The 2018 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East and West Championships are taking place this weekend. First, the East Coast Championships will take place at Fair Hill in Elkton, Maryland spanning two days, October 18-19. Then on Sunday, October 21, the West Coast Championships will run at Fresno County Horse Park (FCHP) in Fresno, California.
In 2018, the USEA YEH competition format underwent significant changes. This year, the conformation section was no longer included at qualifying events: horses were judged on dressage and jumping alone, with dressage accounting for 30 percent of the score and jumping/general impressions for 70 percent. In order to qualify for the Young Event Horse Championships, horses needed to score a 70 percent or higher at two qualifying events or a 75 percent or higher at a single qualifying event. At the Championships, jumping and general impressions still count for a combined 70 percent of the overall score, while dressage counts for 20 percent and conformation and type counts for 10 percent.
This is the 10th year the YEH East Coast Championships will be hosted at Fair Hill and the first year that the West Coast Championships will be hosted at Fresno County Horse Park.
Both Championships are running concurrently with existing events: Fair Hill International and the FCHP Horse Trials.
The East Coast Championships will see 42 5-year-olds and 15 4-year-olds while the West Coast Championships will see four 5-year-olds and five 4-year-olds.
Twelve horses entered in the CCI divisions at Fair Hill International are graduates of the YEH program: Business Ben, Pfun, and Confidence Game in the CCI3* and 2014 YEH 5-year-old Champion Vagabon De Champdoux, Dutch Times, Olney Uncle Sam, Mowgli, Quality Time, Victor Z, Landmark’s Mochachino, Ms Poppins, and Master Frisky in the CCI2*
Ten riders are competing in both the YEH East Coast Championships and the Fair Hill International CCI2* or CCI3*: Tim Bourke, Chris Talley, Kaitlin Clasing, Kim Cecere, Matthew Brown, Anna Loschiavo, Lauren Kieffer, Waylon Roberts, Atumn Schweiss, and Colleen Rutledge.
A total of eight horses that competed in the 2017 YEH 4-year-old Championships are coming back to compete in the 5-year-old Championships: 2017 YEH East Coast 4-year-old Reserve Champion and Born in American award-winner Café Noir, MB Maistein, International Anthem, D.A. Shannondale Cushla, Unanimous, and Copper Classic on the East Coast and 2017 YEH West Coast 4-year-old Reserve Champion CrissCross PCH and MVP Madbum on the West Coast.
Santa Barbara DASH, winner of the 2017 USEA FEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship, is competing this year in the YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championship.
Soul Twain DF, 2015 USEA FEH West Coast Yearling Reserve Champion, will compete this year in the YEH 4-year-old Championship with Earl McFall.
MB Maistein is the only horse to qualify on the West Coast and compete in the East Coast Championships. He was also the Novice Horse Champion at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships with rider Tamra Smith.
The most prevalent breed in the East Coast 5-year-old Championship is the Thoroughbred with nine entries followed by the Irish Sport horse with eight entries. The top two breeds in the East Coast 4-year-old Championship are Dutch Warmblood and Thoroughbred.
Mike Pendleton and Dominic Schramm have the most mounts of any rider in the YEH East Coast Championships. Pendleton will ride Miss LuLu Herself, Copper Classic, and Bon Voyage DSF in the 5-year-old Championship, and Schramm will ride Quadrocana, Casalto, and High Prince, also in the 5-year-old Championship.
Schramm's Quadrocana is out of a full sibling to Michael Jung's three-time Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event winner, FischerRocana FST (Ituango xx x Roze II).
Matthew Brown, Stephanie Cauffman, Waylon Roberts, and Booli Selmayr are all riding two horses apiece in the 5-year-old Championship. Matthew Bryner is the only rider with two horses in the 4-year-old Championship.
The Holekamp/Turner Grant Young Event Horse Le Lion d'Angers Prize and Grant is awarded to the highest-scoring horse from the YEH 5-year-old Championships that is qualified and willing to compete at the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships in their 7-year-old year. This weekend, Doug Payne and YEH graduate Quantum Leap are representing the U.S. at La Mondial du Lion d'Angers in France with assistance from the Holekamp/Turner Grant.
The judges for both the East and West Championships are the same. Sally Ike and Lucinda Green will judge the dressage and jumping portions while Chris Ryan will judge conformation.
A YEH rider briefing will be held prior to the start of both the YEH East Coast (Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.) and West Coast Championships (approx. 8:00 a.m. on Sunday) with attendees learning about what the judges are looking for directly from this year’s YEH judges.
At the East Coast Championships, four special awards will be presented: the Born in America Award, presented to the highest-scoring American-bred horse; the American Thoroughbred Award, presented to the highest-scoring American-bred Thoroughbred horse; the TIP Award, presented to the highest-scoring Jockey Club registered Thoroughbred; and the Safe Harbor Award, presented to the young horse who consistently exhibits the most graceful and rider-friendly performance throughout the competition.
The TIP and Safe Harbor Awards will also be presented at the West Coast Championships.
East Coast Championships Competition Schedule
Thursday, October 18
8:00 a.m. – Dressage and Conformation (4-year-old, 5-year-old)
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 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 three- and four-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 view the jumping standards and specifications.
In 2000 and with the support of Joan Iversen Goswell, the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships were established to provide financial assistance to amateurs to pursue their education in eventing. The funds from the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships may be used for training opportunities such as clinics, working student positions, and private or group instruction, or to learn from an official, course designer, technical delegate, judge, veterinarian, or organizer.
The Linda Moore Trophy was introduced in 1979 and awarded to the leading Young Rider in the country. After a strong showing during the 2020 season, 16-year-old Benjamin Noonan of Ballwin, Missouri was named the 2020 RevitaVet Young Rider of the Year.
The USEA is sorry to announce that there will be no USEA Educational Symposium held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The USEA Educational Symposium is hosted annually each February as a week of learning for participants and auditors.