Dec 17, 2020

The Rise and Records of YEH in 2020

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

While 2020 has been unexpectedly challenging, the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program found a silver lining and had several positive outcomes and record-breaking results this past year. With high turnout in both the YEH qualifiers and The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH Championships to the extraordinary achievements of the YEH graduates, it was a good year for the YEH program.

There were 26 YEH qualifying competitions and 159 horses that qualified to compete in The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH Championships with 51 4-year-old horses qualified and 108 5-year-old horses qualified. The average qualifying 5-year-old score was 80.9 percent. The average qualifying 4-year-old score was 79.62 percent.

Luxury Mail, winner of the USEA YEH West Coast 5-year-old Championships. Tina Fitch Photography Photo.

The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH Championships brought in record entry numbers on both coasts with a total of 102 horses entered in the Championships. The East Coast Championships had 77 entries (55 horses in the YEH 5-year-old division and 22 horses in the YEH 4-year-old division). The West Coast Championship had a total of 25 entries (17 horses in the 5-year-old division and eight horses in the 4-year-old division).

Held at the Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) in Lexington, Virginia, the YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championship experienced challenges of its own due to a torrential downpour and unfavorable weather conditions. The rain halted competition on Thursday and the remainder of the 5-year-old horses were able to finish on Sunday due to the graciousness of Andy Bowles and the VHT team. This was the first time in YEH history for the YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championship to be split into two 5-year-old divisions. Another first was the record-breaking score the 5-year-old KWPN gelding Redfield King (Connect x Cha Cha Cha Special) earned at the YEH East Coast Championships – a 93.52 percent.

On the West Coast, it was the first year for the YEH West Coast Championships to run in conjunction with the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) West Coast Championships at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California – and it was the most successful YEH West Coast Championships to date with 25 entries.

Tim Bourke and Quality Stock in the USEA YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championships. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The USEA added in two new national leaderboards last year – the 7-year-old horse on an Intermediate leaderboard and the 6-year-old horse on a Preliminary leaderboard. For 2020, the highest-ranked 6-year-old Preliminary horse with 27 points is YEH graduate Vandyke (Vancouver x Shannondale Willow), an Irish Sport Horse gelding bred by Deborah Palmer, owned by The Rico Syndicate LLC, and ridden by Allison Springer.

In total, eight horses out of the top 10 on the 2020 USEA 6-year-old Horse Leaderboard are graduates of the YEH program. In addition to Vandyke, these top horses include (#3) Landjaeger (Landkonig x Drink of Die xx), an Oldenburg gelding owned and ridden by Katie Malensek and bred by Kim Schreyer; (#4) Cerafino D, a Holsteiner gelding ridden by Buck Davidson and owned by Carl Segal and Kathleen Cuca; (#5) Absolut Cooley Quality (OBOS Quality 004 x KEC BLAIR), an Irish Sport Horse gelding ridden and owned by Jessica Ebzery; (#5) D’Luxe Steel (Up to Date x Nicola D), a Dutch Warmblood gelding ridden by Andrew McConnon and owned by Jeanne C. Shigo; (#7) Flying Quality (OBOS Quality 004 x Orchid Hill), an Irish Sport Horse gelding ridden by Tim Bourke and owned by Barbara Cassani; (#7) Camarillo (Chicardo x Rehobeth), a German Sport Horse gelding ridden and owned by Doug Payne and bred by Elizabeth ‘Didi’ Callahan; and (#9) DHI Showman, a Warmblood gelding owned and ridden by Sami Crandell.

The 2020 USEA 7-year-old Horse Leaderboard had three YEH graduate horses including (#4) Crystal Crescent Moon (Catherston Dazzler x Ebony Moon), a Connemara gelding ridden by Allison Springer and owned and bred by Nancy Winter; (#6) Carnaby (Cabachon x Clingolda), an Oldenburg gelding bred by Gestut Lewitz and ridden and owned by Katherine Brown; and (#10) Foxdale’s Celtic Charm (Diardo x Cheeky Rossa), an Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Penny Worsham and ridden by Kristin Schmolze.

D’Luxe Steel is fifth on the USEA 6-year-old Horse leaderboard. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

It was the first year of the ongoing USEA’s YEH Yearbook Series that featured YEH 5-year-old graduates from the classes of 2004 to 2009 and recorded a total of 60 graduates that went on to compete at the highest levels of eventing. The class that currently has the highest number of successful upper level event horses is the class of 2009 with 15 horses. This class had a star-studded list with two horses (Taboo and Project Runway) that were on the 2011 Pan American Games shortlist to represent the U.S. and four of them became five-star event horses (Master Frisky, Muggle, High Times, and Houdini). This series will continue in 2021 and future years to cover each class of the YEH program.

Congratulations to all the YEH horses, past and present! The YEH program looks forward to next year.

Boyd Martin and YEH graduate Master Frisky at the Kentucky Three-Day Event. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

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 Hay Company, Parker Equine Insurance, Etalon Diagnostics, 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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