Jan 22, 2024

The YEH Yearbook: Class of 2020

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff

When you look at the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships year after year, some might say that 2020 was the year that the program truly came into its own. In total, there were 69 entries from both coasts in the 5-year-old division, many of which have gone on to establish themselves as successful event horses in the upper-level national and international divisions.

In taking a deep dive into the graduating class of 2020, there are six Championship graduates who have stepped onto the international stage at the four-star level, nine who have tackled the three-star/Intermediate level, and 15 who have made their mark competing in the two-star divisions. The 2020 YEH 5-year-old graduates who have since negotiated the CCI4* level include King’s Especiale, HSH Blake, Quiberon, Beautiful Storm, Redtail Penumbra, and Cash Point.

Caroline Pamukcu and King's Especiale on their way to second place at the 2023 Morven Park CCI4*-L. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

The no. 1 horse across both the East and West Coasts in 2020 was the Dutch Warmblood gelding King’s Especiale (Connect x Cha Cha Cha Special) owned by Redfield King’s Hx Group and ridden by Caroline Pamukcu (née Martin). King’s Especiale wowed the judges, earning a 93.52 to bring home the crown at both the East Coast Championships and in the nation. Since his YEH career, "King" has had quite an impressive career and was even named as the 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant recipient to represent the U.S. in the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Le Lion d'Angers, France.

There, King would deliver phenomenal performances across all three phases, only adding 6.3 time penalties in cross-country to place 20th in a highly competitive field. From that point, King’s upward trajectory continued with the young gelding making his three-star debut in 2022 and having a third-place finish at the level in September of that year across the pond at the Cornbury House Horse Trials in Charlbury, Oxfordshire, England.

The year 2023 brought about his first four-star appearance in the spring. He has since had two top-three finishes at the level—a third-place in the CCI4*-S at the Maryland International in August and a second-place in the CCI4*-L at Morven Park (Leesburg, Virginia) in October.

HSH Blake and Caroline Pamukcu dominted at the 2023 Pan American Games in Chile. Shannon Brinkman Photography photo

Another Pamukcu YEH mount rose to stardom in 2023 after kickstarting his career through the YEH program in 2020. HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass), then shown under the name of Redfield Galway Blake, placed second on the East Coast and second in the country during the 2020 Championships and hasn’t slowed down since.

The Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Sherrie Martin, Molly Hoff, and Pamukcu, made his FEI debut at the two-star level in 2021 where had immense success, racking up four wins at the level before moving up to the three-star level in the spring of 2022. In his three-star move-up, “Blake'' placed second at the Red Hills International Horse Trials (Tallahassee, Florida) and was named the runner-up for the 2022 Holekamp/Turner Grant. He had four more outings at the level before placing 10th in the CCI3*-L at Le Lion.

He had a third-place finish in his first four-star at The Event at TerraNova (Myakka City, Florida) in early 2023, and his individual second-place finish in the Nations Cup at Strezgom, Poland, contributed to a second-place team standing. Unsurprisingly, Blake was named to the 2023 U.S. Pan American Games team, and the talented 9-year-old would bring home individual gold and contribute to the team silver finish.

Doug Payne and Quiberon. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

The U.S.-bred Oldenburg stallion Quiberon (Quite Easy x Avalon), bred by Elizabeth Callahan and owned and ridden by Doug Payne, placed fourth in the East Coast 5-year-old Championships and has continued to thrive under Payne’s guidance since. He made his FEI debut at the three-star level in 2022 and has since had four top-10 finishes at the level, including a second place finish in the CCI3*-S at Stable View (Aiken, South Carolina) in April of 2023. Near the end of his 2023 season, Payne moved Quiberon up to the four-star level at Tryon (Mill Spring, North Carolina). Since his YEH debut, Quiberon has only ever had one cross-country jumping penalty.

Jan Byyny and Beautiful Storm. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

After Jan Byyny’s Thoroughbred gelding Beautiful Storm (Get Stormy x So Beautiful) finished seventh at the 2020 East Coast 5-year-old Championships, the pair went on to have a successful season in 2021 at the Modified and Preliminary levels. They tried their hand at their first two-star at the Great Meadow International (The Plains, Virginia) in August of 2021, and just two months later finished in the top-10 in the two-star Young Horse class at Morven Park. A year later, Great Meadow would also serve as the young horse’s move-up to the three-star level.

In 2023, Beautiful Storm went out at the three-star level twice, placing fifth in the CCI3*-S at Fair Hill (Elkton, Maryland) in April and placing in the top-20 in the CCI3*-L at Bromont (Quebec, Canada) in June. The pair completed their first four-star in October at Morven Park and finished inside the top-15.

Redtail Penumbra and Alex O'Neal at Chattahoochee Hills. Liz Crawley Photography photo courtesy of Elinor O'Neal

Alexander and Elinor O’Neal bred the German Sport Horse mare Redtail Penumbra (Cevin Z x True Dynamite xx) and have since brought her through the levels, starting off with the mare’s ninth place finish at the East Coast 5-year-old Championships with Elinor in the tack. Elinor continued to produce Redtail Penumbra, owned by James Devanney, Christy Parsons, Barbara Lightner, and herself, through the Preliminary level before handing over the reins to Alex for the mare’s first FEI appearance at the one-star level in April of 2021 at the Ocala International Festival of Eventing (Ocala, Florida).

She placed third in her first-ever two-star later that fall at The Event at TerraNova and then completed her first CCI2*-L a month later at Tryon. 2022 brought the mare’s first three-star completion, where she placed eighth at Tryon in May. After ending her season with two top-10 finishes at the three-star level, including the very challenging CCI3*-L at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in October, Redtail Penumbra took on her first four-star in the early part of 2023 and has since had two outings at the level, finishing her 2023 season at Stable View Oktoberfest with a seventh place finish in the CCI4*-S.

Woodge Fulton and Cash Point jumping their way to a third place finish in the CCI3*-L USEF National Championships at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo

The Holsteiner gelding Cash Point (Cashandcarry x Up to Date 15), owned by Nelson Warnell, has had quite an exciting career with Savannah “Woodge” Fulton since placing 10th in the East Coast 5-year-old Championships in 2020. He contested his first FEI event at the two-star level in 2021 at Great Meadow and has since worked his way up to his four-star debut at the same event in 2023.

Prior to that, however, Cash Point had six outings at the three-star level and has only ever acquired one cross-country penalty in his entire career. Fulton’s successful planning with the young horse has obviously paid off, with him finishing in sixth place in his first four-star, and then later ending the season in third place in the hotly contested CCI3*-L USEF National Championship at the Maryland 5 Star (Elkton, Maryland).

In addition to these phenomenal athletes who have made it to the four-star level, there are several other exciting horses in the pipeline from the class of 2020. Nine of these talented young horses have competed up to the three-star or Intermediate levels: Kismet, FE Caspian, Time to Shine, Double Diamond C, Arden Juju, Pascal, Bamford CF, Kamara CFF, Nite Life, Clear Candidate, Parlez Clear, Curraghraigue Clear Future, and Excel Star First Class.

Congratulations to all the YEH graduates and stay tuned for the next class—the class of 2021! To look back at previous YEH Yearbooks, click here.

About the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) 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 4- and 5-years-old 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 Capital Square, Bates Saddles, HorseWeek, The Jockey Club, Kerrits, Parker Equine Insurance, Shires Equestrian Products, SmartPak, and Standlee, 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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Apr 11, 2024 News

Weekend Quick Links: April 13-14

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

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