Aug 10, 2022

New Leader Emerges in Race to Le Lion

By Olivia Airhart - USEA Staff
King's Especiale and Caroline Martin. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

As the cutoff date to qualify for Le Lion inches closer, talented young horses and riders in contention for the The Holekamp/Turner YEH Lion d’Angers Grant are gearing up for the final push in hopes of being selected as the grant recipient. Grant funds will assist the selected pair with costs associated with competing at the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships in the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship slated to be held later this fall. 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships competitors and their respective owners and riders have paid careful attention to this summer’s schedule making sure that they would meet the necessary qualifications for La Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France.

Each horse must complete the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) which is one CCI2*-L and one CCI3*-S both with zero jump penalties on cross-country and a maximum of four jump penalties in the show jumping in order to qualify for the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship at Mondial du Lion. Horses have until September 26, 2022 to earn their qualifications, but the owners of each horse must notify the USEA of their intentions to seek the Holekamp/Turner Grant by September 1, 2022. The mount who meets the MER, has notified the USEA of their intentions to attend, and is the highest ranked horse from the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH 5-year-old Championships, will win the 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant. Additionally, the Dutta Corp. will be awarding a round trip flight to the Holekamp/Turner Grant recipient.

King's Especiale and Caroline Martin. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
King's Especiale and Caroline Martin. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

With just under two months until the declaration of the 2022 recipient of the grant, the leaderboard has seen a clear front-runner for a majority of the summer, Galwaybay Blake, an Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Sherrie Martin, Molly Hoff, and Caroline Martin. Though, a new leader has emerged from the pack– another one of Martin’s rides, King's Especiale (Connect x Cha Cha Cha Special), formerly known as Redfield King, now is the highest ranked YEH horse in contention for the grant, as he won the 2020 Championships on an impressive score of 93.52. Owned by Redfield King's Hx Group, the Warmblood gelding and Martin got a head start already having jumped across the pond to compete alongside fellow 7-year-old contender Galwaybay Blake in the CCI3*-S at the Barbury International Horse Trials hosted in the Wiltshire region of England. With the number one and two seats locked down on the leaderboard and both of her horses being fully qualified, Martin has doubled her chances of jetting off to France.

In addition to the newest leader and mount on the fully qualified list, the following horses are also in contention for the Holekamp/Turner YEH Lion d’Angers Grant.

  • Quiberon, an Oldenburg stallion (Quite Easy x Avalon) owned by Doug Payne and bred by Elizabeth Callahan
  • Excel Star Time to Shine, an Irish Sport Horse gelding (Luidam x Lismore) owned by Dare to Dream Team
  • Excel Star First Class, Courtney Cooper’s Irish Sport Horse gelding (Valent x Cruising)
  • Double Diamond C, the U.S. bred Hanoverian gelding (Diacontinus x Lois Lane CBF) owned and bred by by Laurie Cameron
  • Redtail Penumbra, a German Sport Horse mare (Cevin Z x True Dynamite xx) owned by James Devanney, Elinor MacPhail O'Neal, Christy Parsons, and Barbara Lightner, and ridden by Alex O'Neal
Clear Candidate and Alexa Ehlers. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
Clear Candidate and Alexa Ehlers. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Alexa Ehler’s own Thoroughbred, Clear Candidate (Diktotor Van de Boslandhoeve x La Vie En Rose) bred by Clear View Farm LLC is one of the newest partially qualified mounts adding their name to the pot. The duo just completed their CCI2*-L requirement at Bromont QC in early June. Looking to complete their CCI3*-S in order to be fully qualified for Le Lion and the Holekamp/Turner YEH Lion d’Angers Grant, Ehler is eager to finish out their summer season on a high note.

In addition to Clear Candidate, the following horses are also in contention for the grant but are only partially qualified looking to complete the required CCI3*-S prior to the September 26 deadline.

  • Zimbabwe Express: Swedish Warmblood mare (Quite Easy x Victoria's Electra) owned by Jordan Crabo and bred by Barb and Martin Crabo (U.S. Bred)
  • Fernhill Karamba: Dutch Warmblood gelding (Carambole x Dharma B) owned by Shanon Baker
  • Global Clue: Holsteiner gelding (Cachassini X Shenandoah Tazira) owned by Hallie Coon
  • Royal Sempatica: Oldenburg mare (Sempatico x Royal Crossing) owned by Stephanie Bajo
  • Kamara CFF: Dutch Warmblood mare (Negro x Damara) owned by Kamara CFF LLC and bred by Wiley Grosvenor (U.S. Bred)
  • Beautiful Storm: Thoroughbred gelding owned by Jan Byyny
  • Keepsake: Warmblood mare (National Anthem x Vidalia) owned and bred by Nina Gardner (U.S. Bred)
  • FE Caspian: Oldenburg gelding (Monti Obolensky x Cinderella's Girl) owned by Plain Dealing Farm and bred by Clayton Fredericks
  • Mystic Fair: Thoroughbred mare (Mystic Replica x Fair Fiona) owned by Anne Hennessey and bred by Boyd Martin
  • Kismet: Warmblood gelding (National Anthem x Ularinka) owned and bred by Nina H. Gardner
  • Curraghgraigue Clear Future: Irish Sport horse gelding (Womanizer x Curraghraigue Coevers Z) owned by Alexa E. Ehlers and bred by Baden Powell (IRE)

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.

About La Mondial du Lion
The FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France is one of the most prestigious young horse championships in the world. Eager competitors from all over descend upon France to showcase their 6- and 7-year-old event horses culminating with The 6-year-old Championship as a CCIYH2*-L and the 7-year-old Championship as a CCIYH3*-L. The USEA offers the Holekamp/Turner Grant for horses from the USEA YEH 5-year-old Championships to go on and compete in the 7-year-old Championships in France.

About the USEA 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 Premium Products, 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 Championship.

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The VIP Volunteer: Julie Murray

Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.

Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.

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