For the first time in the history of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program, The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships will be held during the Virginia Horse Trials International (VHT) in Lexington, Virginia. During this week, VHT will also host national horse trials from Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate level and five international divisions - CCI*-L, CCI2*-S, CCI2*-L, CCI3*-S, and CCI3*-L - in addition to the YEH Championships.
There is at least one YEH graduate horse competing in every international division at VHT for a total of 16 YEH graduate horses. This includes the top three finishers from last year’s YEH 5-year-old East Coast Championship at Fair Hill International (Betterthanexpected, Not Ours, and FE Celestino) who are all competing in an international division this week.
There are three YEH graduate horses competing in the CCI*-L. The 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Betterthanexpected (Malibu Farm x The Best Day Ever), ridden and owned by Joanie Morris and bred by River Bend Farm, finished third with a score of 88.40 at the 2019 YEH 5-year-old East Coast Championship. This week, Morris and Betterthanexpected will compete in the CCI*-L.
Another entry in the CCI*-L is Fastidious (Flatter x Cruisin’nthebridle), a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding ridden and owned by Hannah Schofield and bred by Twin Creeks Farm and Dennis Stege. Schofield and Fastidious competed in the 2018 YEH 5-year-old Championships and this week they will make their CCI* debut.
The third YEH graduate horse entered in the CCI*-L is Ashley Trier’s Quality Vintage, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding sired by Colman. Quality Vintage first competed in YEH 4-year-old divisions with Tim Bourke in 2017 and the following year competed in YEH 5-year-old divisions with Ashley Trier. The Holsteiner gelding competed in a total of five YEH competitions and finished within the top five almost every time.
The CCI2*-S has the most YEH graduates with a total of six horses, including the top two finishers from last year’s YEH 5-year-old East Coast Championship. The winner of the 2019 YEH 5-year-old East Coast Championships was Alyssa Phillips’ Mecklenburg gelding, FE Celestino (Ce-Matin x Antigone) who finished with a score of 88.78 and was ridden by Jennie Brannigan. This week, FE Celestino will make his CCI2* debut with Phillips in the irons.
Finishing 0.4 penalties behind FE Celestino, with a score of 88.74 at last year’s YEH 5-year-old East Coast Championships, was Not Ours (Cherokee’s Boy x Ketubah) a Thoroughbred gelding ridden by Erin Kanara (née Sylvester) and owned by Nikki Scherrer. The 2019 YEH 5-year-old Reserve Champion will also make his CCI2* debut this week.
Another YEH Reserve Champion entered in the CCI2*-S is Frame Shamrock (Shakespeare RSF x Sahara), a 7-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding ridden and owned by Martin Douzant and bred by Beall Spring Farm. The 7-year-old gelding is the only horse in the CCI2*-S who has competed in both the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Championships and the USEA YEH Championships. He was named the FEH Overall 3-year-old Champion in 2016 and was the YEH 4-year-old Reserve Champion in 2017.
Three additional YEH graduate horses who previously competed in YEH competitions are also entered in the CCI2*-S. These three horses include the 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding ridden by Autumn Schweiss and owned by Julie Schweuiss, Global Quarycrest; the 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding ridden by Allison Springer, owned by The RICO Syndicate, and bred by Deborah Palmer, Vandyke; and the 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding ridden by Leah Elgart, owned by Kem Keeton and Hope Thomas, and bred by Heartlines Horse Ranch, Keysoe (Maverick x Lovely Ghost).
Ridden by Casey McKissock and owned by Emil Spadone, the 6-year-old Warmblood mare Spice of Life, previously known as Redfield Spice, finished in the top 15 at last year’s YEH 5-year-old Championships with a score of 84.62. This week, Spice of Life will make her CCI2*-L debut with McKissock in the irons.
Two additional YEH graduates are also entered in the CCI2*-L including Stakkato Bronx, the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Stakkato, ridden by Hannah Sue Burnett and owned by Christa Schmidt and Jacqueline Mars, and Special Feature (Dance Master x Touch Tone Gray), the 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding ridden and owned by Filippa Wagtman.
Every YEH graduate entered in the CCI3*-S competed against one another two years ago at the 2018 YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championships. These three horses include Crystal Crescent Moon (Catherston Dazzler x Ebony Moon), the Connemara gelding ridden by Allison Springer and owned/bred by Nancy Winter; Global Invieto DHI (Up to Date x Rosieta.P), the Dutch Warmblood gelding ridden by Autumn Shweiss, owned by Julie Schweiss, and bred by John Dooley; and Cooley Almighty (Verdi x Wyniella), a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Heidi Crandall and ridden by Brittany Crandall.
The sole YEH graduate in the CCI3*-L division is the 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Truly Wiley (Salute the Truth x Cheers Of A Loss), owned by The Truly Wiley Syndicate and ridden by Sarah Cousins. Truly Wiley first started his event career in 2011 with Rebecca Farm’s YEH competition. Since then, he has competed up to the five-star level with Kelly Prather and is now with another five-star rider, Sarah Cousins, who acquired the ride earlier this year.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the YEH graduates competing this week at VHT!
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 Hay Company, Parker Equine Insurance, and Etalon Diagnostics 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.
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.