Lexington, KY – Aug. 6, 2022 – Hunter competition at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show came to a head early Saturday morning in the Stonelea Ring during the USHJA National Hunter Derby. An expansive fleet of 47 junior, amateur and professional athletes took to the derby ring aboard their prospective mounts in hopes of claiming some of the last precious World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) points before the Finals later this fall. At the close of the class, it was Georgia Jacob and Qualified who took top honors in the JR/AM and Maria Rasmussen aboard SVF James in the Open.
Jasen Shelley (USA) returned to the hunter ring, designing the two courses for the hunter athletes, challenging the riders to execute several key points throughout each course including hunting pace, movement, style of jumping and manners, while their rider counterparts were judged on their positioning in the tack and the ability to communicate and control their mounts. Of the natural fences set throughout the ring, he included four high options allowing riders the opportunity to add up to four bonus points to each round.
With 47 horse-and-rider pairs in the initial pack, the talent in the field ran deep prompting the athletes and their mounts to pull out all the stops in the first round in order to catch the judges’ eyes. After carefully watching the first few rounds, Georgia Jacob and her mount Qualified, entered the ring confidently with a plan in mind. Operating on the same wavelength, Jacob and the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding put in two solid rounds. The talented duo earned an 86.5 in the first round and a 91 in the second round, earning them the first place title with a total score of 177.5.
Maria Rasmussen and Sunset View Farm LLC’s, SVF James, got off to a great start in the first round of competition on the course put forward. Rasmussen and the 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding took to the track in confident fashion, Rasmussen presenting high level skill both in the tack and over the obstacles. The pair’s precision did not let up in the handy round, impressing the panel of judges with their consistent pace and jumping style with a league of their own, helping them to secure the victory.
Competition at the Kentucky Summer Classic will come to a close Sunday, August 7, with the crowning of the Pony Grand Hunter Champion, sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Competition will resume at the Kentucky Horse Park on Tuesday, August 9, with the kick off of USEF Pony Finals.