Photos by Sylvia Palmer
On March 9th, the Spalding Labs/USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) competition for four- and five-year-olds was hosted at the Florida Horse Park (FHP) in Ocala. Like other early season competitions, the number of entries was small, however the quality of horses was quite impressive. Cheryl and Tim Holekamp are to be complimented for their very professional organizational effort. The outstanding venue and smooth running competition made for a wonderful learning opportunity for the young horses.
Sponsors Spalding Labs and Fleeceworks are very supportive of the YEH program believing that it is a true “talent search” for future horses at the top levels of eventing. Fleeceworks generously rewards the winners at each qualifier with their really nice sheepskin saddle pads and quilt liners. For the first place finishers Spalding Labs provides Fly Predators giving six months protection against flies for the entire barn. The five-year-old winner was Adirmo, a KWPN gelding owned and ridden by Debbie Adams. This was his first competition ever and his score was high enough to qualify him for the national YEH Championships to be held during the Fair Hill CCI in October. Winner of the four-year-old section was a Hanoverian mare, Galiba, owned by Julia Bitler, and ridden by Maren Foster. Full results are posted here.The jumping phase, designed by Leslie Law, started with half a dozen show jumps followed immediately by going into the cross-country portion with another half dozen efforts that included water and a bank. They then went on to a short gallop to demonstrate that ability as well. Overall, the course was very much up to the standards that the YEH program is attempting to achieve. At first glance, the courses looked a bit large and challenging for young horses, but it rode very well giving the youngsters a positive experience. Obviously, Leslie knew exactly what would create forward riding fences to get horses in a rhythm and jumping well.