In 2008, the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) had 20 competitions on the YEH calendar, 36 horses who qualified to compete in the championships, and 15 horses who competed in the 2008 USEA YEH Championships held in Wayne, Illinois at Lamplight Equestrian Center.
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 there is 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 to become a successful upper level event horse. The 2008 YEH 5-year-old graduate horses who went on to reach the highest levels of eventing include Who’s A Star, El Cid, Simba, Crimson Tide, Airlington, Fleeceworks Fernhill, Picante, Chiron, Ballyquinn, and Rave Review.
In 2008, Who’s A Star (Aberjack x Heavenly Star), the 2003 Irish Hunter owned, bred, and ridden by Courtney Cooper and Neal Camens, placed fourth in the YEH 5-year-old Championship on an impressive score of 81.83. The year prior, in 2007, Who’s A Star made his eventing career debut as a 4-year-old in the YEH competition at MCTA H.T. He competed in a total of five YEH competitions in his 4- and 5-year old years. Upon graduating the YEH program he went on to compete at the very highest levels of eventing.
In 2010, Who’s A Star made his Intermediate level debut, and in 2013 he ran his first Advanced at the Pine Top Spring Advanced Horse Trials. From 2010 to 2019, Cooper and Who’s A Star finished in the top three 22 times at the Intermediate/CCI3* and Advanced/CCI4* levels. The pair won at the Intermediate level in 2010 at Waredaca Farm, in 2011 at Fair Hill International, in 2014 at Five Points, and in 2015 at Poplar Place Farm. They completed 18 international events together, including the Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI4* (now CCI5*-L) in 2016.
After retiring from the upper levels in 2019, Who’s A Star is currently competing at the lower levels with Cooper’s husband, Neal Camens.
Finishing fifth, right behind Who’s A Star at the 2008 YEH 5-year-old Championship was El Cid (Contucci x Madrigal), a 2003 Oldenburg gelding owned by Lynne Partridge. Another YEH graduate who competed in YEH competitions both as a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old, El Cid finished in the top five at all six YEH competitions he competed in. After his success in the YEH program, El Cid and Lynne Partridge continued to have a very competitive eventing career together. From 2007 to 2013, El Cid collected 31 wins.
In 2009, El Cid made his Preliminary debut as a 6-year-old, and out of the first 10 Preliminary/CCI2* level events he did, he won seven of them. Several of the wins include winning the CIC*s (now CCI2*-S) at Weatherford and Greenwood Farm, the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at The Colorado Horse Park Three-Day Event, the Maui Jim CIC* (now CCI2*-S), and the Preliminary Amateur division at the 2009 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC). The following year, in 2010, El Cid and Partridge moved up to the Intermediate level and won the Intermediate at the Rocking Horse Winter III Horse Trials, Holly Hill Spring Horse Trials, and Feather Creek Farm Horse Trials. They also won the Preliminary Amateur division at the AEC for the second time in a row.
El Cid’s last outing was in 2016 at MeadowCreek Park where he won the Senior Novice Rider division with rider Alison Jensen.
The 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding Simba (Lion King x Spelga Dam), currently owned by Madelyn Castaldo, competed up to the Intermediate level with his previous owner, Cathy Wieschhoff. Simba started his eventing career through the YEH program by competing at three YEH competitions – Maui Jim in 2007 and 2008, and Indiana Eventing Association in 2008. He earned many top placings including a win at the Rocking Horse Winter III Horse Trials, a second-place finish at the Poplar Place Farm March CIC* (now CCI2*-S), and another second-place finish at the Preliminary Three-Day Event at Rebecca Farm in 2010.
The 2003 Bavarian Warmblood gelding Airlington (Abanos x Eleonore), owned by Michele Pestl and ridden by Emily Pestl-Dimmitt, won his very first competition – the YEH 5-year-old division at Tulipsprings Farm with a score of 80.25 in 2008. Two years later, in 2010, Airlington made his Preliminary level debut, and in 2012 he made his Intermediate level debut. After a full season at the Intermediate/CCI3* level, Airlington and Pestl-Dimmitt moved up to Advanced in 2013 at the Aspen Farms Horse Trials where they finished fourth. From 2013 to 2017, Pestl and Airlington competed at the Advanced/CCI4* level. The pair placed second in the Advanced at the Horse Park of New Jersey in 2015, they placed third in the Advanced at Twin Rivers in 2016, and they placed fifth in the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at the Event at Rebecca Farm in 2017.
Crimson Tide (Demaloot Demashoot x Reinette Cherie), a 2003 Thoroughbred gelding owned by Caroline Testi, was first ridden by Erika Peterson. Peterson and Crimson Tide placed second in the YEH 5-year-old division at Maui Jim in 2008. From 2008 to 2012, Peterson successfully campaigned the Thoroughbred gelding up to the Intermediate level. In 2012, Caroline Testi started to compete Crimson Tide and they too successfully competed up to the Intermediate level. In 2014, Crimson Tide and Testi made their first trip to the North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) CCI* (now CCI2*-L) and also placed third in the JYOP division at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC). The following year, in 2015, they made their second trip to the NAJYRC where they finished sixth individually in the CCI* (now CCI2*-L), they collected another third-place finish in the JYOP division at the 2015 AEC, they won the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at Weatherford and Greenwood Farm and finished second at their Intermediate level debut at Greenwood Farm Fall Horse Trials.
