Oct 10, 2023

Five YEH Graduates Entered to Compete at the 2023 MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill

By Kaleigh Collett - USEA Staff | Press Release
Arielle Aharoni and Dutch Times. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

The third annual MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory is ramping up to be an exciting display of Young Event Horses and program graduates alike. The 2023 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships, which are set to run alongside the CCI5*-L division, have hit their entry capacity for both the 4- and 5-year-old divisions. While 95 of the most promising young horses are competing for top honors, five YEH program graduates will also be tackling the pinnacle of the event, the five-star.

Dutch Times, Early Review C, Ferrie’s Cello, Quantum Leap, and Twilightslastgleam will represent the YEH program as they contest the United States’ fall five-star competition at Fair Hill.

The first graduate to represent the YEH Program will be making his five-star debut at Maryland with Arielle Aharoni, also a rookie at the level, in the irons. Dutch Times, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by the rider’s mother, Christina Aharoni, has been on a journey towards the five-star with Arielle since she took over the reins from Tik Maynard in 2016. The gelding, who was bred by Gold Hope Farm, is by Good Times and out of Alino Queen, and as a 5-year-old, he successfully competed in The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships and finished in fourth place on a score of 80.07.

Since joining forces, Arielle and Dutch Times have had countless top-3 placings from the Preliminary level all the way through the CCI4*-L, with their most recent accomplishment being a second place finish in the CCI4*-L at Bromont (Quebec, Canada) earlier this year. Arielle and Dutch Times are no stranger to FEI competition, and they are sure to call on their long-standing partnership as they tackle this new challenge.

Sydney Solomon and Early Review C. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

Early Review C (Earl x Lois Lane), a 14-year-old Hanoverian mare ridden by Sydney Solomon, will be looking for redemption at Fair Hill next week. Solomon and Early Review C, known around the barn as “Coco,” made their five-star debut this April at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, but unfortunately were unable to finish the competition after parting ways at fence 23 on the cross-country course. If the pair crosses the timers during Sunday's show jumping, the event will be their first completion at the level.

Bred and owned by Laurie Cameron, Coco was originally campaigned through the one-star level by Lillian Heard. Coco and Heard competed in The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships 4-year-old division in 2013, finishing in the top-15 on a score of 73.13, and they returned again in 2014 to finish in fourth place in the 5-year-old championship on a 77.91. Coco was also awarded the Safe Harbor Award at the 2014 championship, which is presented to the young horse who consistently exhibits the most graceful and rider friendly performance throughout the competition. Solomon took over the reins on Coco in 2016, and since then the pair has collected several notable placings, including a top-5 finish in the Advanced at Millbrook H.T. (Millbrook, New York) in 2021, second place in the Intermediate at the Maryland Horse Trials (Adamstown, Maryland) in 2022, and a top-10 finish in the Intermediate at Millbrook H.T. this summer.

Ferrie's Cello and Andrew McConnon competing in the CCI4*-S at Stable View in Aiken, South Carolina, earlier this year. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

Andrew McConnon and Ferrie’s Cello (Chello III VDL x Karelza), the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, will also be making their five-star debut after electing to forgo a start at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event this spring. Instead, the pair went on to represent their country as members of the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team that brought home a silver medal in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Poland CCIO4*-NC-S at the Strzegom Horse Trials this June. Since then, McConnon and Ferrie’s Cello have also picked up a win in the Open Intermediate at WindRidge Farm Summer H.T. (Mooresboro, North Carolina) and placed in the top 15 in the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final at the 2023 American Eventing Championships (Lexington, Kentucky). After such a successful spring and summer season, this pair is looking more prepared than ever to tackle their first five-star.

Ferrie’s Cello is owned by Jeanne Shigo and was bred by J. Sneller. During his 5-year-old year, Ferrie’s Cello competed in two YEH competitions, winning the YEH qualifier at the Carolina Horse Park on a score of 85.78 in September of 2017 and following it up with a reserve champion finish at The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships at Fair Hill on a score of 86.41 the next month.

Quantum Leap and Doug Payne at the 2022 MARS Maryland 5 Star. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo

The most experienced YEH Graduate set to trot down the center line at the Maryland 5 Star is Quantum Leap, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, who is owned and ridden by Doug Payne. Quantum Leap (Quite Capitol x Report To Sloopy), who was bred in the U.S. by Elizabeth Callahan, will be attempting to complete his sixth five-star, all of which have been with Payne. The duo has finished within the top-10 at all but one of their completions at the five-star level, but their most notable placing came at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three Day-Event where they finished in third place and were also crowned the 2022 USEF CCI5*-L Eventing National Champions. Payne and Quantum Leap recently finished in the top-10 at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships in the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final as well.

Quantum Leap competed in the 2015 USEA YEH East Coast Championships as a 4-year-old, finishing in third place on a score of 77.49, and again as a 5-year-old in 2016 where he finished seventh. Two years later, Quantum Leap was the 2018 Holekamp/Turner grant recipient where he and Payne represented the U.S. at the FEI World Breeding Eventing 7-year-old Championship at La Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France. With so much success in his short career thus far, Quantum Leap stands as a shining example of the intent of the YEH program.

Twilightslastgleam and Jennie Brannigan at the 2022 MARS Maryland 5 Star. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo

Nina Gardner’s 13-year-old homebred Thoroughbred gelding, Twilightslastgleam (National Anthem x Royal Child), will be tackling his third five-star at Fair Hill next week. With Jennie Brannigan in the irons for most of the horse’s career, “Comic” finished as Reserve Champion on a score of 82.83 at the 2014 USEA YEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship and returned in 2015 to finish in seventh place on a score of 77.61 at the 5-year-old Championship. In 2017, Comic was also the frontrunner for the Holekamp/Turner YEH Le Lion d’Angers Grant.

More recently, Comic and Brannigan won the CCI4*-L division at the 2022 MARS Bromont CCI Three Day Event and placed in the top 20 at the 2022 Maryland 5 Star and the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. With two successful completions under their belts, Brannigan will likely be looking to up the ante and try to break into at least the top-15 at this event.

The USEA wishes all of those competing at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill a safe and successful event. Check back after the event to see how our YEH graduates fared!

About the Young Event Horse Program

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.

The USEA would like to thank Bates Saddles, SmartPak, Standlee, Parker Equine Insurance, Capital Square, Kerrits, HorseWeek, and The Jockey Club for sponsoring the Young Event Horse Program. Additionally, the USEA would like to thank The Dutta Corp., Title Sponsor of the Young Event Horse Championships.

About The Holekamp/Turner Grant

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.

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