Playbook, owned by Fashion Farm and ridden by Scott Stewart, took home the title of Champion and $42,492 in prize money across all three rounds of the 2017 Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

2018 Platinum Performance/USHJA Hunter Week Kicks Off at Kentucky Horse Park with Record Entries and Prize Money

The 2018 Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships and the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship kick off this week at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, with more than $560,000 in prize money available to approximately 300 of the country's top hunters.

Returning for the sixth consecutive year, the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships will see nearly 200 horses compete for more than $260,000 in prize money over three days of competition. Beginning at approximately 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, August 14, the Championships will feature two Championships, one for horses competing at 3’0″/3’3″ fence heights and one for horses competing at 3’6″/3’9″ fence heights. The 3’0″/3’3″ Championship will feature three rounds of competition. The 30 horses with the highest cumulative scores from the first two rounds will advance to the Championship Round where they will start with a clean slate. The 3’6″/3’9″ Championship will feature two rounds of competition, with the top 30 horses with the highest scores after the first round advancing to the Championship Round.

Both Championships will also include additional prize money for Tier II Riders. Tier II Riders are those 31st or below on the Green Hunter Incentive Program rider money won three-year earnings list. This bonus prize money is paid out across the top 10 placing Tier II riders in each section, based on cumulative scores prior to the Championship round, providing competitors more opportunities to win.

Bonus awards will also return for the 3’0″/3’3″ Championships, providing special recognition and encouraging the highest standard of breeding in the United States. Special recognition and awards will be given in six categories including Thoroughbreds, Mares, American-Breds and horses that are also enrolled in the Texas Green Hunter Super Series.

Additional prizes for the Green Hunter Incentive Championship include a Best Turned Out Award, presented by Shapley’s, and a Style of Riding Award. The overall champion of the 3’0″/3’3″ Championship will win a CWD saddle and a NIGHTWATCH™ halter. Both the 3’0″/3’3″ and 3’6″/3’9″ overall champions will receive product from Championship title sponsor Platinum Performance, a cooler from The Clothes Horse, a Charles Owen helmet, Professional’s Choice Pro Mesh Sport Boots, a pair of Parlanti International tall boots, a riding shirt from Essex Classics, a gift from supporting sponsor Envisian and a pair of breeches from FITS Riding, and a gold medal and trophy.

Cuba, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC and ridden by Victoria Colvin, earned more than $46,352 and the title of champion in the 2017 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. Photo by Tricia Booker/USHJA

The Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship will mark 10 years of champions and kick off in the Rolex Stadium on Friday, August 17, with 94 horse and rider combinations competing in the Classic Hunter Round over a course featuring traditional International Hunter Derby-style fences.

The week will culminate on Saturday evening, August 18, under the lights of the Rolex Stadium with the exciting Handy Hunter round. More than $300,000 in prize money will be available for Derby competitors this year, a record amount as the Championship celebrates its 10th year.

For the Saturday evening Handy Hunter Round, riders will be grouped into two tiers based on the amount of total money earned over the last three years in International Hunter Derbies as of December 1, 2017. Tier I riders are those ranked 1-40 on the three-year earnings list, and Tier II riders are those ranked below 40th. Horse-and-rider combinations (regardless of tier) placing in the top 20 of the Classic Hunter round will be eligible for 80 percent prize money and compete in Section A of the Handy round. The top 20 Tier II horse-and-rider combinations, including those who qualified for Section A, will be eligible for 20 percent of the prize money; those not in Section A will compete in Section B of the Handy.

Additionally, the overall champion of Section A will receive a Charles Owen Helmet, Professional’s Choice Pro-Mesh Sport Boots, a pair of FITS Breeches, a cooler from The Clothes Horse, an Essex Classics show shirt, a gift from Envisian, a NIGHTWATCH™ halter and one year of service, product from Championship title sponsor Platinum Performance, as well as a medal and a trophy.

The overall Section A champion rider will also receive a CWD saddle, a pair of Parlanti International tall boots, and a $1,000 Rider Bonus provided by Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw. The Section B champion rider will receive a $500 Rider Bonus provided by Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw, FITS riding breeches, an Essex Classics show shirt and a cooler from The Clothes Horse. Prizes will also be given for the Shapley’s Best Turned Out Horse Award, Rider Style Award, and to the top placing Junior-owner rider and top placing Amateur-owner rider.

Additionally, the $10,000 Derby Challenge will be held the afternoon of August 19, allowing riders that did not qualify for either Section A or Section B Handy Round to take home a substantial amount of prize money.