Many top results from program graduates in 2022 have once again proven that the USEA’s Young Event Horse (YEH) program is meeting its mission of identifying future four- and five-star horses. With three of the four Team U.S.A. horses at the FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy being graduates of the YEH program, as well as top placings at the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships, the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, the Kentucky Three-Day Event and the year-end USEA leaderboards, the YEH program is making its mark as a major talent spotter for top athletes in the sport of eventing.
FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro
The U.S. Eventing Team made history in September by capturing the silver medal at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy. The monumental occasion marked Team U.S.A.’s first podium finish at a World Championships in 20 years. While several members noted that their dedication to their individual programs was part of the recipe for success at this year’s championships, it seems that riding a graduate of the YEH program is a winning ingredient as well! Three out of the four member of Team U.S.A., Tsetserleg TSF, Mai Baum and Off The Record, can trace their humble beginnings back to the USEA YEH program.
Tsetserleg TSF (Windfall x Thabana), aka Thomas, is a 15-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, bred by Timothy Holekamp, and ridden by Boyd Martin. A 2012 YEH graduate, Thomas has had an incredibly successful upper-level career, representing the United States with Martin in the irons at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, two World Championships (Tryon 2018 and Pratoni 2022) and the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, where the pair took home team and individual gold medals. Martin and Thomas were also the Land Rover USEF CCI5*-L Eventing National Champions in 2019 and have had countless top-five results internationally over the years.
Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira) is a 16-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell and ridden by Tamra Smith. Mai Baum competed at The Event at Rebecca Farm in 2010, finishing in fourth place in the YEH 4-year-old division, and in 2011, finishing 5th in the YEH 5-year-old division, while he was ridden by Michele Pestl. After a successful campaign with owner Alexandra Ahearn, Tamra Smith took over the ride in 2015 and the pair have been increasing in momentum ever since. In the past year alone, Mai Baum finished in the top-10 individually at the World Championships in Pratoni and at the Badminton Horse Trials CCI5*-L. Mai Baum also represented the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as the traveling reserve, was on the gold medal winning team at the CHIO Aachen CCIO4*-S in 2021, and won the 2018 Adequan USEA Advanced Final, previously known as the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series Final, at the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds.
The final YEH graduate on the silver medal-winning team was Off The Record (VDL Arkansas x Drumagoland Bay), a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off the Record Syndicate and ridden by Will Coleman, who finished ninth at the 2014 USEA YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championship. The pair has had a long, successful career together, which was highlighted by their win at the iconic CHIO Aachen CCIO4*-S last year, making them the first American combination to ever top the podium at the event. Off the Record and Coleman were also the highest placing American individually at the World Championships in Pratoni, finishing in seventh place.
FEI WBSFH Eventing World Breeding Championships in Le Lion d’Angers
History was made once again this fall at the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France when HSH Connor and Caroline Martin earned the highest placing for an American at the event, finishing as reserve champion in the 6-Year-Old Championship. HSH Connor, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Luann McElduff and Sherrie Martin, was the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 4-Year-Old Champion and the East Coast 5-Year-Old Reserve Champion in 2021. HSH Connor and Martin came tantalizingly close to the win, dropping just one rail on the final day of competition to finish in second place after leading the pack from day one with a dressage score of 25.2. At the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention, HSH Connor was named the USEA Preliminary Horse of the Year and the USEA 6-Year-Old Preliminary Horse of the Year.
The recipient of the Holekamp/Tuner Grant and Martin’s second mount at Mondial du Lion was HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass), a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin and Molly Hoff. HSH Blake was also a champion at the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA East Coast Championships, winning the 5-year-old division and receiving the second highest score for a 5-year-old in the nation on a 91.47. In their short career together thus far, Blake and Martin have already captured four international wins at the CCI2* level. Their success has not gone unnoticed, as the pair was awarded the USET Connaught Grant during the 2022 USEA Year-End Awards Ceremony on Friday, December 9 at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in Savannah, GA.
Shanroe Cooley (Dallas x Sharoe Sapphire), a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Ocala Horse Properties LLC and ridden by Liz Halliday-Sharp, also represented the United States the World Breeding Championships and finished in eighth place. Shanroe Cooley won the YEH 5-year-old qualifier division at Chattahoochee Hills H.T. in 2020 with a score of 86.85 and was named the 2022 USEA Intermediate Horse of the Year and the USEA 7-year-old Intermediate Horse of the Year.
MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill
After breaking his withers early in the year, Danito, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik) owned by Ruth Bley and ridden by Tamra Smith, made a miraculous recovery just in time to finish as reserve champion in his CCI5*-L debut at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory. It was a fairytale ending to a difficult year for the pair, as Smith noted during an interview that the original hope for the horse was to have him as a contender for the FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni. Danito won a YEH 5-year-old qualifier at Lone Tree Farm in 2014 with John Michael Durr in the irons and went on to join Smith’s program in 2018.
Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
Quantum Leap (Quite Capitol x Report to Sloopy), an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned and ridden by Doug Payne and bred by Dr. Elizabeth Callahan, was crowned the 2022 Land Rover USEF CCI5*-L Eventing National Champion after finishing in third place as the highest scoring American pair at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event this spring. Quantum Leap competed in the 2015 USEA YEH East Coast Championships as a 4-year-old where he finished third, 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 and represented the U.S. in Le Lion d’Angers, France.
USEA Overall Year-End Leaderboards
A number of YEH graduates topped the USEA year-end leaderboards in 2022. For the second year in a row, a YEH graduate took home top honors on the Standlee USEA Horse of the Year leaderboard. Dondante, the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Pacino, owned by Four Star Eventing Group and Team Rebecca, LLC and ridden by Will Coleman, was named the Standlee USEA Horse of the Year and the USEA Advanced Horse of the Year. World Championship horses Mai Baum, Tsetserleg TSF, and Off the Record also made the top ten list.
More than half of the horses on the SmartPak USEA Stallion of the Year leaderboard are graduates of the YEH Program, including the Stallion of the Year, Geluk HVF (Jazz x Bronte HVF), an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion who is owned and ridden by Bethany Hutchins-Kristen. Quaden AF (Qredit HTF x Glitter), a 6-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by the Red Head Syndicate, who is was bred and ridden by Matthew Bryner claimed third place. Satin Art (Indian Art x Epic Satin), an 18-year-old warmblood stallion who is owned, bred and ridden by Sysan Moessner came in fifth place. Arden Juju (Future Gravitas x Little Julia), a 7-year-old American Sport Horse stallion owned and bred by Anita Antenucci and ridden by Kim Severson finished in seventh place. Redtail Achiever (Bernardini x Nana Knows), a j7-year-old Thoroughbred stallion owned by Elinor MacPhail O’Neal and ridden by Alexander O’Neal came in eighth place. Finally, Dickens of Holme Ranch (Tzigane *Pb* x Holme Grove Devaux), an 8-year-old Trakehner stallion owned and bred by Sandra Wilkes and ridden by Andrew Palmer, ended in ninth place.
Early Review C (Earl x Lois Lane) was the only YEH graduate to make the cut in the Bates USEA Mare of the Year standings, finishing in eighth place with a total of 88.0 points. Early Review C is a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare owned and bred by Laurie Cameron and ridden by Sydney Solomon. Other notable mentions include the SmartPak USEA Pony of the Year reserve champion, Targaryen TWF (Winterlake Tristan x CNF Marteenna), a 6-year-old Welsh pony gelding owned by Jodie D. Knox, bred by Jennifer Fair and ridden by Katharina Huenermann, and the USEA Training Horse of the Year, Daktaris (Dinken x Europa VIII), a 6-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned and ridden by Ashley Kehoe.
Congratulations to all YEH graduates on an incredible year!
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, 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.
With the holiday spirit in full swing and the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for the 2024 eventing season. From paperwork to packing, there’s quite a bit to do before you’re ready to get out there and enjoy the season with your horse. Check out these tips from the team at STRIDER, and get your 2024 season kicked off in the most organized way possible.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation is pleased to announce the Eventing Pathway Program Lists for 2024, including the Elite, Pre-Elite, Development, and Emerging Programs. In addition to these Eventing Pathway Program updates, several opportunities will be available in 2024 for both Program and non-Program athletes.
The United States Eventing Associations’ (USEA) Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) is pleased to announce the dates and location of the upcoming 2024 ECP Symposium. The annual ECP Symposium, which is held in the southeast to accommodate the migration of eventers for the winter season, will be hosted at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2024. This three-day immersive educational experience is recommended for anyone who is interested in learning more about eventing coaching, including current coaches, riders, parents, owners or avid supporters. Click here to download the registration form today!
The USEA is incredibly proud to allow the thrill of the 'chase to live on for those who want to experience the unforgettable rush of the classic long format three-day event through our USEA Classic Series events. Long-format events from the Beginner Novice to Preliminary levels are still a reality with the USEA Classic Series and include roads and tracks, steeplechase, and cross-country on "endurance day," as well as horse inspections. In addition, educational activities are offered at the USEA Classic Series Events to help prepare competitors, especially those who are contesting their first-ever long format event.