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. The Virginia Horse Center staff went above and beyond moving jumps, adding footing, and removing obstacles when necessary, but it wasn’t safe to continue the competition for the remaining 27 horses. After speaking with the riders, Judges Debbie Adams and Peter Gray in consultation with the organizing committee, have moved the remainder of the competition to Sunday. Thursday's class and Sunday’s class will be pinned as separate divisions.
After the organizing decisions were made it was the overnight dressage/conformation leader Redfield King who emerged as the victor in today’s class with a remarkable score of 93.52 which included perfect marks for both the cross-country and general impression.
The KWPN gelding (Connect x Cha Cha Cha Special) is owned by the HX Redfield King Especiale Syndicate and ridden by Caroline Martin. Martin also won yesterday’s 4-year-old class with Redfield HSH Conner, who she said is related to “King” through Connect, making it a winning few days for her!
“[King] is so easy going – he is a gentle giant,” explained Martin. “He is almost 18 hands. Just massive, but so easy to do deal with. I got really lucky. I trotted across the street, cantered up and down the hill, jumped three jumps, and went in. I had to wait while they moved some jumps around and they asked me if I wanted to go back to warm-up to jump some more, and I said absolutely not. This horse is so brave and if I had jumped anymore he would be too nonchalant. The mud and all that – he could care less. He is such a class horse and it is too easy for him.”
King was bred in the Netherlands by Paul Hendrix who is business partners with Martin’s business partner Emil Spadone of Redfield Farm. Last year Martin flew over to the Netherlands to visit Hendrix and she explained, “[Hendrix] said, ‘Caroline I have the perfect horse.’ I was like ‘we will see,” and I get there and he throws me right up on him and he was 100 percent right. He is so special. He was recently broke because he was so big they left him out in the field for awhile and he had only jumped a handful of times, but the horse is just incredible.”
Martin has developed an expansive buying and selling business alongside Spadone and Hendrix, but King is different and Martin has been able to syndicate him in order to keep the ride and she has big hopes for his future. “I would love to take him next year to the 6-year-olds at Le Lion, we will see what happens with COVID and all of that, but the horse went Training/Preliminary at his last show. The horse can go Preliminary/Intermediate next year. He is so brave. Such a great jumper. The gallop is unreal and the flatwork is too. I would like to get as much experience on the big international stage for him as I can because he finds everything so easy so I would rather not run him a lot, but just do one big show a year,” concluded Martin.
While Redfield King’s score was impressive, the reserve champion Kismet wasn’t too far behind on an 89.13 and a super 9.6 on general impression. Kismet, Nina Gardner’s homebred gelding (National Anthem x Ularinka), is very special to Brannigan since she rode his dam Ularinka.
“[Ularinka] was a favorite at Phillip [Dutton]’s barn and I rode her when I worked for him,” said Brannigan. “She passed away this year, so it makes it extra special. He is the second one I have had out of her – the other one was lovely as well. He is by the Gardner’s stallion National Anthem and I obviously compete a lot of horses by him.”
Kismet was well-prepared for today’s endless rain and wet footing by Brannigan’s home in hunt country. “I was pretty proud of him on cross-country. I thought he was brave and super. I live in hunt country and we have been doing these rides where we go ride through the creeks and jump all the hunt jumps and just get them going out doing more natural cross-country leading into this and I think it really helped actually especially in the conditions today.”
Third place went to Red Right Return, Jane Dudinsky’s homebred Holsteiner gelding (Riverman x Larkspurr) who scored an 88.07 with rider Doug Payne.
Full scores from today’s competition can be found here.
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 Hay Company, Parker Equine Insurance, and Etalon Diagnostics 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.
A case of EHV-1 (neurological) has been reported in Ocala, Florida, similar in nature, but unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Valencia (ESP) and other European countries. The horse was not shipped from Europe and was not on show grounds at the onset of symptoms. USEF is working closely with the Florida Department of Agriculture and state authorities who are completing contact tracing and identifying the potential source of the virus exposure.
Five-star eventer Kim Severson taught a show jumping clinic in January at Milestone Sport Horses in Lovettsville, Virginia where she instructed riders on the importance of forward riding for successful jumping. In this exercise, which Severson progressively adds additional pieces to, riders are instructed to focus on the quality of their canter.
On Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Central time, join Eric Dierks for a live stream interview with David O'Connor. David was an alternate for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and riding Wilton Fair, was part of the U.S. team at the 1990 World Equestrian Games, where he placed 35th individually and the team finished fourth.
Billy Jackson was introduced to horses at a young age through his local 4-H program. “One of my mom's close friends was a large animal vet and she really encouraged me to stay with it,” Jackson said. As an adult, he is a Marketing Project Manager, and when he’s not at work, he’s a lower level eventer based at Poplar Place Farm.