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Eight Judges Ensure The Best Hunter Wins At The AHJF Hunter Classic

When the American Hunter Jumper Foundation created its now annual Hunter Classic its directors wanted to experiment with a different type of judging system. So, they increased the traditional number of judges who judge the class and teamed them together in pairs of two. In 2000 there were six judges. In 2001 that was increased to eight judges, which is a tradition that continues on into this year’s competition.

The judges are positioned on all sides of the arena because the view of a horse’s performance may differ when seen from different locations in the ring. What one judge can see another may not be able to see because of the angle and how far the fence is from the judge. By positioning judges around the arena it ensures that nothing will be missed and the best hunter of the day wins the class.

The 2003 Hunter Classic will be judged by Ann Braswell, Robert Braswell, Karen Healey, Randy Henry, Mark Jungherr, Randy Mullens, Tammy Provost, and Steve Wall. The course will be designed by Michael Rheinheimer. The eight judges are 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.

Each team of judges presents a single numerical score (0-100) and the four scores are averaged for a single round score. After the second round, the two scores are averaged for a final two round score. Roughly, twenty-five horses compete in the first round and the top eight highest performers come back for a second round. The height of the fences varies from 3’6” to 4’. The winner of the class is the horse with the highest two-round score.

The AHJF was formed in 1992 out of the need for support of show hunter riders. It is a member-supported non-profit organization. The AHJF began the idea of offering “big money” Hunter Classics and a National Championships, which culminates each year at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in early October. At all of their events they make an effort to educate the audience about Hunters. Show Hunters are judged on style. They should look as if they could carry a rider smoothly, comfortably and safely over a hunt course. They are both elegant and agile as they negotiate obstacles similar to those encountered on a foxhunt.

The AHJF supports its own by offering a Retired Equine Placement Resource, an Emergency Relief Fund, Educational and Member Programs, Industry Seminars and Forums and a Business Support Association for its members.

As a membership organization, the dues go towards all of the above, but in the end it is fundraisers like the Hunter Classic, which raises the funds, allowing the AHJF to provide the hunter industry with the support and rewards it deserves.

The 2003 AHJF Hunter Classic is Saturday, February 15, 2003, at 7:30 pm. For information about purchasing tables for the fundraising dinner call the Winter Equestrian Festival Special Event Office at 561-753-3389. For information about the Hunter Classic contact the AHJF at 335 Lancaster Street, West Boylston, MA 01583-0369, call 508-835-8813, fax 508-835-6124 or email For point standings:

For Winter Equestrian Festival Results and informations go to

Tickets to the Winter Equestrian Festival are available by phone at 793-JUMP or at the gate. Admission is free on Wednesdays. Children 12 & under are free all days. Senior admission is $5 every day. Adult admission is $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. Parking is free.

Winter Equestrian Festival Dates:

(Each week runs Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8:00 AM)

Bayer Gold Coast Classic - January 29 - February 2
Wellington Dressage – January 30 – February 2
Kilkenny/ICH Internationale – February 5 – 9
Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular – February 12 – 16
Florida Dressage Classic –February 13 - 16
Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters – February 19 – 23
Tommy Bahama Palm Beach Open – February 26 – March 2
Cosequin Wellington Finale – March 5 – 9
Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic – March 13 – 16


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