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.
After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team for the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Poland CCIO4*-NC-S at the Strzegom Horse Trials (Poland) from June 21-25, 2023. The team will be under the direction of USEF Eventing Emerging and Development Coach Leslie Law.