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$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Achieves Rock Star Status at HITS Ocala

Ocala, FL - March 19, 2008 - This past week the HITS Ocala Winter Finals hosted the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Classic in Ocala, FL, and the unique event featured some of the very best hunters in the nation. This high performance class was created by the United States Hunter Jumper Association High Performance Hunter committee to help bring the lost art of hunter tradition and horsemanship back to the show ring.

About 50 exhibitors came to post for the International Hunter Derby on Saturday, March 15, and these competitors ranged from junior and amateur-owner riders to professionals. Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY, and Rock Star executed two stunning rounds and came away with the victory. Alfano rides for SBS Farms Inc., and Rock Star is owned by Jennifer Burger of Bright Star 158 LLC.

"The ring was beautifully designed," commented Diane Carney, a driving force behind the High Performance Hunter committee and the USHJA International Hunter Derbies. "Jerry Doherty, who was the technical coordinator, and the rest of the HITS Ocala staff did an outstanding job transforming the ring for the course. They really got it right. There was a great log jump and two beautiful oak trees in the ring, and it was just brilliance at its best."

About her win, Alfano stated, "It was just so much fun to do something different. The course was good and my horse was great. He doesn't bat an eye at anything and he wasn't fazed by the jumps or the lights."

These high performance hunter derbies require horses and riders to tackle natural obstacles and varying terrain, and specifications of the classes include natural fences and elements such as coops, stone walls, ditches, brush and gates, set between 1.30m and 1.40m. There were three option jumps on course that were set to 4 feet high, and Alfano took all three of the taller options.

"The course asked excellent questions of the riders and encouraged them to ride forward," Carney continued, "and every requirement for the class was met. The horses were all beautifully turned out, and there wasn't a seat to be found around the ring. It was truly a grand prix for hunters. Everyone had to really ride, and spectators loved the riding and horsemanship involved."

"There were a lot of horses in it," Alfano said. "Lots of people came to watch and they stayed for the entire event to watch us for a hunter class. Hopefully, these classes will take off and be popular. I think it's a great thing."

The next High Performance Hunter event is the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Classic in Wellington, FL, on March 20-21, 2008. The second round will be held in the International Arena under the lights.

Carney, in addition to her involvement with the United States Hunter Jumper Association's High Performance Hunter Committee, has been both an active participant and influential trainer in the hunter and jumper community for many years. Her contributions to the industry extend to the many clinics that she teaches every year, in addition to those that she hosts annually for U.S. Show Jumping Chef d'Equipe George H. Morris and top hunter/jumper trainer Don Stewart Jr. Carney is based out of Hampshire, IL, at Telluride Farm.

Final Results: $10,000 USHJA INT'L HUNTER CLASSIC

1. Rock Star, Jennifer Alfano, Bright Star 158 LLC

2. Sam Adams, Mary-Lisa Leffler, Ashley Foster

3. Prestige, Mickie Sage, Ava Lyndsay

4. Sag Harbor's Lucky Star, Paige Dekko, Paige Dekko

5. Violets Are Blue, Jennifer Alfano, Helen Lenahan

6. Eli, Laura Pfeiffer, Kim Carey

7. Cavalier Forever, Morgan Hale, Morgan Hale

8. Sting, Jennifer Alfano, SBS Farms/Helen Lenahan

9. Hello Elektro, Dee Dee Walker, Dee Dee Walker

10. What Ever, Kaelin Tully, Kaelin Tully

11. Mr. Coffee, Aaron Vale, Paige Dekko

12. Acarell, Jane Ehrhart, Jane Ehrhart

For more information on Diane Carney and Telluride Farm, please visit http://www.dcarneytelluride.com.

Photo: Jennifer Alfano and Rock Star, winners of the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS Ocala. Photo by Lili Weik.


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