In 2007, the fourth year of the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH), there were 15 qualifiers on the YEH calendar and the championships were held at a new location. Previously held at Moven Park in Leesburg, Virginia, the 2007 USEA YEH Championships were held in Wayne, Illinois at Lamplight Equestrian Center the day before the start of the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC).
Now, the YEH program has YEH competitions across the country, The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse Championships take place on both the East and West Coasts, and the opportunity to receive the Holekamp/Turner Lion d’Angers Grant, where the recipient wins a cash prize up to $17,500 to travel to the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships at Le Lion d’Angers in France. In addition, The Dutta Corp. will donate a roundtrip flight to the grant recipient.
This well-established program has seen many horses go through its doors, but more importantly, there are several horses that have fulfilled the program’s mission in becoming a successful upper level event horse. The 2007 YEH 5-year-old graduate horses that went on to reach the highest levels of eventing include All The Buzz, Java, Vidalia, Gin Fizz, Peabody, Fantasy Impromptu, Normandy Soldier, and Parfait.
The Reserve Champion of the 2007 USEA YEH 5-Year-Old Championship was awarded to All The Buzz, a Dutch Warmblood gelding who was first ridden by Leslie Law and Lesley Grant-Law. After finishing second at the YEH 5-Year-Old Championship with a score of 80.5, Leslie Law successfully brought him up to the Intermediate level within one year. By the time All The Buzz was a 7-year-old, he had already finished within the top three 17 times. This included winning the Training Horse Championship at the 2007 USEA American Eventing Championships, the Preliminary divisions at the Rocking Horse Winter II Horse Trials, the Pine Top Horse Trials, the Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials, and the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at the Florida Three-Day Event in 2008. All The Buzz’s Intermediate level debut was at the Maryland Horse Trials in 2008, where he finished third.
Arden Wildasin acquired the ride in 2008 and had many top placings at the Preliminary/CCI* (now CCI2*) level. In 2010, William Coleman took the ride for the 2010 competition season and together they won the CIC* (now CCI2*-S) at Red Hills International, finished second in the Intermediate division at The Fork, and won the Preliminary division at Millbrook. Wildasin came back to compete All The Buzz in 2011 and won the Training divisions at Virginia and Fair Hill and the Junior/Young Rider Open Preliminary division at Paradise Farm.
Finishing right behind All The Buzz in the YEH 5-Year-Old Championship with a score of 79.11 was Java. Sired by Laptop, Java is a 2002 Hanoverian gelding owned by Law Eventing. The Hanoverian gelding competed up to the Intermediate/CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) level with three different riders: Leslie Law, Lesley Grant-Law, and Erin Stewart. From 2008 to 2010, Lesley Grant-Law and Leslie Law alternated competing Java, and both riders brought home many top placings including a win in the CIC2* (now CCI3*-S) at Plantation Field. In 2010, Erin Stewart acquired the ride and competed at the Intermediate level from 2012 through 2015. Stewart and Java finished third in the Intermediate division at Ocala International in 2012 and third in the Intermediate at the Rocking Horse Spring Horse Trials in 2013.
Gin Fizz (Valley Crossing x She’s a Party Girl), a 2002 Thoroughbred mare ridden by Hawley Bennett, was the highest placed mare in the YEH 5-Year-Old Championship and finished fourth overall. In that same year, Gin Fizz successfully moved up to the Preliminary level at Galway Downs with Bennett. Several years later, Gin Fizz went onto compete up to the Intermediate/CCI2* (now CCI3*) level with current owner Whitney Weston and Buck Davidson. Davidson and Gin Fizz won the Intermediate division at the Jersey Horse Trials in 2012.
Another YEH 5-year-old graduate who went on to compete at the upper levels is Nina Gardner’s Dutch Warmblood mare Vidalia (Contago x Request). Vidalia was first ridden by Boyd Martin, who competed the mare from YEH to Training level. Vidalia’s Preliminary level debut was in 2009 with Phillip Dutton at the MCTA Horse Trials, where they finished fourth. Later that year, Vidalia won her first Intermediate level event at the Maryland Horse Trials with Dutton in the irons. In 2010, Jennie Brannigan competed Vidalia in the CIC2* (now CCI3*-S) at Plantation Field and finished fourth. Vidalia’s last event was in 2010 with Dutton where they finished seventh in the CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Fair Hill International.
There were three horses who finished within the top five at the 2007 USEA YEH 5-Year-Old Championship who fulfilled the YEH program’s mission in becoming successful upper level event horses: All The Buzz, Java, and Gin Fizz. These three horses and Vidalia have all won an Intermediate level event at least once in their eventing career.
Peabody, a 2002 Canadian Sport Horse gelding ridden and owned by Steph Kohr, started his eventing career in 2007 through the YEH program. Peabody and Kohr competed in the YEH 5-year-old divisions at both MCTA and Waredaca. The following year, in 2008, the pair successfully moved up to the Preliminary level and finished second in the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at Virginia. In 2009, Kohr and Peabody moved up to the Intermediate/CCI2* (now CCI3*) level and competed successfully at this level for three years. His last event was in 2013 with rider Natasha Barrientos Ramos where he jumped clear on cross-country in the Training level division at the Maryland Horse Trials.
