Today was the final day of competition in The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) and USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) West Coast Championships at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California. Activities began on the combined show jumping and cross-country course early in the morning for the YEH 4- and 5-year-old Championships, testing the jumping aptitude of these very promising youngsters. Championship judges Debbie Adams and Peter Gray evaluated seven 4-year-olds and 15 5-year-olds over the course of the morning.
Luxury Mail and Leonardo Diterma were named the YEH 5-year-old and 4-year-old Champions on the final day of competition in The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships. In the YEH 5-year-old Championship, Adrienne Hillas made short work of the jumping test with her Selle Francias gelding Luxury Mail (Jaguar Mail x Aquidam), executing every turn with confidence and setting her gelding up to receive the Championship title.
“We’ve really been working hard at keeping the rhythm and it just totally showed up today just keeping the consistency so we can utilize his scope and his jump appropriately,” said Hillas. “He was so bold, he was so confident, and he just loves being out there and you can see it.” Luxury Mail was in 10th place yesterday after the dressage and conformation phases, but today's impressive jumping score of 65.5 bumped him to the top spot on the leaderboard on a final score of 88.6.
The Reserve Champion title in the YEH 5-year-old Championship was taken by Amber Levine on Cellar Farm's Dutch Warmblood gelding, Keep Calm (Biscayo x Beauty), who moved up from third place overnight with a final score of 88.3, just 0.3 points off the leaders. Third place honors went to the Thoroughbred mare Ultimate Irish Rythm (Irish Road x Rhythmos) and her owner and rider, Bruce Hill, on a score of 88.0.
The first place contender in the 4-year-old Championship, Cellar Farm's Dutch Warmblood gelding Leonardo Diterma (Gullet HBC x Gracie Terma), led the way for YEH classes with Levine as the first pair to test the course this morning. “He was super," said Levine of Leonardo Diterma's performance. "He was a star for sure, especially with the limited experience he has.” The pair led the field after the first day of dressage and conformation competition on a score of 25.25, and added a jumping total of 61.8 to their overnight score to win the class on 87.05.
Levine hit the exacta today in the YEH 4-year-old Championship, claiming the Reserve Champion spot with Cellar Farm's Dutch Warmblood gelding Le Top F (Emir R x Zakiya F) on a final score of 84.5. David Koss finished in third with his Oldenberg gelding, Sniper (Self Made x Arancha) on a score of 80.9.
Two special awards were presented at The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships. The Safe Harbor Award, presented to the young horse who consistently exhibits the most graceful and rider-friendly performance throughout the competition, was presented to Bruce Hill's Ultimate Irish Rhythm. Ultimate Irish Rhythm also won the Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) Award. In the 4-year-old class, the 4-year-old with the best gallop score is presented with a crystal trophy vase and a check for $250 in loving memory of Donald Trotter. This award, presented by Stillwater Farm, was given to Cellar Farm's Le Top F.
The second day of competition at the YEH/FEH West Coast Championships was all about jumping, and after the last horse galloped past the finish flags in the YEH Championships it was time for the nine 3-year-old and five 4-year-old FEH horses to strut their stuff in the jump chute to see who would take home top honors.
Twain’s Fireflight DF (The Twain x Dominga), Sarah Moseley's Oldenburg filly, continued to dazzle the judges and maintained her first-place standing through the jump chute portion of the competition to earn the title of USEA FEH West Coast 3-year-old Champion on a final score of 84.2. The chestnut filly is Moseley’s first experience owning and training a young horse. “I really wanted to experience raising a horse and learning how to train it," she said. "It requires a lot of patience but I wanted to have that experience of the horse completely trusting you."
With only a few points between them, the Reserve Champion ribbon went to the Thoroughbred filly MFS Flywire (Understatement x Bryn Carregwen Tanwen Ten), owned by Carrie Miller and handled by Anna Collier, on a score of 82.0. Third place went to American Quest (Daddy Nose Best x Shellys Terms), a Thoroughbred gelding guided through the weekend by his owner, Emily Russell, to a final score of 79.6.
The FEH 4-year-olds from yesterday's under-saddle testing came back for their chance to wow the judges in the jump chute for the FEH West Coast 4-year-old Championship blue ribbon. With very little jumping experience, Pam Fisher and Elizabeth Koeppel’s Sea Lioness (Sea Lion x Princess Kabbalah) held her lead on a final score of 76.7 for a very nervous and excited Fisher. “I’m thrilled," Fisher said. "She really has very little jumping experience and I really didn’t know what to expect in the jumping chute. She’s just brilliant! She’s got her father’s mind and her mother’s too - they were just good thinkers.”
The Reserve Champion ribbon was also taken home by a homebred. Andrea Baxter’s Westphalian mare Accelerator (Mr. Broad Blade x Estrella) moved up into second place on a final score of 76.0. In third place was Michlynn Sterling’s Oldenberg gelding, Calypso MBF (Conrad I x Winsome MBF), on a final score of 74.8.
The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships will take place this coming Wednesday, October 28 and Thursday, October 29 at the Virginia Horse Trials in Lexington, Virginia.
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 Hay Company, Parker Equine Insurance, and Etalon Diagnostics 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.
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.
At the August USEA Board of Governors meeting, a proposition was brought forth to officially recognize what is commonly referred to as “Starter level” as a USEA division. For many years now, Starter level has been offered as a test at USEA approved events. The decision to recognize the level officially would allow those competing in Starter level divisions to receive recognition on the USEA Leaderboards and to compete at the Starter level at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in the future. The motion was approved to recognize this level, and the USEA staff have been hard at work preparing all of the rules, guidelines, and standards that will go along with this level’s recognition for the 2024 season.
Karma is developing into one of the fastest and most-reliable cross-country horses in the West. The 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare and James Alliston won their third-straight blue ribbon together at either the four-star or Advanced level in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California, with the only double-clear cross-country round on Saturday.
Most couples share a kiss and part ways at 8:00 a.m. as they head off to their own work days, but eventing power couple James and Helen Alliston do it all together. We gave our USEA members the opportunity to submit their questions for this West Coast-based couple, and USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown gets them to share all on many topics: eventing in the U.S. versus the U.K., who is the most competitive of the two, dealing with warmer temperatures, why James likes to drive illegally slow, and so much more!
The Plantation Field International CCI4*-S concluded today with the cross-country phase, and the final standings were nearly a matter of “last one standing.” As Tropical Storm Ophelia brought a torrential downpour to the area, a number of riders decided to opt out: of 39 competitors, only six completed, and 17 withdrew before the start of cross-country.