Chicago, Illinois - Equestrians and spectators could not have asked for a better afternoon for the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby (Chicago Hunter Derby) Presented By Canadian National (CN). The Chicago Hunter Derby vintage hunt course was set upon the beautifully landscaped steeplechase course in-field of Annali Farm in Antioch, IL.
Today's festivities included a children's horseless horse show, a silent auction, a fox hunt demonstration, a Calcutta, and even courtesy rides on the CN train. Many of these events today raised money for Chicago Equestrians For a Cause, which will donate the net proceeds to Children's Memorial Hospital of Chicago, IL, as well as the United States Hunter Jumper Association Foundation (USHJA Foundation). Leading the field of equestrians was Jennifer Alfano aboard Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms, Inc. who earned the top scores securing the championship accolades. Earning the reserve championship was Listen, owned by Jane Gaston, with Kelley Farmer in the irons.
Today's hunter derby course was co-designed by Bobby Murphy and Jimmy Torano. Both courses included 12 numbered obstacles and featured four high options for riders. The hunter derby handy course included many tight turns including a left hand turn from the far end of the ring to a rollback vertical through a pair of trees. Both courses exemplified what the traditional field hunter may have faced while fox hunting. Riders had to navigate through many trees and jump fences that featured a CN railroad crossing, natural brush, planks, and many other obstacles that would be typical on a hunt.
Both Farmer and Alfano enjoyed the course today. Alfano remarked, "I loved the course. We come a long way to come to this hunter derby and from the course to the whole show it is always so wonderful."
Alfano and Jersey Boy have topped the USHJA International Hunter Derby standings since the inception of the series. Last week the pair competed for the $100,000 2009-2010 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Presented by Dietrich Insurance and earned the 12th place award overall.
"Jersey Boy has been wonderful," noted Alfano. "He really enjoyed the course today. After being in Kentucky last week Jersey Boy is feeling great. He does not tire easily and loves to do this. I feel that he really thrives in classes like this."
Alfano had an exciting day today riding a new horse Nicolette. The pair came into the second round in the 12th position and earned a top score placing them in 4th overall. "This was the first time I had ever shown her," smiled Alfano. "I never even jumped a line on her until today."
She continued, "When Nicolette and I went in to the first round she felt a little unsure but she took a deep breath and went for it. To go from 12th to 4th in the handy round was very thrilling and I am pretty excited about her."
SBS Farms, Inc. and Alfano will make their trip home to Buffalo, NY where her horses will have a short break. Alfano and Jersey Boy's next stop includes the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ Hunter Derby Demonstration in Lexington, KY and then on to Indoors.
Leading round one of the hunter derby competition was the six-year-old Dutch Warmblood Listen and Kelley Farmer. The pair had topped the round with a high score of 93 from one pair of judges. Then as the handy round concluded they would capture the second highest score overall.
Farmer noted, "Listen tried really hard today and did well. Jersey Boy and Jennifer did great today. Listen is still only a first year horse so you have to give it time. I was proud of all of my horses today I could not be disappointed."
She continued, "I thought the course was beautiful today. A field can always be a big variable. A field may brighten a horse up or back a horse off a little until they are comfortable with the footing. I thought the course was really inviting and all of the horses jumped well. I liked that there was a lot of room to gallop and I enjoyed that Bobby and Jimmy left a nice path to canter through the trees. It was gorgeous out there."
Farmer captured not only the reserve championship today but she also rode Nancy Amling's Bases Loaded to the third place position, and Amling's horse Taken to the 8th place position. Rounding out the 12 spots Farmer rode Sunshine, owned by Sheila Motley to the 11th place and Timber Ridge, owned by Caitlin Lane to the 12th place ribbon overall.
Farmer and her team will take a few weeks and head home for a short while where they will have one show before the Capital Challenge Horse Show.
CN was the presenting sponsor of the 2010 $25,000 International Hunter Derby (Chicago Hunter Derby). Canadian National Railway Company and its operating railway subsidiaries - spans Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to the Gulf of Mexico, serving the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the key metropolitan areas of Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., Green Bay, Wis., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, St. Louis, and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more information on CN, visit the company's website at www.cn.ca.
The net proceeds from this event will be donated to Children's Memorial Hospital and the USHJA Foundation. The Foundation plays an integral role in the equestrian community as a non-profit fundraising vehicle - from supporting the betterment of the sport through programs such as the USHJA International Hunter Derbies to benefiting horses, individuals, and organizations in need of emergency relief via the Horseman's Assistance Fund.
Children's Memorial Hospital is one of Chicago's most precious civic assets. As Illinois' only freestanding hospital exclusively for children, Children's Memorial currently cares for more than 126,000 young people annually. The hospital is consistently recognized as one of the top pediatric institutions in North America, and many of its physicians and researchers are among the world's top experts in their areas of specialty.
For more information on the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented By CN, please visit www.chicagohunterderby.com or contact us at: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Chicago Hunter Derby Hotline: 859-227-9642
Placing,Horse, Owner, Rider
1 Jersey Boy SBS Farms, Inc. Jennifer Alfano
2 Listen Jane Gaston Kelley Farmer
3 Bases Loaded Nancy Amling Kelley Farmer
4 Nicolette Kenzie Snyder Jennifer Alfano
5 Kallisto Kim Calamos Tammy Provost
6 Quanah Meredith Wegbreit Caroline Weeden
7 Valentino Margaret Shank Benjamin Caroline Weeden
8 Taken Nancy Amling Kelley Farmer
9 Peridot Stephen Martines Tammy Provost
10 Impulse Leslie Richman Doug Boyd
11 Sunshine Sheila Motley Kelley Farmer
12 Timber Ridge Caitlin Lane Kelley Farmer
Photos: Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano. Photo © 2010 Lindsay McCall for PMG.
Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano. Photo © 2010 Lindsay McCall for PMG.
Kelley Farmer and Listen. Photo © 2010 Lindsay McCall for PMG.