FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: A new set of champions were crowned today at the 2021 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Central Championships at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas. Judged by Lori Hoos and Katie Rocco, the Central Championships saw a total of 21 horses ranging from yearlings to 4-year-olds. “Today was a wonderful day. The venue at Haras [Hacienda] is so elegant, and it’s a pleasure to be here. The horses were well-mannered, and well presented,” said Hoos. Rocco added, “I agree that this was a phenomenal experience, and what a fabulous place to host this, it was wonderful. There is true sincerity of people caring about this program here.”
The first division to go was the Yearling Championship which consisted of five entries, one filly and four colts. Out of the five, it was Audrea Dyer’s Thoroughbred Colt, At Close Range (Saketini x Bodacious Barb) who earned a final score of 78.75 to win the Overall Yearling Championship title.
Dyer is no stranger to making the 14-hour drive from her home in Florida to come to Texas to compete in the FEH Central Championships. She was the owner, breeder, and handler of the 2019 Overall Central Yearling Champion, a Thoroughbred colt, At the Moment (Saketini x Shezagreatgal). “They look nearly identical,” said Dyer when describing At the Moment and At Close Range. “They go out in the field together, and [At the Moment] adores his little brother. They are very similar in type. This colt has maybe more leg then At the Moment, but they are both by my stallion, Saketini.”
“There were some fabulous horses out there today and it’s really exciting to see the direction that U.S. breeding is going but, I do feel like it’s important to keep the Thoroughbred blood in our sport. I don’t want people to overlook full Thoroughbreds because they can be just as competitive as long as you pick the right individuals, and you have a smart plan for your breeding direction.”
The Thoroughbred stallion, Saketini has now sired two FEH Yearling Champions, At The Moment who was the 2019 FEH Central Yearling Champion and At Close Range who was this year’s FEH Central Yearling Champion.
The Overall Yearling Reserve Champion was Ann O’Donnell’s Irish Sport Horse gelding, TGS Well Mister Perry (Rather Well x Windfield All Sunshine) who finished on a score of 78.63.
It was Starstruck Vini Vici (Vindication S x Girosalah), an Oldenburg gelding who was the Overall 2-year-old Champion, and with a final score of 83.30, he also earned the highest score of the day. Owner and breeder, Nikki Litrell of Campbell, Texas shared the thought put into the 2-year-old Champion’s breeding. “I own his dam, Girosolah, she was owned by a friend of mine who passed away tragically. I was planning on keeping her for a while, and I had no plans to breed her at first, but I was able to get her bloodwork figured out and registered,” said Littrell. “I first bred his half sibling, Starstruck Legacy, and then the following year, I entered [Girosolah] in a raffle to win a breeding to Vindication S and got the breeding for $25. Vindication S is owned by Silver Creek Stables, but he stands at Avalon Equine.”
“I plan on bringing [Starsturck Vini Vici] back next year for the 3-year-old Championships. I’m hoping to then take him through the [USEA] Young Event Horse program and maybe one day he’ll be my upper-level event horse,” said a smiling Littrell.
Finishing on a score of 77.38, the Overall 2-year-old Reserve Champion was Gatsby’s Touch of Chrome (Gatsby x MFF Touch of Dutch) owned by Amy Clemmons.
After her home was hit by a tornado, Alayna Joseph took a year off of riding and decided to breed her eventing mare, Plane Jane. Plane Jane’s foal, Fly By, a now 3-year-old Holsteiner filly who is sired by Lotus T was named the 3-year-old Central Champion with a final score of 82.99. “I had purchased the semen to breed my mare [Plane Jane] and I thought it was an undoubtedly good idea because she has such a solid brain, and she’s so athletic.” said Alayna Joseph, owner of both Fly By and Fly By’s mother, Plane Jane. “[Plane Jane] was actually a Craigslist find, and I didn’t expect to event her at all until she started jumping jumps in the pasture on her own.”
“Ironically, [Fly By] was born on Good Friday, and I wasn’t expecting her. She actually ran up to me in the pasture in the dark at 6:00 a.m. and was like ‘Hi I’m here!’ and I just started bawling. She was so beautiful. I couldn’t have been more impressed.”
Fly By, known as Ara around the barn is “super sweet,” said Joseph. “She wants to know everybody, she’s the first one that comes up to my husband every day. At the qualifier, someone asked us if we were going to sell her, and my husband immediately answered no. She’s just a ham, she loves everybody. This was definitely a unique experience for her, and we’ve learned so much.”
The 3-year-old Overall Reserve Champion, and the highest placed 3-year-old Colt, was the Irish Sport Horse gelding, Flagmount’s Scandal (Flagmount’s Freedom x Coaxing Halo) owned and bred by Robbie Peterson who finished with a final score of 81.76.
There were three 4-year-olds entered in the 4-year-old Central Championship and it was Carol Stephens’ Thoroughbred mare, Dues Paid (Moonshine Mullen x Dues Are Paid) that took home the win with a final score of 81.73. Ridden by Laura Vello, Dues Paid was also the T.I.P. FEH Central Champion as she was the highest scoring Thoroughbred of the day.
“She loves to have a job, and each day she gets better and better. She travels a lot, she’s great to have at the barn. She’s a sweet girl.” Vello continued, “I’ll do her first event, Beginner Novice, at Holly Hill H.T. in two weeks and then take her to Texas Rose.”
Based in Louisiana, Laura Vello has had Dues Paid (aka Sable) in her program for two months, since the first week of August. The Thoroughbred mare’s owner, Carol Stephens has been traveling abroad to cheer on her other horses that she owns, QC Diamantaire and Commando D Osthuy who are both ridden by Sydney Conley Elliott. “She is a super woman,” said Vello of Stephens.
The 4-year-old Overall Reserve Champion, and the T.I.P. FEH Central Reserve Champion, was Amy Maw’s Thoroughbred gelding, Snapy Twelve (Snapy Halo x Princess Zara) with a final score of 80.70. “He’s my dream horse,” said the happy owner, Maw.
The USEA would like to thank the Jayne Lloyd and Rob Moyar, and everyone at Haras Hacienda for hosting the 2021 USEA FEH Central Championships! The next and final set to the 2021 FEH Championships will be the 2021 FEH West Coast Championships on October 29-30 at Twin Rivers Ranch.
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.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation is pleased to announce the Eventing Pathway Program Lists for 2024, including the Elite, Pre-Elite, Development, and Emerging Programs. In addition to these Eventing Pathway Program updates, several opportunities will be available in 2024 for both Program and non-Program athletes.
The United States Eventing Associations’ (USEA) Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) is pleased to announce the dates and location of the upcoming 2024 ECP Symposium. The annual ECP Symposium, which is held in the southeast to accommodate the migration of eventers for the winter season, will be hosted at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2024. This three-day immersive educational experience is recommended for anyone who is interested in learning more about eventing coaching, including current coaches, riders, parents, owners or avid supporters. Click here to download the registration form today!
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