Big Change for Hunter Pros Kicks Off at Jacksonville Winter Series
RELEASE: November 23, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Robbi Meisel
Last year the United States Hunter Jumper Association proposed a rule change to the point structure for the professional hunter divisions to effectively go from deciding champions based on points earned to money won. USEF, the governing body of equestrian sports, passed this rule in January of 2009 with a December 1 start date.
Bob Bell, President of Classic Company and the show organizer for the Jacksonville Winter Series, has decided to use the new rule to make some giant changes to the professional divisions that will serve both the horses’ and owners’ best interest. Bell has decided to run only three over fence classes and one under saddle class for each of the professional sections. However, his plan to take advantage of the new ruling by USEF lies in the prize money remaining the same, as it would be for the five classes offered in previous years. “I’m from the school of there are just so many jumps in a horse,” Bell said of his thought process for making the change.
Bell serves on the Board of Directors of both USEF and USHJA, but he’s made it clear time and again to other members that when considering any new rule or changes, his first thought is “Welfare of the horse!” He often poses the question, “Will this rule make it better for the animals we love dearly?” Bell knows his attitude may bump heads at times but refuses to compromise his principals, especially when discussing the well being of a horse. “The new hunter rule is actually a benefit to the horse’s welfare. They jump less for the same amount of points or money. What could be better?” Bell said.
The second part to Bell’s thought process lies in asking the question, “Will the new rule make equestrian sport better?” He believes these new class guidelines will aid the show and it’s exhibitors where many need it most these days, in their pocketbook. “By cutting an over fence class out of the division, the horse will jump less—saving them added stress on their legs, the owner will pay less fees, the professional can add new horses to their ride schedules, and the show benefits from a shorter schedule—saving money that can be used to enhance the show overall. It seems to me that everyone will come out a winner,” Bell believes.
Bell is doing his part to make the new rules play to the horses’ benefi. “I’m concentrating on making this a great winter series, no matter the rule changes—we’ll still make certain exhibitors have fun doing what they love—showing off their horses.”
The Jacksonville Winter Series begins January 6 at the Green Cove Springs Show Grounds for five weeks of exciting fun in the sun. Featuring the $100,000 Green Cove Springs CSI***-W Grand Prix, $10,000 Jerry Parks Insurance Group Hunter Classic, $10,000 Bruning Foundation Equitation Classic, and four $25,000 Show Jumping Grand Prix, plus numerous social gatherings weekly.
To learn more about the 2010 Jacksonville Winter Series, please visit www.classiccompany.com
or call the office at (843) 768-5503. To book hotel or condo reservations, please contact Connections at (800) 262-9974.