Articles: Press Release
AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular Features Top Show Hunters
January 10, 2003 -- Wellington, Florida -- On February 15, 2003 the
seventh annual American Hunter-Jumper Foundation (AHJF) Hunter Classic
Spectacular will be featured under the lights in Wellington, FL.
Started in 1997, the Hunter Classic has become the class to be in for
hunter riders. This event features the amateur, junior and professional
champion and reserve champion show hunter horses and riders who have
qualified from preliminary competitions held during the weeklong Winter
Equestrian Festival, February 12-15.
The AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular is a target event for many hunter
riders. “I can tell you riders scramble to get into this class,”
explains Geoff Teall, AHJF President.
The event takes place at night in the large grassy International Arena
and attracts a huge spectator attendance both on the grass ledges
surrounding the arena and at the tented dinner, which is the AHJF’s
major annual fundraiser. The arena is lower than where the spectators
are seated offering viewers a great chance to see the competition.
There is no charge to come through the gates. So, everyone is welcome
to come and enjoy the evening.
The show hunters that qualify are scored by eight judges. This year Ann
Braswell, Robert Braswell, Karen Healey, Randy Henry, Mark Jungherr,
Randy Mullens, Tammy Provost, and Steve Wall will judge the horses over
a course designed by Michael Rheinheimer. The judges will be looking
for style and a horse which can carry a rider smoothly, comfortably and
safely over a course of natural style jumps. The horses should be both
elegant and agile as they negotiate obstacles similar to those
encountered on a foxhunt.
“It’s more nerve wracking than building a jumper course,” explains
Rheinheimer. “You don’t care in the jumpers if something is
distracting. In the hunters everything needs to be symmetrical and what
they see on the backside of the fence as they are jumping dictates how
they jump. It’s all about trying to get them to jump well.”
Up to 26 riders will qualify to compete in this prestigious competition
as well as last year’s winner Emily Williams, who rode Strapless to
first place honors in both 2001 and 2002; Peter Pletcher, who was the
2002 Chronicle of the Horse Professional World Champion Hunter Rider;
Louise Serio, who won the 2002 WCHR Professional Challenge Class; Kara
Hofstetter, 2002 WCHR Amateur-Owner National Champion and Charlie Jayne,
winner of the 2002 WCHR Junior National Championship. Jayne placed
seventh in 2000 on Little Lion and twelfth in 2002 aboard In Sync.
Serio was second in 2002 on Dream Date and fifth on Red Panda. She was
seventh in 2001 on Red Panda, who she also claimed top honors with in
the inaugural Legacy Cup that same year. These riders will be able to
compete on any horse they choose but must compete at the height for
which the combination is eligible in this no entry fee class. All
entrants must be current members of the AHJF.
Party Planner guru Mason Phelps, Jr. and co-chair Beverly Lake Wilkes
will create the festivities for the evening for some 360 guests under
the all new party tent, now called “The Jockey Club.” The goal will be
to make the event enjoyable, profitable and comfortable, with only two
rows of tables (covered with blue tablecloths with white rose
centerpieces), so that everyone in the tent will have an excellent view.
A buffet dinner will be catered for the enjoyment of the AHJF patrons.
Front row tables are $3500 and second row tables are $2500. With its
new face lift (new window boxes, wainscoting and chair railings,
chandeliers, wall sconces and more), being in “The Jockey Club” will be
extra special. For table reservations call the Winter Equestrian
Festival Special Events Office – 561-753-3389, Fax 561-753-3386 or email
For the riders, this major competition gives them a chance to win well
earned money in front of a huge crowd and in a setting that is festive,
glamorous and welcoming. The winner will also be presented with a Tad
Coffin Performance Saddle, the Dark Continent Perpetual Trophy courtesy
of Jim Green, a cooler and a custom jacket by Personalized Products.
The AHJF was formed to further the development of the sport of show
hunter competition by providing a national office to organize,
coordinate and support hunter rider and show jumping equestrian
competition. Programs of the AHJF include the World Championship Hunter
Rider Awards, the AHJF Emergency Relief Fund, AHJF Educational Programs,
the AHJF BSA Inc. 401k and Profit Sharing Plan and the Legacy Cup.
For information about the Hunter Classic contact the AHJF at 335
Lancaster Street, West Boylston, MA 01583-0369, call 508-835-8813, fax
508-835-6125, for point standings go to
, or email