What a busy Young Event Horse (YEH) and Future Event Horse (FEH) Championship season it has been for the USEA and it all wraps up this weekend at the 2022 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships and USEA FEH Championships at Twin Rivers Ranch. Tons of talented young horses have made their way to Paso Robles, California for this year’s YEH and FEH finale, including several former Champions, in hopes of bringing home top honors this year.
USEA FEH West Coast Championship entries make up the bulk of the field with 24 entries across the four Championship classes. Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Entries follow closely behind with 21 horses entered in the two divisions.
The biggest division of both Championships is the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast 5-Year-Old Championship with 17 entries.
In the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH Championships there are five returning competitors from 2021, two of which were previous champions: Anita Nardine’s Oldenburg gelding Quinn HSR (Quarterback x Bonne Chance) was the 2021 USEA YEH West Coast 4-Year-Old Champion Gelding and Overall Champion. Charlotte Freeman’s Oldenburg mare Graceland’s Ladera (Libero Star x Rittersporn), bred by Peggy Moore, was the 2021 USEA FEH West Coast 4-Year-Old Champion. Both horses will be competing in the 2022 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast 5-Year-Old Championships this week.
Michlynn Sterling’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Carrigfadda (Luidam x The Big Lady), bred by Jeremiah O’Mahony, has the overall highest YEH qualifying score of the West Coast entrants after earning an 87.3 at the Twin Rivers qualifier in September.
Geldings reign supreme in both the YEH and FEH West Coast Championships this year.
In the USEA FEH West Coast Championships we will see three competitors make their return to the FEH Championship stage, two of which are two-time FEH Champions: Breeder/owner Janine Jaro’s Belgian Warmblood mare Trilogy (Claire de Lune x Honor Jean) was last year’s FEH 2-Year-Old West Coast Champion and the 2020 FEH West Coast Yearling Champion and Michelle Cameron Donaldson’s Hanoverian gelding RSH Goliath was the 2021 FEH 3-Year-Old West Coast Champion and was crowned king in the 2020 FEH 2-Year-Old West Coast Championship.
Nevadas Ember BDF (Blue Dreamin CMeFly x Nevadas Little Spark), the American Warmblood mare bred and owned by Megan Bittle who will be competing in the 2022 USEA FEH 3-Year-Old West Coast Championship, earned the highest qualifying score this year when the judges at the September Twin Rivers FEH Qualifer issued her a 88.3.
In the various FEH Championships, it is the Irish Draught that is the most popular in the field with four entries across the board. In the two YEH Championships, the Irish Sport Horse has the strongest presence with five entries.
The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East and West Coast Championships are judged by Marilyn Payne (USA) and Martin Plewa (GER).
Horse and rider pairs had to score a 70% or greater to qualify for the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships.
Horses in the 4-year-old and 5-year-old Championships will perform three sections: Conformation and Type (10%), Dressage Test (20%), and a Jumping/Galloping Test (70%) which consists of a hybrid show jumping and cross-country test.
YEH and FEH competitors are only allowed to compete their 4-year-old in either the FEH 4-year-old Championship or the YEH 4-year-old Championship, not both.
The Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Le Lion d'Angers Grant and The Dutta Corp. prize (round trip flight) will be up for grabs for the highest-scoring horse from the YEH 5-year-old Championships (both East and West) that is qualified and willing to compete at the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships in Le Lion d'Angers, France, in their 7-year-old year.
Katie Rocco and Marilyn Payne will be serving as the judges for the USEA FEH West Coast Championships.
This year, horses must have earned a 72% or higher at any FEH qualifier to be eligible to compete at the FEH Championships. Horses are only permitted to compete in one Championship.
Championship divisions for Yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds are offered at all three FEH Championships.
Yearlings and 2-year-olds will be judged in-hand on their conformation, 3-year-olds will be judged in hand and at liberty on their confirmation in the jump chute, and 4-year-olds will be judged under saddle before being stripped of their tack for the conformation portion.
Both 3- and 4-year-olds will then also be judged at the canter and over fences in the jump chute.
Because safety is of paramount importance to the USEA, jump chute handling teams will be provided at all three championships. Owners may bring their own handlers if they’d like, but the USEA is providing teams in the jump chute for safety and efficiency. The owners may weigh in on height and distances for their horses, but are not to exceed the maximum heights.
Jump chute clinics and last-minute qualifiers are once again being offered the day before each championship at each of the respective venues.
There is a Last Chance Qualifier for all FEH and YEH divisions being held on Thursday, October 27th which will allow additional horses to earn their qualification to compete in this year's West Coast Championships.
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 four and five, 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.
Founded in 2015 by Timothy and Cheryl Holekamp of New Spring Farm and Christine and T.J. Turner of Indian Creek Farm, the Holekamp/Turner Grant provides a USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championship competitor with the opportunity to represent the United States at the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships in the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France. With the sole purpose of paving a clear pathway for U.S. team horses to progress in the sport of eventing, recipients who are North American bred will be awarded the full cash grant of $17,500, while imported horses are awarded $8,000. Additionally, The Dutta Corp. offers a prize to the Holekamp/Turner Grant recipient, consisting of a round trip flight from the Eastern United States to Europe.
About the USEA Future Event Horse Program
The USEA introduced the Future Event Horse Program in 2007 in response to the popularity of the already established USEA Young Event Horse Program. Where the YEH program assesses 4- and 5-year-old prospective event horses based on their performance, the FEH program evaluates yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds for their potential for the sport based on conformation and type. Yearlings, 2-year-olds, and 3-year-olds are presented in-hand while 4-year-olds are presented under saddle at the walk, trot, and canter before being stripped of their tack and evaluated on their conformation. Divisions are separated by year and gender. At the Championships, 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds are also required to demonstrate their potential over fences in an additional free-jump division. Click here to learn more about the Future Event Horse Program.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation has announced the host location and dates for the 2024 and 2025 USEF Eventing Young Rider Championships (CCI1*, CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S). The Maryland International and Horse Trials will host the Championships in Adamstown, Maryland, on July 5-7, 2024, and July 6-8, 2025.
For the second year of the program, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is proud to award free Digital Memberships to qualified participants of the Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) that completed 10 or more hours of volunteer service through EventingVolunteers.com in 2023. The Digital Membership, which was introduced in January of last year, serves as a “thank you” to the loyal volunteers in our sport for their dedication to supporting events around the country throughout the year.
Spend the day immersing yourself in the intricacies of producing Young Event Horses at the 2024 Ocala Horse Properties USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Symposium tomorrow, Feb. 20, in Ocala, Florida. A star-studded list of presenters and demonstrators will be on-hand to educate the audience on the proper training and evaluation of the next generation of 4- and 5-star horses. Click here to register!