The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association has announced that the inaugural USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championships will be brought to the East and West Coasts in 2019.
The Kentucky Summer Classic will host the East Coast Championship from Jul. 30- Aug. 4 in Lexington, and the Blenheim Fall Tournament will host the West Coast Championship from Sept. 11-15 in San Juan Capistrano (California).
“The popularity of derby competitions continues to increase across the country, and we’re very excited to bring a championship opportunity to some of our youngest derby competitors,” said Mary Babick, USHJA president. “We hope by offering the championships on either coast, we provide ample opportunity for members to participate.”
Since the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Program began in 2017, 825 ponies have earned points in the program and competitions have hosted more than 70 pony derbies nationwide.
The USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championships will give pony competitors a new goal to set in addition to the longstanding USEF Pony Finals and AON/USHJA National Championships at The Las Vegas National CSI****-W, offered for the first time this year.
Qualification – already underway – is based on the pony; all ponies that have competed in at least one USHJA Pony Hunter Derby within the qualifying period, which differs for each championship, are qualified.
Qualifications for the East Coast is Aug. 13, 2018-Jun. 2, 2019, and Aug. 13 -Jul. 15, 2019 for the West Coast.
Riders may compete a total of four ponies but no more than two of the same size. The championships follow a traditional derby format composed of two rounds: a classic hunter-style round and a handy-hunter round.
All qualified and entered ponies will compete in the classic round, and USHJA will invite a minimum of the top 12 ponies to return for the handy. Two panels will judge the championships; each panel consisting of two judges. The two panels’ scores will be averaged for a final numerical score in each round; cumulative scores over the two rounds will determine the winner and ties for first place will require a jump-off.
More information can be found here www.ushja.org/PonyHunterDerby