May 17, 2024

YEH Graduates Shine at 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event

By Lindsay Berreth - USEA Staff
Jennie Brannigan and Twilightslastgleam. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photos

A total of 19 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program graduates started the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event, held April 24-28 in Lexington, Kentucky, in both the highly competitive CCI4*-S and five-star divisions.

The YEH program was founded in 2004 as a way to identify 4- and 5-year old horses that possess the talent and disposition that, with proper training, can excel at the four- and five-star levels of the sport.

There were five YEH graduates in the five-star at Kentucky, and two completed.

Twilightslastgleam (National Anthem x Royal Child), a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned and bred by Nina and Tim Gardner, finished as the best-placed graduate in 16th with Jennie Brannigan in the irons.

“Comic” was the reserve champion at the 2014 USEA YEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship on a score of 82.83 with Brannigan, then the pair returned in 2015 to finish in seventh place on a score of 77.61 in the 5-year-old Championship.

At Kentucky, the pair started on a score of 38.7, added 1.2 time penalties on cross-country, and had three rails down in the show jumping plus 2.4 time penalties to finish on a final total of 54.3.

“I’ve been riding him since he was 4, and he has every physical limitation,” said Brannigan after her cross-country ride. “He wouldn’t pass a vet. He had a rough go coming in here. His feet were really sore, and he missed out on a couple of gallops and schools. We didn’t know if we were going to bring him. I’m just emotional because it’s really hard for him to do it. Bless him.”

Andrew McConnon and Ferrie's Chello.

Ferrie’s Cello (Chello III VDL x Karelza), a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jeanne Shigo and bred by J. Sneller, made his second five-star start with rider Andrew McConnon after their debut at the MARS Maryland 5 Star last fall where they finished in 13th place.

“Eddy” campaigned in the YEH Program during his 5-year-old year, winning a qualifier at the Carolina Horse Park (Raeford, North Carolina) on a score of 85.78 in September 2017, then following it up with a reserve champion finish in the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast 5-Year-Old Championship at Fair Hill (Elkton Maryland) on a score of 86.41 the next month.

At Kentucky, the pair finished in 23rd place. They scored a 37.7 in dressage and picked up 20 penalties on cross-country at the corner coming out of Pete’s Hollow, plus 25.2 time penalties. Eight jumping penalties and 2 time penalties in show jumping left them on a final score of 92.9.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap.

Quantum Leap (Quite Capitol x Report to Sloopy), a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding bred by Dr. Elizabeth Callahan, and ridden and owned by Doug Payne, jumped around clear on cross-country and was in a tie for 15th place, but Payne opted to withdraw him from the holding box at the final horse inspection citing foot soreness after losing a shoe at fence 12 and slipping.

Payne pulled up his own five-star first-timer Camarillo (Chicardo x Rehobeth), a 10-year-old German Sport Horse gelding bred by Dr. Callahan, at fence 21 on cross-country, adding that fitness caught up with “Carl,” and that he’d rather not risk anything happening later.

Sara Kozumplik was the first out on course with Rock Phantom (Spirit House x Ballycroy Rose), a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Edith Rameika, but she opted to retire at fence 5A when the gelding didn’t feel like himself.

Will Coleman and Off The Record.

Fourteen YEH graduates contested the Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S with Will Coleman and Off The Record, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (VDL Arkansas x Drumagoland Bay) owned by the Off the Record Syndicate LLC, as the top finishers in third place.

They were seventh after dressage on 30.1, added .8 time penalties on cross-country, and jumped a double-clear show jumping round to finish on 30.9.

Carolina Pamukcu an HSH Blake, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass) owned by Sherrie Martin and Mollie Hoff, finished in fifth on a score of 32.5 after adding just 5.2 time penalties to their dressage score. Pamukcu and “Blake” won individual gold at the Pan American Games (Santiago, Chile) last fall.

Liz Halliday and Miks Master C, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic x Qui Luma CBF) owned by Deborah Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties, were leading the division after dressage, but 3.2 cross-country time penalties and one rail down in show jumping dropped them to seventh on a final score of 33.2.

Halliday also finished in ninth on YEH graduate Shanroe Cooley, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Dallas x Shanroe Sapphire) owned by Ocala Horse Properties. They added 5.2 time penalties on cross-country and .8 time penalties in show jumping to finish on 37.7.

For full results, 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 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, Capital Square, 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.

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