Jun 18, 2024

USEA Announces 2024 YEH Championships Venues, Judges, and Entry Process

By Kate Lokey - USEA Staff
Andrea Baxter and The Big Easy competing at the 2023 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships. USEA/Tina Fitch photo

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the return of The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse Championships to both the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill and Twin Rivers Ranch. Each venue has renewed their contracts for two-year terms with an option for a third automatic renewal as mutually agreed upon.

The USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program was established to identify young horses that possess the talent and disposition to excel at the uppermost levels of eventing. Each year, the YEH program meets its goal of establishing four- and five-star horses, and the program has seen many of its graduates succeed in the pipeline to go on to represent the United States in team competitions at the World Championships, the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, and at various Nations Cups.

The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships will again take place in correlation with the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in Elkton, Maryland, across Thursday and Friday, Oct. 17-18, 2024. One week later, the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships will take place at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26.

"On behalf of the Sport & Entertainment Corporation of Maryland, our Event Committee, competition  partner Fair Hill International and local supporter Dubarry of Ireland, we are honored to be selected as the host organizer and location of the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships at Fair Hill", said Jeff Newman, President & CEO of the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory. "The YEH East Coast Championships is not only an integral part and fan favorite of our event, but also an incredibly important program for the future growth and continued success of the sport of eventing in the U.S. and worldwide."

Tim Bourke and Quality TNT competing at the 2023 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo

Connie Baxter, organizer of the West Coast component stated, "Twin Rivers is honored to play an important role in the Young Event Horse program by hosting The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships, as well as multiple qualifying events. The YEH has been a stepping stone to success at the highest levels of eventing, and we're thrilled to see so many of our West Coast Championship graduates now succeeding at the FEI levels. By running the championships as a standalone event, we aim to provide horses and riders with a welcoming FEI-type atmosphere that puts a bright spotlight on and celebrates the young horses that are going to be the future of our sport." 

Judges

The judges for the 2024 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast and West Coast Championships will once again be Sally Ike (USA) and Christian Schacht (GER).  Both Schacht and Ike have judged the YEH Championships in the past, and Ike will judge the dressage while Schacht judges the conformation, and they will both judge the jumping and galloping phase together.

Additionally, to accommodate the large entry numbers, the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships will bring on four domestic judges to judge the 4-year-old Championship. Linda Zang will judge the 4-year-old dressage phase on the East Coast while Anne Moss  judges the 4-year-old conformation phase. Marilyn Payne and Phyllis Dawson will judge the jumping and galloping phase together. On the west coast, Ike and Schacht will judge both age groups.

Qualifications

To qualify for the 2024 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships, horses must earn a score of 75 percent or higher at any YEH qualifying event. To qualify for the 2024 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships, horses must earn a score of 70 percent or higher at any YEH qualifying event.

Is your horse qualified?

The USEA manages a running leaderboard with YEH horses that are qualified for The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH Championships and the list of those horses may be found  here. The YEH horses are listed in ranking based on the highest scores, and the leaderboard is updated twice monthly after the USEA receives scores from each event. Horses still have several chances this summer and fall to compete in YEH qualifying competitions. The 2024 USEA YEH calendar may be found here.

Don’t see a YEH qualifier near you? Reach out to your local organizers to express your interest and ask them to add a YEH division to their event!

Entry Process

WEST: All entries must be received before the event’s closing date. Event management reserves the right to deny entries sent after closing date.

EAST: Provided they are complete, event management will accept entries for the USEA YEH East Championships in the order in which they are received, including a qualifying score, by no later than the closing date (September 17, 2024). 30 horses will be accepted in the 4-year-old division; 50 horses will be accepted in the 5-year-old division. For each age group, the remaining entries that have been accepted will be placed on a wait list and pulled off the wait list in order of highest qualifying scores. Changes this year include fully complete entries in order to be accepted, with a qualifying score at time of entering/acceptance. *This will be followed as a strongly encouraged guideline in 2024, and the USEA Board of Governors has approved this as a rule in 2025.

Age Verification Requirements for Both Championships:

Age verification must be submitted with entries. The following are suitable forms of age verification that must be received: Registration Papers, (or) Certificate of Pedigree, (or) passport issued by a breed or sport horse registry approved by the Federation, (or) horse identification documents issued by a breed or sport registry, approved by the Federation that states the registered name of the horse, the registry number of the horse and age. There will be no exceptions.

Grant Opportunity and Prizes

Once again, entrants in the 5-year-old YEH Championship divisions will be in contention for the Holekamp/Turner Grant, which offers a cash grant to the highest placing 5-year-old horse from both championships, who qualifies and is willing and able to go compete in their 7-year-old year championship at the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France. Additionally, Title Sponsor, The Dutta Corporation, will provide one round trip flight to Europe for the Holekamp/Turner Grant recipient. Support and other prizes will be provided by USEA YEH sponsors ARMA, Bates Saddles, HorseWeek, Kerrits, Parker Equine Insurance, SmartPak, Standlee, and The Jockey Club.

Helpful Links For YEH Championships:

For questions or to inquire about the YEH Championships, the Holekamp/Turner Grant, and The Dutta Corp. prize, contact [email protected].

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 four- and five-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 ARMA, Bates Saddles, HorseWeek, Kerrits, Parker Equine Insurance, SmartPak, Standlee, and The Jockey Club 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. 

About The Holekamp/Turner Grant

Founded in 2015 by Timothy and Cheryl Holekamp of New Spring Farm and Christine and T.J. Turner of Indian Creek Farm, the Holekamp/Turner Grant provides a USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championship competitor with the opportunity to represent the United States at the FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships in the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France. With the sole purpose of paving a clear pathway for U.S. team horses to progress in the sport of eventing, recipients who are North American-bred will be awarded the full cash grant of $17,500, while imported horses are awarded $8,000. Additionally, The Dutta Corp. offers a prize to the Holekamp/Turner Grant recipient, consisting of a round trip flight from the Eastern United States to Europe. 

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