The 2023 FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France, will be held on Oct. 19-22, and the USEA is already counting down the days until competition starts. Again, two divisions will be offered at the event with 6-year-olds competing in the CCI2*-L and 7-year-olds competing in the CCI3*-L division. Since 2015, the USEA has awarded the annual Holekamp/Turner Grant, which provides significant funds to one eligible USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) competitor per year to represent the United States in the 7-year-old championship at Mondial du Lion.
The Holekamp/Turner Grant was founded by Timothy and Cheryl Holekamp of New Spring Farm and Christine and T.J. Turner of Indian Creek Farm in 2015. The intention of the grant is to further develop an upward pathway for U.S. team horses in the sport of eventing. Grant recipients that are North American-bred will be awarded the full cash grant of $17,500. Imported horses will be awarded $8,000. If the highest-scoring 5-year-old does not qualify or is unable to attend Mondial du Lion, the grant will be awarded to the next highest scorer who is qualified, able, and willing to go.
The title sponsor of the USEA YEH Championships, The Dutta Corporation, will also generously provide one round trip flight to travel to France for the Mondial du Lion. This prize will be awarded to the Holekamp/Turner Grant recipient. The grant and prize recipient must be fully qualified to compete at Mondial du Lion.
This year, the horse that has the highest score from the 2021 USEA Young Event Horse 5-Year-Old Championship that is also fully qualified to compete in the 7-year-old Championship will receive the Holekamp/Turner Grant. The eligibility of the Grant remains with the horse, regardless of change of rider after the 5-year-old Championships, but for the Lion d’Angers grant, only USEF-sponsored 7-year-old entries will qualify. Thus, only horses ridden by U.S. citizens are eligible.
Owners of grant-eligible horses must notify the USEA of their intentions to compete in the Championships by September 1, 2023.
To qualify for the 7-year-old CCI3*-L Championship at Mondial du Lion, a horse must complete the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) for the level, which is one CCI2*-L and one CCI3*-S, both of which must be without any cross-country penalties and a maximum of four jump penalties in show jumping. Activating a maximum of one frangible device on cross-country will maintain the MER results.
The 2023 season has been off to a spectacular start with all three of the top placing horses from the 2021 The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH 5-Year-Old Championship already completing their qualifications for Mondial du Lion. Keep reading to learn about the highly competitive list of current contenders for the 2023 Holekamp/Turner Grant.
Current Contenders for the Holekamp/Turner Grant
Fully Qualified Horses
Hanoverian Mare (Gentleman x Ballerina) owned by Corwin Sport Horses, LLC
Gina was the highest scoring 5-year-old in the nation in 2021 after being crowned Champion at The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships on a score of 95.2. Since the 2021 Championship, Gina and Chris Talley have collected several completions at the Preliminary level and made their CCI2*-L debut at The Event at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, Montana) last July, where they added nothing to their dressage score to finish in the top 15. After moving up to the Intermediate level at the Pine Top Advanced H.T. in February, Gina and Talley completed their qualification requirements for Mondial du Lion in the CCI3*-S at the Tryon International Three-Day Event (Mill Spring, North Carolina) earlier this month when they added just a bit of time to their score to finish in the top 12.
Irish Sport Horse Gelding owned by Luann McElduff and Sherrie Martin
HSH Connor is coming into the 2023 season on strong footing after claiming the Reserve Champion title at the 2022 FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding 6-Year-Old Championship at Mondial du Lion with Caroline Pamukcu. This spring, HSH Connor and Pamukcu stepped up to the CCI3*-L together and finished their qualification requirements for this year’s 7-year-old Championship by winning the division at the Ocala International Festival of Eventing (Ocala, Florida) in April on their dressage score of 23.3. As a 5-year-old, HSH Connor was Reserve Champion at The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championship in 2021.
American Warmblood Gelding by Diarado owned by Karen O’Connor
Rounding out the top-three finishers from the 2021 The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH 5-Year-Old Championship is Invictus. With Mia Farley in the irons, Invictus has had a stellar start to the 2023 season, collecting two second place finishes in March in the Preliminary division at Rocking Horse Winter III H.T. (Altoona, Florida) and the Intermediate division at Ocala Winter II before stepping up to their first CCI3*-S at The Event at TerraNova (Myakka City, Florida) where they finished in fourth place on their dressage score. The duo went on to solidify their qualifications for Mondial du Lion at the Ocala International Festival of Eventing when they added just one rail to their dressage score to finish in eighth place in the CCI2*-L.
