Young Event Horse (YEH) competitions offer classes for 4-year-old and 5-year-old. Horses are considered to be one year older on January 1 each year regardless of birth month.
The goal of the YEH Program is to identify young horses that possess the talent and disposition which, with proper training, can excel in the uppermost levels of eventing. While the ultimate aim is to identify the future four- and five-star horses, many fine event horses which will excel at the lower levels may also be competing. The YEH Series gives owners and breeders the opportunity to showcase the potential of their 4- and 5-year-old horses while encouraging the breeding and development of top-level event horses for the future. Classes focus on education and preparation of the event horse in a correct and progressive manner.
YEH qualifying competitions have a dressage test followed by a jumping test. A conformation section is included in the YEH Championships in addition to the dressage and jumping tests.
Membership in the USEA is required for both the horse and rider at YEH qualifiers and at championships. The rider must have a full competing membership. In order to maintain complete records, all horses competing in YEH competitions must be registered with the USEA to participate in YEH classes, at least at the Limited Registration Level. Breeders may choose a Lifetime USEA Horse Registration for horses in their birth year at a special reduced price.
YEH qualifying competitions may be offered on the same date as a USEA Recognized Event or may be offered as a stand-alone competition. The date must be approved by the USEA and Area Chairman. Guidelines for running a USEA Test apply, including the need for qualified medical personnel to be present.
Judge Requirements: A YEH judge must officiate in the jumping phase. An additional judge may be used for the dressage phase. The additional judge must be either a USEF Dressage Judge, USEF Eventing Judge or a YEH Judge.
Organizer: The organizer may compete YEH horses at their own competition to obtain Championship qualifications, so long as they have appointed an assistant organizer to stand in to take responsibility of the YEH competition while the organizer is competing.
Time Schedule: In all cases, dressage will be run first followed by jumping. Allow about 8 minutes for each test. If one judge is used for the YEH Qualifying Competition, the jumping test will follow at the completion of the dressage test.
However, it is more likely that two judges will be used (one of which will be the YEH judge), i.e. one for the dressage test, one for the jumping test. In this case, organizers should allow a minimum of 45 minutes between dressage and jumping tests for each horse. The overall schedule must allow time for the YEH Judge to evaluate and approve the Jump course before the competition begins.
Scoresheets: Individual scoresheets will be provided to competitors after the competition, and a comparative scoresheet showing scores for all the horses in the competition will be posted on the scoreboard. In the case of a tie, the horse with the higher jumping score will receive the higher placing. If a tie still exists, the tie will not be broken, and the horses will remain tied.
Exercising & Warmup: USEF rules for saddlery will apply for exercising and warmup. ASTM/SEI helmets must be worn when mounted.
Format: Young horses will complete two sections:
Dressage: Horses will perform a dressage test specifically written for YEH Qualifying Competitions. It will be judged on overall collective impressions, not by each individual movement. The horse will be scored on the walk, trot, and canter, as well as rideability.
A large (20 X 60 meters) dressage arena is preferable for YEH Qualifying Competitions because the additional space allows a clearer demonstration of the quality of the horses’ gaits. However, a small arena (20 X 40 meters) is permitted.
Horses leaving the arena during the dressage test will not be eliminated and are encouraged to continue but will receive a reduced score for rideability. Exception: Horses leaving the arena (all four feet outside the arena) at Championships will be eliminated.
Jumping (including Standards and Course Design Guidelines): The judge must be able to see all 15 jumps (five show jumping and 10 cross-country) from one vantage point. Horses will be evaluated in the following areas:
The jumping test will include a short show jumping section, giving the horses the opportunity to show their carefulness and scope. This test will be directly followed by a cross-country section. Horses should show a difference in pace between the show jumping and cross-country tests as well as a more efficient style.
The horse should be given the opportunity to show its athletic ability and gallop, as well as skills in assessing and negotiating the course as a whole. It is the responsibility of the designer of these courses to provide adequate questions for the horses to demonstrate their ability, as well as ensure no horse will be disillusioned to the sport after participating.
The standards of the jumping courses will progress throughout the year, increasing in height and difficulty in order to prepare each horse to arrive prepared for the YEH Championships in late fall. Each course must include a show jumping section of 5 jumps/efforts, and a cross-country section of 10 efforts, which should include water, a ditch, changing terrain (up/down bank and/or “jump on mound”) and/or a related combination. Combinations in each phase will count as separate jumps. Jumps that allow the horse to display its boldness are encouraged. Accuracy questions such as corners, chevrons, and skinnies with jumpable faces of less than 8’ must not be used. The course should always have a flow that allows for smooth riding. All cross-country fences should be inviting and ascending, and should in no way trick the horse, but give them confidence.
On both show jumping and cross-country fences, there should be fillers and ground lines. The final fence of the show jumping and cross-country sections should be a jump of ascending design which allows the riders to jump this fence out of stride. All jumps used in the jumping test should meet the same safety standards as any USEF Recognized Event. The gallop strip at the end of the jumping course should be approximately 100m long, preferably flat or with an uphill grade.
It is the responsibility of the organizer to ensure the course meets all requirements, including those for safety. The YEH Judge must give final approval of the course and will submit a post competition report to USEA.
Jump Course Guidelines for YEH Qualifiers:
Time of Year:
January - June
July - October
January - June
July - October
2'3" - 2'7"
2'7" - 2'11"
2'7" - 2'11"
2'11" - 3'3"
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Rules for Jumping: Each fence must be scored on style and scope. Horses will be scored 0.0-5.0 with 0.5 decimal points allowed. Each individual fence will receive a score with the following system:
Eliminations: The following circumstances will result in Elimination:
YEH Championships differ primarily from YEH Qualifiers because horses are evaluated on conformation in addition to their performance in dressage and jumping. The weighting of each section is as follows:
Judge Requirements: Judges for YEH Championships will be appointed by USEA.
Time Schedule: Dressage will be immediately followed by the conformation phase. The jumping/galloping phase will be run last.
Conformation/Type Evaluation: Each horse will be stripped of tack and shown in hand to the judge. Horse must be shown in a snaffle bridle. Handlers are to stand their horse up in an open stance for inspection by the judge, who will assess conformation and type. The horse is judged on potential for soundness, speed, and stamina. Handlers will be asked to walk and trot the horse in a straight line for soundness and correctness. Handlers are required to wear an ASTM/SEI helmet.
The site for judging conformation should be level, with a straight strip at least 20 meters long. The footing should be dry and firm on a hard surface that is suitable for jogging. YEH conformation is judged on a straight line, similar to that of an FEI Horse Inspection.
Championship Rules: The rules for YEH Championships are the same as those for YEH Qualifiers with the following differences:
Jump Course Guidelines for YEH Championships
2'11", except for the option fence in the show jumping test
3'3", except for the option fence in the show jumping test
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