Jun 05, 2023

Become a YEH Judge: USEA Launches YEH New Judge Education Program

By Kaleigh Collett - USEA Staff | Press Release
YEH judge and Committee Co-Chair, arilyn Payne. USEA/Tina Fitch Photo

The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is excited to announce the launch of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) New Judge Education Program. Qualifying candidates, who are no longer required to hold a USEF judge’s license, will be encouraged to sign up to participate in the YEH New Judge Education Program to receive certification to judge the Jumping and Galloping phases of Young Event Horse competitions.

The YEH Committee, lead by Co-Chairs Marilyn Payne and Lauren Nicholson, has updated the requirements to become a YEH Judge to allow for an expanded applicant pool with a wider range of experiences. Now, any candidate that can be described by one or more of the following criteria will be welcome to join for training in the YEH New Judge Education Program:

  • Competed at the Advanced level of eventing or higher;
  • U.S. Team Selectors;
  • Sourced top level event horses and has a keen eye for young prospects;
  • Licensed breed inspectors, involving jumping and dressage; and/or
  • Ridden, bred or trained horses that have competed in the YEH Finals.

The YEH New Judge Education Program will be a four-part hybrid course that includes virtual and in-person instruction. The first training session will be a two-to-three-hour video conference session that is designed to introduce candidates to the YEH Program and provide a basic overview of judging. The group will review the YEH Rules & Guidelines, discuss judging methodology and learn about the judge’s responsibilities at a YEH competition.

The second training session will also be held via video conference as well, but it will dive into the vocabulary and scoring criteria for the Jumping and Galloping phases. During the second session, candidates will participate in group scoring exercises, where videos of previous USEA YEH Championship competitors will be displayed and the group will discuss the rounds together to determine the final score that they would award. The session will take approximately two to three hours, then participants will be assigned videos to watch and score on their own at the end of the session.

Once the judge candidates have independently scored their assigned videos, the group will reconvene to discuss the results of their independent study and review their scoresheets. Candidates will also be asked to participate in an oral judging exercise to assess their ability to judge in real time.

Finally, the last training session will be a required in-person apprenticeship with a current YEH Judge. Candidates will be asked to identify a YEH qualifying event of their choosing to shadow a current YEH Judge while they are completing their duties. Each candidate will need to work alongside the YEH Judge for at least five rounds per age group (4- and 5-year-olds) and a minimum of 15 rounds cumulatively. These requirements do not need to be completed in one session; candidates can apprentice with multiple YEH Judges at different events while fulfilling their requirements.

Once a candidate has completed the four-part training program, they will be eligible to take the final exam, which will have two parts. The first component is an online written test, and the second component is an in-person exam at one of the USEA YEH Championships (East or West Coast). The in-person exam will require candidates to walk and evaluate the Jumping course before the start of the competition and then judge a minimum of 10 horses as they complete their rounds. At the end, the candidate will receive the results of their examination and any necessary feedback. Candidates that receiving a passing score will be added to the YEH Judges List.

If you are interested in participating in the first session of the USEA YEH New Judge Education Program, please email Kaleigh Collett at [email protected] by Friday, June 30 to sign up. Sessions will be coordinated based on level of interest and candidates’ availability. A $200 fee will be instituted for sessions one through three of the training program, and candidates that proceed with the final examination will be required to pay an additional $250. If you have any questions regarding the YEH New Judge Education Program or the YEH Program, please contact Kaleigh Collett or Marilyn Payne at [email protected].

About the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) 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 aged 4- and 5-years-old 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 four- and five-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 learn more about the Young Event Horse Program.

The USEA would like to thank Bates Saddles, SmartPak, Standlee, Parker Equine Insurance, Capital Square, Kerrits, and The Jockey Club for sponsoring the Young Event Horse Program. Additionally, the USEA would like to thank The Dutta Corp., Title Sponsor of the Young Event Horse Championships.

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