The second day of the 2019 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) East Coast Championships at Loch Moy Farm was all about the 2-year-olds and yearlings as they competed for their respective championship titles. The FEH West Coast Championships took place last week at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, and the FEH Central Championships this past Thursday at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas. Championship judges Peter Gray and Chris Ryan evaluated 18 2-year-olds and 12 yearlings, picking the best of the bunch to be your 2019 USEA FEH East Coast champions.
Return competitor Royal Casino (Rosenthal x Lady Logan) was the Overall Yearling Champion at the 2018 USEA FEH East Coast Championships last year, and this year he came back and earned the title once again. Cynthia McNemar’s Oldenburg gelding earned the 2019 East Coast 2-year-old Overall and Colt Championship titles on a score of 85.38.
Royal Casino is a third-generation homebred, out of McNemar’s homebred mare Lady Logan, who is sired by the Holsteiner stallion Cottage Boy. “He has three other full siblings and his oldest full sibling competed through Advanced with Colleen Rutledge,” McNemar detailed. “I have his 5-year-old sister, who had a foal last year by Sandro’s Star and I’m competing her – we are doing Beginner Novice unrecognized. He has a full brother that’s a 4-year-old that Colleen also has.”
“Roy” is the youngest of her Rosenthal x Lady Logan babies, and she says he’s a special one. “He was Yearling Overall Champion last year and has the high score Born in America award also from last year. It’s pretty special to have him back out this year.”
McNemar elected to only bring Roy to the Championships this year, as she was worried that having other horses along for the ride might serve as a distraction. “Two other horses qualified to come here but brining them all together on the trailer – not everybody pays attention in the ring. I’m really glad that I ended up just bringing him because he was a superstar today. Martin [Douzant] handled him for me which was great – my legs aren’t quite long enough to keep up with him anymore!”
Roy hasn’t been just sitting around since last year either – McNemar works with him regularly. “ I pony him off of his mother on and off, and then this spring he went to two FEH shows where the first one he qualified for the Championships and the second one was to get him off the farm again. Then I took him down to Culpeper for the dressage breed show and he ended up fourth down there . . . I took him by himself to the Young Horse Show at High Point Hanoverians this summer. He ended up third in the jump chute class and then [competed in an at-liberty class] – he qualified for the Young Horse Championships in both classes.”
“He’s for sale,” McNemar concluded. “I’d like to sell him, but I hope even if I do sell him he’ll be back for the 3-year-old [FEH Championships] – I think he’s got a great chance of doing well there.”
Daedalus WG (Doctor Wendell MF* x Blumins Best), Eileen Pritchard-Bryan’s Hanoverian/Thoroughbred gelding, was crowned the 2-year-old Overall Reserve Champion on a score of 85.08 and Ronald Zabala-Goetschel’s Wise Ravissante Du Defey (Wonderboy Stal Ghyvan x Simpar), an Anglo-Arab filly, finished in third place overall and as the 2-year-old Filly Champion on an 84.83.
In the yearling division, it was Anita Antenucci’s Arden Nike (Songline x Noblest Yet), a Trakehner/Thoroughbred filly, that stole the show, winning the Yearling Overall and Filly titles on a score of 85.30.
“Nike,” who is named after the Greek Goddess of Victory, is described by Antenucci as the most laid-back of her pasture mates, all of whom were born the same year. “I name all my fillies as best I can after literary heroines. She’s out with two other fillies and a gelding, and she’s the easiest one of the bunch because she got handled so much as a baby. She’s pretty low-key and they all boss their litter brother around – we’re about to have to move him to another field. But she’s easygoing.”
