Karazissis Kicks Off AON/USHJA National Championships with $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Win

Jenny Karazissis piloted Lisa Wu's Ravenswood to the win in the $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby for Professionals. Photo: Louise Taylor/USHJA

Las Vegas—Nov. 12, 2019—Riding into Vegas on a high, Jenny Karazissis kicked off the 2019 AON/USHJA National Championships at The Las Vegas National, CSI-3*W with a win in the $25,000 Professional USHJA National Hunter Derby, November 11, aboard Lisa Wu’s Ravenswood.

“I am on such a high right now because I literally was just in an International Hunter Derby yesterday at Thermal on a different horse and then we had to do a whole bunch of driving around and shuffling and I’m in a daze. What coast am I on? What day is it?” exclaimed Karazissis after her win.

Karazissis also won Sunday’s $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California, aboard Michelle Cobb’s Really.

Earning the Reserve Champion title Monday evening was Nicole Bourgeois riding Amy Bean’s Tic Tac Toe, and Nick Haness and Reese’s, owned by West Coast Equine Partner LLC, rounded out the top three. Thirty-nine professionals competed over Thomas Hern’s course, judged by Rachel Kennedy and Chris Wynne.

“It’s very exciting,” said Karazissis of being back at the National Championships. “Pat Boyle does such a good job. Last year it really felt important—it’s an exciting week, and then to be able to have time to watch the Jumpers at night—I love it, I was really looking forward to coming back.”

Monday’s competition kicked off the second annual Championships, where riders from virtually every USHJA Zone will compete for national titles in their sections and Horse of the Year points. More than than 1,700 ribbons, 400 USHJA and sponsor gifts, 50 keeper trophies and seven perpetual trophies, 106 sponsor awards, 57 horse coolers and 42 medals will be distributed over the course of the next six days.

The Championships feature National Hunter Championships for Amateur Owners, Junior Hunters, Green Hunters, Pony Hunters, Adult Amateur Hunters and Children’s Hunters, with each section offering $4,000 in prize money across two over fences classes, one under saddle and a Hunter Classic.

Friday evening will feature another $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby for Juniors and Amateurs.

Jumper athletes will compete in the USEF/USHJA National Jumper Championships, with 10 sections of Jumper competition from 1.00m to 1.40m for Junior, Amateur and Open Jumper competitors. Each jumper section will offer $12,000 in prize money across three classes, including a $10,000 Grand Prix.

Equitation Championships will also be held for riders 14 and under, 15-17, and for adults. An EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal class and a new USHJA 3’3” Hunter Seat Medal class will also be held.

Fourteen USHJA Affiliate Organizations from nine states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Texas—will be represented in the USHJA Affiliate Hunter Championships which will be featured at fence heights of 2’ and 2’6”.

In addition to competitive opportunities, the Championships offer educational sessions with various experts. Sharon Classen, PT, ATC, CERP, who provided both equine and human physical therapy at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, will lead sessions on training, conditioning and sports medicine. Renowned sports psychologist Mario Soto will lead sessions to help athletes prepare their mental game for the show ring. A Judge with the Judge session and course walk of Friday’s $25,000 Junior/Amateur USHJA National Hunter Derby will also be held. All sessions are free and open to exhibitors on a first come, first served basis. The educational session schedule can be found online here.

USEF Network is hosting wall-to-wall coverage of the AON/USHJA National Championships. Check out all the details here:

The USHJA extends special thanks to presenting sponsor AON with Great American Insurance Group; USHJA official sponsors Charles OwenCWDParlanti and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; award sponsors Essex ClassicsFITSPrize PossessionsSchneider’sShapley’sSmartPak and State Line Tack; Championship competition manager Pat Boyle, and Stephanie Lightner and the entire Las Vegas National and Blenheim EquiSports team. 

For more information about the AON/USHJA National Championships, visit ushja.org/NationalChampionships.