SKILLMAN, N.J. — The ninth annual Briarwood Farm Derby Day Horse Show in memory of Jack Benson raised more than $36,000 Tuesday, July 10, to benefit Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center.

Over the previous eight years, Derby Day had raised more than $200,000 for the Center.

"Funds raised benefit cancer patients directly or when appropriate the cancer center helps families ease the many burdens faced when the high cost of cancer affects a family's ability to survive," said Katie Benson, manager of the event and owner of Briarwood Farm.

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Derby Day was held at Princeton Show Jumping in Skillman, N.J., thanks to the generosity of Princeton Show Jumping's owner, Andrew Philbrick. The venue's five competition rings enabled Derby Day to stage five simultaneous events. 

Hunterdon Tent Rental provided free shade for horses and people. A free golf cart shuttle linking the rings and the parking area was sponsored by Horseflight International Transport. Exhibitors received special gifts sponsored by Great American Insurance and Brown and Brown Insurance Companies.

Participants, spectators and supporters of Derby Day enjoyed a great day of equestrian sport and generosity all to benefit the Cancer Center, at which Briarwood Farm founder Jack Benson was a patient.

Derby Day 2018 featured five main events in additional to a full schedule of competition: the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby sponsored by Rutgers Landscape and Design of Ringoes; the $1,000 Low Hunter Derby sponsored by Furlong's Healthy Horse of Oldwick; the $500 Pony Derby sponsored by Do-Trot-In Tack Shop of Jamison, Pa.; the $500 Outreach Hunter Derby on a grass course sponsored by Farm Credit East of Clinton; and the Ride for the Pledge Gambler's Choice class.

Other sponsors were Lindsay Maxwell Foundation, CWD, Twin Pines Nursery, Dover Saddlery, Purina & Sergeantsville Grain, Delicious Horse Treats, The Clothes Horse, Brandywine Horse Shows, Horseman's Outlet, Rita's Water Ice, Costco, and ShopRite Grocery Stores.

The Ride for the Pledge Class is the main fund-raising component of Derby Day. Riders who elected to participate in this exhibition class collected pledges from businesses and individuals willing to sponsor them. Donors could pledge a specific dollar amount per jump completed within one minute over a course planned by the rider.

"The Ride for the Pledge Class is a fun way to challenge riders to use their love of the sport to generate support for a cause," said Benson.

The courses throughout the show were designed by Brian Livell of Perkasie, Pa.

The top pledge earner for 2018 was Sam Johnson of Princeton. The rider with the greatest number of supporting sponsors was Clifford Bell of Lebanon, N.J.

The winner in the USHJA National Hunter Derby was the horse Carissima W, ridden by Kianna Luscher and owned by Northeast EquiwaveTherapy, LLC. Zedulon, ridden by Bianca Salituri and owned by Kennedy Knapic, won the Low Hunter Derby. The Children's Hunter Pony Derby was won by Wellspring's Roxstar owned and ridden by Isabella David. The Outreach Hunter Derby was won by Field Day owned and ridden by Lauren Whiteman.

"Derby Day could not happen without the hard work and dedication of the Briarwood Family," said Benson. "It is heartwarming to me the way everyone comes together to work to honor Jack and earn money for the Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center. Jack gave so much of his life to the equestrian community, it is wonderful to see that love and dedication come pouring back in his honor. Every year people come from far and wide to spend the day with each other and horses and to remember Jack for all he did for our community."

Briarwood Farm is a multi-faceted equestrian business, encompassing the art of horsemanship through riding, training and enjoying horses to the fullest. Lesson are offered six days a week for beginning riders through training for advanced riding and show jumping. Visit or call 908-806-8044 for more information, or call to make an appointment to visit the farm at 20 Boss Road, Ringoes, N.J.

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