United States Eventing Association/Spalding Labs Young Event Horse Series Continues at Waredaca Horse Trials
RELEASE: June 7, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Amy Daum
The United States Eventing Association (USEA)/Spalding Labs Young Event Horse (YEH) Series continued tests this past Friday, June 1, at the Waredaca Horse Trials, held at Gretchen and Robert Butts' eventing facility in Laytonsville, MD. Though the temperatures were pushing 90 degrees, a large turnout of competitors arrived at the event eager to compete. Eight youngsters competed in the four-year-old division, and nine competed in the five-year-old division, with some having shown at YEH events earlier in the season. Rosemarie Merle-Smith's M-S Reddy Fox topped the four-year-old class with his score of 71.15. Fresh from his fourth-place finish at the MCTA Young Event Horse test on May 4, the flashy Appaloosa/Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred gelding stood out from the usual plethora of chestnuts, grays and bays with his unique snowflake Appaloosa blanket coloring.
Four years ago, Merle-Smith of Virginia Field Hunters traveled to Saskatchewan, Canada, to visit some farms with the objective to buy a trailer load of Premarin babies. "I had been getting three or four older horses a year from Canada to train and market as foxhunting horses and thought I could buy a better animal if I got them as weanlings. I purchased Foxy, four of his weanling half-siblings and a yearling by the Thoroughbred stallion, Century's Red, and seven others from other stallions and farms, totaling 13 horses. They arrived in early October as three- and four-month-old very scared babies, and we started from there."
"We broke all the babies as two-year-olds, turned them out for the winter and had them restarted last summer as three-year-olds. I always liked the way Foxy looked, moved and behaved and decided that my plan was to get him and any others that were ready for the Young Event Horse classes in 2007."
No stranger to the series, Reddy Fox gained his first qualifying score for the championships after receiving a 70.38 at the YEH test at the Sporting Days Horse Trials in Aiken, SC, in mid-March. "My sister-in-law, Susan Merle-Smith, and I were planning to rent a barn and house in Aiken, South Carolina, during the event season there, and I hoped that there would be a Young Event Horse class or two that I could start these guys off in. As it turned out, only Sporting Days had the classes and only Foxy was ready to compete. Although I am a little big for him, I decided I knew him the best, so gave him the ride. Johanna Glass did a great job putting it on and had a very fair course," added Merle-Smith.
Having achieved one qualifying score already, Merle-Smith searched the United States Eventing Association's website for other YEH venues, and was thrilled when she discovered that MCTA and Waredaca were both offering them. "For these events I decided to give the ride to my daughter, Nicolette, a sophomore at Goucher College in Baltimore. I sent him to a barn in April so my daughter could train on him in preparation. Although Foxy was still quite green on the flat and over fences at MCTA, he had developed more balance and muscle by Waredaca, where he won the dressage and jumping portions."
M-S Reddy Fox was the only four-year-old to break 70% mark, which is the score necessary (two total) to qualify for the series championships which will be held September 12 at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL, in conjunction with the Wellpride American Eventing Championships, September 13-16. Having now earned the requisite two qualifying scores of over 70% Reddy Fox is the first four-year-old in the United States to qualify for the championships.
Julie Ennis' Vytautas and rider Marty Morani finished the four-year-old division in second with a score of 69.69. The 16.1-hand chestnut Thoroughbred/Clydesdale gelding also showed at the YEH test at MCTA in May.
Stephanie Butts' and Sargent Pepper gained the third place ribbon, and Butts and her other mount Peabody won fourth in the fi