“She’s out of a Thoroughbred dam who’s had a couple of racehorses and a couple of sport horses,” Antenucci explained. “Linda Zang sold her to me. She used to breed for racing and for sport herself, and when she decided to get out of breeding she sold me Nike’s mother, Noblest Yet. I’ve had a lot of help from people like Linda and Susan Runco out of the Thoroughbred industry trying to find Thoroughbred dams to cross to warmblood stallions that are proven. Songline is a Trakehner stallion that went three-star with Andreas Dibowski and got imported and then leased by Tim Holekamp. She’s the first winner in the Future Event Horse program out of that kind of approach.”
Antenucci’s program focuses on the strength of the American Thoroughbred, as she feels strongly that the American Thoroughbred can help produce winning eventing horses right here in the states. “I’m an amateur eventer and I’ve ridden with Sharon White my whole career and I decided that once I had my own farm this is something that would be fun to do – as the athleticism of eventing gets beyond my capabilities, I’ll still have breeding,” Antenucci shared. “I grew up in Kentucky and I’m passionate about the role of the American Thoroughbred in eventing. I think we can breed as good a horse as anyone in Europe because of this extraordinary quantity and quality of American Thoroughbred mares. We’ve had a few exceptions that aren’t full Thoroughbred, but eventually we’ll breed our cross-bred fillies to Thoroughbred stallions, if we can find good ones here – that’s the next challenge. Thoroughbred stallions that are at stud fees that are accessible in eventing that are suitable are hard to find.”
Silene White’s Moto (Mighty Magic x Shutterfly’s Buzz), her Oldenburg gelding, finished the day as the Yearling Overall Reserve Champion and Colt Champion on a score of 84.68. Third place overall went to the Yearling Colt Reserve Champion, Ronald Zabala-Goetschel’s Wise Master Zaphiro (Wise Quick Silver x Master Ruby), an Irish Thoroughbred colt, on a score of 83.48.
The Born In America award is presented to the highest scoring American-bred horse of the two-day competition, and Royal Casino was the recipient of the award once again on his score of 85.38.
The Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) Award was presented to the highest-scoring Thoroughbred of the competition, Rebecca Pennington’s Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken.
In addition, now that all three Championships are completed, the FEH National Awards presented by Guardian Horse Bedding have been awarded to the highest scoring yearling, 2-year-old, 3-year-old, and 4-year-old. Each National Award winner will be given a $500 prize check as well as an engraved trophy courtesy of Guardian Horse Bedding. Royal Casino received the 2-year-old National Award and Arden Nike was presented with the Yearling National Award. The 3- and 4-year-old awards were presented yesterday to Wise Lolita Linda and Revel In Soul.
For complete scores from the weekend, click here.
About the USEA Future Event Horse Program
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 evaluates yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds for their potential for the sport based on conformation and type. Yearlings, 2-year-olds, and 3-year-olds are presented in-hand while 4-year-olds are presented under saddle at the walk, trot, and canter before being stripped of their tack and evaluated on their conformation. Divisions are separated by year and gender. At the Championships, 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds are also required to demonstrate their potential over fences in an additional free-jump division. Click here to learn more about the Future Event Horse Program.
A double clear cross-country round propelled Rebecca Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses' 11-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) to their first blue ribbon together in the CCI4*-Short, and Haley Turner and her own 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Shadow Inspector (Tinaranas Inspector x Caragh Roller) continued their run of sub-30 dressage tests to win the CCI3*-Short at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California.
USEA podcast host Nicole Brown chats with Interim Eventing Chef d’Equipe and Team Manager of the U.S. Eventing Team Bobby Costello about the Silver Medal Performance put forward by the U.S. Team at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships.
There is still time to experience the long format of three-day eventing this year, by competing in a fall USEA Classic Series Event! The USEA Classic Series offers long-format eventing at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, and Preliminary levels, and there are still a few left on the fall calendar in various Areas.
This story first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Sidelines Magazine.
I have had many young horses in my time, and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s rarely the perfect, easy baby that becomes the next superstar. In fact, I’ve always considered it a positive to have the well-behaved youngster throw a little bit of attitude my way, as I believe that it takes fight to become a great event horse.