An enthusiastic group of USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) judges, breeders, riders, trainers, organizers, and fans started their morning in the classroom to kick off YEH day of the USEA Educational Symposium. Andreas Dibowski and Maren Engelhardt gave a presentation on analyzing the gallop using videos of Dibowski’s horses. Englehardt asked all the attendees to think about her perfect gallop and to have that in mind when watching the videos.
Dibowski says he likes horses to have a gallop that is efficient with clear phases of the approach, jump, and easily lands and comes back into the gallop. He doesn’t want to waste too much time or hear very heavy hoof beats. Dibowski explained that in the modern era of technical cross-country courses that having a horse that is light on their feet is ideal. He showed a video of FischerRocana FST at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event one of the years that she won and commented on her efficiency and rhythm – her tempo never changes.
Dibowski and Englehardt put up a video of a 5-year-old at the German Bundeschampionate and had the audience watch it. The judges and Dibowski alike commented on the horse’s over jump and heaviness on landing. Dibowski explained that may improve with time and training, but the judges need to judge that moment. They did point out the positives of the horse’s adjustability and rhythm minus on the landing of the fence.
The next video was the same horse now at 9-years-old and competing at Aachen in 2018 - the horse in the videos is FRH Corrida (Contendro I x Expo) who Dibowski would ride at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and at the 2019 European Championships. Her overjump and greenness went away, and the judges said it is definitely a ‘9’ gallop now. “She has a bit more knee action, but is extremely efficient and not heavy,” explained Dibowski. “She always makes the time in the short format even though she is a Hanoverian with no Thoroughbred blood in her first four generations.”
In the final video Dibowski showed “the best and most adjustable cross-country horse he has ever ridden. Despite his large stride he was very elastic and adjustable and always true to his rhythm.” It’s Me xx (Kahyasi x Itza) raced on both the flat and over fences and Dibowski started him as an eventer when he was 4 years old and he won three German young horse classes as a 5-year-old. It’s Me xx would go on to win the 2016 Luhmuhlen CCI4* (now CCI5*-L).
Dibowski said that there is a “big, big step between a four-star and a five-star, and a big part of that is the gallop.”
After analyzing the videos and learning the theory behind the gallop, the judges and spectators were put to the test back over at Barnstaple South as they evaluated the gaits of YEH demo horses in both jumping and at the gallop. The YEH Program is ever-evolving to make itself the best it can be and one of the big parts of it is the education of the judges. Today they had the opportunity to learn from experts in addition to YEH Co-Chair Marilyn Payne.
About the USEA Young Event Horse Program
The USEA 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 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.
US Equestrian is pleased to announce the dates and location for the 2022 USEF Young Rider Eventing Championship. This championship will take place at the Tryon International Three-Day Event November 10-13 in Mill Spring, N.C.
Sidnee Milner and My Valentine did not become partners out of sheer coincidence. The pony and rider combination that took home the 2021 SmartPak USEA Pony of the Year award were a product of the thoughtfulness and generosity of family friend and trainer Tawn Edwards. Milner was, at the time, a young and inexperienced child rider looking for a partner to teach her the ropes of eventing; My Valentine was a well-seasoned eventing pony who knew the job of advancing young riders well and was looking for her next partner. Over their three-year relationship, the duo have accumulated various ribbons and accolades together with 2021 being the most impressive of their seasons thus far.
Updated January 18, 2022: The 2023 Eventing Calendar webinar, originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. EST, has been postponed and will be rescheduled with an additional commmunication in the coming weeks.