In an effort to encourage a continuous educational and competitive upbringing for young event horses in North America, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) introduced the 6- and 7-year-old national leaderboards in 2019. The addition of these two leaderboards ensured the pathway for young event horse development was complete from yearling to 7-year-olds through programs associated with the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) and USEA Young Event Horse (YEH).
In the announcement made by the USEA introducing the two new national leaderboards in 2019, USEA Young Event Horse Committee co-chair Tim Holekamp, who proposed their creation, was quoted as saying, “The overall goal is to improve the quality of horses entering the eventing horse pipeline in the U.S. [and] to provide better mounts for our very talented cadre of riders. We believe that if we can focus on measuring the quality of domestic sport-specific breeding, the limited amount of resources (both time and money) available to provide horses to our upper riders and rising talents can be better spent on far more prospect horses than using large amounts to buy a few horses in Europe and the U.K. Increasing numbers of entries and attendance at YEH qualifiers, finals, and symposia imply that there is a thirst for improved knowledge and horses. Each time an American home-bred horse wins big, internationally others are encouraged to try to produce similar prospects for the sport.”
The leaderboards are based around the levels at which the 6- and 7-year-old horses are tested at the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships at Le Lion d’Angers each fall, with the 6-year-old leaderboard focusing on Preliminary and the 7-year-old leaderboard on Intermediate. The leaderboards are created based on a point system with points being earned at USEA recognized competitions throughout the calendar year.
Both past recipients of the 6-Year-Old Horse of the Year Award have been piloted by Allison Springer and are graduates of the USEA Young Event Horse Program. In 2019, Crystal Crescent Moon (Catherston Dazzler x Ebony Moon), Nancy Winter's Connemara/British Sport Horse gelding, took the title. In 2020, the winner was Vandyke (Vancouver x Shannondale Willow), an Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Rico Syndicate.
The first awarding of the 7-year-old Horse of the Year went to Laurie Cameron’s Miks Master C (Mighty Magic x Qui Luma CBF), ridden by Maya Black. Last year, The Stormwater Group’s 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Stormwater (Camillo VDL x Thornfield Calypso), took home the award.
With North America beginning to return to normal after a year of reduced competition due to the pandemic, we’re seeing a competitive leaderboard for both 6- and 7-year-old horses in 2021. At the top of the 6-year-old leaderboard sits Shanroe Cooley (Dallas X Shanroe Sapphire) ridden by Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp. Double Diamond C (Diacontinus x Lois Lane CBF), ridden by Maya Black, sits in second, followed closely by Olympus (Ferro x Kallisto), ridden by Martin Douzant, and King's Especiale (Connect x Cha Cha Special), piloted by Caroline Martin.
In the 7-year-old leaderboard, Breakin’ All the Rules (Due Date x Lisa) ridden by Ellen Doughty-Hume is presently sitting in the lead, Second place has a three-way tie with Landjaeger (Landkonig x Drink of Die xx), who is a graduate of the USEA Young Event Horse Program and piloted by Katie Malensek, Quality Explosion (Obos Quality) ridden by Tim Bourke, and DHI Showman with Sami Crandell in the saddle.
It’s still too early to tell if the leaderboards will be shaken up as the competitive season continues, but you can keep up-to-date with the 6-year-old leaderboard and 7-year-old leaderboard to find out!
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.
Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.
Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.
Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.
Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.