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MHJA New Year Premier


The Voltaire Design Pony Hunter Derby Winner Hailey Guidry and ‘HHF Jack Sparrow’ pictured with Britt Perry Of Voltaire Design

The MHJA $5,000.00 Friday Five Bar Open Jumper Class Winners ‘Dynasty’ and Trainer Francesca Senior

Winner of the Show Jumping Style of Riding Award and First Place (tie) In The MHJA $5,000.00 Friday Five Bar Class, Mackenzie Robards.

Best Child Rider Award Winner Lily Rhoden & Trainer Patti Wright-Shoemaker Of Flora, MS

$2,500.00 Wesley Lutken Equitation Challenge Class Winner- Kristin Cobb. Trained by Tricia Rabalais of Lafayette, LA

Best Turned out award winner Olivia Walt

$4,500.00 MHJA New Year Premier Hunter Derby Winner ‘Cigalus’ with owner Regan Felder, trainer Patti Wright-Shoemaker. Shown by Brittany Sommer DeSalvo

MHJA Lil Derby Winner ‘Nic Of Time’ owned by Mary Grubbs Garner with Trainer Francesca Senior in the irons.

Heidi Crappell and her horse ‘Leonidas’, Winners of the $2,000.00 ‘Choose your own line’ Child Adult Jumper Classic

Horse Show Manager Jack Nash presenting first place honors in The $2,500 Wesley Lutken Equitation Challenge Class to Winner Kristin Cobb of Lafayette, LA.
By Francesca Senior; photos by Marie Cobb Ree,

The Mississippi Hunter Jumper Association (MHJA) premiered a redesigned horse show January 4, 2019 at the Rankin County Multipurpose Pavilion in Brandon, MS. The MHJA New Year Premier Horse Show was a three-day, one ring horse show that featured special new classes and awards, along with trainer incentives, hospitality events, and low show fees. Exhibitors didn’t have to worry about the weather; the venue features two rings, a heated grandstand, show office, stabling and wash areas – all under one roof. 

The show kicked off on Friday with the open hunter divisions. Baby Green Hunters were first, followed by 3’ Green, 3’6” Green, and 3’3” Performance Hunter divisions. Horses competing that day had the option to enter the $500 Friday Hunter Classic, sponsored by Mid-South Elevator.

After a course change it was on to the Jumper Divisions, ranging in height from .65m to 1.20m.

The horse show hosted a Mexican Fiesta themed exhibitors’ party during the Friday night Jumper classes. A nearly full house had gathered in the stands to watch the evening entertainment, starting with the $2,000 “Take your own line” Child/Adult Jumper class, sponsored by The Rankin County Multipurpose Pavilion.

Ten jumps were set in the ring, each able to be jumped in either direction, and each had to be jumped once after crossing the start timers. The competitor with the best time, without faults, won. During the course walk, riders and trainers discussed strategy for the shortest distance between the jumps and tailored a plan to best suit each horse and rider.  Creativity was key, and in the end, Heidi Crappell, trained by Tricia RabalaisofLafayette, Louisiana claimed the victory aboard her horse Leonidas.

After the awards ceremony and the victory gallop, horse show manager Jack Nash led the jump crew in setting for the final class of the day, The MHJA New Year Premier $5,000 Five Bar Open Jumper Classic.

Five Jumps were set in line down the middle of the ring at ascending heights, starting at .65m. Each horse took a turn, and only the horses and riders with no faults could advance to the next round. After several elimination rounds, only two horses remained, having jumped clear over the1.50m jumps. In the last round, both remaining horses incurred faults, resulting in a final tie for first place between Mackenzie Robards and her horse Cirona, trained by Janet Talmadge of Baton Rouge, LA, and Dynasty, with rider/trainer Francesca Senior of Jackson, Mississippi. The exhibitors earned equal prize money and show manager Jack Nash flipped a coin for the ribbon. Francesca Senior won the coin toss.

