Caitlin Venezia and Hello Kitty win Randolph College National Hunter Derby

Caitlin Venezia and Hello Kitty. Photo courtesy Phelps Media Group for the VHC  /  by Teresa Ramsay Photography. 
While the jumping competition in last week’s Lexington Spring Premiere Horse Show “AA” at the Virginia Horse Center was capped by Brooke Kemper’s win in the Rockbridge Grand Prix, the highlight of the hunter competition was Caitlin Venezia and Hello Kitty’s victory in the $5,000 Randolph College USHJA National Hunter Derby.  
Second went to Kaitlin Campbell and Touchback, owned by Ashley Hartman. Hello Kitty is owned by Jennifer Combs. Thirty-five competed in Friday night’s derby in Wiley Arena.
The hunter derby was created to showcase young, up-and-coming horses at premiere “AA” and national “A” horse shows across the country. The class is run in a two-round format and riders are scored by a minimum of two judges. The first round, the Classic Hunter Round, is judged on performance, pace, jumping style, quality and substance and movement. The second round, the Handy Hunter Round, is judged on pace and handiness. In each round, one point is added to the base score for each high-option fence jumped (to a maximum of four points) even if the fence results in a refusal, knockdown or loss of form. 
Obstacles should appear as ones on the hunt field, such as natural post and rail, stone wall, white board fence, brush, logs and natural foliage plus natural obstacles such as banks and ditches may also be used. The Handy Hunter Round should incorporate tight turns, hand galloping and trotting a fence. Fences are set at 3 feet, with four high-option fences set at 3 feet, 5 inches.

The hunter/jumper competition continues this week with the Lexington Spring Encore, running Wednesday through Sunday. The Lexington Spring Encore’s two highlight events are the $25,000 George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Grand Prix and the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

The $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby gets underway at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 1, in the Hilltop Ring.
The $25,000 George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Grand Prix begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 2 in the Anderson Coliseum, and this week local young riders are invited to walk the course themselves with course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral before the class.

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