Oct 19, 2022

The Race to Le Lion Update: HSH Blake Subs In To Take The Holekamp/Turner Grant

By Kate Lokey - USEA Staff
Redfield Galway Blake. USEA/Claire Kelley photo.

The 2022 FEI World Breeding Championships at La Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France take place this week, October 20-23. The Championships offer a CCI2*-L for 6-year-old horses, and a CCI3*-L for 7-year-old horses, who have all earned qualifications and have been accepted by their countries to compete at the prestigious Eventing World Championships for Young Horses.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) offers the Holekamp/Turner Grant to the horse that has competed and earned the highest score at the USEA Young Event Horse Championships as a 5-year-old, who qualifies and is willing and able to compete in Le Lion in its 7-year-old year. The grant recipient is also given a prize from The Dutta Corp. in a round-trip flight to Europe, to further provide a means for U.S. team horses to excel in the highest levels of the sport.

In September, the USEA announced that the Redfield King's HX Group’s 7-year-old gelding, King’s Especiale was the likely recipient of the 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant and The Dutta Corp. prize. The reserve for the grant would be Caroline Martin’s other mount intended for entry, HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass). Now, Caroline Martin and her team have elected not to run King’s Especiale at La Mondial du Lion after a minor health setback, and have subbed in HSH Blake, who will now be the likely recipient of the 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant. HSH Blake will need to pass the first horse inspection at La Mondial du Lion before officially receiving the Holekamp/Turner Grant.

Martin explained that her dear friend Kelly Hutchison sourced HSH Blake during the pandemic after he had just turned five, and sent him to her to produce and sell. “As soon as I got him, I fell in love with him,” said Martin. She explained that HSH Blake had been advertised as a sale horse, and after someone made an offer on him, she thought “I don’t want to sell him, he’s my dream horse.” She had a long drive home from an event that day and said “I remember crying my eyes out that entire way home, thinking this was going to be the last time I ever got to compete Blake.” While Martin knew she needed to sell some horses to make a living, she called a good friend and client, Molly Hoff, and said “I don’t want to be too bold, but I’m going to lose the opportunity on this horse, and he’s one of the best horses I’ve ever sat on.” Martin was sitting on her couch that night, wondering what would come, and Molly Hoff called her back and said ‘yes, let’s do this together.’ “I couldn’t believe it. I cried my eyes out, and they’re now all here this weekend supporting me and supporting Blake. Another really good owner that owns half of HSH Connor, who also did the YEH Championships, is here as well. I feel like I’m pinching myself that I have these amazing owners who flew over here. I can’t believe people actually believe in me, I’m so grateful.”

HSH Blake, or “Princess” as Caroline Martin refers to him, is an Irish Sport horse owned by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin, and Molly Hoff. “He’s such a princess, he loves to be the center of attention, and he is beautiful and he knows it,” said Martin. “But, he’ll go out for cross-country and he’s a total beast. It’s the funniest thing because he’s such a little princess but then something comes over him when he knows it’s cross-country time, and he’s an aggressive beast.”

Caroline Martin came to Europe with a few horses this summer, to gain exposure for her horses and to train with Pippa Funnell. Funnell will be at La Mondial du Lion coaching Martin on HSH Blake in the 7-year-old Championship, as well as HSH Connor, who Martin has in the 6-year-old Championship. HSH Connor (Connor 48 x Galwaybay Merstona), was the 2020 USEA Young Event Horse 4-year-old East Coast Champion when the YEH Championships took place at the Virginia Horse Trials in Lexington, Virginia. He is an Irish Sport Horse owned by Caroline and Sherrie Martin, Molly Hoff, and Luann McElduff.

“This place is such an eye opener, it really is a championship course,” Martin said of La Mondial du Lion. “There’s so many spectators, which is a big reason I came over here this summer to prepare for this. Everything we’ve done this summer has been in preparation for this, and while I had four horses qualified for this, I had to bring the ones that were in top form and health. I want to give 110 percent at this event.”

Martin also expressed her thanks to Tim and Cheryl Holekamp and Christine and T.J. Turner for providing the Holekamp/Turner Grant, and to Tim Dutta and The Dutta Corp. for offering the incentive of the flights. “This is such an important show, and I’m grateful that our country is coming together to support it.”

Between the two age divisions, there are 118 horses entered at La Mondial du Lion in Lion d’Angers, France, with 26 countries represented. The United States has six horses set to compete at La Mondial du Lion this week. In the 6-year-old Championship, the U.S. entries are DHI Qyaracolle Z (Quinar Z x Celiacolle Z), ridden by Cornelia Dorr, and HSH Connor (Connor 48 x Galwaybay Merstona), ridden by Caroline Martin. In the 7-year-old Championship, the U.S. entries are Denim (Dinken x Celia), ridden by Phillip Dutton, Shanroe Cooley (Dallas VDL x Shanroe Sapphire), ridden by Liz Halliday-Sharp, Keynote Dassett (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Bubble Gum), ridden by Lucia Strini, and HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass), ridden by Caroline Martin.

The judges for the 6-year-old World Championship are Tim Downs, Laure Eslan and Happy Aguado Arroyo, and the judges for the 7-year-old World Championship are Andrew Bennie, Anne Keen, and Joachim Dimmek. The dressage will kick off Thursday and Friday. Ride times for the American pairs are listed below:

Thursday, October 19
9:21 a.m. local / 3:21 a.m. EST : HSH Connor and Caroline Martin
4:08 p.m. local / 10:08 a.m. EST : Shanroe Cooley and Liz Halliday-Sharp

Friday, October 20
10:41 a.m. local / 4:41 a.m. EST : DHI Qyaracolle Z and Cornelia Dorr
1:28 p.m. local / 7:28 a.m. EST : Keynote Dassett and Lucia Strini
1:35 p.m. local / 7:35 a.m. EST: HSH Blake and Caroline Martin
3:19 p.m. local / 9:35 a.m. EST : Denim and Phillip Dutton

The USEA would like to wish the best of luck to the pairs representing the U.S. at Mondial du Lion! Stay tuned to the USEA website to follow along for updates and information.

Helpful Links:

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.

About La Mondial du Lion

The FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France is one of the most prestigious young horse championships in the world. Eager competitors from all over descend upon France to showcase their 6- and 7-year-old event horses culminating with The 6-year-old Championship as a CCIYH2*-L and the 7-year-old Championship as a CCIYH3*-L. The USEA offers the Holekamp/Turner Grant for horses from the USEA YEH 5-year-old Championships to go on and compete in the 7-year-old Championships in France, along with a round trip flight from The Dutta Corp.

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 Championships.

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