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Hunter Derby Challenge Saturday benefits PAC

Event at Harmon Field &squo;very exciting for spectators&squo;

The Hunter Derby phenomenon will make its debut in Tryon over Labor Day weekend, on Saturday, September 5.

Harmon Classics&39; September Spectacular Horse Show at Harmon Field will host the area&39;s first stepping-stone to the International Hunter Derby with its Hunter Derby Challenge.

The two-round event, which will benefit the Pacolet Area Conservancy, is designed to bring style, forward movement, and tradition back to the hunter division at horse shows.

Each round is scored so that spectators can understand who the leaders are from one round to the next. The first jumping round will consist of an elaborate course of jumps resembling the hunt field and will include a healthy variety of both verticals and oxers.

The top 12 scoring horses will return for a &uot;handy hunter&uot; round, which demonstrates a horse&39;s versatility, willingness, and athleticism. Handy hunter courses may require sharp turns, bending lines, and trot fences.

The United States Hunter Jumper Association has stated that hunter derby courses are built &uot;to encourage and reward brilliance and daring from the rider and true athletic ability from the horses.&uot;

&uot;This class will be very exciting for spectators,&uot; says PAC Executive Director Sally Walker. &uot;It should be an excellent, challenging, and thrilling &39;first derby&39; experience for riders and horses, and especially those aiming to compete in the International Hunter Derbies throughout the United States.&uot;

A kinder and gentler aspect of The PAC Hunter Derby Challenge is the fact that participants can sign up for one of two jumping heights, which will encourage more entrants.

The timing for the Harmon Field event signals the start of a new competition year. The International Hunter Derby Finals, featuring horses and riders from throughout the United States, were completed in late August at the Kentucky International Horse Park.

The Hunter Derby Challenge will be the last class of the day on Saturday.

PAC invites all spectators to visit the Silent Auction and Horse & Rider Tag Sale before settling in to watch the action. Another major highlight of the evening will be the announcement between Hunter Derby rounds of the final bidders on the Joan MacIntyre-painted jump and the Ronnie Mosseller-created jump, proceeds of which will also benefit PAC.

For more information about the horse show, for a prize list, to reserve your stalls, or to enter the Hunter Derby Challenge, go to www.harmonclassics.com.

To preview or bid on auction items ahead of show time, and to see the artist jump boxes, contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or email info@pacolet.org.