Over 40 horses competed in the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) 5-year-old East and West Coast Championships in 2015. The YEH East Coast Championships were held during the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland, while the YEH West Coast Championships took place at Galway Downs in Temecula, California. Following 2015’s YEH finale, many of the graduating class of the 2015 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 2015 YEH 5-year-old graduate horses who went on to reach the highest levels of eventing include Dondante, La Paz, Laguna Seca, Highly Suspicious, Mowgli, Stormin’ Truth, Twilightslastgleam, and Confidence Game.
After placing fourth overall in the 2015 5-year-old Championships and third in the East Coast Championships, the Irish Sport Horse gelding by Pachio, Dondante, has made quite a name for himself. Owned by Team Rebecca LLC and ridden by Will Coleman for the entirety of his career, Dondante has since worked his way up to the CCI5*-L level. He had a top-20 finish in his first CCI5*-L completion at the Maryland 5 Star in the fall of 2021 after only adding 0.40 points to his dressage score to finish on a 33.0.
Sara Mittleider’s Hungarian Sport Horse gelding La Paz (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Dos Opra) finished ninth overall in the 2015 Championships and fourth on the West Coast. Since the Championships, Mittleider was the only rider to bring the gelding up from the Beginner Novice level to the four-star level. They made their four-star debut in 2019 in the CCI4*-S at the Event at Rebecca Farm where the pair finished fourth. La Paz had a win in the Galway Downs CCI4*-L in 2019 and had a top-20 finish earlier this spring in the CCI4*-S at Stable View. Sadly, La Paz passed away earlier this year cutting short a very bright future.
Not many riders get the opportunity to bring along the offspring of their favorite mounts, but Andrea Baxter has had the pleasure of doing so with the son of her top mare Indy 500, Laguna Seca (Linaro x Indy 500). Bred, owned, and ridden by Baxter, the Holsteiner gelding finished sixth on the West Coast and 12th overall in his 5-year-old year. He moved up to the four-star level in 2021 and won his second time out at the CCI4*-S level at Twin Rivers in April of this year.
Coleman also had the ride on the Irish Sport Horse gelding Highly Suspicious by Russel in the 2015 Championships where the gelding finished eighth on the East Coast and 14th overall. Coleman continued to produce the horse through the Intermediate level before handing over the reins to owner Edie Green and rider Cosby Green in 2017. The duo recently made the move-up to the four-star level this year and had a second place finish in the Intermediate at Millbrook this summer.
Maya Black continued to produce the Thoroughbred gelding Mowgli (Our New Recruit x Night Sire) after his 15th place finish in the East Coast Championships in 2015. The pairing moved up to the Advanced level in 2018 at the Fork at Tryon where they finished fourth at Mowgli’s first time at the level.
Alyssa Peterson has been in the irons for the entirety of the career of Margaret Peterson’s Thoroughbred mare Stormin’ Truth (Salute the Truth x Stormin’s Barbie). The horse has a near-spotless cross-country record with only one jump-fault throughout its entire career. Peterson moved Stormin’ Truth up to the Advanced level at Pine Top in 2020 where they placed 12th.
Jennie Brannigan has had the ride on Nina Gardner's homebred Thoroughbred Twilightslastgleam (National Anthem x Royal Child) since his YEH 5-year-old appearance in 2015. After placing 7th at the East Coast Championships, Brannigan carefully brought the horse along from Novice to the CCI4* level. The pair completed their first CCI4*-L together at Tryon in 2020 and spent much of 2021 preparing for their next CCI4*-L outing at Rebecca Farm in the summer of 2021. That preparation paid off as the duo had their best ever placing at the four-star level after coming in third.
Colleen Rutledge’s Thoroughbred Stallion Confidence Game (Morluc x Pam’s Ruckus) has also gone from competing at the YEH 5-year-old Championships to completing his first CCI4*-L at Jersey Fresh this year, which is where the pair completed their first CCI4*-S in 2019 as well.
Five additional horses who competed in the 2015 USEA YEH 5-year-old Championships who competed through the Intermediate/CCI3* level include Metallica (by Cancara) a Holsteiner mare, KF Chelada a Holsteiner mare of unknown breeding, HC Celtic Mark (ArdCeltic Art x Star Mark) a Connemara cross gelding, FE Charles Owen a German Sport Horse gelding, and Get Rowdy (Baltic VDL x 2. Unellie) a Dutch 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.
The USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is an educational tool that was developed over the course of two years and is loaded with materials and resources targeted for all levels of eventing professionals, instructors, and coaches.
The USEA Future Event Horse Program (FEH) was introduced in 2007 to evaluate yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds for their suitability for the sport of eventing based on conformation and type. The FEH program also created a pipeline for horses to gain experience competing before attending USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) competitions.
The key to eventing’s success lies heavily in the organizers who put on our events. The USEA is proud to recognize each year the organizers who have made contributions to the sport through their organizational efforts. For 2021, the USEA Organizers Appreciation Honor Roll of Names honors nearly 200 organizers for five to 25+ years of service. The Blue Ribbon is awarded to those organizers with five to nine years of service, the Bronze Medal recognizes organizers with 10-14 years of service, organizers who have contributed 15-19 years of service are awarded the Silver Medal, those with 20-24 years of service will receive the Gold Medal, and a select few with 25 years or more of service as organizers are bestowed the title of Platinum Medal organizers.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the members of its newly populated Eventing Elite Program Task Force. These respected members of the Eventing community have proven expertise in sport on a global level within their respective roles and represent a diverse constituency of athletes, owners, coaches, licensed officials, governance leadership, and team support personnel.