Jul 05, 2019

The Race to Le Lion: Who is Qualified for the Holekamp/Turner Grant?

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
Andrea Baxter and Enfinity, one of the pairs qualified for the Holekamp/Turner grant. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

With three horses fully qualified and eight horses partially qualified, the race to Le Lion has begun! The 2019 Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers will be held October 17-20, 2019 just two hours southeast of Paris, France. Since 2015, The Holekamp/Turner Grant awards a cash prize that enables a USEA Young Event Horse to represent the United States at the 2019 FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers in France.

Founded by Tim and Cheryl Holekamp and Christine Turner, the Holekamp/Turner Grant is given to the highest scorer of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships 5-year-old division from both the East and West Coast Championships combined. If the horse obtains proper qualifications, the horse is awarded the grant two years later to travel to Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers to compete in the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship.

Quantum Leap and Doug Payne at the 2018 Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers. Libby Law Photo.

The intention of the prize is to further develop an upward pathway for U.S. Team horses in eventing. “He didn’t win, but that isn’t the point of the grant. The point is to further a horse’s education to be a five-star horse for the future. I know Quantum experienced stuff he has never seen before in the U.S., and that will only make him a better horse, and hopefully a team horse,” said Elizabeth Callahan, breeder of Quantum Leap, the 2018 grant recipient.

“It has been a journey of a lifetime,” said Judith McSwain, owner of Fleeceworks Royal, the 2016 grant recipient.

“I would like to say a big thank you to USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program, and specifically the Holekamp/Turner Grant. They planted the seed of this idea and gave us the support to get this trip going,” said Debbie Adams, owner of D.A. Duras, the 2015 grant recipient.

Fleeceworks Royal and Tamra Smith at the 2016 Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers. Libby Law Photo.

To qualify for Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers, a horse must complete the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) which is one CCI2*-L (previously known as a CCI*) and one CCI3*-S (previously known as a CIC2*) both with zero obstacle penalties on cross-country and maximum of four penalties on obstacles in the show jumping test. For the 2019 Championship, the MERs must be obtained by September 24, 2019, and the USEA requires that the owners of the grant-eligible horses notify the USEA of their intentions to compete in the 7-year-old Championship by September 1.

2019 Contenders

The 2017 YEH 5-year-old Championships saw a total of 42 horses. Out of those horses, three horses are fully qualified: Cascor, 2 A.M, and Enfinity. Eight horses have earned partial qualifications thus far: Quality Start, Wil Celtic Charlie, Can Be Sweet, Quality Pop, Monbeg Game Face, Carlsburg, Summerbridge Parc, and Miks Master C.

Out of the three qualified, Cascor was the highest scoring horse of the 2017 YEH 5-year-old Championships. Cascor scored a 73.74, 2 A.M. scored a 72.08, and Enfinity scored a 67.3. Bred by Brian Jalbert, Enfinity is the only horse that’s American bred. An objective of the grant is to encourage breeding of event horses in North America, therefore, recipients of the grant who are North American bred are awarded the full amount of grant money, $17,500. If the winning recipient is an imported horse, they are rewarded with $8,000.

Cascor and Doug Payne. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.


2012 Westphalian Gelding

Sire: Catoo | Dam: Lovely

Owner: Stephen Blauner | Rider: Doug Payne | Breeder: Schultz Carsten

Cascor placed sixth at the 2016 YEH 4-year-old East Coast Championships at Fair Hill International with rider Doug Payne on a score of 81.81. The following year, Cascor placed 11th at the 2017 YEH 5-year-old East Coast Championships at Fair Hill International on a score of 73.74. In 2018, Cascor and Payne jumped clean in the Ocala Jockey Club CCI*. In 2019, Cascor and Payne jumped clean in the CCI3*-S at Carolina International. The pair recently finished fourth in both the CCI3*-S at The Fork and CCI3*-L at Jersey Fresh International.

2 A.M. and Charlotte Babbitt. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

2 A.M.

2012 Dutch Warmblood Gelding

Sire: Sheraton | Dam: Regina K

Owner/Rider: Charlotte Babbitt | Breeder: A. Lusseveld

2 A.M. won the 2016 YEH 4-year-old East Coast Championships at Fair Hill International with rider Matt Flynn on a score of 86.87. The following year, 2 A.M. placed second at the 2017 YEH 5-year-old West Coast Championships at Woodside International with current rider Charlotte Babbitt on a score of 72.08. In 2018, Babbitt and 2 A.M. jumped clean to win the CCI* at the Galway Downs International. In 2019, Babbitt and 2 A.M. jumped clean on cross-country and only added four penalties in show jumping to finish fifth in the CCI3*-S at Aspen Farms.

Enfinity and Andrea Baxter. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.


2012 Holsteiner Mare

Sire: Cortilo | Dam: Ericka

Owner/Rider: Andrea Baxter | Breeder: Brian Jalbert

Enfinity placed third at the 2016 YEH 4-year-old West Coast Championships at Woodside International on a score of 75.52 with rider Andrea Baxter. The following year, Enfinity placed third at the YEH 5-year-old West Coast Championships at Woodside International on a score of 67.3. In addition to being the only American-bred qualified horse, Enfinity has the most FEI experience. Enfinity has successfully completed five FEI events since July 2018. In 2018, Baxter and Enfinity completed the Event at Rebecca Farm CCI* and the Galway Downs International CCI*. In 2019, Baxter and Enfinity completed the Fresno Horse Park CCI3*-S, the Galway Downs International CCI3*-S, and the Twin Rivers CCI3*-L. Out of those five events, they’ve always jumped clean on cross-country.

Previous Holekamp/Turner Grant Recipients

2015: D.A. Duras, owned by Debbie Adams and ridden by Kelly Prather.

2016: Fleeceworks Royal, owned by Judith McSwain and ridden by Tamra Smith.

2018: Quantum Leap, owned and ridden by Doug Payne.

So, which YEH graduate will receive the Holekamp/Turner grant for 2019? Stay tuned for more information as the race to Le Lion is in full swing!

Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras, the first recipient of the Holekamp/Turner grant, competing at the Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers. Libby Law Photo.

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

The Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Le Lion d’Angers Prize and Grant will award the highest scorer of the USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old Championships, both East and West Coast Championships combined, with a cash prize that will enable them to travel to the FEI World Young Horse 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.

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.

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 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 three- and four-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 for more information about the USEA Young Event Horse Program.

The USEA would like to thank SmartPak, Standlee Hay Company, and Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the Young Event Horse program.

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