The marathon to Mondial du Lion is in the home stretch. For the past two years, horses competing in the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) series are nearing the end of one of the most unique and trying qualifying periods in the sport’s history. Following the difficulties the COVID-19 pandemic presented to eventers and other equestrians alike during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, athletes and breeders are eager to jet off to the 2022 FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France.
In total, sixteen YEH graduates are in contention for the prestigious Holekamp/Turner Grant & The Dutta Corp. Prize which will assist with costs associated with Le Lion which is slated to take place from October 20-23 of this year.
How to Qualify for Le Lion
To qualify for the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship at Mondial du Lion, a horse must complete the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) which is one CCI2*-L and one CCI3*-S both with zero jump penalties on cross-country and a maximum of four jump penalties in the show jumping. Horses have until September 26, 2022, to earn their qualifications for Le Lion.
The Holekamp/Turner Grant & The Dutta Corp. Prize
In order to provide a means for U.S. team horses to excel in the highest levels of the sport of eventing, 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, granting recipients who are North American bred a full cash grant of $17,500. If the winner is an imported horse, they will be awarded $8,000. If the highest-scoring 5-year-old does not qualify or is unable to attend Mondial du Lion, the money will be awarded to the next highest scorer who is qualified, able, and willing to go.
In an effort to make this opportunity more accessible to participants of the sport, The Dutta Corporation, the title sponsor of the USEA YEH Championships, is also generously providing 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.
Who is eligible to receive the Holekamp/Turner Grant and The Dutta Corp. prize?
The 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant is awarded to the highest scoring horse from the 2020 USEA Young Event Horse Championships. They must also be fully qualified to compete in the 7-year-old Championship in order to receive the grant. If the highest-scoring YEH horse from the 2020 YEH Championships does not qualify or is unable to attend, the Grant is then awarded to the next highest scorer who is qualified and able to go.
The eligibility of the Grant remains with the horse, regardless of change of rider after the YEH 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 United States citizens will be eligible.
Owners of grant-eligible horses must notify the USEA of their intentions to compete in the Championships by September 1, 2022.
Which Horses are Qualified?
Excel Star Time to Shine
Irish Sport Horse gelding (Luidam x Lismore) owned by Dare to Dream Team
Excel Star Time to Shine and Courtney Cooper ended their 2021 season on a high note at the Morven Park Fall International with a fourth place finish in the CCI2YH-S. The pair then kicked off 2022 with a win in the Intermediate division at the Pine Top Advanced H.T. in February and most recently had a top-ten finish in the CCI3*-L at Bromont.
Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Emil Spadone
Caroline Martin and Galwaybay Blake, who had a stellar 2021 season taking two first place finishes in the CCI2*-S at Plantation Field Horse Trials on a score of 22.7 in September and then anther in the CCI2*-S at the Morven Park Fall International on a score of 25.1 in October, most recently moved up to the three-star level taking a second place finish in their first-ever CCI3*-S at the Red Hills International H.T. The duo then followed up their performance with a seventh place finish in the CCI3*-L at the Ocala International Festival of Eventing in April.
Oldenburg stallion (Quite Easy x Avalon) owned by Doug Payne and bred by Elizabeth Callahan (U.S. Bred)
Quiberon and Doug Payne recently made the move up to the three-star level this spring at the Carolina International. Most recently, the duo earned a top-ten finish at the Tryon International Spring 3-Day Event in their first CCI3*-L.
German Sport Horse mare (Cevin Z x True Dynamite xx) owned and bred by Elinor O'Neal (U.S. Bred)
Redtail Penumbra and rider, Alexander O’Neal made their three-star debut in May of this year at the Tryon International Spring 3-Day Event where they placed eighth out of 38 competitors, adding just 8.4 time penalties to their dressage score.
Swedish Warmblood mare (Quite Easy x Victoria's Electra) owned by Jordan Crabo and bred by Barb and Martin Crabo (U.S. Bred)
Daughter to Zimbabwe Express’ breeders Barb and Martin Crabo, rider Jordan Crabo has shown consistency this year with her longtime partner scoring sub-35’s at nearly every show they have entered this season. In only their second-ever CCI2*-L together at the VHT International & H.T., the duo placed fourth out of 28 entries only adding 0.4 time penalties in show jumping to their dressage score.
Warmblood gelding (Connect x Cha Cha Cha Special) owned by Emil Spadone
King’s Especiale is no stranger to the atmosphere at Le Lion, having competed there in the 6-year-old Championships last year. Following his top-20 finish in France, the Warmblood gelding made his three-star debut in 2022 at Red Hills.
