The USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East and West Coast Championships will take place this weekend on opposite sides of the country. On Thursday and Friday, October 17 and 18, the East Coast Championships will take place at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. Then on Sunday, October 20, the West Coast Championships will run at the Fresno County Horse Park (FCHP) in Fresno, California.
Both Championships are running concurrently with existing events: Fair Hill International and the Fresno County Horse Park Horse Trials.
The YEH Championship judges on both coasts this year will be two judges returning from 2018: Sally Ike (USA) and Chris Ryan (IRL). Sally Ike will judge the dressage while Chris Ryan judges the conformation, and then they will judge the jumping phase together.
To qualify for YEH Championships, horses must earn a score of 75% or higher at one qualifying event. New in 2019, the scoring of a 70% or higher at two events is no longer accepted.
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.
Stillwater Farm is providing an award to the 4-year-old with the overall best gallop score from the two YEH Championships overall. Stillwater Farm is providing a trophy and a $1,000 prize check to the winning gallop score. This award is generously provided by Stillwater Farm and is presented in loving memory of Donald Trotter, who passed away this year.
The East Coast:
The East Coast Championships are taking place at Fair Hill International for the 11th year in a row.
The East Coast Championships will see 37 5-year-olds and 27 4-year-olds. While numbers are slightly down for the 5-year-old class this year, the number of 4-year-olds has nearly doubled.
15 different breeds will be represented at the East Coast Championships with Irish Sport Horses being the most prevalent followed by Thoroughbreds.
OBOS Quality is the most prevalent sire with four offspring entered in the East Coast Championship. Jaguar Mail is close behind with three entered.
Mike Pendleton is riding full siblings in the East Coast 4-year-old class. Esprit de Jaguar and Skukuza are both Selle Francais geldings (Jaguar Mail x Rising Spirit) owned by Denise Lahey and Boyd Martin and bred by Stony Brook Farm.
Ten riders have multiple entries in the YEH East Coast Championships: Maya Black, Tim Bourke, Jennie Brannigan, Matthew Bryner, Courtney Cooper, Kelley Hutchison, Alexander O’Neal, Doug Payne, Mike Pendleton, and Caitlin Silliman.
Excel Star Time to Shine (Luidam x Lismore Bella), who is entered in the East Coast 4-year-old Championship, was the winner of the Novice Horse Championship at the USEA American Eventing Championships in August.
Five of the competitors from the 2018 YEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship are returning this year to contest the 2019 5-year-old Championship: 2018 YEH East Coast 4-year-old Champion R River Star, Quiana AF, Midnight Flight, Va Va Voom, and Global Absolute.
Quiana AF (Quite Easy x All That Glitters) was ridden to a third-place finish last year by Matthew Bryner and will be ridden this year by her owner, Blake Fortson.
The West Coast:
This is the second year that Fresno County Horse Park will host the West Coast Championships.
The West Coast Championships will see six 5-year-olds and five 4-year-olds.
2018 YEH 4-year-old Champion Melkenna (Sea of Secrets x Cheesewright), ridden by Andrea Baxter, and Mucho Me Gusto (Macho Uno x Ghostkeeper), ridden by Allyson Hartenburg, will return this year to compete in the 2019 Championship.
Amber Levine will ride five horses between the 4- and 5-year-old divisions on the West Coast: 4-year-olds Keep Calm, Touche, and Ballinakill Poppy and 5-year-olds Juniperus and I’m Jaguar.
Three-time USEA FEH West Coast Champion Hallelujah DF (Mighty Magic x Columbia BF) will compete this year in the YEH West Coast 4-year-old Championship.
East Coast Championships Competition Schedule
Thursday, October 17
8:00 a.m. – Dressage and Conformation (4-year-old, 5-year-old)
The USEA 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 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.
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Our sport is going to present you with many amazing opportunities, and some equally amazing challenges. While you’re sure to enjoy the opportunities, it sometimes takes a little more effort to enjoy the challenges. Contrary to the common misconception (from non-equestrians) that our sport is easy, it’s actually one of the hardest and most demanding sports of all!
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