The highly anticipated two-week series featured a myriad of hunter and jumper classes, with favorites including the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby sponsored by Glen Kernan Gold and Country Club, and the $35,000 Regional Grand Prix sponsored by Sidelines. Prize money totaled more than $260,000, adding to the allure of the springtime show.
For the third year in a row, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center wowed riders and spectators alike during the Jacksonville Spring Classic, held April 4 through April 15, 2018.
The facility, which boasts an impressive set-up including a larger-than-life indoor stadium, several outdoor rings and a derby field, attracted 500 hunter and jumper pairs from as far as Dallas, Texas.
The show also offered Opportunity Classes for those riders who are not USEF members and wanted to compete at a USEF-rated competition – cementing the series’ ideal environment for all types of riders, including junior, amateur and professional competitors ranging from unknown, local amateurs to household names, like Kelley Farmer.
Farmer, known by the hunter community as a derby queen, captured the coveted the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby aboard her new partner, David Glefke’s Verdict. The impressive pair blew the competition out of the water with 20 points above the runner-up in a field of 23.
This year, many competitors were return customers, after enjoying the simultaneous comfort and excitement of previous years’ events. Derek Petersen, of Archer, Florida, for example, commented about how thrilled he was to return to the show. After taking second in last year’s grand prix, much to his pleasure, this year he took the blue in the $35,000 grand prix.
Equally happy to participate in the show, first-time Jacksonville Equestrian Center rider and winner of the $7,500 Welcome Jumper Amanda ‘Happy’ Comly, also expressed her enjoyment.
“It’s so nice to be here with the Classic Company,” she said. “It’s a lot more personal than other shows I’ve been to — it feels like the organizers care about what I think and how I’m doing. I’m grateful to be a part of this community.”
Of course, the show is just as thrilling for spectators as it is for riders. Conveniently located near lodging and attractions, like the Jacksonville Zoo and the Riverside historic district, spectators, who enjoy free admission and parking to the series can, find lots of entertainment.
To learn more about this year’s Jacksonville Spring Classic series, go to http://www.classiccompany.com/. For more information about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and the myriad of equestrian events that call it home, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call 904-255-4215.
Photo 1: Derek Peterson and Diamant’s Legacy winners of the $35,000 Grand Prix during the first week of the Jacksonville Spring Classic. (Photo courtesy of Allison Hartwell Photography) http://www.alisonhartwell.com/
Photo 2: Haley Gassel and Quite Dark 2 owned by Westwind Equestrian winners of the $35,000 Sidelines Grand Prix during the final week of the Jacksonville Spring Classic. (Photo courtesy of Allison Hartwell Photography)http://www.alisonhartwell.com/