Double Diamond C
Hanoverian gelding (Diacontinus x Lois Lane CBF) owned and bred by by Laurie Cameron (U.S. Bred)
Double Diamond C, who was piloted by Maya Black from 2019-2022, had quite the successful career at the two-star level in 2021 with a win in the CCI2*-S at The Fork at TIEC in April of 2021, followed closely by a second place finish in his first CCI2*-L in the summer at Rebecca Farm, and another second-place finish in the CCI2*YH-S division at Morven Park that fall. This year Daniel Clasing took over the ride and has been producing consistent top-five finishes at the Training and Preliminary level with the Hanoverian gelding.
Dutch Warmblood gelding (Carambole x Dharma B) owned by Shanon Baker
Having completed his first two-star event with a top-ten finish at the VHT International in October of 2021, Fernhill Karamba just lacks the one three-star qualification to earn a spot competing at Le Lion. The horse has spent most of 2022 at the Preliminary level with owner/rider Shanon Baker.
Holsteiner gelding (Cachassini X Shenandoah Tazira) owned by Hallie Coon
Global Clue ticked off the first box of qualifying for the 7-year-old Championships at Le Lion in 2021 when he and rider Hallie Coon navigated their first CCI2*-S together adding just 4.40 seconds of time to their score on cross-country.
Oldenburg mare (Sempatico x Royal Crossing) owned by Stephanie Bajo
Royal Sempatica recently moved up to the two-star level where the mare placed ninth out of a large field with rider Gabby Dickerson. A three-star completion is all the Oldenburg mare needs to finalize her qualification.
Dutch Warmblood mare (Negro x Damara) owned by Kamara CFF LLC and bred by Wiley Grosvenor (U.S. Bred)
After taking some time off in the summer of 2021, Wiley Grosvenor’s U.S. bred mare returned early this year with longtime rider Woods Baughman to claim a third place finish at Rocking Horse Winter II Advanced H.T. in the Preliminary OP division with a score of 27.3. They would later make their two-star debt in April at Chattahoochee Hills earning a ninth place finish in the CCI2*-S there, followed by a sixth place finish in the CCI2*-L at the VHT International in May.
Thoroughbred gelding owned by Jan Byyny
Owner and rider Jan Byyny has had a busy and successful year thus far aboard Beautiful Storm taking podium finishes in nearly all of the eight competition they have entered. The duo completed the first half of their completion requirements in 2021 after earning a ninth place finish at Morven Park in the CCI2*-S, immediately followed by a 13th place finish out of 40 pairs in the CCI2*-L at the Hagyard Midsouth Three-day Event. Most recently the duo won the Preliminary OP division in May at Hunt Club Farms H.T. on a score of 29.
Warmblood mare (National Anthem x Vidalia) owned and bred by Nina Gardner (U.S. Bred)
Jennifer Brannigan, who has shown Keepsake since their debut in 2019 at the USEA MDHT FEH/YEH/NEH Qualifier started of the year strong with Keepsake taking home a third place finish in March at Red Hills International H.T. on a score of 27.3 in the CCI2*-S.
Oldenburg gelding (Monti Obolensky x Cinderella's Girl) owned by Plain Dealing Farm and bred by Clayton Fredericks
FE Caspian, piloted by Lucia Strini, had his first two-star outing in the fall of 2021 at Morven Park where he placed sixth in the CCI2*YH-S. In 2022, FE Caspian's highlights have been a third place outing in the CCI2*-S at Carolina International and a 11th place finish in a 63-horse field in the CCI2*-L at the Ocala International.
Thoroughbred mare (Mystic Replica x Fair Fiona) owned by Anne Hennessey and bred by Boyd Martin
Piloted by Boyd Martin, the Thoroughbred gelding conquered his first two-star in September of 2021 and just shortly after secured a third place finish in the CCI2*-L at The VHT International & H.T. in October.
About the USEA Young Event Horse 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, 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 Premium Products, 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 Championship.
There is still time to experience the long format of three-day eventing this year, by competing in a fall USEA Classic Series Event! The USEA Classic Series offers long-format eventing at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, and Preliminary levels, and there are still a few left on the fall calendar in various Areas.
This story first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Sidelines Magazine.
I have had many young horses in my time, and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s rarely the perfect, easy baby that becomes the next superstar. In fact, I’ve always considered it a positive to have the well-behaved youngster throw a little bit of attitude my way, as I believe that it takes fight to become a great event horse.
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