Oct 18, 2018

The Race to Le Lion: The Long and Winding Road Part 3

Elizabeth Callahan (in the back center) walking the cross-country course with Quantum Leap's team. Libby Law Photo.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap, the 2018 recipients of the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Le Lion d'Angers Prize and Grant, are in France at the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Le Mondial du Lion d'Angers. Elizabeth Callahan of Cool Na Grena Sporthorses, Quantum Leap's breeder, is in attendance at the Championships and is blogging for the USEA about her experience.

We got up early and had a very French breakfast made by our host, which beat the piece of tongue I had last night (it had hair on it, so I’m not sure what part it came from, but I can assure you as a veterinarian, it was NOT tongue). Then we headed out to watch Doug school early, then watch dressage and walk cross-country.

The horses are all feeling a little fresh – it is pretty cool in the morning and it was reassuring to see several riders head out to school flat work with neck straps. I feel a little less like a weenie. Quantum schooled well, but may need a bit of a gallop before dressage tomorrow. He goes at 2:40 p.m. so hopefully will be a little more settled by the time we get to that.

Next up: dressage watching. The 6-year-olds went in the morning, and we were able to watch the top couple of riders go. The scoring was a little difficult to understand at times – it didn’t seem the judges were all looking for the same thing and seemed to be rewarding opposite sides of the spectrum. At one point, the final scores for one rider were off by 11 percent - that’s a pretty big range and it continued across the day. It varied as well – not one single judge was always high or low. I did get to see a 10 though, for a leg yield by Cooley Moonshine who is currently leading the 6-year-olds. I was impressed by Michael Jung’s ride; he rode his horse in a longer frame which I thought was better for his horse, as it is not the most elastic mover and it allowed him to show relaxation instead of cramming the horse together. The youngsters did well in the environment – some were tense, but they handled it well and no major malfunctions seemed to occur.

Cooley Moonshine who scored a '10' for his leg yield. Libby Law Photo.

The 7-year-olds are quite impressive. Ingrid Klimke is currently leading and had a lovely, forward test that wasn’t rushed, as some of the others I saw today were. The horses again handled everything well, and most of the tension was seen in the connection to the hand with some unsteadiness evident. There are some very heavy movers though; I wonder how they will hold up over a 4* course.

I did see the Diarado, who is currently in third and although he wasn’t as relaxed as he could have been, I continue to like him. I also liked Bogosse du Levant, an Anglo- Arab who though unsteady in his connection, was a loose, elastic mover and I think his gallop will be effortless. I guess I’ll find out!

We then walked cross-country with Doug, Jessica (Doug’s wife), Hudson (their son), Marilyn and Richard Payne (Doug’s parents), and some of their friends here for the event. It was kind of like a class trip, with people going ahead, having to wait for others and people falling behind to take pictures of the jumps. They are truly amazing. The course is along galloping paths which are roped off pretty narrowly so twisty and turny with some open spaces. It is really dry here, but they continue to water and aerate, so I think the footing will be fine. The first couple of fences are pretty small (like even I would jump the first four or so!), and then they get harder. I gave up thinking I could ride them after about fence six. There are a lot of accuracy questions and some very skinny corners and lines late in the course when the horses are going to be tired. I’m also unsure what the course will look like with 60,000 people roped in close - I think that might be the toughest part for Quantum.

One of the beautiful fences on course. Elizabeth Callahan Photo.

As far as the jumps, my favorites were the snails (escargots, for you French folks) and the dragons which are jump #1. They are fairly innocuous dragons, but I like them anyway. I’m not sure which is going to be the hardest combinations on course – there is a big drop off a house roof (yes I did say a roof), four strides to a skinny to a two-stride skinny, all down a pretty good slope, and a turning question which involves a skinny ditch and wall to uneven terrain and a corner, so . . .

So looking forward to tomorrow and dressage. Quantum is just starting to mature into himself, so I’m hoping this is not going to be a dressage contest. Watch the live stream and cheer us on!

Miss any of the USEA's Le Lion d'Angers coverage? Read all the stories here:

About the Holekamp/Turner Le Lion d'Angers Prize and Grant

The Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Prize and Grant awards the highest scorer of the USEA Young Event Horse 5-Year-Old East and West Coast Championships combined with a cash prize that will enable them to travel to the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships at Le Lion d’Angers in France for the 7-year-old two-star Championships. Winners who are North American-bred will be awarded with $17,500 to travel to Le Lion d’Angers. If the winner is an imported horse he will be awarded $8,000. Click here for more information about the Grant, and click here to view the FEI qualification criteria for Le Lion d'Angers.

The USEA would like to thank Timothy Holekamp of New Spring Farm and his family and Christine Turner of Indian Creek Farm and her family for spearheading this grant and raising funds to support it.

Aug 09, 2020 Education

Conditioning the Event Horse at the Novice and Training Levels

Conditioning makes the horse fit and increases his endurance performance with less wear and tear on feet and legs. The idea is to work his heart and lungs in short intervals, let him recover a bit, then work him again. The following schedule for Training level horse provides an introduction for the horse and rider at the lower levels to the principle of interval training.

Aug 08, 2020 Future Event Horse

How to Prepare Young Horses for the Show Atmosphere with the O’Neals

Within their first few years of being born, young horses have the opportunity to get a taste of U.S. Eventing through the USEA’s young horse programs. The USEA Future Event Horse Program (FEH) evaluates the potential of yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds under saddle to become successful upper level event horses while the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) evaluates the potential of 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds to become successful upper level event horses.

Considerations for Building Cross-Country Jumps at Home

If your farm has the space to set up a cross-country schooling course, it can be to your advantage to have cross-country jumps available for schooling purposes. Safety should be the number one priority when designing and building cross-country jumps, and an expert should be consulted whenever possible.

Aug 06, 2020 AEC

A Letter From the USEA CEO: AEC Difficult Decisions, Kentucky Horse Park Open for Business

By this time I am sure that you have received the news that the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) has been canceled. I sincerely apologize for the difficulty this has caused everyone involved. I want to commend the USEA Board of Governors for making an extremely hard decision.

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