Partially Qualified Horses
Thoroughbred Gelding (Union Rags x Sincerely) owned by Evie Dutton
Lincoln’s Address and Phillip Dutton made their CCI2*-L debut at Tryon International Three-Day Event in November of 2022. The pair had one rail in show jumping to add just 4 penalty points to their dressage score and finished in the top 15. In 2023, Lincoln’s Address and Dutton have added two Preliminary completions to their repertoire, along with a fourth-place finish in the CCI2*-S at the Tryon International Three-Day Event this month.
Kung Fu Quality
Thoroughbred Gelding (Imothep x Rose and Crown) owned by Sharon Church, Marley Stone Bourke, and Tim Bourke
Originally campaigned to a sixth-place finish in the USEA YEH East Coast 5-Year-Old Championship in 2021 by Tim Bourke, Kung Fu Quality was taken over by Marley Stone Bourke in 2022, and the pair have been climbing the levels since. Kung Fu Quality received his first qualifying score towards Mondial du Lion at the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event (Lexington, Kentucky), where he and Stone Bourke finished in third place in the CCI2*-L on their dressage score of 30.8. After logging three more completions nationally at Preliminary this spring, they made the move up to Intermediate at the Loudon Hunt Pony Club Sprint H.T. (Leesburg, Virginia) in April.
Oldenburg Gelding (Rosenthal x Sunny Dey) owned by Lynn Berry
Rappahannock traveled with stablemate Gina to The Event at Rebecca Farm last July to compete in the CCI2*-L as well. With Chris Talley in the irons, Rappahannock finished in third place on his dressage score of 33.4. In February of 2023, the pair collected another third-place finish in the Preliminary division at the Pine Top Intermediate H.T. (Thomson, Georgia), and then made the move up to Intermediate shortly after.
Irish Sport Horse Gelding (Tolan R x Diamond Breaker) owned by Julianne Guariglia
Newly minted five-star champion, Tamie Smith, who won the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event on YEH graduate, Mai Baum, has been two-for-two on wins at the CCI2*-L level with current Holekamp/Turner Grant contender, Crafty Don. After winning the two-star at Galway Downs International Event & H.T. (Temecula, California) in November of 2022, Crafty Don logged two second place finishes at the Preliminary level on his way to winning the Twin Rivers Spring International CCI2*-L (Paso Robles, California) in April on a score of 26.8.
Loughtown Cici ZA
Irish Sport Horse Mare (CC Captain Clover x Castlelawn Diamond Clover) owned by Chris Talley
The third and final eligible 7-year-old in Chris Talley’s stable is Loughtown Cici ZA. This mare stepped up to the two-star level in the spring of 2022 when the pair completed the CCI2*-S at the Virginia Horse Trials International, finishing on a score of 35.9 and claiming the Reserve Champion title. Two months later, Loughtown Cici ZA made another appearance at the level in the CCI2*-L at The Event at Rebecca Farm and came out victorious adding nothing to their dressage score of 31.2. This spring, Loughtown Cici ZA completed her first CCI3*-S at the Tryon International Three-Day Event, just missing her second qualifying score towards Mondial du Lion when she added 8 penalties in show jumping to her final score.
Irish Sport Horse Mare (Womanizer x Chill Lady) owned by Marley Stone Bourke
Owner Marley Stone Bourke has ridden Qualitini since the start of her career, forging a strong partnership as they have moved up the levels. Last October, Qualitini got her first qualifying score at the CCI2*-L level when the pair added just one rail in show jumping to their dressage score at the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event and finished in the top 12.
Holsteiner Gelding (Defining Gravity x Eowyn) owned by Devin Robel
Gillou and Devin Robel, the owner and rider, wasted no time getting into a rhythm this spring. Kicking off their competition season in January at the Rocking Horse Winter I H.T., the pair finished in the top 5 on their dressage score of 26.2 in the Preliminary division, then went on to add two more top 5 finishes at the Preliminary level in February at Ocala Winter I and Three Lakes Winter II H.T. at Caudle Ranch (Groveland, Florida). Gillou’s first qualifying score towards Mondial du Lion came in the CCI2*-L division at the Ocala International Festival of Eventing where they again added nothing to their dressage score to finish in fifth place.
Briarhill Excel Star Take 2
Irish Sport Horse Mare (King’s Comet x Briarhill Cruise) owned by the BEST Group
Briarhill Excel Star Take 2 and Courtney Cooper collected two qualifying results at the CCI2*-L level in 2022 at the MARS Bromont CCI (Quebec, Canada) in June and the Tryon International Three-Day Event in November. At both events, the pair finished on their dressage score to place them within the top 15. They’ve hit the ground running in 2023 as well, collecting multiple completions at the Preliminary and Intermediate levels.
The USEA will continue to provide updates as more horses earn their full qualifications for the 7-year-old Championship at La Mondial du Lion. For questions or to inquire about the Holekamp/Turner Grant and The Dutta Corp. prize, 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, 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.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.