Articles: Press Release
Future of Show Jumping Showcased at the 2002 Hampton Classic
Jennifer Ward, (631) 537-2502 ext. 3019 or 3020,
BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY — August 28, 2002 — For the past three years, the Hampton
Classic Horse Show has featured a very special competition, the Young Jumper
Championships, Eastern League Finals, showcasing the nation’s top five and
six-year-old show jumping horses.
Double Pan American Games bronze medallist, Debbie Stephens of Glenmore, PA,
has played an instrumental role in the creation and success of the program
that recognizes the countries developing equine athletes.
“The reason I felt it was so important was that I wanted to help the
breeders in this country,” explained Stephens. “We needed to give breeders
and owners an opportunity and incentive to own a young horse, showcase it at
a Final, and make it special.”
In addition to the breeders and the owners, the riders comprise the rest of
“We have top riders here in our country and they needed some incentive to
buy young horses and develop them here at home instead of hopping across the
ocean to buy horses who have been developed by European riders,” explained
Stephens. “I am also hoping that with this program, riders and owners might
develop more of a bond as they train and develop these horses, and therefore
may be less interested in selling them.”
The Young Jumper division has created a new profile for developing horses.
Before the development of these classes, young horses traditionally showed
in the preliminary division where there are literally hundreds of horses of
various ages competing.
“As a horsewoman, I have always felt that the horse is number one, and these
talented youngsters need a division of their own,” says Stephens. “There is
no pressure for the horses to win, but there is a large money pot and
prestige in showing in these classes. Every other country was doing it, we
were the only ones who weren’t!”
Also involved with the program is Cheryll Frank, Director of Sport Data for
“This program is very important for the development of young horses as this
gives them an opportunity to go head-to-head against their peers, and gives
the riders and trainers an opportunity to evaluate the horses,” says Frank.
“It’s a training ground for the horses and riders as we’ve kind of lost the
art of training and developing our own horses in this country.”
Domestically, breeders are encouraged to participate in the program. At
this year’s Hampton Classic Horse Show, approximately half of the horses
participating are American-bred.
“This program gives our breeders an opportunity to see how their products
are comparing to European-bred horses,” says Frank.
This is a sentiment that Stephens agrees with wholeheartedly.
“I do a little dabbling in breeding myself, and I can tell you that the
reward of breeding a horse and taking it to the show ring is something you
cannot buy,” confirms Stephens. “It hasn’t been an easy road, but in the
long run, it means better horses in our own country and that our junior,
amateur and our professional riders alike have a better chance for the
future. You may come here and not win, but your horse may go on to be one
of the greats.”
In order to qualify for the Young Horse Championship at the Hampton Classic,
horses must have competed in at least three qualifying competitions that are
held throughout the season in numerous locations on the east coast of the
United States. Based on their qualifying scores, the top thirty horses are
accepted for each division at the Hampton Classic. Winning horses at the
Hampton Classic often go on to represent the United States at the
international level, including the European Young Horse Championships.
Horses compete in two rounds of qualifying competition with the top 15
horses advancing to the Final for each age category. The $20,000 5-year-old
Young Jumper Final will be held on Saturday, August 31, while the $30,000
6-year-old Young Jumper Final takes place on Sunday, September 1. On both
days, the Finals begin at 8 a.m. in the Grand Prix ring.
The Hampton Classic is one of the nation’s premier show jumping
competitions. Many of the world’s best equestrians compete for more than
$250,000 in prize money during the Classic, which benefits the Southampton
Hospital. Each day of the show is devoted to special events and social
activities, culminating with the $150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix on
Sunday, September 1. This year, the Hampton Classic features:
Third Annual Seniors Day, Thursday, Aug. 29: Senior citizens will be
admitted free on Seniors Day, Thursday, Aug. 29, presented by 50 Plus Senior
News. Festivities include “An Evening of Shopping” from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in
the Boutiques Garden. The Evening of Shopping is a new addition to the
Classic this year and promises to be a real hit!
Fiesta Day, Friday Aug. 30: A tribute to Long Island’s growing Hispanic
community, Fiesta Day presented by Avis celebrates the culture and
traditions of more than 23 Spanish-speaking countries and regions worldwide.
Hispanic food, music, and dancing will be highlighted as a tribute to
diversity in work and play. A new bilingual horse coloring book will be
given to all children under 12, along with a box of crayons, so kids can
color on the spot!
Cablevision’s Kids Day, Saturday, Aug. 31: Sure to delight kids of all
ages, Cablevision’s Kids Day will feature the National Circus Project, an
opportunity for youngsters to try out their circus skills. The day also
includes face painting, balloon sculpting, pony rides, and magic acts. A
visit to the petting zoo is included in the fun, along with the chance to
win some great prizes. Kids can even brush up on their horse grooming
The week-long competition runs from Sunday, August 25 through Sunday,
September 1, with a break in competition on Monday, August 26. Admission is
$5 per person or $15 per carload per day, with children under 6 admitted
free. Reserved grandstand seating for Sunday, September 1, is $15 per person
(in addition to $5/person or $15/carload admission) or $25 per person for
premium front-row seating. Parking throughout the show is free.
For more information about the Hampton Classic and complete competition
results, visit www.hamptonclassic.com or