An extremely classy group of 31 four- and five-year-olds is competing at the Spalding Labs USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. The Championships are being split over two days with the Dressage and Conformation portions taking place today and the Jumping section concluding the competition tomorrow.
The five-year-olds kicked off this morning in the main arena at Fair Hill with the dressage portion followed immediately by the conformation section. Kim Severson is leading the class with a 39.94 aboard her and Jackie Severson’s Cooley Cross Border, an Irish Sport Horse by Diamond Roller bred by Richard Sheane.
“Cross was very good today,” said Kim. “He is a nice, relaxed easy kind of horse so coming in here today he was very good. I am fortunate that he has quite a bit of mileage, so this test for him was pretty straight forward. A lot of times the Young Event Horses are a bit behind the ball like I was with my four-year-old today, but Cross was great.”
“I decided to come to the YEH Championships because I think that they are both really nice horses, and that the guy [Richard Sheane] that I got them from does an incredible job with them. They all go jump whatever is in front of them, they are very straightforward. I did it a lot for him because it’s his business to sell horses, and so I went ahead and did it.”
Hot on Kim’s heels is Kelli Temple with both her horses tied for second place. Scirocco, a Holsteiner gelding by Clarimo out of Flowerpower, and Chesney also a Holsteiner by Contender out of D-Ginger who was bred by Hoffmann Dagmar both scored a 39.4 with Chesney earning the higher dressage mark and Scirocco earning the better conformation score.
“I had two horses today – two slightly different horses, but what Kim described as a lot greener,” said Kelli. “Scirocco, was the first into the ring this morning and he is a spooky horse, so I was incredibly proud of him because he was very workmanlike and professional. I think he put in his best test to date. He just learned to jump in January and he just started eventing in June.”
“He is only to be outdone by Chesney who has only done two events. Chesney came over from Germany in July, so he has not had very much of an education, but he makes up for it by having an incredible tempermant. He was really focused – really listens to the rider and is a really giving and generous horse, and I also think he put in his best test to date, but then he hasn’t had too many to compare to!”
The four-year-olds took to the arena after lunch for their dressage and conformation portions and it was Esccord RGS who wowed the judges earning the highest dressage mark of the day, a 29.19 which combined with their conformation score of 11.55 gave them a 40.75 to take the lead. The Hanoverian gelding (Escudo I x EM Arabella RGS) is owned and ridden by Katie Murphy and was bred by Page Brook Farms in Hollis, New Hampshire.
“I really like the idea of the USEA supporting young horse development which I believe that our country is a bit behind on from the Europeans, said Katie.” To create a database to compare lineage in the future is just a fantastic way to improve our sport horses. And it is great experience for them and what fun to be at Fair Hill.”
Esscord RGS has been on a winning streak this year with four blue ribbons in his last four starts at the Novice level, and Katie hopes to continue that tomorrow. “I think his movement on the flat gives him a nice edge on the dressage, but doesn’t compromise his jumping ability. I am excited to see what the judges think of him in the jumping phase.”
The pattern in the four-year-old class repeated the five-year-old with the next two placings being horses ridden by the same rider. Matt Flynn rode Dr. Drumiller, an Irish Sport Horse (Lord Z x Cabaca) owned by his parents Kathleen and A. Patrick Flynn, to second place on a 39.84 while the Dutch Warmblood, Darmood (Winningmood x Landor) earned a 38.72 to slot into third behind his stable mate.
“Dr. Drumiller is a half-brother to my horse, Breakthrough, who won this class a few years ago,” said Matt. “I bought him as a two-year-old after Breakthrough won with high hopes for him. Darmood actually jumped in the Netherlands in the four-year-old show jumping finals two months ago. He has only been in a dressage arena only three times.”
“I like the YEH program a lot because I think it is really helpful in creating industry and I like to support it because it helps to get people interested in getting higher quality young horses which eventually become our upper level horses for international competitions.”
Tomorrow’s jumping phase counts for 50% of the final score so a lot can still change. The five-year-olds begin jumping at 8:30 and the four-year-olds will follow after lunch at 1:00. Learn more about the Spalding Labs USEA Young Event Horse Program on the YEH Webpage.
Full YEH results are available here.
The YEH Program is made possible due to its sponsors: Spalding Labs, Stackhouse Saddles, Fleeceworks, Point Two, and Ariat.