A second-generation Future Event Horse (FEH) winner, a kill pen rescue, and a returning champion are the heart-warming stories from the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) East Coast Championship at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland, the first of three FEH championships.
The first division of the FEH East Coast Championship was the Yearling Colts and Geldings class with five entries. With a combined score of 84.775, Championship honors were awarded to Remind Me (Ridley x Remember When), an Oldenburg gelding bred and owned by Debbie Brink and handled by Stacy Pattison.
"His mom is a Dutch Warmblood, who I also bred, and the father is a Hanoverian stallion named Ridley," Brink said. "Ridley has gone through Grand Prix dressage with the handler here, Stacy Pattinson."
Brink is familiar with the FEH world. She won the FEH Championships with Remind Me's maternal granddam Brightess Gem. "[His dam] was an event mare. In fact, her dam was in the first FEH class here at Loch Moy and she won that," Brink continued. "The very first one! Susan Graham White was the judge. So, [many years later], I came back for more. That's the fun part. It was here and I talked to her [Graham White] earlier- 'Remember that? This is the baby from that generation!'"
Brink had high praises to share about the FEH program. "The whole idea is to get them out, let them see the world. It's really fun to get them exposed. I think the program is really, really good and the changes that they want to continue to make are great."
Second place in the Yearling Colts and Gelding division went to Kaitlin Hartford's Tempus Fugit EZ (Tempest WT x Von Africa LF), a Danish Warmblood colt. Tempus Fugit EZ scored 82.8 and earned third place overall for yearlings.
"He is named after some of my top horses my grandma has had. Tempus Fugit means 'time flies' in Latin and my grandma's first event horse was named Time Flier," said Hartford of her winning colt, who was listening to the interview while chewing on the Loch Moy hat his owner won. "My grandma's second event horse was named Fly By and this is Flier."
"And this one came from the kill pen," she said of Flier's chestnut filly friend standing nearby. "This is Tonks. This horse we bought as a companion for him, out of a kill pen. She wasn't handled until four months ago. You couldn't touch her. She was scared of her own shadow, couldn't function. For right now, she gets to tag along and go to the championships and do whatever. I got a matching pair without realizing it!"
Hartford said she owes a considerable part of her career to Savannah “Woodge” Fulton and Karen Fulton, who gave Hartford her first intermediate horse, EZ. "My plan is to eventually pay it forward to one of my students and give her to them," she said.
That is how she landed on Tonks's show name – Pay It Forward EZ. She hopes to give that gift to a student once Tonks reaches the Novice level. Tonks, handled by Hartford, was fifth in the yearling filly class with a score of 71.6.
Winning the Yearling Filly class with a 87.575 was Bill Payne's yearling filly VVS Aniyah (SGF Ahmour x Second Base), a homebred Anglo-Arab filly. Her score also earned her the Overall Champion Yearling title.
"I knew I wanted to do the FEH with her. She is so special in the barn, she's loved by everyone, her whole demeanor just couldn't be better," said Payne. "The exposure is so good for their well-roundedness, that it's really a good place to start. I would encourage anyone who has young horses, who is thinking of eventing, to do as much as they can. [FEH] is put on with such class. To go from not knowing what she was going to do to winning the whole thing is really quite humbling to me."
Daryl Mattern handled Kurt Martin's Record Year (Upsilon x Annabella) to the win of the Three-Year-Old Fillies class and the gray Holsteiner filly came in third overall with an 82.85. "She was the East Coast Champion 2-year-old last year. It's cool to come back and do it again. She's getting better and better. She's been backed and getting going," said Mattern.
Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Championship class winner Utah Beach (Ulmer Mail x Avalon) and overall Three-Year-Old Champion is no stranger to the spotlight at the FEH East Coast Championship. "Fitch," owned by Monica Fiss, was the Overall Yearling Champion in 2020, eighth in the Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Championship in 2021 and reclaimed his Champion title by winning today on a score of 86.313. “[Last year] he was going through an awkward stage, and [this year] he matured into a beautiful horse. I started him under saddle on his birthday, June 6. Light riding, trails, a little bit of jump chute here and there. He’s done a couple other shows, and he did well there. [I’m] letting him be a horse but trying to educate him more with the saddle and with exposure, seeing different things and going places. He’s not quite old enough to do events, so the exposure here is really great. They get the show atmosphere, they get used to braiding and bathing,” said Fiss.
The FEH East Coast Championship will continue tomorrow with the judging of the two-year-olds in hand and in the triangle, while the four-year-olds will perform under saddle and in the jump chute.
Find the 2022 USEA FEH East Coast Championships digital event program here.
Find the Championship results here.
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 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is an event that many USEA members look forward to year after year to catch up with their fellow eventing enthusiasts and stay up to date on all the latest work happening on the USEA Committees and Task Forces, but there’s so much more to explore. The educational opportunities offered at this year’s Convention, which takes place on Dec. 7-10 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, are endless and afford members with the opportunity to expand their horizons through a full schedule of seminars and events. Plus, each day of the Convention counts as one ECP Continuing Education credit for those in attendance!
Each year every member of the USEA receives a nomination ballot to submit nominees to the Board of Governors and during the Annual Meeting of Members, all members are invited to vote for those individuals nominated to serve. All members receive a proxy to vote for their chosen representatives for those unable to attend the Annual Meeting of Members. The only restriction for Board membership is that they must be USEA members. There are 10 positions representing each Area of the country and 11 at-large positions with no other restrictions.
Effective Dec. 1, 2023, USEF rule EV145.8 will require, whenever possible, new cross-country obstacles (for which frangible devices are appropriate) to be constructed with FEI approved frangible technology for the Training level and above (previously it was Modified and above).
The Ram Tap Horse Park Horse Trials hosted the final USEA Classic Series Event of the year this past weekend in Fresno, California. The event offered three traditional long-format divisions at the Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training levels. Meet the final USEA Classic Series champions of 2024 below.