Wayne, IL - June 23, 2009 - The Showplace Spring Spectacular, recently held from June 2-14 at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, was a great success this year. One of the most popular events for exhibitors and spectators was the $15,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Woodrun Farm. It was held on "Derby Day," Tuesday, June 9, along with a $5,000 Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Derby.
The USHJA International Hunter Derby had more than 30 competitors and some of the best hunters in the nation. First place in the class went to Early Applause, ridden by Maggie Jayne for Pony Lane Farm. Kelley Farmer rode Jane Gaston's Upshot to second place. The show was managed by Pat Boyle, who worked closely with course designer Skip Bailey to produce a fun, beautiful, and breathtaking event for the hunters.
The two-round course featured fully landscaped jumps and was held in the Grand Prix Ring. There were real trees throughout the large ring, chutes, a boxed-in combination, post and rails, real rolltops, and more. All of the exhibitors praised the course for its ability to make horses jump well and the fun that the riders had on course. The ribbons, trophy, cooler, and awards were presented by Troy Linback of Woodrun Farm.
The beautiful leather "Tack Trunk Bag," awarded to the high score in the Handy Hunter round, was donated by Stacey Lefton Glick & King's Crossing LLC and Oughton Ltd. Equestrian Luggage. Early Applause, owned the the Thatcher family's Pony Lane Farm, and Maggie Jayne won that award for their high score in the second round of the derby. Lefton Glick also donated a "Barn Tote Bag" for the "Best Turned Out Horse," which went to Capone, also owned by Pony Lane Farm.
"Big thanks also goes to Diane Carney of Telluride Farm," said Showplace Productions manager Pat Boyle. "She is a great help in producing the hunter derby, and with the use of some of her derby jumps, it helped make this event special and unique."
The judges for the hunter derby were Jimmy Lee of Keswick, VA, Mark Jungherr of Gainsbury, MA, Frank Willard of Oak Ridge, NC, and John Roper of Franklin, TN. These highly esteemed judges gave their scores in pairs, and all four were very impressed with the quality of the derby.
This was Lee's first time judging at Lamplight for Showplace Productions, and he said that the entire show was "outstanding." He added, "It was a real production, and not just a horse show, but a real event."
Lee has judged hunter derbies before in California and Pennsylvania, and felt that the Showplace derby was a wonderful class. "I think all of the judges felt that way," he remarked. "We obviously talked about it afterward, and I thought it was a very, very top-notch event. The course rode beautifully. Not only was it beautiful to look at, but the whole effort and the production that they did to come up with that course was outstanding, and it reflected in the performances. Obviously they had some high quality horses, but the course rode great."
Jungherr agreed, "I think it was really well done with a lot of effort. There were a lot of good options for the handy course, and the biggest thing for me was that we had a good combination of natural obstacles that were still inviting. They weren't easy for the horses to jump by any stretch, but they weren't trappy either. They were encouraging for the proper jumping style of the horse."
Frank Willard was pleased to see that the two horses that the judges liked the best were the ones that ended up on the top of the class. "The two best horses at the horse show and arguably two of the best horses in the country were first and second, and it doesn't always work out that way. Early Applause won and Upshot was second and from judging the rest of the show, it was obvious that those were the two best horses. You love it when that happens."
Willard was full of praise for the Showplace Derby and the course that was set. He said, "I have judged a lot of derbies and that is the best course that I have ever seen, the best track set. They spent enormous amounts of time on the course, and they had such great options. They had a special jump made just for that class, and they opened it up and put it in the big grand prix ring. It was up the hill, down the hill, and natural oxers; it was just all of what the derby is supposed to be about."
John Roper agreed with Willard on the quality of the event. "I have judged five hunter derbies, and I want to say that the course that Pat and Skip did was the best course that I have ever seen for a hunter derby. It was beautiful, the jumps were so jumpable, and it encouraged the horses to jump better," he said.
He went on to say, "I know people have had a lot of trouble in the past at derbies, putting up jumps with no ground lines and straight up and down jumps that just kind of invite bad jumping. I have judged some before where nearly half the class had a rail down or a score of 45, so I think the way that the course was done was not only the most beautiful course that I have seen, but everything was jumpable, and there were a lot of handy options. There were a lot of good options in both the first and second round, and it was very well thought out."
Showplace Productions was very pleased with the event and outcome and to be a part of the USHJA International Hunter Derby series. They will host more quality horse shows at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne and Ledges Sporting Horses in Roscoe, IL, throughout the year. For further information on Showplace Productions and the Showplace Spring Spectacular Horse Shows, please visit http://www.showplaceproductions.com
Photo Caption: Second place finishers Upshot and Kelley Farmer
Photo Credit: The jumps and decorations made this year's $15,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Showplace Spring Spectacular one of the best in the nation. Photo © Jennifer Wood/PMG. This photo may be used free of charge once in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/showplace-spring-ushja-hunter-derby-06-09.html">Showplace Spring Spectacular's USHJA International Hunter Derby Deemed Great Success</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com