Carson City, NV - With only a few days left to prepare for the $25,000 Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby at the Franktown Meadows Equestrian Facility, anticipation is mounting. Equestrians are traveling from all over to take part in the first standalone hunter derby on the west coast. Among the many hunter derby exhibitors will be top professionals John French and Jenny Karazissis.
French will be accompanied by four hunter derby horses, which include two first-year horses. One of the first-year horses is Truman, owned by Mary Sweeney. The other horse is Woodstock, owned by Hope Glen, and his last horse is the famous hunter stallion Crown Affair, owned by Gail Morey of Yellow Dog Farm, LLC. Jenny Karazissis will be showing the athletic hunter derby horse, Forbes, owned by Tonia Cook Looker. Both riders are looking forward to competing in the September 19 derby in just a few days.
French noted, "I love the fact that this derby is a standalone event. I think the west coast really needed a class like this. This is like what the Oaks used to be it was a nice social event, with a brunch, and it was really special for the hunters. We don't have the advantage that the east coast has of riding in Florida and then on the way home catching a few hunter derbies along the way. Each zone is located only a few hours form each other while on the west coast you may travel 10 hours to the next hunter derby."
He continued, "I am excited that there will be many of the big jumps from the Chicago Hunter Derby. I think we will see some really special fences, some nice long lines between jumps, a beautiful big open field, and overall it will be a great experience. I just want to have fun with my horses and support this derby. It is really great that they are doing this and I hope that this year is a great experience so even more people will come next year."
Many of the participants and spectators are making a vacation out of the derby by spending time at the local gaming venues in the Reno area. Some riders will be traveling large distances to compete at the $25,000 Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby including Jenny Karazissis who is 10 hours away.
Karazissis commented, "I am looking forward to Franktown Meadows. I have never been out to their facility before but I am very excited about it! Originally, I did not know if this derby would be possible for me because of schedule conflicts, but we worked out our schedule and will be making the trip to Reno. I was disappointed I could not go to the Kentucky Hunter Derby Finals so this got me excited again that I have another derby to do."
Karazissis will be bringing Forbes to this derby. "Forbes and I have a great time doing the derbies, smiled Karazissis. "He is one of my favorite horses to ride. He is very handy so I enjoy when I get to the handy round and know I can do any turn. We have done well with every challenge I have come across and I look forward to hopefully doing well at Franktown."
She continued, "I really appreciate the fact that someone is sticking their neck out to have a standalone event. That just doesn't happen anymore especially for the hunters. To be able to go somewhere and know that they are going all out to make it a special class just for the hunters is exciting; This is how the derby should be. A lot of times the derby conflicts at the shows with other classes that you have to get ready for. So for this to be a standalone event and for the amount of money that they are putting up I am very grateful and very happy that I am able to go and support it."
Photo Credit: John French and Crown Affair. Photo 2010 © Gail Morey