The second Young Horse Show Series (YHS) Regional Championship took place on Sunday, October 1st at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas. Formerly known as the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Championships, this year’s qualifiers were run by the YHS, a program established to provide U.S. breeders the opportunity to show off their young stock, as well as connect them to owners, riders, and trainers looking for U.S. bred sport horses in the hunter, jumper, dressage, and now eventing, disciplines.
In previous years, horses presented for the FEH judges were shown in hand by either the owner or a handler of choice. The horse was shown at a walk and trot on the traditional sport horse inspection triangle and then let loose for the jump chute portion. Under the new program, horses are all presented at liberty by the professional handler(s) provided by YHS. The jump chute portion is available for entries as young as two years old but is up to the owner to decide if their horse is ready to present in the chute or not, and the jump chute is placed individually as its own division.
Starting with the 4-year-old division, there were three horses entered that were purpose-bred as eventers. Taking Reserve Champion both at liberty and in the jump-chute, with scores of 79.7 and 81.875 respectively, for the division was returning FEH champion, Gatsby’s Touch of Chrome (Gatsby x MFF Touch of Dutch RID). This Irish Draught Sporthorse gelding bred, owned, and ridden by Dr. Amy Clemmons of Texas is no stranger to rosettes. As a 3-year-old “Guinness” was the FEH Central Champion and has successfully competed in the program since he was a yearling. For the 2023 season, Guinness and Clemmons have also competed in the USEA Young Event Horse Series and the U.S. Event Horse Futurity qualifying for championships taking place at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in Elkton, Maryland in October.
Third place for the 4-Year-Old division went to Irish Draught Sporthorse mare Manu Fortis Kerrygold (Goldmaker x Manu Fortis Touch of Spice RID). Bred by Manu Fortis Farms of Kansas, this young eventing prospect is owned by Sarah Magruder and ridden by Bernadean Britt of Texas. The stand-out palomino mare scored 78 for the liberty portion and 78.875 in the jump chute to place fourth.
Placing fifth in the liberty portion with a score of 76, and sixth in the jump chute with a 75.875, was the Thoroughbred gelding, Work to Play (Street Sense x Malibu Mist), owned by Jayne Lloyd. Lloyd has been instrumental in bringing the YHS program to the central region this year, hosting two qualifiers at her Snowdonia Sporthorse Complex in Houston, TX. Lloyd has been credited by many owners and riders in the Central Region as a wealth of knowledge about raising and developing young horses in general, as well as always being willing to help educate owners and riders on the ins and outs of showing young prospects in hand. “We always try to present the horses to max potential," said Lloyd about the YHS program.
In the yearling division, there were three eventing-bred horses presented. The Champion for the liberty portion with an 85.7 was Irish Draught Sporthorse mare Dublin Realta (Copy Cat Creek x DKH Estrelita) bred, owned, and presented by Clemmons, whose boutique breeding program, LFH Ranch, is no stranger to the winner's circle in either the FEH or the YHS programs. This year presenting two horses to be crowned Champion, and one to Reserve Champion in three age groups.
The Reserve Champion Yearling with a score of 85.0 was the American Warmblood gelding Pikard (PK Sirius Black x Indigo) bred, owned, and presented by Nancy Roth. Roth had three horses presented at the Central Championships and all three are out of the same mare, Indigo, who is a daughter of Oldenburg sire, Ideal.
“His barn name is Jean Luc,” said Roth. “He was also the USDF Dressage Sporthorse Reserve Grand Champion Foal at the Midwest Finals.”
Third place, with a score of 79.3, went to Irish Draught Sporthorse mare Cerulean Mirror Blue Night (Bridon Belfry RID x Good Reason), bred by Jeanette Varghese, owned by Nina Collins, and presented by Marissa Hetzer. “Ilse” was one of eight Irish Draught Sporthorses registered with the Irish Draught Horse Society of North America presented as eventing prospects at this year’s event. This is the second year in a row that the Central Region has been heavily represented by this endangered breed.
In the 3-year-old division, Connemara part-bred, Isle of View (Duet Farms One Love x Indigo), placed first in both the liberty and the jump chute classes with scores of 84.875 and 85 respectively. Bred and owned by Roth, “Aengus” is the second of three horses sharing the same dam, Indigo. “All three half-siblings are grey, but their personalities are nothing alike,” commented Roth about her string.
Irish Draught Sporthorse Stallion, Deanfield Dubhlainn (Braveheart RID x Jaddabreathe), placed Reserve Champion for the 3-year-old division. Bred by Debbie Fullilove of Deanfield Farm in Houston, Texas, the striking grey stallion is owned by Christine McCarter of Texas. He was one of two Braveheart RID foals presented as eventing prospects this weekend. “Jack” was also the Reserve Champion as a 2-year-old in the 2022 USEA FEH Central Championships.
Finishing the day off was the 2-year-old division. The eventing-bred horses were well-represented, with one being named the Champion of the age division in hand. The Champion was Clemmons' Touch of Lux (Derryinver Luxury Cruise X MFF Touch of Dutch), an Irish Draught Sporthorse mare sharing the same dam as Clemmons' four-year-old gelding “Guinness." Touch of Lux scored an impressive 82.9 from judge Jos Sevriens and placed fourth in the jump chute division with an 80.125.
Westphalian gelding Lumos (Long Island T X Ideal), the third maternal sibling of Roth’s string presented today, took home the fifth-place spot in the largest class of the day with a 78.4, and sixth place in the jump chute with a 78.5.
Rounding out the eventing prospects was the Irish Draught Sporthorse stallion, Braveheart Skyraider (Braveheart RID x Forte Elegante), bred and owned by Lynn Watson, which placed sixth in the liberty division with a 77.6.
Overall, the day was a wonderful testament to the quality of U.S.-bred sport horses available across the country. Judge Jos Sevriens had great notes for the competitors and was complimentary of his trip to Texas and the great young stock presented to him. Thank you to Judge Sevriens, Haras Hacienda, Marilyn Kulifay, Martin Douzant, and all the countless people who worked tirelessly this weekend in the Texas heat to make sure this event with off without a hitch!
About the Future Event Horse Program and Young Horse Show Series
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 evaluated yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds for their potential for the sport based on conformation and type. The FEH program is now run by the Young Horse Show Series, under their umbrella.
The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention came to a close on Sunday with the final USEA Board of Governors meeting. After the call to order, USEA Senior Director of Membership Services/Meeting Planner Jennifer Hardwick gave a brief overview of the annual meeting. There were 321 attendees and 220 who came to the awards dinner. Next year’s Annual Meeting & Convention will be held in Seattle, Washington, from Dec. 10-15 at the Westin Seattle.
Because every horse is different, caring for some senior equines is easy while caring for others can be a challenge. When does a horse become senior, how does the body change, which health conditions become more prevalent, and what can owners do to compensate for their horse’s aging body?
United States Eventing Association (USEA) members from all over the country gathered on Saturday night for the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention Year End Awards Ceremony. The evening’s ceremony was led by Master of Ceremonies Jim Wolf and recognized riders, horses, and game-changers in the sport of eventing with multiple awards and grants.
Hosting the Annual Meeting of Members each December has been a requirement set forth by the United States Eventing Association (USEA) by-laws (then the United States Combined Training Association) since 1959. This year, USEA members are gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention from Dec. 7 - Dec. 10 for four jam-packed days of educational seminars and open forums full of conversation surrounding our sport. Lunch on Friday, however, served as an opportunity for attendees to gather together for the USEA Meeting of Members once again.