United States Hunter Jumper Association's High Performance International Hunter Derbies Inspire Equestrians in Hawaii
RELEASE: May 1, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jenny Ross
After learning about the success of the United States Hunter Jumper Association's (USHJA) International Hunter Derbies, a group of enthusiastic equestrians in Hawaii are following in the same hunter footsteps in honor of true horsemanship. They are holding a class with a format similar to that of the International Hunter Derbies as a gift to their graduating high school seniors. The class will be held on Mother's Day, May 11, 2008.
This group of riders in Hawaii has worked with Diane Carney at clinics and finds the horsemanship of the hunter derbies inspirational. Carney is a driving force behind the USHJA High-Performance Hunter Committee and contributes regularly to the development of the program in the United States.
The International Hunter Derbies were created by the High-Performance Hunter Committee at the USHJA in hopes of bringing back the historic tradition, sport and horsemanship of hunters from years past.
In the derbies, horses and riders tackle natural obstacles and varying terrain. In today's hunters, horses and riders compete in all-weather footing with typical fences and ascending ground lines, lessening the challenges that riders face in piloting their mounts around the course. Specifications of the new derbies include natural fences and elements such as coops, stone walls, ditches, brush and gates, set between 1.30m and 1.40m.
Karen Davidge and Jen Martin, who led the Maui Horse Show Association together from 2004-2007, are involved with producing the Maui Hunter Derby. The derby will be held in Kula, Hawaii, on the island of Maui. Carney recently visited the group in Hawaii and designed a course for them, and she will be donating stable plaques for the horses and arranging for riders to receive complimentary Walsh Harness and Saddlery products.
Martin stated, "Karen [Davidge] came up with the idea of putting on this event as a fun sendoff for a group of graduating seniors that are about to head off on their new adventures. Karen and I are very excited about the new 'movement' of the International Hunter Derby and thought it would be fun to give local Maui riders a taste of what this class is all about." She continued, "This event seemed like a great chance to provide a glimpse of the exciting changes taking place in mainland showing. Hopefully we can inspire some of our college-bound riders to participate in showing on the mainland and continue to improve in their sport. Also, we hope to light a fire under our younger riders to work towards moving up in the ranks."
"Since Karen and I were involved with the Maui Horse Show Association together, we had the good fortune of watching this exceptional group of girls participate in our shows and really mentor the younger group of riders following in their footsteps," said Martin. "They really all have been outstanding role models and have been very involved members of the community for many years. They deserve a special send off."
The group will spend Mother's Day participating in classes modeled after the hunter derby format, and fences will be set so that everyone, from kids on ponies to 3'6'' hunter riders, has the chance to compete over the traditional natural obstacles. Additionally, local sponsors are donating money that will be divided up amongst the participating seniors for a college scholarship.
"Between monetary donations and prizes, the support from the community has been overwhelming," revealed Martin. "Diane Carney and Brenda Mueller have been invaluable in their continued support of showing on Maui as well. We can't thank them enough!"
Carney added, "It's great to see equestrians in Hawaii appreciate the roots and the sport of hunters. These are devoted horsemen with plenty of mainland mileage and awareness of what's going on with the derbies in Florida, California, and the Midwest. Their sportsmanship is evident in their willingness to support each other and thei