Jennifer Huber, riding her own Al Pacino, claimed the Adult Amateur Grand Prix High Score Award with a 67.872%, as well as the overall Grand Prix/Grand Prix Special Award. These special prizes are awarded at each level to the horse/amateur rider combinations with the highest average score at both the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W/Y and Dressage at Equestrian Estates horse shows. Riders receive cash and other great awards. It’s always very exciting to see the amateur riders competing with such proficiency.
For Huber, going for the Adult Amateur Grand Prix High Score award and its perpetual trophy was part of her Florida strategy, where she typically competes in 7-8 shows. “When I saw that the Derby was having this Grand Prix award, I said to myself, I hope I can win that," she says. “Al's scores were good enough to come out on top, so I was thrilled with him!”
In addition to her High Score award, Huber also received the Grand Prix/Grand Prix Special Award.
Huber and Al Pacino have been paired together for seven years. She bought the German gelding when he was at third level and has brought him up the levels to Grand Prix, which they have been doing for three or four years. "Al is a trooper; he's not an easy horse, but will do it all. Each year he gets better and I love the training process. That is the fun of it for me.”
She has also been enjoying the training process on her 7-year-old Dutch gelding Vito, by Jazz, with whom she claimed the High Score Fourth Level Award with a 69.130%. “Vito has been a challenge for me, but working through this and coming out on top makes me happy,” Huber says. With Chris Hickey's assistance, the pair moved from second to fourth level. “At the Derby, one day he was perfect and the second day he wasn't. He likes to test his boundaries,” she says. Although the Derby has long been recognized as one of the most prestigious CDI competitions in North America and spectators flock to the event to see Olympic riders compete, it is the amateur rider that is the backbone of the sport. “It is nice that the show is recognizing the amateur and giving special attention to our achievements,” Huber says. “Sometimes as an amateur you can get lost in the crowd so it's nice to be recognized.”
Photo Credit: Susan Stickle