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!
Young horses from all over the world have flocked to Le Lion d'Angers, France for the Mondial du Lion young horse championships, including this year's Holekamp/Turner Grant and The Dutta Corp. Prize recipients Cole Horn and MBF Cooley Permission to Land (Cobra x Deeply Dippy K). Horn and the 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding bred by Knightfield Stud are representing the U.S. in the 2021 FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship.
With 24 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program competitions on the 2014 calendar, young event horses all across the country had the opportunity to shine and qualify for the 2014 USEA YEH Championships. The YEH West Coast Championships were held at Galway Downs in Temecula, California, while the YEH East Coast Championships took place at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. Following 2014’s YEH finale, many of the graduating class of the 2014 USEA Young Event Horse Championships have gone on to make their mark on the upper levels of eventing.
Following the cancellation of the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event for 2022, US Equestrian will open a one-week bid process to fill the date on the 2022 U.S. Eventing Calendar. Per the 2022 U.S. FEI Eventing Calendar Policies and Procedures, applications to host the CCI4*-L level during the 2022 competition season are accepted by invitation only.
The addition of a new event to the competition calendar is always exciting, but the Event at TerraNova in Myakka City, Florida aims to really wow their first-time competitors at their inaugural event with top-notch competition facilities, stunning course design, exceptional amenities, and a horse show experience unlike any other. With a roster of 142 entries altogether from Starter to the in their CCI4*-S level, the Event at TerraNova is off to a great start!