Judith McSwain’s 2003 Dutch Warmblood mare Fleeceworks Fernhill (Koriander x Ravolda) was first ridden by Jennifer Wooten-Macouzet and placed third in the YEH 5-year-old division at the Galway Downs Spring Horse Trials. After graduating from the YEH program, Wooten-Macouzet competed the mare up to the Training level and in 2010 Tamra Smith acquired the ride. Smith and Fleeceworks Fernhill collected many top placings through the Intermediate level. Almost always finishing in the top three, Smith and Fleeceworks Fernhill placed second at the Event at Rebecca Farm at the Preliminary level in 2010. In 2011, Smith and Fleeceworks Fernhill finished second in the Preliminary at the Galway Downs Winter Horse Trials, won the Preliminary at The Event at Three-Day Ranch, won the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at the Event at Rebecca Farm, placed second in the Area VI Preliminary Championship at Copper Meadows, and moved up to the Intermediate level at Twin Rivers, where they finished third. Fleeceworks Fernhill’s completed her last event in 2013 where she finished sixth in the Intermediate at the Copper Meadows Horse Trials.
Another YEH West Coast graduate is Chiron (Brandenburg’s Windstar x Dolls Ayes), an Irish Sport Horse mare owned by Jenina Segale who competed in the YEH 5-year-old division at the 2008 Twin Rivers Spring Horse Trials with rider Nicholas Cwick. Chiron went onto compete up to the Intermediate level with Siobhain O’Connor.
In 2008, the YEH program was growing in popularity on the West Coast and the YEH competition at Twin Rivers saw a total of 21 entries. Finishing fifth, right behind Chiron, in the 5-year-old division at Twin Rivers was Susan Brady’s Ballyquinn, a 2003 Thoroughbred gelding ridden by Jolie Wentworth. As a 6-year-old, Ballyquinn moved up to the Preliminary level and in 2010, he and Wentworth won the Area VI Preliminary Championship at Copper Meadows. The next year, in 2011, Wentworth and Ballyquinn moved up to the Intermediate level and placed fourth in the Intermediate at Copper Meadows, second in the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at the Event at Rebecca Farm, and second in the CIC* (now CCI2*-S) at Galway Downs International. In 2012, Wentworth and Ballyquinn placed third in the CCI* (now CCI2*-L) at the Event at Rebecca Farm and in 2013 the pair placed sixth in the Intermediate at the Galway Downs Winter Horse Trials. Ballyquinn’s last outing was in 2019 at the Fresno County Horse Park Horse Trials where he finished second in the Senior Novice Rider division with rider Lauren McKenzie.
Picante (Shadow Show x Bramble) is a 2003 Thoroughbred gelding owned by Sara Thornley who first started his eventing career as a 4-year-old through the YEH program. With rider Boyd Martin, Picante competed in four YEH competitions – two as a 4-year-old in 2007 and two as a 5-year-old in 2008. Within the same year of graduating the YEH program, Picante successfully moved up to the Preliminary level as a 5-year-old. In 2009, Phillip Dutton took over the ride and moved up to the Intermediate level at Waredaca with a clear cross-country round. Dutton and Picante finished third in the Intermediate at Surefire and fourth in the Intermediate at the Maryland Horse Trials. Later that year, Julia Wendell started to ride Picante and they moved up the levels from Training to the Intermediate/CCI3* level. Picante jumped clear on cross-country in every Preliminary and Intermediate level he completed. His last event was in 2016 with his current owner Thornley in the Training Rider division at the Ocala Winter I Horse Trials.
Mary Peabody Camp’s Rave Review, a 2003 Thoroughbred gelding, placed fifth in the YEH 5-year-old division at the 2008 Maui Jim Horse Trials. Previously ridden by Mary Cook, Rave Review made his Preliminary debut as a 6-year-old in 2009. Later that year, Lynn Symansky acquired the ride and competed Rave Review up to the Intermediate level. In 2011, Camp purchased the Thoroughbred gelding and he took Camp from the Novice level to the CCI3* level. In 2013, Camp and Rave Review represented Area VIII at NAJYRC CCI* (now CCI2*-L) where they jumped clear on cross-country to finish tenth individually. In 2014, Camp and Rave Review competed at the Intermediate/CCI3* level. Rave Review’s last outing was in 2015 in the Preliminary division at the Pine Top Intermediate Horse Trials.
Congratulations to all the YEH graduates and stay tuned for the next class – the class of 2009! To look back at previous YEH Yearbooks, click here.
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.
Ninety percent of training a horse is getting the horse to understand exactly what you want them to do. In general, horses are generous and willing creatures who want to please us; very seldom do they behave badly on purpose. Horses don’t come out and say, ‘Let’s make Mom’s (or Dad’s) life miserable today by going as poorly as possible - most prefer to do the right thing, as long as they know what that is.
Regardless of the level at which a horse is competing, its veterinary team is at the forefront of most decisions regarding its career and well-being. Liz Arbittier, VMD, CVA, has been working with equine athletes for over two decades. Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) in 2001, she worked in private practice with a focus on sports medicine and pre-purchase exams until joining Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center Field Service team in 2013. Situated in the heart of Area II’s eventing scene, the team provides ambulatory services to the surrounding area, which is home to multiple Olympians.
US Equestrian (USEF) announces the appointment of David O’Connor to the newly created position of Chief of Sport beginning October 3, 2022.
Aspen Farms in Yelm, Washington was host to this year’s USEA Area VII Championships on September 16-18 and put on a spectacular show where 10 horse and rider pairs celebrated victory by being awarded the title of Area VII Champion in their respective divisions. Hear about each pair’s weekend below.