The 2020 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) East Coast Championships kicked off today at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland following the successful completion of the FEH Central Championships at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas this past Thursday. Twenty-three horses were presented today to Championship judges Robin Walker and Susan Graham White – four in the FEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship and 18 in the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Championship.
“It was a wonderful surprise to us to have so many numbers turn out this year,” said Graham-White, who will see an additional 22 horses along with Walker in the 2-year-old and yearling classes tomorrow. “We’re really pleased with that, but we’re also really pleased with the quality of horses we’ve seen because we’ve seen some really exceptional athletes.”
Walker agreed, “It’s been a rough year all around and to have this many horses – I’m pleasantly surprised. Carolyn [Mackintosh of the Maryland Horse Trials] has done a fantastic job here for so many years and everyone on the FEH Committee has worked in this direction for years, so it feels good to have this kind of support in a year where everyone could have just stayed at home.”
Emeraude Sharer made the trek from her home in North Carolina with her two horses, Ciel d’Emeraude and Knuit d’Emeraude, to compete in their third FEH East Coast Championships. Knuit d’Emeraude (Contendro I x Etoile d’Emeraude), a Holsteiner filly, was the FEH East Coast Yearling Filly Reserve Champion in 2018 and this year took home the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Filly and Overall Champion titles on a score of 81.445 to be named the 2020 USEA FEH East Coast Grand Champion. Knuit d’Emeraude was handled in today’s competition by Martin Douzant.
Called “Celeste” in the barn, Knuit d’Emeraude’s name is a bit of a play on words. “Because she is a [registered Holsteiner] filly, her name had to start with a ‘K’ that year,” explained Sharer. “’Nuit’ means ‘night’ in French, but in French, it’s not spelled with a ‘K,’ but I had to add it and in English you don’t pronounce it!”
Sharer bought Etoile d’Emeraude, Knuit d’Emeraude’s dam, as a yearling. “She has super top-notch bloodlines – she’s by Cicera’s Icewater and her grand-dam is by Abdullah,” Sharer said. “She got hurt and needed a year and a half off, so I decided to breed her. I have a cousin in France who breeds event horses and she said you go with Contendro [for the sire]. At the time I was riding for Ellen Ziemer and she had just gotten a Thoroughbred mare, and we had some leftover frozen Contendro semen so we bred her thinking it probably wouldn’t work, and it worked! That’s how I ended up with Ciel d’Emeraude. I was never going to breed in the first place and I ended up with two! Now, I’ve bred Ciel d’Emeraude to Knuit d’Emeraude’s dam, so that’s coming up next year, and I also bred him to a Connemara mare. I was never going to breed and here I am!”
“She is the sweetest thing in the barn,” Sharer said of Celeste. “She’s my first child! She the sweetest and the easiest – everyone loves her. She has super kind eyes and she’s really good. I was really happy with her today – Martin did an amazing job handling her. Usually she’s pretty easy to handle and I do it, but it was so nice to sit back and be an owner today. It was a bit new for me because I’m usually riding or showing – I actually really appreciated it.”
Celeste and her half-brother are walking, trotting, and cantering with a saddle on their backs, but haven’t experienced a rider outside of their stalls. “I’m hoping this winter when shows are a bit down I’ll have more time to work with them. I’m hoping these will be my top horses for eventing so there’s no rush whatsoever.”
Runner-up to Knuit d’Emeraude in the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Filly Championship was Ellen Ziemer’s Holsteiner filly Delta’s Darling PVF (Donovan x Delta Crisis) on a score of 80.495. Third place in the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Filly Championship went to Fotogenic (Furest Impression x Davinnia), Jessica Eads’ Oldenburg filly. These fillies were third and fourth overall for 3-year-olds on the East Coast.
The FEH East Coast 3-year-old Overall Reserve Champion title went to the 3-year-old Colt Champion, BSF Frame Charleston (Shakespeare RSF x BSF Savanna). Handled in today’s competition by Martin Douzant, Thora Pollak’s Swedish Warmblood gelding scored an 81.0975 to sit behind Knuit d’Emeraude for the overall title by less than half a point.
Pollak, who owns Beall Spring Farm in Beallsville, Maryland, explained that BSF Frame Charleston was a “spare,” – an embryo that was supposed to be a backup just in case the original breeding failed. Unfortunately, the original breeding did fail, but Charleston was carried to term. “I started working with a woman from Sweden, Elise Frederickson,” Pollak explained. “I brought mare, Sahara, into the United States. She earned elite status from the Swedish judges. She passed away, and her daughter, BSF Savanna, was sold to Ann-Louise Cook in Florida. She called me one night and asked me if I’d like to breed Savannah, and I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ We bred Savanna to Shakespeare RSF, who was in Wellington at the time training Grand Prix dressage. We bred the embryo and drove it to Ocala and Ann-Louise called me up and said she thought we needed a spare. I said, ‘You want me to do it again?’ And she said, ‘Yes, and you keep the foal.’ Well, we lost the first embryo, but Charleston is the spare!”
“It’s been a wonderful adventure for me with Martin,” Pollak said, who has worked closely with Douzant for many years. “It’s a bit overwhelming! I brought Charleston up from Ocala when he was four months old and we’ve had him at our farm since – he’s only been with Martin for a little over a month. He’s very new to all of this so I’m very proud of him. He’s a special one. I can’t wait to call Ann-Louise!”
In the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Colt Championship, Julie Pate’s Thoroughbred gelding Luprian (Union Rags x Winter View) placed second on a score of 76.9825 and Eileen Pritchard-Bryan’s Jaguar Valor WG (Jaguar Mail x Ravissante WG) was third on a score of 76.145.
The FEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship had a small but mighty field this year. The only competitor with previous FEH Championship experience was Quaden AF (Qredit HTF x Glitter), Matthew Bryner's Oldenburg stallion. Quaden AF was the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Overall Reserve Champion last year and came back this year to claim the 4-year-old Championship title on a score of 81.988.
Christine Eromenok’s Westphalian gelding King Leonidas (Kharacter C x Just for Terry) scored an 81.438 to finish as the FEH East Coast 4-year-old Reserve Champion. Third place went to Nicolette Merle-Smith’s Thoroughbred stallion Raven Sky on a score of 76.0625.
Complete scores from today's competition can be found here. Stay tuned for tomorrow's coverage for the FEH East Coast 2-year-old and yearling 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.
The first CCI4*-L of 2020 officially got underway this week at Galway Downs International in Temecula, California. It is Boyd Martin and Luke 140, who topped the 12-pair field with a 29.40 from FEI ground jury members Sandy Phillips, Wayne Quarles, and Valerie Vizcarando-Pride.
For over 20 years the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) has been educating all levels of eventing instructors to confirm their knowledge base, both theoretical and practical, upon which they will continue to build throughout their teaching lifetime. The USEA is now shining the spotlight each month on some of the 300 ICP Certified Instructors.
2020 has been a rollercoaster of the year and unfortunately, it didn’t stop with The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old Championships as the jumping/gallop portion of the competition had to be halted today after the first 25 horses due to deteriorating footing and challenging weather conditions.
Many of the country’s best eventing athletes are at the Galway Downs International Event in Southern California this week to compete for the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship. This is the first time this championship has been held on the West Coast, and several horse-and-athlete pairs have made the trip across the country to participate.