Jun 15, 2024

Second Class of YEH New Judge Education Program Now Open for Expressions of Interest

2023 USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships judges Marilyn Payne (left) and Christian Schacht. USEA/Tina Fitch photo

The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is excited to announce that applications for the second class of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) New Judge Education Program are now open. Qualifying candidates, which are no longer required to hold a USEF judge’s license as of 2023, are encouraged to sign up to participate in the YEH New Judge Education Program to receive certification to judge the Jumping and Galloping phases of Young Event Horse competitions.

The YEH Committee, led by Chair Marilyn Payne, has updated the requirements to become a YEH judge to allow for an expanded applicant pool with a wider range of experiences. Any candidate that can be described by one or more of the following criteria will be welcome to join for training in the YEH New Judge Education Program:

  • Competed at the Advanced level of eventing or higher;
  • U.S. Team Selectors;
  • Sourced top level event horses and has a keen eye for young prospects;
  • Licensed breed inspectors, involving jumping and dressage; and/or
  • Ridden, bred or trained horses that have competed in the YEH Finals.

The YEH New Judge Education Program is a four-part hybrid course that includes virtual and in-person instruction. The first training session will be a two-to-three-hour video conference session that is designed to introduce candidates to the YEH Program and provide a basic overview of judging. During this session, candidates will review the YEH Rules & Guidelines, discuss judging methodology, and learn about the judge’s responsibilities at a YEH competition.

The second training session will also be held via video conference but will dive into the vocabulary and scoring criteria for the Jumping and Galloping phases. During the second session, candidates will participate in group scoring exercises, where videos of previous USEA YEH Championship competitors will be viewed. The group will discuss the rounds together to determine the final score that they would award for each round. The session will take approximately two to three hours, then participants will be assigned videos to watch and score on their own at the end of the session.

Once the judge candidates have independently scored their assigned videos, the group will meet one final time via video conference to discuss the results of their independent study and review their scoresheets. Candidates will also be asked to participate in an oral judging exercise to assess their ability to judge in real time.

Finally, the last session will be a required, in-person apprenticeship with a current YEH judge. Candidates will be asked to identify a YEH qualifying event of their choosing to shadow a current YEH Judge while they are completing their duties. Each candidate will need to work alongside the YEH judge for at least five rounds per age group (4- and 5-year-olds) and a minimum of 15 rounds cumulatively. These requirements do not need to be completed in one session. Candidates can apprentice with multiple YEH judges at different events while fulfilling these requirements.

Once a candidate has completed the four-part training program, they will be eligible to take the two-part final exam. The first component is an online written test, and the second component is an in-person exam at one of the USEA YEH Championships. The in-person exam will require candidates to walk and evaluate the Jumping course before the start of the competition, and then judge a minimum of 10 horses as they complete their rounds. At the end, the candidate will receive the results of their examination and any necessary feedback. Candidates that receiving a passing score will be added to the YEH Judges List. More information on the first offering of the final examination will be forthcoming to eligible candidates in the coming months.

If you are interested in participating in the second session of the USEA YEH New Judge Education Program, please email Sam Johnston at [email protected] by Friday, June 28 to confirm your eligibility. Sessions will be coordinated based on level of interest and candidates’ availability. A $200 fee will be instituted for sessions one through three of the training program. Candidates that proceed with the final examination will be required to pay an additional $250. If you have any questions regarding the YEH New Judge Education Program or the YEH Program, please contact Sam Johnston or Marilyn Payne at [email protected].

About the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) 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-years-old, 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 ARMA, Bates Saddles, Capital Square, HorseWeek, Kerrits, Parker Equine Insurance, SmartPak, Standlee, 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 Championships.

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. Additionally, The Dutta Corp. offers a prize to the Holekamp/Turner Grant recipient, consisting of a round trip flight from the Eastern United States to Europe.

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