The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association announced updates for the USHJA International Hunter Derby program. These amendments, which begin in 2013, are part of a strategic five-year plan developed by the USHJA Derby Task Force.
The 2013-14 season will last 18 months, beginning June 2, 2013 and run through Nov. 30, 2014, to sync the series awards with those of the traditional U.S. Equestrian Federation calendar. Starting in 2013, the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals will be renamed the International Hunter Derby Championships. The Championships will keep their current date and location on the third weekend of August at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
The 2013 championships will introduce an entry fee of $750, with a minimum of 80 percent added back to the base prize money. In previous years, there was no entry fee. This addition will help fund the purse for the consolation final, which debuted this year and was sponsored by Moyer Farms.
The 2013-14 season will also introduce a voluntary $200 nomination fee. Competitors don’t need to enroll to compete in qualifying classes, but they must enroll to be eligible for new regional awards, have their earnings included in the national standings and be eligible to compete in the 2014 championships in Kentucky. A minimum of 60 percent of the enrollment fee will be distributed among the top six riders in each region.
USHJA High Performance Committee chair Ron Danta also headed the Task Force, charged with developing a long-range plan to sustain and support the program.
“We put together a group of managers and people from different parts of the country at all different levels and angles to work together on this,” said Danta. “Everyone worked very hard—sometimes we met every three days—and there was a lot of give and take. We asked people in different areas of the country what would help there, which is how we came up with the regional awards and standings. [USHJA CEO] Shelby French did an incredible job compiling detailed data from across the country and we ended up with very well balanced regions.”
More progressive changes will be announced in the upcoming months.