Hunter Derbies

A relatively new division that is gaining popularity in the United States at hunter/jumper shows are hunter derbies. These classes are a throwback to more traditional hunter riding styles, emphasizing forward and bold trips while maintaining style and equitation. The courses typically model obstacles you might find in a hunt field, with lots of brush and natural obstacles.

A hunter derby fence at Wrenwood Stables in Naples, FL

The USHJA has recently created the International Hunter Derby Series, where riders qualify for the champsionship by accumulating points at specific shows up and down the East and West coasts. The class specifications are listed on the USHJA website, for farms that are interested in hosting a hunter derby.


Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a local hunter derby at Someday Farms in Erin, Ontario (Canada).  The obstacles were a mix of hunter fences (that you might find in a standard hunter class) as well as some natural obstacles you would see on a cross country course.  (To see a short video, visit MyHorseChat.com’s Facebook page.)

Also, you can check out the pictures on Flickr.com.

A hunter derby is a great way to shake up your show schedule. The challenges that you will find on a typical hunter derby course will certainly compliment your existing jumping discipline while exposing your horse to new things.