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  1. #1
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    Default What makes a "Derby" a Derby?

    Yeah, I realize what the USEF says. And the intent of creating them.
    Clearly, they have created a bit of excitement and renewed interest in hunters.
    But what will keep them special? Should they remain special?
    How do they/should they - differ from "Classics"? (Which used to be special.)

    I believe that a DERBY should be the hunter equivalent of a Grand Prix.
    Challenging both in scale/height - but also in the questions it asks on course. Unusual fences (still "natural" in design), tests of obedience (trotting, opening gates, etc ) and the need to adjust speed and pace should be a part of a Derby competition.

    I want a Derby to be a real "event" where the course makes every single rider at the show want to be able to ride at that level.

    IMO, not every show should have a derby, and not every hunter is a "derby" horse.

    And, just to attempt to defend myself against those who might say my views are what keep h/j competitions from being open to everyone - no matter their income or ability....
    I'm an average ammie who would love to have some challenging, different classes to ride in. But IMO, "Classics" should be more than just another hunter class in the division - and could be offered at (almost) every height with appropriate fences/courses to give us all an opportunity to feel it's a "special" class. And a chance for those that have the desire - to wear a shad!

    I don't understand why there is a need for classics and derby's at all levels.



  2. #2
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    So I would say 80% of show people around here just do the local shows - which are fairly competitive, I should add.

    Two of the local show series added a Hunter Derby this year. (5 shows in each of the series, the other 4 shows have Classics at the end of the day and then the one show with a Derby.)

    The one show series had 3 different height divisions for the Derby: 2'3, 2'6 and 3ft and only ammies could ride in it.

    The other show series just had one class, but several of the jumps had height options (all jumps were at least 2'6, with some 3ft height options...so you could pick which height you wanted to do and got bonus points for doing the higher fence). Pros and ammies rode together. To me...this was more of a "hard core" Derby. LOL.

    I will say - the courses were designed following the guidelines from USEF regarding Hunter Derbies as far as making sure in the first round there were: in and outs, unrelated distances, bending lines. In the second round, while I haven't seen the open/close gate yet...there were trot jumps, walk jumps, hand gallops, and chances to show your hunter handiness depending on the route you picked. The fences were MUCH different than what was in the ring for the hunter divisions during the day - logs, brush, bushes, skinny gates, stumps - definitely more cross country type fences.

    That is what separated the men from the boys in my opinion - how your horse could deal with going into the ring cold and go over those kinds of fences (a "Derby" horse vs. a "oh my god I've never jumped a bush in my life and am going to freak and dance sideways" kind of horse).

    I personally thought they were pretty cool classes to have and really might encourage some of the aspiring hunter riders to remember to take their horses out of the ring for training from time to time.

    As far as if they should have them or not *shrug* - I don't see what the harm is. I mean...around here (I am in central Ohio)...our local shows might have ONE or TWO entries in the 3'3-3'6 divisions...the vast, vast majority of folks are 2'6 to 3ft. And it is not like we are located close to the West or East coast - home of big shows - where it would be a lot easier to get to big rated shows that have "official" Derbies.

    So should the 99% of the hunter showing population in central Ohio never get to ride a Derby type course because they'll never jump 3'6 or have a horse that can jump 3'6? I say no.

    I can understand wanting Derbies to be special and hey...why don't they just stick to Classics then...but on the flip side...to me...the benefit of the Derbies is that they open up a whole new world to hunter riders. It gets them out of the ring...trail riding...maybe even hunter pacing or fox hunting. I think that is great for the mentality of horse and rider both. I ride at the barn where I am the ONLY person that trail rides. Some of the gals have started to do the Derbies and are realizing the need to get out of the ring to be successful in them so now there is an interest in riding trails and just getting the horses used to more natural obstacles. To me - that is going to produce better, more confident riders and horses...and I don't think it is a bad thing to start that in the lower levels...as well as the top.

    I think we all know the local Derbies don't touch the "real" Derbies as far as difficulty go - but you do have all the more appreciation for those bigger, "real" Derbies after riding in a few mini-Derbies that you wouldn't otherwise have.



  3. #3
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    Default

    For most local show management, what makes a derby a derby is the fact that they typed the word in the prize list! To me a derby should show case a hunter in a way that a) is more challenging in terms of fences, combinations, etc. b) holds truer to the traditional standard of "hunter" riding and c) allows the rider some options to really show off their hunter rather than the cookie cutter hunter courses.

    I personally don't like them at the lower heights (under 3') for several reasons. Mainly, if you are riding at 2'6", most likely you are still mastering the basics (steady pace, correct distances, balance, etc) therefore creating an even more challenging course that includes combinations, tighter turns, options, etc would most likely be beyond their skill level. The idea is not just to survive going a around the course but to master it. I think a normal handy hunter round is much more appropriate for this level- there are only a few extra 'challenges' so the rider can still focus on the basics. For this same principle, I am a fan of doing optimum time classes and 'clear round- blue ribbon' in the real low level jumpers.