The 2002 Hanoverian gelding sired by Anhaltiner Fantasy Impromptu started his eventing career with a second-place finish at MCTA’s YEH competition with rider Phyllis Dawson. After his first YEH competition, Kim Severson bought the Hanoverian gelding and competed him up to the Intermediate level. Severson and Fantasy Impromptu formed a competitive partnership where they rarely finished outside of the top five and collected 12 wins together from 2007 to 2011. Ridden by Severson, Fantasy Impromptu completed his last event in 2011 where he finished third in the Preliminary division at the Virginia Horse Trials.
Normandy Soldier (Slewvescent x Amawfe), a 2002 Thoroughbred gelding, was one of only two horses to receive a qualifying score for YEH Championships at the 2007 Galway Downs YEH competition. Ridden by Elsie Patterson, he finished in second place, right behind Gin Fizz. Normandy Soldier had the most successful upper level eventing career out of any of the 2007 YEH 5-year-old graduates. He competed up to the Advanced/CCI3* (now CCI4*) level with three different riders: Patterson, Tamra Smith, and Daisy Trayford. He competed up to the Preliminary level with five different riders.
Now owned by Trayford, Normandy Soldier had a successful 11-year eventing career. In 2009, he won the CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at The Colorado Horse Park and finished sixth individually at the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) with Patterson. Several years later in 2013, Smith and Normandy Soldier won the Intermediate division at the Twin Rivers Spring Horse Trials and finished second in the Intermediate divisions at the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials, the Copper Meadows Horse Trials, Galway Downs International, and The Spring Event at Woodside. In 2015, Trayford and Normandy Soldier won the CIC2* (now CCI3*-S) at Poplar Place, finished second in the CIC2* (now CCI3*-S) at CHC International, and finished second in the Advanced at Chattahoochee Hills. In 2017, Trayford and Normandy Soldier won the Intermediate division at the Rocking Horse Winter I Horse Trials and several weeks later finished third in the Advanced at the Rocking Horse Winter II Horse Trials.
Another 2007 YEH West Coast graduate is Laurel Ritter and Erin Kellerhouse’s Parfait (State of the Art x Super Runion), a 2002 Rheinlan Pfalz-Saar gelding ridden by Erin Kellerhouse and Amy Gentile. Parfait finished third in the YEH 5-year-old division at Galway Downs. In the first year as an event horse, Kellerhouse and Parfait finished in the top five six times. He went on to compete up to the Intermediate level with Kellerhouse from 2009 to 2013. They picked up many top placings including fifth-place finishes in the Intermediate divisions in 2009 at Copper Meadows, Twin Rivers, and Galway Downs. In 2011 the pair finished third in the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at Twin Rivers, third in the Intermediate division at Galway Downs, and fifth in the Intermediate division at Woodside. In 2013, Kellerhouse handed the reins over to Amy Gentile where they collected over six wins at the Training level. Parfait’s last event was in 2017 at Fresno County Horse Park where he finished second in the Preliminary Rider division with Gentile.
While this YEH Yearbook is focused on the 2007 YEH 5-year-old graduates (not 4-year-olds), a special mention goes to Pancho Villa (Icarus De Carolina x S.S. Sassy) a YEH graduate who only competed in the YEH program as a 4-year-old in 2007. Pancho Villa is a 2003 American-bred Selle Francis gelding now owned by Makenna Rold. First ridden by Mike Huber, Pancho Villa started his eventing career with a win in the YEH program, scoring an impressive 86.44 in the YEH 4-year-old division at The Colorado Horse Park. In 2007, he competed at four different YEH competitions including the 2007 USEA YEH 4-Year-Old Championship where he finished within the top 10.
Since 2007, Pancho Villa has successfully competed up to the Advanced/CCI3* (now CCI4*) level with two riders and has won with almost every rider that has competed him. From 2008 to 2010, Marcea Funk brought him up the levels to Intermediate. Along the way, she finished in the top three eleven times which included a win in the Intermediate division at Seneca Valley in 2010. In 2011, Sydney Elliott acquired the ride and brought Pancho Villa up to the Advanced level in 2012. The pair won the Intermediate division at Richland Park in 2012, finished second in the Intermediate at the Ocala Winter II Horse Trials, and was second in the Advanced at Red Hills International in 2013. Later that year, Boyd Martin bought Pancho Villa and won many upper level events including the CIC2* (now CCI3*-S) at Plantation Field and the Intermediate division at Morven Park in 2013. In 2014, Martin and Pancho Villa won the Intermediate division at both Red Hills and Fair Hill. That same year, they moved up to the Advanced level at the Jersey Park Horse Trials where they finished second. The next year, in 2015, Martin and Pancho Villa finished fifth in the Advanced at Pine Top, second in the Advanced at The Fork, second in the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at Fair Hill International, and third in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Jersey Fresh International. The pair also represented the U.S. at the 2015 Pan American Games where they finished fourth individually and helped secure team gold.
In 2017, Mackenna Rold bought the U.S. team horse and successfully competed him up to the Preliminary/CCI* (now CCI2*) level. In 2018, the pair won the Preliminary/Training division at the Pine Top Horse Trials. Now, Pancho Villa is competing with his new rider, Eric Sampson, and their most recent event together was earlier this month at the Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials in the Training Rider division.
Congratulations to all the YEH graduates and stay tuned for the next class – the class of 2008!
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, and Etalon Diagnostics 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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