Shmick’s Spectacular in Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse 5-Year-Old East Coast Championships

Shmick and Boyd Martin. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo.
Shmick and Boyd Martin. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo.

Elkton, Md.—Oct. 20— It’s not deja vu—the 5-year-old Zangersheide gelding Shmick (Luigi d’Eclipse x Winter Lady), owned by Anne Hennessey, has claimed another Young Event Horse Championship title. Last year’s Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse 4-year-old East Coast Champion returned to this year’s finale at Fair Hill and amazed the judges for a second time to add the title of 5-year-old champion to his growing resume.

Piloted by Boyd Martin, the young horse, bred by Chris Brems, had the highest score for his cross-country efforts of the field of 53 horses and also received a perfect 15 on his overall jump evaluation and a perfect 10 for general impression which resulted in his cumulative score of 92.82.

“This is a horse which you can ride in all three disciplines and up to the highest level,” said judge Christian Schacht. “It’s a trainable horse, it has a kind eye, and a lot of balance. Of course, if you give a 10 every time then it might be questionable, but there may be one stride that is maybe not perfect, and then it’s not a 10. But we have the score of 10, and this horse was just outstanding.”

Since winning the 4-year-old championship, Martin stated that nothing has changed in Shmick’s training regimen. The young horse’s preparations included a few outings at Novice earlier this year, a second-place finish in the YEH Qualifier at Loch Moy Farm (Adamstown, Maryland), and a move-up to Training at the end of the summer.

“He’s really developed over the last 12 months,” Martin commented. “He’s just spectacular in all phases. Obviously, he’s a beautiful type. He could be a straight dressage horse or a pure jumper, and he gallops like the wind. And I’m thrilled that Anne Hennessey’s backed this horse and owns him for me. The sky’s the limit with him. We’re very, very proud to be the 5-year-old champion, and what an honor and a credit to a spectacular, spectacular horse.”

Madison Temkin and Fernhill Bertus. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo

Just shy of two points behind Shmick to bring home Reserve Champion honors was Beth Brown’s Hanoverian gelding Fernhill Bertus (Balou Peggio x Celine) with Madison Temkin in the irons. Temkin first met “Bertus” last spring while on a shopping trip in Ireland, and the pair made their USEA debut at the start of the year. Their record leading up to this result has been pretty impressive with five wins, which Temkin attributes to Bertus’ disposition.

“He is the funniest kid in the classroom—I’ve actually never met a kinder, more sweet horse,” said Temkin. “He’s absolutely lovely on the ground. We joke that he’s like a Labrador Retriever. But at the same time, we know he loves to perform, and he loves to show. I always joke that he’s much better when he’s braided.”

This is not Temkin’s first time in the YEH ring, however, this season was the first time she’s given the division a go on the East Coast.

“It’s kind of always been a goal of mine,” she said. “I actually haven’t done this since I used to live on the West Coast in California and did this with my now 10-year-old mare MVP Madbum, who won the West Coast 5-year-old championship in 2018. I think it’s a great experience for these young horses. In Europe, you see how they develop young horses, and they do a lot of this not only just at the championship level but in young horse classes and stuff. It’s been my goal since I got him last year as a 4-year-old so it’s special to be here, and it’s very special that he did so well.”

Fellow judge Marilyn Payne was wildly impressed with the quality of the field of horses in this year’s 5-year-old Championships.

“Compared to where we started, or even compared to last year—easy, two or three times the quality. I was just looking at the results in the top six horses; their general impression scores were 9, 9.5, or 10, and if we ever got a 9 in general impression, maybe one horse would get it. This year, they were so good. So if you were in 20th place, you still have a really good horse. I was so impressed with the quality of the 5-year-olds and the obedience. They were so confident and calm and so rideable. The rideability was so good. I don’t know how you get a 5-year-old that obedient. They’re just so willing. They just love it. You want to see that the horses love it, and it just puts a smile on your face to watch them go, and it just makes it perfect.”

Anita Antenucci’s Warmblood gelding Arden Augustus (Jaguar Mail x Juneau) was this year’s Born in America Award recipient. Arden Augustus was ridden by Sharon White and finished 10th overall.

The American Thoroughbred Award was given to this year’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program Champion for the 5-Year-Old Championship, Frijole (Shaken It Up x Homespun Beauty), owned by Kiki Osbourne, and ridden by Gabby Dickerson.

Finally, Raise the Barr Syndicate LLC’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Quantum Cooley (Dakar VDL x Ming Dynasty) was recognized as this year’s Safe Harbour Award recipient. This award is presented to the horse with the most graceful and rider-friendly performance throughout the championship.

