Feb 25, 2014

Identification of Future Top-Level Event Horses Draws a Crowd of Experts at the Young and Future Event Horse Seminar in Ocala

By Rob Burk - USEA Staff

Ocala, FL – By the end of the first day of the USEA’s Young/Future Event Horse Seminar, participants felt one step closer to a strong American identification system of the top event horses. Riders, judges, breeders, owners, international experts, eventing aficionados, and even U.S. Eventing Chef d’ Equipe David O’Connor had their sights set on a promising group of young sporthorses. All were there to talk, learn, and expand the system to identify future top-level event horses.

The Young/Future Event Horse Seminars were originally created to familiarize established eventing judges with the YEH and FEH scoring systems. They have grown into much more. Sinead Halpin, Tik Maynard, Jacqueline Mars, Robin Walker, Lauren Kieffer, Mark Hart, Marilyn Payne, Susan Graham White and Tim and Cheryl Holekamp were but a few notable figures of the eventing world on hand at the beautiful Longwood Farm in Ocala, FL.

Owner and breeder Tim Holekamp set the tone for the day when he noted that “our judges need to give accurate, and consistent scores in order for confidence to be built in our young horse programs.” USEA Future Event Horse Committee Chair Susan Graham White and Committee Member Robin Walker then proceeded to discuss the conformation traits of top level eventers. The speakers strived to create a free flowing exchange of information with the audience, and the audience of over 25 attendees were happy to oblige.

Michael Pollard, Audrea Dyer, Dee McMaster, and Candace Rich provided a promising group of yearling, two-year-old, and three-year-old eventing prospects for presentation to the audience in a mock competition setting. Several of the experts on hand talked their way through the evaluation of each horse.

Among those experts was Dr. Maren Engelhardt, a prominent breeder and writer who had traveled from Germany to lend her expertise to the discussion. Dr. Englehardt discussed some of the differences she sees in comparing the German system of identification of young event horses and the relatively new American system. The German system judges young horses in much the same way as a normal horse trials, whereas the American system “tries to look beyond the competition itself and project which horse will mature” into a four star competitive mount. The American program also includes conformational analysis, which is absent from the German program.

International judge and breeder Marilyn Payne provided insight into how the flat work portion of Young Event Horse competition is scored. David O’Connor went as far to say that “the quality of the eventing dressage has not changed over the years,” but the number of riders and horses competing to that standard has risen. The group next transitioned to the cross country field.

O’Connor provided his thoughts on what exemplifies an upper level event horse gallop. He stressed the point that American Thoroughbreds are featured prominently in all of the top event horses in the world. He stated that initially “everyone thought that the change in the format of three day events would result in a reduction in the amount of Thoroughbred blood in the eventer.” However, the “Thoroughbred side of the equation is still in play. Upper level horses still need to gallop for 10 to 11 minutes.” The principle of “3/4 to 7/8 of upper level event horse blood derived from the Thoroughbred” still holds true today.

Day two will continue where day one left off with a thorough analysis of the gallop, and an opportunity for all participants to try their hand in the evaluation of young event horses.

Oct 02, 2022 Profile

Change of Rein: Rosie Smith's Journey from Reining to the #2022AEC

Rosie Smith’s rose gold accented helmet matched her perfectly tidy bun of red hair as she took the third spot in the USEA Training Rider Championship at the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nurena Feeds. Every little detail came together while aboard her trusted partner of nine years: the 20-year-old Connemara Irish Draught named Seamus (by Corrcullen, RID). But Smith’s first jump, back when she was only 15 years old, wasn’t with an English saddle.

Oct 01, 2022 Volunteers

The VIP Volunteer: Lisa Pragg

Lisa Pragg is a busy woman, but between her normal day job and competing her own 19-year-old Thoroughbred Impeccable she still prioritizes time to volunteer - both at horse trials and as a volunteer firefighter. Pragg understands the importance that volunteers play in the eventing community and makes sure to give whatever time she can back as a fair gesture.

Sep 30, 2022 Convention

Registration is Now Open for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in Savannah, Georgia!

Attention USEA members! Registration for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is now open! The convention will be held in person on December 7-11, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel in Savannah, Georgia.

Sep 30, 2022 News

USEA Names Athletes for Inaugural EA21 National Camp

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is proud to announce the selected Young Rider athletes for the Emerging Athletes 21 Program (EA21) national camp, now that the EA21 regional clinics have concluded. Twelve riders were accepted into each of the five regional EA21 clinics, taught by USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) instructors, and now riders have been selected from the regional clinics to participate in the inaugural EA21 national camp this winter.

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