While a total of 95 4- and 5-year-old horses will be vying for top-finishes in The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships next weekend, a select group of YEH graduates are entered in the CCI5*-L division at the second annual MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory. The USEA YEH program has run successfully for over 15 years, and many graduates of the program have gone onto compete at the pinnacle of the sport, the FEI 5-Star level of eventing, including the four horses entered in the 2022 Maryland 5 Star.
Twilightslastgleam, Don Dante, Quantum Leap and Danito will represent the YEH program in a few short days as they contest the United States’ fall 5-star competition at Fair Hill.
Nina Gardner’s 12-year-old homebred Thoroughbred gelding, Twilightslastgleam (National Anthem x Royal Child), graduated from the YEH program in 2015 after competing in five YEH competitions, including two championships. With Jennie Brannigan in the irons for most of the horse’s career, Twilightslastgleam, better known as “Comic”, finished as Reserve Champion on a score of 82.83 at the 2014 USEA YEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship and returned in 2015 to finish in 7th place on a score of 77.61 at the 5-year-old Championship. After continuing his success with Brannigan, he was also a frontrunner for the 2017 Holekamp/Turner YEH Le Lion d’Angers Grant. Most recently, Twilightslastgleam and Brannigan were among the top 15 finishers at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*-L, and they won the CCI4*-L division at the 2022 MARS Bromont CCI Three Day Event.
Dondante is a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding sired by Pachio and out of Muckno Clover, owned by Team Rebecca LLC and ridden by William Coleman for the entirety of his career. As a 5-year-old, Dondante finished third with a score of 81.96 in the 2015 USEA YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championship. The pair kicked off 2022 with a win at the Carolina International CCI & Horse Trials CCI4*-S and a top 10 finish at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event CCI5*-L. Dondante and Coleman competed at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in 2021, finishing in the top 15, and there is no doubt that they are returning in the hopes of besting their placing from last year.
The 2011 Holsteiner gelding, Quantum Leap (Quite Capitol x Report to Sloopy), bred domestically by Elizabeth Callahan and owned by Doug Payne is no stranger to the 5-star level. The now 11-year-old gelding competed in the 2015 USEA YEH East Coast Championships as a 4-year-old where he finished third, and again as a 5-year-old in 2016 where he finished seventh. Two years later, Quantum Leap was the 2018 Holekamp/Turner grant recipient where he and Payne represented the U.S. at the FEI World Breeding Eventing 7-year-old Championship at La Mondial du Lion in Le Lion d’Angers, France. The pair continued their successful career together by adding a Reserve Champion finish in the $60,000 Adequan Advanced Final at the USEA American Eventing Championships to their repertoire in 2021. This year, Quantum Leap and Payne finished in third place at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event and were crowned the 2022 USEF CCI5*-L Eventing National Champions as the highest placed American in the competition.
Danito, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding sired by Dancier and out of Wie Musik, is the final YEH graduate set to compete next weekend. Owned by Ruth Bley, Danito won the YEH-5 qualifier at Long Tree Farm in 2014 on a score of 80.65 with John Michael Durr in the irons. Durr continued progressing the horse through Preliminary, then after a short stint with Jordan Good, Tamie Smith took over the ride. Since Danito and Smith were paired, they have seen success at the CCI3* and CCI4* levels, including a recent third place finish in the CCI4*-S division at The Event at Rebecca Farm this summer. The Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill will be Danito’s first attempt at the 5 Star level.
The USEA wishes all of those competing at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory a safe and successful event. Check back after the event to see how our YEH graduates faired in the CCI5*-L!
About the 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, Parker Equine Insurance, Capital Square, Kerrits, 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.
When super groom Max Corcoran mentioned in 2005 that it would be fun to participate in a USEA Classic Series event, her employer and eventing legend Karen O’Connor took that to heart. “I did a lot of grooming for the classic format when Kentucky and all those other competitions were proper long format,” Corcoran shared. “When Gretchen [Butts] started offering the Classic Series at Waredaca [Gaithersburg, Maryland,] she asked if I would come up and do some lectures to help people understand what the 10-minute box was and how to pack for it. I did that a few times and said to Karen, ‘Man, it would be so fun to do one of these.’ And so Karen's like, 'You want to do one? Yeah, you're gonna do one next year.'”
Has this horse quality? The answer is definitely yes. This first impression is so important. As a selector for the Goresbridge Go for Gold Event horse sale, I have an abbreviation ‘GPO’ which stands for "Good Pull Out." It means that the first look prompts the potential client the need to bring the horse out of his box for a further look.
It was a beautiful but chilly weekend in the pines at the Setters' Run Farm Carolina International. After a record-setting 19.4 in the CCI4*-S dressage, Will Coleman became the first three-time winner in the event's history when he led from start to finish on Hyperion Stud's Chin Tonic HS.
West Coast eventers experienced tremendous success in 2022. Tamie Smith recorded top-10 finishes at Badminton in England, at the FEI World Championships at Pratoni in Italy, and at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. Helen Alliston won the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final, and Tommy Greengard captured the USEA Intermediate Championship at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. James Alliston returned to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event for the first time since 2017 and finished third in the CCI4*-S.