowling for Equestrians” will be a fun-filled evening of strikes and spares and will be held 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Greenacres Bowl (6126 Lake Worth Road, Greenacres, FL) on February 18, 2007.

FUNDRAISER DETAILS:: The annual AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular dinner party in the Jockey Club Pavilion overlooking the main arena is one of the AHJF's major fundraisers. The tent filled with sponsors who have purchased tables buzzes with conversation while on the grassy hillside around the arena friends, family and newcomers enjoy watching the nation’s top hunters.

WHERE: Winter Equestrian Festival, 14440 Pierson Rd., Wellington, FL. Event will take place in the Internationale Arena, a large grassy field in a beautiful tropical setting, surrounded by spectator and sponsor tents. The arena is lower than the surrounding tents offering viewers a great chance to see the competition.

WHY: This is a major fundraiser for the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation, Inc. (AHJF) and its programs. The AHJF was formed in 1992 to further the development of the equestrian sport of show hunter rider and show jumping competition by providing a national office to organize, coordinate and support hunter rider and show jumping equestrian competition. Other programs of the AHJF include the World Championship Hunter Rider Awards, AHJF Educational Programs, the AHJF BSA Inc. 401k and Profit Sharing Plan. The AHJF also hosts the Legacy Cup (May 9-20, 2007 in Kentucky) and the Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine Professional WCHR Finals (October 5, 2007 in Upper Marlboro, MD). This year a WCHR World Cup Hunter Challenge will be showcased for the second time at the World Cup in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 21.

HOW: Riders who have earned the title of champion and reserve champion in the preliminary competition in the junior, amateur and professional divisions and are current members of the AHJF qualify to compete in this no entry fee class.

WHAT THE JUDGE IS LOOKING FOR: Show hunters are judged on the style of the horse. The horse should look as if it could carry a rider smoothly, comfortably and safely over a course of natural style jumps. The horses should be both elegant and agile as they negotiate obstacles similar to those encountered on a foxhunt.

THE JUDGING SYSTEM: Eight judges are paired in teams of two and positioned in four places around the arena. Each team presents a single numerical score (0-100) and the four scores are averaged for a single round score. After the second round, the two scores are averaged for a final two round score. Roughly, 25 horses compete in the first round and the top eight highest performers come back for a second round. The height of the fences varies from 3’6” to 4’. The winner of the class is the horse with the highest two-round score.

OFFICIALS: (Eight of the following nine judges will be selected closer to the event.) Susan Ashe, Wellington, FL; Liza Dennehy, Denver, CO; Brian Lenehan, Southern Pines, NC; Mindy Minetto, Wellington, FL; Pam & Randy Mullins, Collierville, TN; Jimmy Torano, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Mark Jungherr, Amesbury, MA; and Bill Moroney, Aldie, VA. Michael Rheinheimer is the course designer for the evening.

RIDERS ALREADY QUALIFIED: John French, Redwood, CA-- the 2006 Monarch International WCHR Pro Champion; These include Sandy Ferrell, Bernville, PA, who was last year's winner; Scott Stewart, Flemington, NJ, & Wellington, FL, the winner of the 2006 WCHR Pro Challenge; Rachel Geiger, Malvern, PA, the 2006 WCHR Amateur-Owner Champion; and Jennifer Waxman, Chagrin Falls, OH, 2006 WCHR Junior Champion. (All the above people are eligible to compete on any horse, but must show at the height for which the combination is eligible.)

PURCHASING A TABLE: To purchase a table for the sponsor reception and dinner, please call The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation at 508-835-8813.

SPONSORS: The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation, Inc. and Hadfield’s Saddlery who will present the winner of the class with a custom saddle.

CLASSIC PRIZE AWARDS: In addition to the prize money being distributed the winner of the class will receive a saddle donated by CM Hadfield’s Saddlery, the “The Dark Continent” trophy, courtesy of Jim Green, a custom jacket specially designed by Personalized Products and a cooler donated by Grazing Fields Farm; Leather halters for 1st–6th place and leather shanks for the 7th–12th place ribbon winners. Additionally, the winning trainer will receive a check for $1,000, 2nd place $750, 3rd $500 and 4th $250. The grooms of the 1st through 4th place winners receive a check for $500, $300, $200, $100 (consecutively) sponsored by Archie Cox/Brookway Stables. The winning rider receives the new “Let’s Dance Trophy” established by the AHJF in honor of Friend and Horseman Eugene R. Mische. “Strapless Challenge” is a trophy and check which would go to anyone winning the class four times.

MEDIA CONTACT: Press Link PR, 631-773-6155, Cell: 516-848-4867; Fax: 631-773-6165 or E-mail: dderosa1@optonline.net

AHJF CONTACT: AHJF, 335 Lancaster Street, West Boylston, MA 01583-0369, Phone: 508-835-8813, http://www.ahjf.org, E-mail: ahjf@earthlink.net.

PHOTO CREDIT: ©Diana De Rosa Photo


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