2007 USEA/Spalding Labs Young Event Horse Series Championships Wrap-Up
RELEASE: September 24, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Amy Daum
The 2007 USEA/Spalding Labs Young Event Horse (YEH) Series Championships took place on September 12 at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL, the day before the opening of the Wellpride American Eventing Championships. The YEH competition was designed to identify the upper-level event horses of the future, and Hanno (Windfall II x Hulta) has made his mark as a definite contender. Last year the Trakehner gelding, the first U.S.-bred offspring of Darren Chiacchia's Olympic partner Windfall, claimed the four-year-old championship, and this year he came back to win top honors in the five-year-old division. Bred by Dr. Timothy and Cheryl Holekamp, he is ridden by Chiacchia, who shares time in the saddle with the horse's owner Jean Kopperud.
Chiacchia also won the YEH Championships for four-year-old horses riding his own Dibelius (E.H. Michelangelo x Donnata), a Trakehner gelding that he purchased in Germany. He has made a practice of importing a couple of young horses each year, buying young stallions that did not pass the stallion testings, gelding them, and bringing them to the U.S. to train, show and sell. He hopes that the YEH championships will add to his young horse's resale value.
"I've been a big proponent of this program," he said. "Truly my passion is in young horses, finding them to bring along. Also because Hanno is Windfall's first offspring in America, it is very emotional. Hanno has just been getting strong in the flat and carrying himself more, and he kind of went to the next level today. He has been competing preliminary and won his first prelim at Genesee Valley last weekend, so the jumps could almost have been a bit more, but some five-year-olds aren't there yet. He's moved a bit quicker than most.”
Last year Chiacchia also rode his young Trakehner gelding Fantastik to the four-year-old reserve championship, but an overreach injury at Millbrook Horse Trials a few weeks ago prevented him from competing in the five-year-old championship this year.
"I hope eventually you see more horses competing in these classes," said Chiacchia. "The goal for me from the marketing standpoint is that if a horse has done the Young Event Horse classes, it means something, it says something. For instance, if a horse has competed at the Bundeschampionat [National Championships] in Germany, you know that it is a going horse. We need to create awareness to identify, recognize and reward good young horses in this country."
Hanno scored 28.1 points in the dressage phase, 41.38 in the jumping and 12.14 on his conformation for a total of 81.63 points. Leslie Law placed second with a 80.5 on the Dutch Warmblood gelding, All The Buzz, owned by Law Eventing and imported from Great Britain, and third with a 79.11 on Java, a German-imported Hanoverian gelding sired by Laptop. Canadian Hawley Bennett was fourth with a 78.56 on her Thoroughbred mare Gin Fizz (Valley Crossing x She’s a Party Girl), who was also highest-placed mare. Allison Springer followed with Kaiti Saunders’ Thoroughbred gelding Tiamo (A Fine Romance xPing’s Skateboard) who finished with a 78.28.
Ulrich Schmitz, one of four who judged the class, said, "I thought the quality of four-year-olds was almost better than the five-year-olds today. The program is still in development; quite a few riders did a good job to show their horses to their potential, while some rode it like it was an easy novice test. We want to see the horse's potential, not submissiveness and quiet. You could see that some horses had more to give if the riders would have asked for it."
In the four-year-old championship, Dibelius scored a 28.39 in dressage, had a jumping score of 41.70 and conformation score of 12.92 for a total of 83.01. Tera MacDonald and Cheryl Quick's Hanoverian/Thoroughbred gelding La Tee Da (Judge Sefas x Miss Mikimoto) actually scored higher in dressage with 28.46, but finished second overall with a final score o