What is a hunter derby? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-07-2012, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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What is a hunter derby?

The show I am going to on Saturday has a hunter derby class. What is a hunter derby? The class has prize money so it would be cool to enter it, but I don't have any idea what it is.

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post #2 of 13 Old 05-07-2012, 07:01 PM
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I found this...I thought I knew what it was but wanted to make sure. Essentially whnat it does is it gets the term "hunter" back into its true meaning.

Hunter Derby Courses

The courses for the new Hunter Derby are designed to more closely resemble the hunt field, with fewer groundlines, taller, narrower fences, ditches, gates, banks, walls, hedges, and more. The approaches to jumps vary greatly, from short to long to serpentine, and are completely negotiable. Riders are rewarded for choosing more difficult routes, which can even include optional jumps. They differ from current hunter classes primarily in the construction of the fences and the track between them. The United Stated Hunter Jumper Association says,
“The courses will be built to encourage and reward brilliance and daring from the rider and true athletic ability from the horses.”
Each Hunter Derby consists of two rounds: the Hunter Classic Course and the Handy Hunter Course.
Hunter Classic Course
The first round of any Hunter Derby event is the Hunter Classic Course. Courses must adhere to the following guidelines:
  • 10 jumps minimum
  • Fence height 3’6-3’9
  • There must be four 4’0 fences in the course, set as option jumps
  • At least one In and Out
  • At least one Bending Line
  • At least one line with an unrelated distance
  • Jumps: Obstacles must simulate those reminiscent of the hunt field and the course should offer a variety of jumps with different appearances such as: natural post and rail, stone wall, white board fence or gate, coop, aiken, hedge, oxer, brush, logs, natural foliage. Natural obstacles such as banks and ditches are encouraged.
  • A 3″ difference is required for the back element of an obstacle
  • Ground lines must be of one material for each jump
  • Ground lines are not to exceed 18,” but less is encouraged where possible
  • For appropriate jumps, no ground line is acceptable
Handy Hunter Course
The Handy Hunter Course isn’t about just cantering a series of jumps; it incorporates elements such as a walk or trot fence, opening a gate from horseback, and dismounting and leading your horse over a jump. The rules for the Handy Hunter are:
  • Fence height 3’6-3’9
  • There must be four 4’0 fences in the course, set as option jumps
  • The course must have a minimum of 2 of the following options: trot jump, open gate while mounted, lead over a jump, tight turn option, clever options for jump approaches, halt and/or back, walk a jump
  • A minimum of 12 entries must return for Round 2, if available.
  • the top 12 will return for the second round over the Handy Hunter Course. If 12 or less show in the first round, all horses will return for the second round
In case of a tie, horses will be asked to compete in a shortened version of the course for a jump-off.
Hunter Derby Dress

Attire for the Hunter Derby is formal. Riders must wear a shad-belly, dark coat, buff or canary breeches, and white shirt. Horses show in traditional hunter tack including snaffles or pelhams and double bridles. Standing and running martingales are permitted.
Winning the Hunter Derby Purse

A purse of at least $10,000 is required in a Hunter Derby Class. (The season final is already pinned at a jackpot of $100,000.) To win it, you must impress the judge with your horse’s true jumping style and the brilliance of the round (successfully navigating a more difficult track will reward you!).
Each Hunter Derby is overseen by at least two teams of two judges. Each team assigns a score to the ride, and the scores are then combined for the overall total. Round One, the Hunter Classic Course, is judged on style and brilliance. Round Two, the Handy Hunter Course, is judged on style, brilliance, and handiness. The judges may award up to 20 bonus points on the second round for exceptional handiness.
In normal hunter classes, horses are marked down for behavior like shaking heads after a jump or swapping leads. In the Hunter Derby, however, these behaviors are encouraged as the horse showing a little life. Balance, straightness, and good jumping style is still important, but horses who are daring, athletic, and show some expression will be rewarded.

That write-up is actually for an international style competition..smaller shows may not be set up for the same type of event but I imagine the prize list for the show will give you some more details on heights and so on.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-07-2012, 07:03 PM
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Now THAT is a great idea!!! I've heard of Handy Hunter before--a LLOOOONNNGGG time ago.
If you enter, PLLLEEEAAASSEEE get us some pictures of you and your horse to post. =D
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-08-2012, 12:14 AM
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The description tlking gave is for the International Hunter Derby series at rated shows (hence the 10,000 prize money). They are the best of the best, the "olympics" of the hunter world. They are extremely competitive and the horses that make it to finals are very VERY expensive.

Is your show a rated show or a schooling show? Our schooling show circuit has started a derby series and it's on a much more casual scale, although pretty fun. It's only 3". Formal attire (shadbellies or white breeches) are recommended but not required. Prize money is like $100. And the courses are much more intricate then a typical hunter course and a lot more fun! But same basic theory. First round is a more classic round, with option fences to give you an extra point. (the "option", means that you have the choice of going to fence 1 or fence 2, but fence 2 will be either higher or more difficult to get to, but will also give you an extra point on your score). They call back the top 12, and then from lowest to highest each will do a 2nd round, which will be a handy round. We usually have trot fences, hand gallop fences, bending lines, rollbacks, etc etc. The handier (but correct) horses get the top scores. Derbies are A LOT of fun and I'm very excited that they are gaining popularity! Do it!
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-12-2012, 07:52 AM
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Omg this sounds like a blast!!!
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-13-2012, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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I ended up doing it. I didn't do very well, but it was super fun. I had never done anything but simple hunter courses so I didn't have very good instincts for how to get around the arena. I will defiantly do it again next year.

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post #7 of 13 Old 05-15-2012, 10:23 PM
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These were always my favorite classes... hated the shadbellys though, always ended up really messy and they're expensive.

If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question or asked the question wrong

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post #8 of 13 Old 06-10-2012, 03:42 PM
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What is a shad belly?
I'm curious to start this too, getting outside of my little standard dirt or grass hunter rings :)
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-10-2012, 03:46 PM
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Theyre more formal coats that have tails kid of like a tuxedos. Derbies usually require (or request) "formal attire", which for the hunter world means white breeches/shirt with a dark coat or khaki breeches and a shadbelly.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-10-2012, 03:52 PM
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So you need a coat and shad belly? I have a Navy hunt coat..
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