USHJA Announces Specification Changes to Hunter Programs and Introduces 2’0″-3’0″ USHJA Hunter Sections for 2017


Lexington, Ky.—– Dec. 20, 2016 —– The United States Hunter Jumper Association has made key changes to its International Hunter Derby, National Hunter Derby and World Championship Hunter Rider programs that took effect December 1, 2016. At the same time, USHJA has created USHJA Hunter sections at fence heights from 2’0″ to 3’0″ that are open to all competitors for the 2017 competition year. These changes aim to increase participation and value for members.

New USHJA Hunter sections are designed to provide competitors with an opportunity to earn Zone Horse of the Year or Stirrup Cup points in typically unrated, open sections with fence heights of 2’0″, 2’3″, 2’6″, 2’9″ or 3’0″. Competitions may offer any number of these sections. Each section must offer between, three and five classes with one of those classes designated as an under saddle. The sections are open to all competitors riding horses or ponies.
The USHJA International Hunter Derby will expand the popular Rider Ranking System used during the International Hunter Derby Championships as an option for competition managers to award additional prize money at competitions throughout the series. The Rider Ranking System organizes riders based on their ranking on their earnings in USHJA International Hunter Derbies over the last three years. Riders ranked 40th or higher on the 3-Year Money-Won list are considered Tier I, and all other riders are considered Tier II.
Additionally, riders in USHJA International Hunter Derbies are now limited to competing no more than four horses in each class. A competition may choose to further limit the number of horses a rider may compete to three horses, as long as the competition notifies the USHJA 60 days in advance of the date of the class and such limitation is printed in the prize list.
Beginning in 2017, the USHJA National Hunter Derby may be split into two separate sections (one open and one Junior/Amateur per the specifications) at the discretion of competition management when there are 40 or more entries. Money and points won in the USHJA National Hunter Derby will only be awarded toward a declared Hunter section for Horse of the Year points if a horse competes in the declared section a minimum of one time during the competition year. Additionally, now competition managers have the option of having one or two panels of judges.
In 2017 the World Championship Hunter Rider Program will include the new Young Hunters 3’0″, 3’3 and 3’6 as recommended sections. Points garnered in the Young Hunter 3’0″ and 3’3 sections will count toward Developing Professional awards, and Young Hunters 3’6 points will count toward Professional awards. The WCHR program will also align its green sections with the new Green Hunter naming structure, adjusting sections as follows: First Year Green is now Green Hunter 3’6″; Second Year Green is now Green Hunter 3’9″; and Regular Conformation Hunter is now High Performance Conformation Hunter.
For more information about USHJA programs, visit