I’ve been really excited to see the fancy young horses do their thing in the dressage ring this morning, and I was certainly not disappointed. We saw some great talent for the future in the 5-year-old YEH Championship division — and we still have another group to see!
The dressage test was held in a large arena with plenty of atmosphere to deal with for these younger horses. However, it seemed most of them were able to keep their cool and the test was technical enough to really test each gait. Ian Stark (GBR) and Bea di Grazia (USA) are the dressage judges for the YEH classes. The dressage test was followed by a conformation judging by Cathy Tucker-Slaterbeck. Competitors were asked to present their horses and jog them down a very short strip.
The YEH competition consists of three phases: Conformation and Type (15% of overall score), Dressage (35% of overall score) and Jumping/Gallop/General Impression (50% of overall score). Each section is scored on a 1-10 scale.
The newly instated Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Prize and Grant has sent Kelly Prather and D.A. Duras to the FEI World Young Horse Championships at Le Lion d’Angers in France.
Continuing on with the award, the highest scorer between the East and West Coast Championships for 5-year-olds will be eligible for this grant. That being said, there’s a lot on the line this weekend and plenty of competition to stand up to in all three phases.
Metallica, a Holsteiner mare owned by Kara Angulo, is a show stopper of a mare — I could hardly stop taking photos of her! Kelli rode the majority of her test with a grin on her face, surely she knew she was sitting on a powerhouse in the dressage ring. This mare earned a 85% in the dressage to take a decisive lead heading into the break. Metallica just made the jump to Training level with Kara at Five Points last month. This pair’s two-phase score is a 41.86 looking ahead to the jumping phase.
In second after taking the early lead are Lynn Symansky and her own SpectraVet Cohiba. This mare is a really nice type, a Württemburg by Con Spirito out of Lea, who has been campaigning at Novice with Lynn this year. The test for the 5-year-olds this weekend will be Prelim level type fences, so this mare will get a chance to show off her jump style over some larger fences come tomorrow. A 40.48 total score will place this pair into second with the final group still yet to score.
Third going into lunch are last year’s 4-year-old champions Melissa Hunsberger and Rule of Thumb. Rule of Thumb is a warmblood gelding by the Holsteiner stallion Royal Appearance out of the Thoroughbred mare Nadia VT. He’s owned by Dawn Erdman and has been competing successfully at Training level this year with Melissa. Melissa and Rule of Thumb will take a score of 40.44 into tomorrow.
Other notables from the morning group include Highly Suspicious, an Irish Sport Horse Gelding owned by Lydia White and KBLB and ridden by Will Coleman. This pair scored a 39.07 in the first two phases for fourth place provisionally heading into the break.
We have now concluded the final group of horses for the 5-year-old division and we’re waiting for their scores to tabulate. I’ll have some press conference comments as well as a summary of the final group in an update later this afternoon.