Horse and pony - site index.Horse chat message boards.Horse breeds, types and breeding gallery.Search for horse information on Equiworld.Horse information and equestrian news horse and pony magazine.Horse web links.  

Emily Williams & Strapless

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


Find out more, visit the links page or find answers on the message board.