HSH Afterglow is “One-of-a-Kind” in 2023 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse 4-Year-Old East Coast Championships

Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Afterglow. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

Elkton, Md.—Oct. 19— Caroline Pamukcu is no stranger to the winner’s circle in the Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships, having won the 4- and 5-year-old Championships in 2020 and the 4-year-old Championships in 2021. She and her 2020 5-year-old champion, HSH Blake, are heading out to the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, later this week. But before loading up and flying out, Pamukcu guided her and Sherrie Martin’s 4-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding HSH Afterglow (Hype x Ringwood Genius), bred by Peter Leonard, to the win in the 2023 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 4-Year-Old Championships.

Pamukcu attributes her continued success in the YEH divisions to her partnership with Kelly Hutchinson of HSH Sport Horses, who helps source all of Pamukcu’s horses.

“Caroline and I started when we were like 19 together,” recalled Hutchinson, “and we have always had a similar type. We have such a trust in each other, which is awesome. I’ll find something and send it to her and every now and again; we disagree, and then it might be one that suits Lee [Maher, who is riding several YEH horses this week], which is great, but she likes what I like. We like something with a lot of blood. Jump is first, and then presence and ability but also the trainability.”

Regarding HSH Afterglow, Pamukcu shared: “He is lovely. He is such a worker, and he wants to win. And he’s funny–he reminds me a lot of my Blake and my [HSH] Connor horse because he goes in the arena, and he performs 10 times better. He just loves to show off.”

Which is exactly what he did today. The gelding started off in third following his dressage test but quickly moved up to first after the conformation phase. He held onto that score throughout the various judged elements in the jumping and galloping phases. HSH Afterglow received the highest marks in the cross-country and overall impression category to finish on a score of 90.27.

In addition to being crowned champion, HSH Afterglow also received the Go Get ‘Em Award in memory of Donald Trotter provided by Stillwater Farm. This award is presented to the 4-year-old on the East Coast with the highest gallop score.

One of today’s jumping judges, Peter Gray, commented on what set the horses in the top three, especially HSH Afterglow, apart from the rest of the field.

“Sometimes I think our goal should be looking at top four-star horses because that’s the level of competition for Olympic, Pan Am Games, Nations Cups–they are all four-stars. Five-star horses are freaks of nature, and we’re supposed to give a general impression with the hopes of them being a five-star horse, and we actually saw two or three today. [HSH Afterglow] was just so impressive. The way it covered ground and its ears were forward. It was like a mature horse. It had very, very good footwork like a 6-year-old. It was quite amazing, very elastic in its stride and ability to shorten them. Caroline is such a master in this division. She knows how to show horses but the winning horse is truly one-of-a-kind.”

Jennie Brannigan and Blacklist. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo

Brannigan snagged Blacklist as a catch ride from good friend Alexandra Knowles, but she has a unique history with this horse which made this result even more special.

“This horse is out of [my three-star horse] Pascal’s full sister so that is very special to me,” she shared. “Philipp Kolossa and I brought him over, and I was just obsessed with the horse. My friend Allie Knowles purchased him because I didn’t have the money to buy him myself. Now the O’Briens own him for her.”

With Knowles competing at the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event in Lexington, Kentucky, this week, she sent Blacklist up to Brannigan to campaign in this year’s 4-year-old championships. Brannigan had the opportunity to ride the horse twice heading into the competition this week.

“I cross-country schooled him at Boyd [Martin’s] yesterday, and I rode him at 5:00 when I got here the night before. He actually had five days before leading into this, so that is a testament to him. He is a very young 4-year-old as well. I wish I could have ridden him a few more times myself, honestly.”

Caroline Pamukcu and After Hours. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo

Both Gray and fellow jumping judge Pam Wiedemann were thoroughly impressed with the quality of horses presented before them today. As Wiedemann looked back on the crop of 4-year-olds as a whole, she shared what they were ultimately looking for in today’s winner.

“I think the athleticism is what we’re really looking for,” she said. “The horses can make some minor mistakes, and we try not to hold that against them. It will knock their individual fence score down a little bit, but in terms of the overall impressions, it doesn’t mean that it has an influence on that. With the young horses, we expect them to make little mistakes. I think that they have to be efficient over the ground. They have to have power, strength, flexibility, all the things we look for in a good athlete. And the difference with an event horse, I think, is they have to be brave. They have to be really brave and have confidence in themselves.”

The Thoroughbred Incentive Program Champion of this year’s Dutta Corp. USEA YEH 4-year-old East Coast Championships was presented to Smokeonthehorizon (Mizzen Mast x Jersey Tango), owned by Dionne Benson and ridden by Jhett Jenkins.

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