    Secondly, I think the lower level derbies take away from the "prestige" that the derby was originally intended to create. Why aren't hunter classics the big thing anymore? Because they started doing them at EVERY height (even short stirrups). It became no big deal. This is the same track that the derby is on. IMO, it should be something that people aspire to work their way up to. I think if they only did classics at 3' and over, and only did derbies at 3'6" and over you may see more people move up.

    Now, believe me, I am all about having some fun- especially the local shows but they need to do so wisely. I think IF they do have a derby at 2'6", then they should reserve that class for their year end finale. It should not be a regular part of the circuit.



  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
    Now, believe me, I am all about having some fun- especially the local shows but they need to do so wisely. I think IF they do have a derby at 2'6", then they should reserve that class for their year end finale. It should not be a regular part of the circuit.
    I would be down with that - Derbies ARE special and I think you are right that it is important to keep them that way.



  5. #5
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    Default

    Well, if in and outs are not allowed at 2'6" and below by most regional USHJA affiliates? And you cannot offer the "bonus" options jumping the higher side of a fence on a Derby course? And their is no big purse money?

    It's no Derby.

    I realize locals are all about the 2'6" on down but...really. Why not just call it a Handy Hunter round with a trot fence and gate or something as was mentioned and misidentified as a "Derby" course. Derby fences are BIG and off forward distances or tricky, like a blind approach-that was the point. Something that was HARD with bigger options for more points and all sorts of non Hunterish questions from the course designer. It is the apex of the Hunters and actually attracts spectators-can we not leave it that way? Something to strive for instead of making a kiddy sized copy just so it is available at all levels?
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  6. #6
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    If you make the Derby classes special and different, where will all the 8 year olds wear their shads?
    madeline
    * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    Why not just call it a Handy Hunter round with a trot fence and gate or something as was mentioned and misidentified as a "Derby" course.
    For me – it is not just the handy options that peak interest, it is the natural fences/obstacles.

    Overheard at local “Derby”...”Hey Trainer, are you riding in the Derby?” “Who, me? No way. I’m not jumping that crazy a$$ sh*t.”

    To do a Handy Hunter round over the same old things we have been jumping all day...YAWN.

    I hear what you are saying though – if they could come up with a lower level handy type course that incorporated some crazy a$$ sh*t to jump and find another name to call it other than a Derby, fine with me.

    Or wait...is that jumpers?



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    If you make the Derby classes special and different, where will all the 8 year olds wear their shads?
    How true...and most of these things they judge all the height groups together and modify the course for each section The 8 year olds don't do oxers yet in their age group EQ or Beginner Hunter wannabe maybe someday so we cannot, possibly, ask them to do so in the Derby.

    I could live with setting it at 3' with options at 3'3" to 3'6" and letting all have a crack at that. Not the usual 4 height sections from 2' up, lowest without spreads and all judged together.

    But that is exactly what has been happening. Same as the "Classics" and Eq "Championships". And that is a million miles from the intent of the Derby concept.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    I could live with setting it at 3' with options at 3'3" to 3'6" and letting all have a crack at that. Not the usual 4 height sections from 2' up, lowest without spreads and all judged together.
    Sounds like a fair compromise. Who do we have to petition?!



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrakeGirl View Post
    Sounds like a fair compromise. Who do we have to petition?!

    Nobody, they are unrated. But being an active member of your local association that offers points and year end awards gives you some voice. But that won't be popular with little Suzy's mom-that happens to be president of said association-who wants the oxers and in and out out for the lower splits. But judged as one.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrakeGirl View Post
    Sounds like a fair compromise. Who do we have to petition?!
    You don't need to petition anyone.
    It's called the National Hunter Derby.
    New this year. Fences at 3' with options to 3'5".
    Zone points for these classes.
    Needs to be held at an A or AA show.
    $2500 in prize money.

    There are unrated versions with lower prize $ but they are all over the place with the specs.



  12. #12
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    Speaking about dinky shows.

    I like the *idea* behind the derby imported down to lower levels. But that's because the Handy Hunter class doesn't get enough credit or interest at the top. And the Derby's intention is a bit different. At this point, what is a Classic except the chance to pay more, buy a $700 coat, jump five courses in a day with only the last one being a little different and harder at the end when the horse is tired?

    As TrakeGirl points out, Dinky Derbies can have the benefit of getting riders of all levels to take their hunters out of the ring...where they originally belonged, I might add.

    If they also reward the really broke and not WP-with-fences-automaton, I'm happy. For my superbroke 3'-er it would have provided a great option. As it stood, I could switch to eq (which I did), or ramp up to 3'6", waste entry fees and cripple Beastling in two years. A 3' but gen-u-ine derby would have with one or two bigger options would have offered a training goal for me that kept me in showing often and being good to my horse at the same time.

    I do think show managers need to think hard about whether or not they have the ability and desire to run a derby. It takes a big course change and new set of jumps to be done right. If shows can't do that but slap the derby label on the class any way, it will go the route of the classic.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  13. #13
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    Default and not a "classic"

    Trakegirl,
    I agree with your comments regarding getting people to ride over more challenging obstacles than yet another roll top or oxer is a positive thing. And I'm glad to hear that at least some course designers/show managers are making an effort to really set a "derby - like" course. I wonder if that is true in the majority of cases?

