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Dozens of stunning, world-class horses showed off their potential during the USEA Young Event Horse and IDHSNA/USEA Future Event Horse divisions at the opening day of the 10th annual Event at Rebecca Farm in picturesque Kalispell, Montana.
Four-Year-Old Young Event Horses
Tamra Smith, a Level IV ICP-certified instructor based out of Murietta, California, had a wonderful Wednesday at Rebecca Farm, earning the top scores in both the YEH and FEH classes. Tamie will also be competing in the CIC3* this weekend, and will hopefully continue her winning streak with Leigh Mesher's lovely gelding Mar De Amor.
In the Young Event Horse classes this afternoon, she partnered with Judy McSwain's dapple grey Holsteiner gelding Fleeceworks Cinco to win top honors in the four-year-old division. Thirteen horses competed in the division, but it was 'Cinco' won each of the three categories--scoring a 13.01 in the conformation and type category, 29.75 in the dressage, and 41.95 in the jumping and potential category for a grand total of 84.7 points.
"We bought him from Kristi Nunnink who found him at October Hill Farm in Texas. He's sired by Cascini, one of the Holsteiner stallions at October Hill," said Tamra. "Kristi originally bought Cinco for herself, but she'd been helping us look for a young prospect. I'd been sending her some photos and videos of other horses I was looking at, and eventually she said, come sit on this horse and if you like it, I'll sell it to you." Since their partnership began, Cinco recently picked up a win at the Twin Rivers YEH with a 77.6.
"He just has the whole package," said Tamra, who's pleased at how well the gelding is handling the atmosphere at his first true event. "He's just perfect. During the dressage, we went to the free walk and he just really put his head down and relaxed.
"He moves really well, he's super balanced, has a great gallop, is super rideable, and jumps beautifully. Even though he's green, he still jumps in good form. The four-year-old course was the beefiest I've seen, so I was wondering how he'd process the questions. But he just took everything in stride, and jumped with his knees up to his ears."
Sarah Berry piloted her own Holsteiner gelding Counterpoint (Concerto Grosso--Natalina) to the runner-up spot with a 79.7. Already this year, the striking chestnut has picked up to victories in the YEH classes, scoring an 84.2 at Galway Downs in May, and an 81.2 at Flintridge in March.
Five-Year-Old Young Event Horses
In the five-year-old division, nineteen horses battled for top horses, but in the end, it was Happenstance who happened to finish at the top of the leaderboard. Ridden by Kelly Prather, who partnered with four YEH horses this afternoon, the black Holsteiner gelding earned 11.73 for conformation and type, 25.9 in the dressage, and 42.15 in the jumping and potential category. 'Hap' is owned by Mary and Lance McKee. "They bought him as a young horse from Wendy Webster, and really love watching him compete," explained Kelly, a four-star rider based out of Chocolate Horse Farm in Petaluma, California.
Kelly's been campaigning young Hap since his eventing career first began, and so far they've done a few Novice events--they'll be moving up to Training this weekend. Since this was his first YEH competition, Kelly felt this was a fantastic prep for the weekend ahead. "It was a great course! It's a wonderful thing to do with them here. They have a bank, water, and ditch, so it definitely showed off the horses that were brave and had the abiliity to go around a Traning level course."
So far, Hap has impressed Kelly with his well-rounded attributes and she feels he has the solid foundation to hopefully be a fantastic event horse. "He has a great jump and great gaits, especially his canter, and plus he has a good brain and he's very brave. He has all the right makings to be a top class event horse, so we'll see how far he goes."
Complete 5yo results
Three-Year-Old Future Event Horses
This morning, Tamie Smith kicked off her successful day at Rebecca Farm handling a lovely chestnut filly named Irish Blend, owned and bred by Dr. Emily Sandler, who's serving as the FEI veterinarian this weekend. Scoring an 82.2, the Irish Sport Horse filly won her class over Braun Lowry's Darkly Dexter and also earned the highest score of the FEH divisions.
A product of embryo transfer, Irish Blend is sired by the Hanoverian stallion Rascalino and is out of Miss Congeniality, Dr. Sandler's Thoroughbred mare whom Tamie competed through Intermediate. "The dam was a super jumper, but a little downhill and long-backed, so we looked for a stallion who would really strengthen some of her weak areas," said Dr. Sandler, "which is why we picked Rascalino, who's by Rotspon. He's very uphill, and short-backed. We're very pleased with this cross!"
Irish Blend just had her first outing at the Twin Rivers FEH show a few weeks ago, winning her class, and the highest score of the show, with a 83.1.
Complete 3yo results
Two-Year-Old Future Event Horses
Mary Burke had a fantastic morning with her two stunning two-year-old warmblood colts, picking up first with Dragonfly BRF (Donarweiss--Ivy, by Ideal) and fourth with Das Apollo BRF (Devon Heir--Affirmation, by Argentan), who scored 79.2 and 72.0, respectively.
"They both just exceeded my expectations," said Mary. "We've been working really hard to prepare--we've only done one dressage show to work out the kinks before coming here."
Mary purchased both geldings as youngsters as potential stallion prospects, and thinks their exceptional bloodlines would make them both suitable event horses. "Dragonfly, who's by Donarweiss at Hilltop Farm, is short-backed with a great top line. His sire scored a 9 on jumping in his stallion inspection! Plus, Dragonfly is half Thoroughbred, so it's nice to have that for an event horse. Apollo, on the other hand, has an outstanding jumping pedigree from the Argentan lines, so he's the ultimate athlete. Both horses, though, are a very modern type of warmblood and are built to gallop."
Before purchasing the young colts, Mary worked with top sport horse breeders, including the founders of the Select Breeders Services at Hilltop Farm, and looked at nearly a hundred horses before making her final decisions. "There's so much to consider with picking out sport horse stallions," said Mary. Because of the advances in equine reproduction technology, nowadays frozen semen is almost as widespread as fresh in the sport horse community, especially with stallions who are active competitors. "Eventing obviously requires quite a lot of stamina," said Mary, "and many breeding horses can lose that stamina while breeding, so that aren't usually competed as much." Since the young horses will be busy competing from the spring through the fall, Mary plans to collect and freeze her young stallions' semen during the winter in the off-months.
Though Mary is a physical therapist by trade, she's no stranger to the sport of eventing, having won national champion honors at the Preliminary Amateur level at the 2008 American Eventing Championships with her horse Esprit De Corps. "I also have to thank my husband Richard for helping me--competing stallions is a team approach and we're great partners." Richard is a firefighter in their hometown of Ellensburg, Washington, where the couple also runs an equestrian facility, Burkeridge Farms.
Complete 2yo results
Yearling Future Event Horses
Darcy Barnes showed both of Andria Manecke's yearlings to great results this morning in the yearling class. The bay Holsteiner colt Findoctro HF (Indoctro--Zangria HF) scored an impressive 77.5 for the win, while the flashy pinto American Warmblood Bullet Proof (Barleone--Vixen) took second with 68.7.
Complete yearling results
The IDHSNA/USEA Future and Young Event Horse classes are proud to have the support of the following sponsors: the Irish Draught Horse Society of North America, Nutrena, Stackhouse Saddles, Fleeceworks Saddle Pads, SmartPak Equine, and SUCCEED.