With 24 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program competitions on the 2014 calendar, young event horses all across the country had the opportunity to shine and qualify for the 2014 USEA YEH Championships. The YEH West Coast Championships were held at Galway Downs in Temecula, California, while the YEH East Coast Championships took place at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. Following 2014’s YEH finale, many of the graduating class of the 2014 USEA Young Event Horse Championships have gone on to make their mark on the upper levels of eventing.
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 2014 YEH 5-year-old graduate horses who went on to reach the highest levels of eventing include Fleeceworks Royal, Emporium, Early Review C, Riot Gear, Cooley Off the Record, FireFly ISH M, and Fernhill Mystery.
Finishing in first in the USEA YEH West Coast Championships in 2014 and third overall was Judith A McSwain’s Holsteiner mare Fleeceworks Royal (Riverman x Marisol), ridden by Tamie Smith. Smith still has the ride on the gray mare and they recently had a third-place finish at the Twin Rivers Fall International in September of 2021 in the CCI4*-S.
Smith also rode another exciting young gray in the 2014 championships, the Dutch Warmblood gelding Emporium (Cartano x Upana). After finishing third at the YEH West Coast Championships, Ashlynn Meuchel purchased the young gelding and has produced the horse up the levels from the Novice level. Meuchel most recently completed her first-ever CCI5*-L event with Emporium at the Maryland 5 Star and can now say that she and her partner are a five-star pair.
Early Review C (Earl x Lois Lane) placed fourth in the YEH East Coast Championships in her 5-year-old year with Lillian Heard in the irons. Owner/breeder Laurie Cameron has stuck with the Hanoverian mare for her entire career thus far. After Heard took the mare to the CIC1* (now CCI2*-S) level in 2015, she passed the reins over to Sydney Solomon in the fall of that year. Together, Solomon and Early Review C have grown together from the Training level to making their CCI4*-L debut as a pair in 2019. Since then, the duo has completed eight CCI4*-S and four CCI4*-L events.
Owner Eileen Kenney gave the Oldenburg gelding Riot Gear by Confetti his eventing foundation with a fifth-place finish in the YEH East Coast Championships. Kenney continued the horse’s education through Training level before Elisa Wallace took over the ride and continued to move the horse through the levels. They made their four-star debut in the CCI4*-S at the Carolina International event in March of this year. In addition, Riot Gear brought home a first-place finish in the Intermediate division of the Area III Championships held at Stable View this summer and a fifth place finish in the CCI3*-S at Jersey Fresh this spring.
Will Coleman has had the ride on Off the Record (VDL Arkansas x Drumagoland Bay), formerly Cooley Off the Record, for the Irish Sport Horse’s gelding entire career in the U.S. After placing ninth at the YEH East Coast Championships, Coleman piloted the gelding to a second-place finish in his first appearance at the CIC3* level (now CCI4*-S) in April of 2018, followed by an individual win in his first-ever CICO3* (now CCI4*-S) Nations Cup at Great Meadow out of a field of 46 in July of that same year. Since then the gelding has had a series of exciting finishes, but has truly blossomed in the 2021 competition year. Following a win in the CCI4*-S at the Carolina International in March and a second-place finish in the CCI4*-S at Great Meadow, Coleman and Off the Record were selected to represent the United States at the 2021 World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen CCI4*-S where the pair brought home an individual first-place finish and a team second-place finish in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup.
Ashley Johnson’s Irish Sport Horse mare FireFly (KEC Double Diamond x Aquilla Lion) has had a nearly spotless cross-country record for her entire competition career. Johnson has been in the tack for the mare’s entire career and has brought her along from the YEH 4-year-old division to the CCI4*-S and Advanced level.
The Irish Sport Horse gelding Fernhill Mystery started in the YEH program with Julie Richards and competed through the Intermediate level before the ride went to Phillip Dutton in 2017. Dutton continued to bring the horse through the ranks, taking him to his first CCI3*-S in 2019 and his first Advanced in 2020. After taking some time off from competition, Fernhill Mystery is back at it again with new owner Grace Bartolotti who purchased him in 2021 and has since shown twice at the training level with him, most recently bringing home a top-10 finish at the challenging Morven Park International in October of 2021.
Five additional horses who competed in the 2014 USEA YEH 5-year-old Championships who competed through the Intermediate/CCI3* level include Santos (Athlete x Storm Bijou) a Thoroughbred gelding; RevitaVet Elijah and Oldenburg gelding by Flemmingh; ABF Special Agent (Dance with Ravens x Butterwood) a Thoroughbred gelding; Betawave (Linaro x Wavelength) a Holsteiner mare; and Cinco de Mayo (Riverman x Belair) a Warmblood gelding.
Congratulations to all the YEH graduates and stay tuned for the next class – the class of 2015! To look back at previous YEH Yearbooks, click here.
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 Western Forage, Parker Equine Insurance, Etalon Diagnostics, and Saratoga Horseworks 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.
As they hiked through the Galway Irish countryside, Shelley Bridges and John Whelpley soon found themselves amid a herd of curious Irish Draught mares grazing calmly around them. Bridges, an endurance rider extraordinaire with a well-known, educated eye for all things horse, noticed one of the mares in particular and said, “What about that one?” and our unlikely story began.
With the holiday spirit in full swing and the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for the 2024 eventing season. From paperwork to packing, there’s quite a bit to do before you’re ready to get out there and enjoy the season with your horse. Check out these tips from the team at STRIDER, and get your 2024 season kicked off in the most organized way possible.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation is pleased to announce the Eventing Pathway Program Lists for 2024, including the Elite, Pre-Elite, Development, and Emerging Programs. In addition to these Eventing Pathway Program updates, several opportunities will be available in 2024 for both Program and non-Program athletes.
The United States Eventing Associations’ (USEA) Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) is pleased to announce the dates and location of the upcoming 2024 ECP Symposium. The annual ECP Symposium, which is held in the southeast to accommodate the migration of eventers for the winter season, will be hosted at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2024. This three-day immersive educational experience is recommended for anyone who is interested in learning more about eventing coaching, including current coaches, riders, parents, owners or avid supporters. Click here to download the registration form today!