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Huntfield AQHA Derby

The Huntfield AQHA Derby series brings big-ring scope to AQHA hunter riders in the form of the 1996 Olympic stadium.

By Christine Hamilton
The American Quarter Horse Journal
July 15, 2013

2013 Huntfield AQHA Derby at the Olympic stadium in Athens Georgia

The Huntfield AQHA Derby at the Georgia Quarter Horse Association Big A Circuit featured competition in the Georgia International Horse Park, the site of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic equestrian events. (Journal photo) Scroll down for more photos from the event.

What hunter rider wouldn’t want to show in an Olympic stadium, such as the site of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic equestrian events at the Georgia International Horse Park? Or in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, the site of the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games?

Within 30 days, riders pursuing the 2013 Huntfield AQHA Derby series have been able to do just that.

For many American equestrians, riding in these venues equates to checking off bucket list items, said Robert Bedwell of Ball Ground, Georgia. His daughter, Hannah, and Regal To A Te won the Beval/Butet Ann Call Memorial Non-Pro Derby at the Huntfield Summer Series in Lexington, Kentucky, in June in the Rolex Stadium.

“(Events like this) should encourage people to come over from (United States Equestrian Federation) competition to participate with the Quarter Horse,” Robert said. “These horses are comparable to derby competition in USEF. We’ve jumped two (derbies) this year in USEF and not in near as nice facilities as what we’ve gotten to do through the (Huntfield AQHA Derby). It’s a great program, and we just look forward to continuing to participate.”

The Journal stopped in at the Derby event hosted by the Georgia Quarter Horse Association’s Big A Circuit, held in the historic Olympic stadium on July 12. GQHA welcomed the Derby series with donated ring time, personnel and purse money.

As early evening Derby time approached and the spectators gathered, rain threatened. But it ended up just sprinkling on a few of the non-pro goes before the sun shone through the clouds for the open riders. The stormy sky made a fitting backdrop for the stadium lights, enhancing the excitement of performing in a historic arena – the setting for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic jumping.

The Huntfield AQHA Derby at the GQHA Big A Circuit was a three-in-one event – the $2,500-added CNN Mortgage Select and Novice Hunter Classic, 2’ 6”; and a $1,500-added non-pro and a $3,500-added open Huntfield AQHA Derby, with 17 non-pro and 15 open riders, total. AQHA Professional Horseman and judge Clay Farrell of Venice, Florida, officiated.

Both the Classic and the Derby had two rounds, with 12 riders returning for the second “handy” round. The jumps for both open rounds were set at 3 feet with 3-foot, 3-inch options. The course used the entire stadium including the grass bank; there were bonus high options over several jumps.

Jessica Johnson of Pickerington, Ohio, a longtime youth and amateur exhibitor who turned professional in 2012, rode to the open win with Whenitallgoessouth, a 2005 sorrel gelding owned by Kelsey Moody of Roswell, Georgia.

Kelsey acquired Whenitallgoessouth in March, although she first tried the horse in February. By Black Sky Affair and out of Impressive Alliance by Alliance Royal (TB), the gelding was bred by AQHA Professional Horseman and judge Chris Thompson, formerly of Sparta, New Jersey, now of Aiken, South Carolina. Chris also bred the open third-place finisher, Just Say The Word, out of the same mare but by Thoroughbred stallion Say Dora.

No stranger to the AQHA world show arena as a youth in western and English all-around classes, Kelsey competed successfully in Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competition on the equestrian team at St. Andrews University in Laurinberg, North Carolina. Her amateur accomplishments include winning the 2010 reserve world championship in hunt seat equitation and finishing in the top 10 in amateur horsemanship and trail at the 2010 World Show, all on her longtime show gelding Double T Blue Chip. She has been pursuing over fences classes and recently made her AQHA working hunter debut.

Her new gelding “is a great teacher,” she told the Journal with a smile. A para-legal, Kelsey plans to pursue law school soon, and to continue riding under Jessica’s coaching.

Morgan Parisek of Murray, Kentucky, won the Derby non-pro division with Better Buy The Minit, in addition to finishing an impressive second in the overall open standings. The Novice Hunter Classic win went to 18-year-old Jillian Goldberg of Sarasota, Florida, and Will Be Thumptin.

Open Top Five

1. Whenitallgoessouth (Black Sky Affair-Impressive Alliance by Alliance Royal (TB)) and Jessica Johnson, for owner Kelsey Moody of Roswell, Georgia (178 points)

2. Better Buy The Minit (Do You Have A Minute-Tickle My Asset by Investment Asset) and non-pro rider Morgan Parisek of Murray, Kentucky (172 points)

3. Just Say The Word (Say Dora (TB)-Impressive Alliance by Alliance Royal (TB)) and AQHA Professional Horseman David Miller for Alexandra Mahaffy of New Hartford, New York (161 points)

4. Ive Been Baptized (Ima Zippin Leaguer-Stormin Rosie (TB) by Mystery Storm) and AQHA Professional Horseman David Miller for Twilight Farms Horse Training LLC of Frisco, Texas

5. Gramercy Park (Coastal Sky-Sultry Sass by WF Two Thumbs Up) and AQHA Professional Horseman Paula Pray for Wanda Harlow of Overland Park, Kansas

Non-Pro Top Five


1. Will Be Thumptin (Good I Will Be-Me Thumptin Special by WF Two Thumbs Up) and Jillian Goldberg of Sarasota, Florida (157 points)

2. Challaging Details (Last Detail-Bewitching Beauty (TB) by Spellcaster) and Ariel Herrin of Pisgah, Alabama (156 points)

3. Zippo Chip Of Sun (Zippo Golitely-Leaguers Catena by Big Roso) and Mary Kilgore Payton of Point Clear, Alabama (148 points)

4. Azippin An Asplashin (Ima Zippin Leaguer-Jeans Air Jet by Air Marshal) and Whitney Lambeth of Fairhope, Alabama

5. Gramercy Park (Coastal Sky-Sultry Sass by WF Two Thumbs Up) and Alison Harlow of Overland Park, Kansas

The American Quarter Horse Journal focuses each month on the issues that matter most, including training, breeding, health, racing, show activities and sale calendars.