Elkton, Md.—Oct. 20— It’s not deja vu—the 5-year-old Zangersheide gelding Shmick (Luigi d'Eclipse x Winter Lady), owned by Anne Hennessey, has claimed another Young Event Horse Championship title. Last year’s Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse 4-year-old East Coast Champion returned to this year’s finale at Fair Hill and amazed the judges for a second time to add the title of 5-year-old champion to his growing resume.
Piloted by Boyd Martin, the young horse, bred by Chris Brems, had the highest score for his cross-country efforts of the field of 53 horses and also received a perfect 15 on his overall jump evaluation and a perfect 10 for general impression which resulted in his cumulative score of 92.82.
“This is a horse which you can ride in all three disciplines and up to the highest level,” said judge Christian Schacht. “It's a trainable horse, it has a kind eye, and a lot of balance. Of course, if you give a 10 every time then it might be questionable, but there may be one stride that is maybe not perfect, and then it's not a 10. But we have the score of 10, and this horse was just outstanding.”
Since winning the 4-year-old championship, Martin stated that nothing has changed in Shmick’s training regimen. The young horse’s preparations included a few outings at Novice earlier this year, a second-place finish in the YEH Qualifier at Loch Moy Farm (Adamstown, Maryland), and a move-up to Training at the end of the summer.
“He's really developed over the last 12 months,” Martin commented. “He's just spectacular in all phases. Obviously, he's a beautiful type. He could be a straight dressage horse or a pure jumper, and he gallops like the wind. And I'm thrilled that Anne Hennessey’s backed this horse and owns him for me. The sky's the limit with him. We're very, very proud to be the 5-year-old champion, and what an honor and a credit to a spectacular, spectacular horse.”
Just shy of two points behind Shmick to bring home Reserve Champion honors was Beth Brown’s Hanoverian gelding Fernhill Bertus (Balou Peggio x Celine) with Madison Temkin in the irons. Temkin first met “Bertus” last spring while on a shopping trip in Ireland, and the pair made their USEA debut at the start of the year. Their record leading up to this result has been pretty impressive with five wins, which Temkin attributes to Bertus’ disposition.
“He is the funniest kid in the classroom—I've actually never met a kinder, more sweet horse,” said Temkin. “He's absolutely lovely on the ground. We joke that he's like a Labrador Retriever. But at the same time, we know he loves to perform, and he loves to show. I always joke that he's much better when he's braided.”
This is not Temkin’s first time in the YEH ring, however, this season was the first time she’s given the division a go on the East Coast.
“It's kind of always been a goal of mine," she said. "I actually haven't done this since I used to live on the West Coast in California and did this with my now 10-year-old mare MVP Madbum, who won the West Coast 5-year-old championship in 2018. I think it's a great experience for these young horses. In Europe, you see how they develop young horses, and they do a lot of this not only just at the championship level but in young horse classes and stuff. It’s been my goal since I got him last year as a 4-year-old so it's special to be here, and it's very special that he did so well.”
Fellow judge Marilyn Payne was wildly impressed with the quality of the field of horses in this year’s 5-year-old Championships.
“Compared to where we started, or even compared to last year—easy, two or three times the quality. I was just looking at the results in the top six horses; their general impression scores were 9, 9.5, or 10, and if we ever got a 9 in general impression, maybe one horse would get it. This year, they were so good. So if you were in 20th place, you still have a really good horse. I was so impressed with the quality of the 5-year-olds and the obedience. They were so confident and calm and so rideable. The rideability was so good. I don't know how you get a 5-year-old that obedient. They're just so willing. They just love it. You want to see that the horses love it, and it just puts a smile on your face to watch them go, and it just makes it perfect.”
Anita Antenucci’s Warmblood gelding Arden Augustus (Jaguar Mail x Juneau) was this year’s Born in America Award recipient. Arden Augustus was ridden by Sharon White and finished 10th overall.
The American Thoroughbred Award was given to this year's Thoroughbred Incentive Program Champion for the 5-Year-Old Championship, Frijole (Shaken It Up x Homespun Beauty), owned by Kiki Osbourne, and ridden by Gabby Dickerson.
Finally, Raise the Barr Syndicate LLC’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Quantum Cooley (Dakar VDL x Ming Dynasty) was recognized as this year’s Safe Harbour Award recipient. This award is presented to the horse with the most graceful and rider-friendly performance throughout the championship.
For more information about the YEH program, contact [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 Bates Saddles, SmartPak, Standlee, Parker Equine Insurance, Capital Square, Kerrits, HorseWeek, 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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“Test the best without hurting the rest,” said show jumping course designer Chris Barnard as he and fellow designer Marc Donovan led a lively discussion for nearly 50 participants at the Show Jumping Seminar on the first day of the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
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