March 15, 2005 -- After its debut last year at five East Coast competitions, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse Series has expanded to 17 events, representing eight USEA Areas, on both coasts and in between.
The series follows somewhat after the Irish model, with classes designed specifically to showcase the potential of four- and five-year-old event horses, giving breeders and owners a stage to promote their youngsters' talents among a field of their peers.
The classes offer four sections: dressage, jumping, conformation and type, and suitability and potential. While the judges look for horses with strong abilities in dressage and show jumping, they also look for a horse with correct, elastic gaits, scope and athleticism over fences, and those that with the correct training will have the speed, soundness and stamina necessary for success at the top levels of the sport.
At each event the horses receive a final score out of a possible total of 100 marks, which decides their individual placings. Those horses that receive scores of 70 or higher at two events (or more) qualify for the Young Event Horse Series Championships at the Morven Park CCI* and Advanced Horse Trials in Leesburg, Va., in late September. The hope is that in the near future enough events will offer Young Event Horse divisions so that finals will be held on both coasts and the Midwest.
USEA Executive Director Jo Whitehouse, who spearheaded the launch of the series, summed up the association's hopes for the program: "Eventers in the U.S. are used to buying horses that are already competing, or finding them off the track and re-training them. Hopefully programs like the Young Event Horse Series will encourage more people to consider purchasing a young prospect bred specifically for the sport, or even better, to try their luck by pairing up a mare and stallion that could produce a future event horse."
Several sponsors have signed on in support of the series. Presenting sponsor Stackhouse Saddles is providing a Stackhouse saddle to the year-end champion in both divisions. Winners of each division at all the events will receive a "Complete Package" saddle pad which comes with an extra pad and storage bag from Fleeceworks, a contributing sponsor of the series, and new sponsor of the Captain's Commentary column in Eventing USA.
In addition, Practical Horseman, part of the PRIMEDIA Equine Network, recently became the "Official Media Partner of U.S. Eventing" and as part of that effort signed on as a Presenting Sponsor of the Young Event Horse Series.
2005 USEA Young Event Horse Series Calendar
- Jersey Fresh, Area II (NJ); May 12-15 (May 13); www.horseparkofnewjersey.com
- CDCTA, Area II (VA); May 28-29 (May 30); www.cdcta.com
- Waredaca, Area II (MD); June 3-5 (June 3); www.waredaca.com
- Trinity River, Area V (TX); June 3-5; www.fortworthequestrian.com
- CDCTA, Area II (VA); June 25-26; www.cdcta.com
- Moon Rock, Area IX (WY); June 3-5; www.moonrockevent.com
- Wayne, Area IV (IL); July 8-10 (July 7); www.waynehorsetrials.com
- Surefire Farm, Area II (VA); July; www.surefireeventing.com
- Rebecca Farm, Area VII (MT); July 22-24 (July 21); www.eventatrfarm.com
- Gemwood, Area VIII (OH); July 30; www.gemwoodevents.com
- Millbrook, Area I (NY); Aug. 19-21; www.millbrookhorsetrials.com
- Richland Park, Area VIII (MI); Aug. 27-28; www.richlandpark.com
- Lincoln Creek, Area VII (WA); Aug. 5-7; www.lincolncreekevents.com
- Plantation Field, Area II (PA); Sept. 17-18 (Sept. 16); www.fairhill.com
- Golden Spike, Area IX (UT); Sept. 10-12
- Morven Park, Area II (VA); Sept. 29-Oct. 2; www.morvenpark.org
- Woodside, Area VI (CA); Oct. 7-9; www.horsepark.org
Please note that the competition dates given are for the entire horse trials or three-day event. The Young Event Horse classes occur over one day. If that day has been announced, it is listed in parentheses.
For more information on the USEA Young Event Horse Series, visit the USEA website at www.useventing.com and click on the Young Event Horse logo on the home page.