Hunter Derby Jumps at the Winter Equestrian Festival
by Lauren Mauldin
Yesterday we looked at some of the standard jump options commonly found in the amateur and professional rings of a big A rated hunter show. Today the focus is on the most impressive hunter jumps of all--those found in the Hunter Derby.
Hunter derby jumps are whole different ballgame entirely! All of the following shots were taken at the Winter Equestrian Festival International Hunter Derby finals during the last weekend of the circuit. Standard fences are set from 3'6" - 4'0" and there are usually 4 high options, which are set a minimum of 4'3" in height with no maximum.
The high options make for some really interesting fence set-ups, since riders literally choose which jump they want to take.
Right low option.
Middle high option.
Left low option.
This is the same fence with two options, in a different setting.
Besides having fence options, hunter derby jumps tend to be bolder and more exciting than traditional hunter jumps. There are your standard hay bales...
and there are your not-so-standard hay bales!
Giant sea shells by a hedge? Why not!
A pet rescue jump...
complete with adorable cut-outs mixed in surrounding greenery.
Of course, many jumps are a nod to their classic counterparts that we see on a daily basis.
The FTI decorations near the pond were fox hunting themed (also had fox cut outs)
Another classic fence.
Love this one!
Notice the different standards.... it's okay to mix and match!
I think Tiffany Purdy needs this jump. She's probably 50% of the way there. (Note from Jennifer--I think she's 100% there. Also, I want a BCS jump!)
The final super cool element of hunter derbies is the terrain. When possible, these special classes are usually held in a large, expansive field. It almost feels like cross country and hunters had a baby.
There are banks...
and inclines to negotiate.
This hill is decorated with WEF flowers. The horses jumped up a series of inclines, cantered across the top and then back down the hill.
And finally, a very steep hedge!
Hunter derbies are a spectator favorite and are adding some life blood back into hunters as a spectator sport. I think it's time the model world got some really good derby entries out there!
I couldn't agree more, Lauren! Thanks so much for sharing all your jump photos with us. I've really enjoyed this series of guest posts.