Jun 16, 2017

Announcing 2017 USEA Young Event Horse Championships Details

By Robby Bowersox - USEA Staff
2016 YEH East Coast Champion, Foreign Quality and Tim Bourke. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the dates, locations and judges for the 2017 Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships on the East and West Coasts.

The East Coast Championship will be held October 12-13 at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Md. The West Coast Championship will be held on October 5 at the Woodside International Three-Day Event and H.T. in Woodside, Calif.

This year’s lineup of judges on both coasts are impressive and consist of internationally-renowned event rider, and Badminton Horse Trials winner, Ian Stark; USEF dressage and eventing judge and former USET rider, Mark Weissbecker; and returning judge and speaker on producing and evaluating young horse prospects, Faith Fessenden.

Stark has earned a total of 16 medals from both team and individual placings while representing Great Britain at the Olympics, World Championships, and European Championships. After a very successful riding career, Stark became a selector for the British eventing team, and later trained the Brazilian eventing team for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Stark then started designing cross-country courses in 2005, and in 2015 he designed the cross-country course for the European Championships at Blair Castle, in Scotland.

Weissbecker is an ‘A’ graduate Pony Clubber who went on to compete at the upper echelons of eventing. With great performances at events such as the Kentucky CCI4* and Burghley CCI4*, Weissbecker became a member of the USET/USEF team and was short-listed for the U.S. Eventing team in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Since then, Weissbecker has gone on to become a licensed USEF dressage and eventing judge; earning his ‘r’ dressage rating and a ‘R’ rating for eventing. Weissbecker is also a USEF Eventing Selector, where he has been a member for six years.

Fessenden is a returning judge of the YEH Championships, along with being a judge for the FEH program, and is also an avid speaker on producing and evaluating young event horse prospects.  Fessenden is a prestigious Sport Horse Breeding Judge, KWPN-North American founding member and a FEH committee member. 

Woodford Reserve, the 2016 West Coast 5-year-old YEH Champion. Ann Haller Photo.

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. To view the full calendar of YEH qualifiers, go here.  

To learn about the jumping criteria and what is expected of young horses in the Championships, please visit the YEH Jumping Standards Document.

Fabulous 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. To learn more about the Le Lion d’Angers grant, go here.

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

The USEA would like to thank all the sponsors of the Young Event Horse Series: Retired Racehorse ProjectStandlee Hay CompanySmartPakProfessional’s ChoiceMerck Animal Health.

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