    I'm still wondering how "classics" became just another class? And sometimes not even another class - just a score on one of your (division) hunter rounds.
    If the classics became more special/difficult - would people still want lower level Derby classes?



  14. #14
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    Default I agree with most of you

    The derby should be something to look forward to, something the average rider works toward, something pony kids set their goals on. NOT just a course with the name derby.

    I am fine with derbys being held at local shows, but they should be set at the height of the upper hunter divisions for THAT show (if the highest offered at show is 3ft, then ok, make the derby 3ft). The course should be a challenge, something to brag about, something to be proud of.

    I agree 100% that the word "classic" has ended up as just that, another word on the prizelist.

    Instead of taking the prestige out of the derby classes, by dumbing them down, just to expose horses to diffrent jumps, we should request more REAL handy courses at the lower levels.
    ---^v---^v---^v----------------------^v---^v---^v---
    For a moment there, you bored me to death



  15. #15
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    DINKY DERBY I love it.

    And it can join the Micro Mini "Prix" at .5m and the Hunter Not So Classic with no in and out or oxers.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkme View Post

    I am fine with derbys being held at local shows, but they should be set at the height of the upper hunter divisions for THAT show (if the highest offered at show is 3ft, then ok, make the derby 3ft). The course should be a challenge, something to brag about, something to be proud of.
    From what I have seen happen to classics, I agree. The Derby ought to be offered at the top height for the show. When you create an 18" version of a classic. Kids don shads but the course must be simplified them so that no one gets killed in their expensive clothes. Then there's not much distinguishing the classic anymore and show managers think they have made a good compromise between Special and Safe.

    Be careful with the intention of creating a class worth bragging about. What, exactly, makes it distinctive? What kind of horse or training program does it reward? If the whole world made Derby Winner its goal (as opposed to Classic Winner or Handy Hunter Winner or even Paired Class Winner), would the hunters be better or worse in 10 years?

    We lost something-- and will insure the hunters need constant resuscitation-- if we keep making specialized competitions similar to the "outside, diagonal, outside, diaganal" courses that already exist.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  17. #17
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    Just checked the rules of my regional USHJA affiliate regarding the Derby...and you CANNOT jump higher then your usual division restrictions in the Derby or you become ineligible for that usual division.

    You are restricted in your division from cross entering anything higher on the same horse? The Derby busts your eligibility if any of the options are above allowed height. So if you are a 2'6" Intermediate or Pre Child/Adult, a single option jump at 3' blows your eligibilty. A 3' Child or Adult cannot jump a 3'6" option on the same horse they enter on at 3'.

    Bummer. That was part of the point.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    Just checked the rules of my regional USHJA affiliate regarding the Derby...and you CANNOT jump higher then your usual division restrictions in the Derby or you become ineligible for that usual division.

    You are restricted in your division from cross entering anything higher on the same horse? The Derby busts your eligibility if any of the options are above allowed height. So if you are a 2'6" Intermediate or Pre Child/Adult, a single option jump at 3' blows your eligibilty. A 3' Child or Adult cannot jump a 3'6" option on the same horse they enter on at 3'.

    Bummer. That was part of the point.
    I'm guessing that regional USHJA affiliate = your local horse show association.

    My local assoc has no rules regarding the derby and I've looked at a few others and they don't mention it either.

    Are your local assoc rules in regard to the National Derby or does your local assoc set specs for some other non standard version of the Derby? I'm guessing a non rated version because of the mention of a 3' option In that case it's not 'the Derby' that causes the problem it's your local assoc rules regardng unrated Derby classes. Simply ask them to change the rule.

    This goes to previous posts about proliferation of unrated versions.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by S A McKee View Post
    Simply ask them to change the rule.
    Yes, it is the regional USHJA club and they WERE asked to clarify that point by their local member shows that wanted to host a Derby style class. They ruled a single fence in that Derby style class jumped above the cross entry or eligibility height for the exhibitors regular division made them ineligible for that regular division. So that question was asked and answered.

    Since they also offer points in the USEF AA rateds in neighboring states (Brownland, KHP, Circle City etc) some child or Adult could really get hurt in affiliate points for their normal division if they choose to jump an option if a Derby style class is offered for their division at those shows.

    Maybe the law of unintended consequences kicking in here. USEF may want to look at this if they start modifying the original specs to allow some lower level Derby classes-do the options in a Derby count against eligibility in, say, Adult or Childrens Hunters if said option is more then 3'3"?
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  20. #20
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    I think it would defeat the purpose of an option fence if it were only 3" taller than the other fences. I think many organizations state that the childrens/adult hunters cannot cross enter into any class with fences at 3'6", so theoretically could they set the options at 3'5"? I know its odd but at least there would still be a sizeable difference and it would hopefully satisfy the rules.



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