“Competing in the American Jumping Derby was one of the highlights of my Equestrian Show Jumping career. Maybe it was my eventing background that made me love this class so much. Mason Phelps organized this spectacular event at his wonderful estate, Glen Farm, in Rhode Island and it was a one-of-a-kind extravaganza for over a decade. It featured massive natural jumps over a very, very long course, which made it a real contest that required special preparation in training the grob, banks, ditches, as well as conditioning one’s horse. A real horseman’s class with a European flavor!”
– Bernie Traurig
The American Jumping Derby; 1976 - 1988
Here is a priceless look back at some archival footage filmed by Gordon Wright & narrated by George Morris. Join us as we take a rare glimpse at Mason Phelps’ amazing production, the American Jumping Derby. This challenging and rugged derby brought the grit of European show jumping to the U.S. courtesy of Mr. Phelps. Held at his stunning family estate in Rhode Island, the Derby was truly a gem of the show jumping circuit from 1976 through 1988.
Check out these archived articles about the American Jumping Derby...
Mr. Phelps, a member of the 1968 Olympic Equestrian Team and owner of Glen Farm, about seven miles north of downtown Newport, has made the International Jumping Derby – now in its ninth year – a major stop on the equestrian jumping circuit, creating what riders say is a most difficult European-style jumping course on his farm.
In Europe, where show jumping is second only to soccer in popularity as a spectator sport, no one would have raised an eyebrow when Phelps first proposed to build a long, demanding course for jumpers; to stage an event comparable to the Derby at Hickstead, in England, complete with a giant bank obstacle. (Pictured)
Bernie Traurig and Obi Wan Kenobi in the American Jumping Derby
Bernie also competed in the American Jumping Derby in the late 70s aboard ‘Obe Wan Kenobi’. Here’s some vintage footage of him and several others tackling the daunting course. Click here to view more vintage videos on EquestrianCoach.com