Saturday started with a very exciting class: the $2,500 Wesley Lutken Equitation Challenge Class. Junior and amateur competitors jumped a single round consisting of twelve jumps, including a combination, with optional equitation tests incorporated into the round. Emerging at the top of the class was Lafayette-based rider Kristin Cobb. A crowd favorite, Summertime who’s barn name is “Tino,” and Kristin have been training with Tricia Rabalais and collecting wins in the Hunter, Jumper, and Equitation rings for over twelve years. MHJA is very grateful to Mr. Wesley Lutken for generously sponsoring the class.

On Sunday morning, while the crowd was enjoying a pancake breakfast, the $4,500 New Year Premier Hunter Derby got underway. Competitors jumped a first round of jumps at three feet, with high options for bonus points set at 3’ 5”.

Two USEF “R” judges were on hand, providing individual scores for each horse. Judges Mr. William Sparks from New Orleans, Louisiana and Mrs. Holly Hugo-Vidal of Atlanta, Georgia called back the top twelve riders for a second handy round. The horses carried over their scores from the first round and, after receiving the handy round score, top call went to Regan Felder’s Cigalus with rider Brittany DeSalvo in the irons, for trainer Patti Wright-Shoemaker of Winterview Farm in Flora, Mississippi.

The same Derby format was used for the $1,500 MHJA Lil’ Derby, in which horses competed at a lower fence height, and the $1,000 Voltaire Design Pony Hunter Derby.

Winner of the MHJA Lil’ Derby was Mary Grubbs Garner’s In the Nik of Time, a Baby Green Hunter showing in a derby for the first time, who bested a twenty-three horse class to come away with the top score.

Junior Rider and rising pony phenom Hailey Guidry, riding for Honor Hill Farm in Poplarville, MS, won top honors in the Voltaire Design Pony Hunter Derby, riding HHF Jack Sparrow to the win and claiming fourth and fifth with her other two rides, Charmer and Whispering Marquis, with trainer Hanley Morrison. Saddle Rep Britt Perry presented the awards for the French Saddle-maker Voltaire, sponsor of the Pony Derby. 

Julia Miller, on her horse Kildalton Cooley, won the MHJA Medal Class at the New Year Premier Horse Show. Julia was also second in the $4,500 MHJA New Year Premier Hunter Derby, and was the highest placing Junior/Amateur rider.

The winner of the MHJA Pony Medal was Kelsey Clay, riding Edna Curry’s Tea For Two. She finished second in the MHJA Horse Medal on her own horse Winston. Kelsey trains at Blue Ribbon Riding Academy in Canton, MS.

The Show Jumping Style Award, sponsored by CWD Sellier, was given to the jumper rider who best embodied the classical American style of equitation. The riders were judged over two days of jumper competition and the winner was announced on Saturday. Junior rider Mackenzie Robards of Baton Rouge, Louisiana received the award, along with a $500 gift card from CWD.

The Best Turned Out Award, sponsored by Bridles and Britches Tack Shop of Folsom, Louisiana, was awarded to the best turned out rider among those competing in the $4,500 New Year Premier Derby. Winning the award was rider Olivia Walt on Amigo, owned by Sarah Clay of Jackson, Mississippi and trained by Trey Bennett.

The Best Child Rider Award was sponsored by CWD Sellier. The top six junior riders were selected by the judge on Saturday and given arm bands to wear on Sunday, signifying their eligibility for the Best Child Rider Award. When the classes were over, the two judges conferred about which of the “super six” would be named Best Child Rider. Lily Rhoden won the prize: a $250.00 CWD gift certificate. Lily trains with Patti Wright-Shoemaker at Winterview Farm.

The winner of the $500 Under Saddle Invitational Championship was As You Wish, owned by Ashley Runnels of Jackson, MS and Trained by Patti Wright-Shoemaker.

Find more information about MHJA at: and on facebook at: Mississippi Hunter Jumper Association Official.

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