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Pletcher Makes The Journey East To Compete in The AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular

February 7, 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. Among the list of top notch competitors will be Peter Pletcher, who is the 2002 Chronicle of the Horse Professional World Champion Hunter Rider. He earned his ticket to compete when he won that title. Pletcher will come from the West Coast to the East Coast to compete in this prestigious event.

We talked with Pletcher, of Magnolia, TX, about his journey East and about the Classic. Pletcher noted, "It's the top hunter event in the world and it is very important for a hunter rider to try and compete in this class to support the sport. It is also one of the biggest money classes for hunter riders.”

AHJF President, Geoff Teall, is pleased that Pletcher sees the value in traveling to Florida. “I think it is great that Peter is showing such interest in the program, as well as the class itself. I am sure he will be a big threat to everyone involved, and I hope he wins. He has been a great supporter of the program and the AHJF since its inception, and we really appreciate it.”

Pletcher began riding when he was 12 years old on a three-quarter Arabian he got for his birthday. He recalls first riding bareback and then with the help of school friends he started to learn to jump over picnic table benches. Eventually he got more serious and in his junior years trained with Bill Robertson, Joanie Waterman, Johnny Conn, Bill Robertson, Shane George, and Jimmy Lee. As an amateur he trained with Debbie Stephens (then Shaffner), Bernie Traurig and Billy Glass. After seven years as an amateur he made the decision to become a professional, but wasn’t sure how successful he would be. “I’m an easygoing, happy person, and I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously."

He didn’t have to worry because right from the beginning he was successful. By 1996, Linda Hough asked him to ride her horses. Eventually Pletcher started his own farm called PJP Farm, Inc., a 60-acre facility in Magnolia, TX.

Over the years Pletcher has claimed many honors. One of his many successes happened in March of 2001 when Pletcher rode Geste, who is owned by Judi McGee Holmes, to a record-setting perfect score of "100" at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Classic. "To have a rider like Peter score a perfect 100 during our $10,000 Open Hunter Classic, was an honor for Pin Oak," commented President, Lynn Walsh. "It was a magical evening. They never missed a beat."

In 2002, USA Equestrian honored Pletcher with The Emerson Burr Trophy for an equestrian competing in hunter classes over fences. His title of 2002 Chronicle of the Horse Professional Rider of the Year as well as being Champion in the First and Second-year Green Hunter division at Blowing Rock Charity, Champion Green Hunter at HITS Tahoe III and Champion of the First Year Greens at the Kentucky Spring Show helped earn him this honor.

Now in 2003, Pletcher will attempt to add a new victory to his long list of wins, since he has never won the annual AHJF Hunter Classic.


The AHJF was founded in 1992 by Louise Serio, Geoff Teall and Kavar Kerr. At that time it had 400 members and four designated member shows in each of five regions. Today the AHJF has over 1,000 members and 48 designated shows in 8 regions.

The AHJF was created for the purpose of rewarding the hunter riders who are often overlooked when compared to the jumpers. Beyond the awards program, the AHJF also has an Emergency Relief Fund, the Retired Equine Placement Service, and a BSA 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan. It works towards educating spectators and encourages grass-roots organizations. The AHJF is a non-profit, member and sponsor-supported organization.

Photo attached is Peter Pletcher after winning the 2002 Chronicle of the Horse Professional World Champion Hunter Rider title at the Capital Challenge Horse Show. Diana De Rosa Photo

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

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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