In this series, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to critique your off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) eventing prospects. Professional riders and trainers will share their insights into each OTTB's pedigree, racing history, and conformation. Would you like to have your off-the-track Thoroughbred featured in the next edition of OTTB Critique presented by Athletux? We are looking for our next horse! Email your tips to [email protected].
For Ashley DeWitt, Valhalla (Sun King x Ima Halo) aka Oscar holds a very special place in her heart. DeWitt was a student of Philippa Humphreys and she acquired Oscar through Humphreys, who sadly passed away a year later. “Philippa was known for having a very special eye for a horse and snatched him up right away from CANTER Illinois,” Dewitt recalled. “I happened to be at the barn during her first ride on him, fell in love, tried him, and bought him right after that,” she explained.
Since their partnership began, DeWitt has found a multitude of success with Oscar. DeWitt, who has competed up to the CCI2*-L level, said, “I have really have enjoyed not only bringing him up the levels so far but also building our partnership!” Together, they have two seasons at Training level under their belts and they have their eyes on a Preliminary move up this year. DeWitt added, “Right now we are really working on improving his brain and rideability in preparation for our hopeful move up this year.” It is very clear DeWitt has found a special horse in Oscar, which is made even more special by his connection to her dear friend, coach, and mentor, Philippa.
We are excited to have top CCI5*-L rider Sharon White with us this month to evaluate this talented horse. White has an eye for OTTBs and, having picked out many successful upper-level horses from the track, she knows exactly what to look for.
At first glance, White immediately commented on how positive his overall expression is. White explained, “Oscar looks to be very eager under saddle and very stoic on the ground as well. He also looks to enjoy all three phases, a positive attribute in event horses!” She noted that the horse’s ears always seem to be up and White stated she can clearly tell horse and rider have a strong relationship.
After sharing her initial thoughts on his overall expression, White moved on to Oscar’s conformation, which is also very positive. She added, “While he looks to be quite tall, his body overall is very proportionate and I really like the angle at which his neck attaches to his body.” White also pointed out that, “He looks to have good angles throughout his hind legs with very solid feet to match. Poor feet are sometimes that downfall of good OTTBs so it is a very positive characteristic to possess.”
Finally, White commented on Oscar’s under saddle photos, starting with his jump photos. “I really like how he seems to use himself over fences, which can sometimes be hard for the bigger horses. He also shows no signs of lacking in scope and clearly has the capabilities for more.”
While exuberant into the water, White recommended schooling more drops as the pair prepare to move up to hopefully make the drop not quite as big of a deal. She added, “Sometimes such a big jump down will catch up with you later on as the horse moves up the levels.”
Overall, White is excited by the potential in this young horse. While a photo can only depict a moment in time, White feels Oscar has all the makings to succeed in his new career. She wishes both the horse and the rider all the best of luck!
Like many other things this year, the annual summer meeting of the USEA Board of Governors looked very different in 2020. The 21 Governors spent two days meeting virtually from their homes around the country. This was USEA President Max Corcoran’s first August board meeting at the helm and she opened the call by thanking the Board for their time so far this year as conference calls have been frequent.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
“Health and happiness through our love of horses, that’s our mission.” Four-star event rider Emily Hamel and FEI groom Tyler Held are committed to comprehensive enhancements for the equestrian community through their shared passion for learning, positive mindset, fitness, nutrition, and, of course, horses.
It's been a long road, but we've finally arrived at the end! In June of 2017, the USEA undertook a project - to tell the story of each of the currently active USEA recognized events, starting at the beginning of the alphabet and working our way all the way through to the end. Now, more than three years later, we've reached the final event on our list.