It’s a big week for young event horses around the world, as the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships for 4 and 5 year olds take place this week in conjunction with the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International in Elkton, Md., while 6 and 7 year olds will compete in the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses at Le Lion d’Angers in France.
Nearly 40 horses will compete in the YEH East Coast Championships, with 26 5-year-olds and 13 4-year-olds entered. The lineup of judges for this year’s championships is particularly exciting, with the one and only William Micklem, well-known rider and judge Bea di Grazia, and Cathy Tucker-Slaterbeck, sporthorse breed inspector and USEF dressage and eventing judge, slated to evaluate the horses.
The same judging panel will head to California at the end of the month to judge the YEH West Coast Championships, held in conjunction with Galway Downs International in Temecula. The highest scoring 5-year-old between the East and West Coast championships wins the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Prize and Grant.
The grant awards $17,500 for North American bred horses or $8,000 to imported horses to travel to Le Lion d’Angers for the 7-year-old championships. Sponsored by Timothy Holekamp of New Spring Farm and Christine Turner of Indian Creek Farm, the grant gives an excellent opportunity for a top young horse in North America to compete against the best 7-year-olds in the world.
And Le Lion is well known for showcasing the very best young horses in the world. fischerRocana FST won the 6-year-old championships in 2011 before going on to win an individual silver medal with Michael Jung in this year’s World Equestrian Games. Sirocco du Gers won the 7-year-old championships last year with Thomas Carlile before clinching the win at Military Boekelo CCIO3* yesterday.
This year’s championships will be no different, with the next generation of superstar eventers battling it out for the win. You’ll want to pay special attention to fischerRicona in the 7-year-old championships. She’s a full sister to fisherRocana FST, by the Thoroughbred stallion Ituango xx, out of the Oldenburg mare Rose II, by Carismo.
For the U.S., Liz Halliday-Sharp will compete in the 6-year-old class with Cooley Ground Control, an Irish Sport Horse gelding bred in Ireland by Kevin Griffin, by the Holsteiner stallion Chacao, by Contender, and out of the Irish Sport Horse mare Cloon Crest, by the British Thoroughbred stallion Senang Hati.
Canada also has one horse competing at Le Lion. In the 6-year-old championships, Lindsay Traisnel will ride Ulysse de Rubercy, a Selle Francais gelding bred in France by Ginette Rachinel, by Arioso du Theillet, out of Opale de Rubercy, by Oberon du Moulin; both parents are Selle Francais.
We’ll be bringing you live coverage from the YEH Championships at Fair Hill, as well as score updates from Le Lion as the action kicks off across the pond.