Thrilling Hunter Derby and $25,000 Grand Prix Highlight Week I of the Atlanta Summer Classic
RELEASE: June 25, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Cynthia Grisolia
Week I of the Atlanta Summer Classic was highlighted by two spectacular weekend events: the $25,000 ASG Software/USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $25,000 Central Equine Grand Prix, held Friday and Saturday evening, respectively, at the Georgia International Horse Park’s Olympic Stadium.
On Friday night an astounding 39 hunter teams gathered under the lights for the International Hunter Derby. After the tight turns were negotiated, the jumps cleared, and the gates opened and closed, it was Elizabeth Towell-Boyd of Camden, N.C., aboard the Roger Smith owned Castello, who claimed the victory. This marked Boyd’s second Derby in the series. She and Castello also captured the win at the Aiken Spring Master on April 27.
The two-round Derby was characterized by the Classic Round, which offers various fence heights and such essentials as an in-and-out jump and bending lines. Round two, the Handy Round, then challenges riders with any combination of tight turns, roll backs, mounted opening/closing of gates, trot jumps, bank jumps, and other innovations designed to showcase the daring of the rider and the true athleticism of the horse. Boyd took first in both rounds.
Friday’s event was the 18th round in the inventive yearlong series that was developed by the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association to bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of showing hunters. The High Performance Hunter Program initiated in St Louis, MO in December 2007 and will conclude in Tyler, TX this November.
Coming in second to Boyd was her client, Sarah Ward, riding her own Voltaire. Third place went to L’Aigle Noir with Jamie Steinhaus in the irons, fourth was Chris Nelson aboard Von Trapp, and rounding out the top five was Megan Edrick and Vegas.
On Saturday, spectators gathered once again in the former Olympic arena, this time for the $25,000 Central Equine Grand Prix. Daniel Geitner of Aiken, SC aboard the 9-year-old Rhinelander mare Sympa, took home the blue ribbon.
Of an opening field of 24, only seven horse and rider teams negotiated the Michele Vallaincourt designed course well enough to earn a spot in the jump off.
The Atlanta Summer Classic continues next week, June 25-29, with more exciting Hunter Jumper competition and events, including the Outback Steakhouse-sponsored Horses Helping Horses charity dinner on June 27, and the $25,000 Outback Steakhouse Grand Prix on Saturday June 28. For more information contact the Classic Company show office at (843) 768-5503.