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Tue, 2018-04-17 14:01

New Judges and Locations Emerge for the 2018 USEA Young Event Horse Championships

Tamie Smith and MB MaiStein in the 2017 YEH West Coast 4-Year-Old Championships. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the dates, locations, and judges for the 2018 Young Event Horse (YEH) East and West Coast Championships.

The YEH East Coast Championships will be held Thursday-Friday, October 18-19 at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Md. The YEH West Coast Championships will move to a new location this year at the Fresno County Horse Park in Fresno, Calif. on Sunday, October 21.

The YEH Championship judges on both coasts this year will be Lucinda Green (GBR), Sally Ike (USA), and Chris Ryan (IRL). Lucinda Green and Sally Ike will judge the dressage and jumping phases and Chris Ryan will judge conformation.

Meet the Judges for the 2018 YEH Championships

Lucinda Green is a legendary British three-day event rider hailing from Andover, Hampshire. She has claimed titles such as 1982 World Champion and European Champion in 1975, 1976, and 1977. Green has won Burghley twice and made eventing history by winning Badminton Horse Trials six separate times on six separate horses. Green has won an impressive 13 medals while competing for Great Britain’s eventing team since 1973 at the European Championships, World Championships, and was a part of the silver medal team at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Calif. To further add to her resume, Green has set another record as a seven-time winner of the Tony Collins Trophy, which is awarded to the rider with the most British Eventing points in an eventing season. While Green still rides, she is also well known as a team selector, commentator, trainer, and master cross-country clinician.

Sally Ike is an accomplished rider and was a member of the 1968 Olympic Three-Day Eventing Team as an alternate for the United States. With more than 50 years of experience in the industry, she has also served as the Show Jumping Team Leader for numerous FEI World Cup Finals, World Equestrian Games, Pan American Games, and Olympic Games. Ike is the Managing Director of Licensed Officials and Education for U.S. Equestrian and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 for her significant contribution to the equestrian industry, predominantly in show jumping and eventing. Ike also serves as a show jumping course designer, technical delegate, and dressage judge at many USEA recognized events across the country.

Chris Ryan comes quite simply from one of the most respected equestrian families in Ireland. Following in his father’s footsteps, Chris Ryan hunted the legendary Scarteen hounds for 28 seasons. From racing in his youth, to huntsman, and now as a Championship judge and commentator, Ryan has become a regular fixture in the eventing community in Europe. One of the foundation selectors of the prestigious Goresbridge “Go For Gold" Elite Event Horse Sale held every November in Wexford, Ryan has developed a keen eye for young stock. In the United States, he is known for finding and producing McKinlaigh (individual silver medal in Beijing) in his early career. International winning and top placed horses Copper Beach, Rourkes Drift, Cooley SRS, November Night, Prince Mayo, Glencento, Reenmore Duke, Ballymurphy Mark and many others all came under Ryan’s eye. Blending his experience, natural instincts, and genetics; Ryan gives us an insight into what has kept Ireland at the top of the world eventing rankings for 21 of the 23 years they have been in existence. The USEA has been honored to work with Ryan as a featured clinician at the USEA Young Horse Symposium in Ocala, Fla. in 2017 and 2018, and he was also the featured judge at the 2017 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Championships.


Waylon Roberts and Wil Celtic Charlie in the 2017 YEH East Coast 5-Year-Old Championships. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Changes to the YEH Program in 2018

Based on feedback from members, competitors, and judges, the YEH Committee implemented some significant changes to the program in 2018. The conformation phase was removed from the qualifying competitions, but still kept at the Championships. New dressage tests were designed to be shorter and more efficient for the young horses, and an entirely new scoring system was developed to make the jumping phase reflect faults such as rails and refusals more objectively.

At Championships, the jumping/galloping/general impression phase will now make up 70 percent of the score, while dressage will make up 20 percent and the conformation phase will complete the final 10 percent.

Also new at the Championships this year, judges will no longer confer with each other during the jumping phase and will produce separate scores that will be averaged together. There will also be jump options on the Championship courses, offering an option for one show jumping fence and one cross-country combination with a slightly higher level of difficulty so that riders who wish to do so may display their horse’s scope. Horses that do not take the option will not be penalized.

Click here for more information on the changes to the YEH program in 2018.

Get Qualified and Enter

To qualify for the YEH Championships, horses must earn a score of 70 percent or higher at two qualifiers, or a score of 75 percent or higher at one qualifier. Qualified horses will be allowed to participate in one Championship only. Click here to view the full calendar of YEH qualifying events. 

In preparation for large entry numbers at the 2018 YEH East Coast Championships, there will be a cap on the number of horses accepted to compete. The closing date for the YEH East Coast Championships at Fair Hill International will be October 2, and the first 50 qualified horses that enter before the closing date will be accepted. Once the first 50 horses are accepted, the competition management reserves the right to compile a waiting list. Of those horses on the waiting list, the 15 horses with the highest qualifying scores will then be accepted to fill the cap of 65 accepted entries. 

Great prizes are returning for the YEH Championships, including the Holekamp/Turner YEH Lion d’Angers Grant, which will award the highest scorer of the 5-year-old Championship with a cash prize that enables them to travel to the FEI World Young Horse Championships at Le Lion d’Angers in France for the 7-year old two-star Championships. Click here to learn more about the Le Lion d’Angers grant.

About the USEA Young Event Horse Program

The Young Event Horse (YEH) Program was first established in 2004 as an eventing talent search. Much like similar programs in Europe, the YEH program was designed to identify young horses that possess the talent and disposition to, with proper training, excel at the uppermost levels of the sport. The ultimate goal of the program is to distinguish horses with the potential to compete at the three- and four-star levels, but many fine horses that excel at the lower levels are also showcased by the program.

The YEH program provides an opportunity for breeders and owners to exhibit the potential of their young horses while encouraging the breeding and development of top event horses for the future. The program rewards horses who are educated and prepared in a correct and progressive manner. At qualifying events, youngsters complete a dressage test and a jumping/galloping/general impression phase. At Championships, young horses are also evaluated on their conformation in addition to the dressage test and jumping/galloping/general impression phase. Click here to view the jumping standards and specifications.

The USEA would like to thank SmartPakStandlee Hay CompanyProfessional’s Choice, and Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the Young Event Horse program.

Click here for information on the YEH program. For further questions on the program or the Championships, please contact Kate Lokey, (703) 779-9897.

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