Royal Tribute Crowned Grand Champion of 2009 East Coast Irish Draught Horse Society of North America/United States Eventing Association Future Event Horse Finals
RELEASE: November 5, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By the United States Eventing Association
Twenty-nine of the most promising young stars of the eventing community competed in the 2009 East Coast Irish Draught Horse Society of North America (IDHSNA)/United States Eventing Association (USEA) Future Event Horse (FEH) Finals in Lexington, VA, at the Virginia Horse Center. Held in conjunction with the popular Virginia Horse Trials, the classes for yearlings, two-, and three-year-old young horses were quite competitive as an array of well-bred horses were presented to judges Carter Bass and Susan Graham White to be judged on their potential suitability as event horses.
At the end of the day, it was the stunning Royal Tribute, owned by Kristen Burgers of Broad Run, VA, and handled by upper-level eventer Doug Payne, who took home the title of grand champion. The three-year-old tall, dark, and handsome Oldenburg gelding wowed the judges, also winning both the Three-Year-Old Colts/Gelding Class and the Three-Year-Old Championship. 'Tribute' scored a very respectable 77.35, out of a possible 100 points.
"The winning horse had tremendous scope and elasticity," explained judge Susan Graham White. "He seemed to be a very modern event type, with quite a lot of lightness off the ground."
"He was very leggy and balanced, and he seemed to have that extra gear," added fellow judge Carter Bass. "He has a very natural ability to lift off the ground."
Lauren Seitz's Oldenburg mare Just About Perfect lived up to her name and nearly clinched the Grand Championship, but had to settle for Reserve Grand Champion for the second year in a row. "Chaiya," a stunning 16.3-hand mare sired by the jumper stallion Corlando and out of a Thoroughbred mare named Quick Confession, earned the highest score of the day with a 78.65 to win the Three-Year-Old Fillies class, but pick up the Reserve Championship for the overall Three-Year-Old division.
"The mare was beautiful, and aptly named, and was an excellent horse as well. She just didn't seem to have the uphill balance and carriage that the winner had," said Bass.
Seitz, who resides at her Whistling Ridge Farm in Charlottesville, VA, has been a proud supporter of the FEH program since Chaiya's debut two years ago. Hopefully we will see this pair, as well as Payne and Royal Tribute, competing in the Spalding Labs/USEA Young Event Horse classes next season.
"There's no doubt that all these could be event horses," added Bass. "We saw many horses today who could excel at the upper levels of the sport, and we also saw many who will be fabulous amateur mounts or lower-level competitors and hold up very well."
A Royal Win
Royal Tribute is certainly bred to successfully compete in eventing, which is exactly what owner Kristen Burgers had in mind. At the recommendation of a friend, Burgers bought Tribute as a weanling from a small breeder in Arkansas as a companion for another weanling she had. "I very much liked Tribute's breeding (by the Hanoverian sire Royal Prince and out of Thoroughbred-cross mare by First Class), with strong dressage and jumping performance on both sides of the family, as well as enough Thoroughbred blood to event," explained Burgers. "At the time, I really did not have any great expectations of him—he was cute, curious, polite and moved very well, and I thought that perhaps he would eventually make a nice amateur eventer."
Because of his size (he now stands 17.2 hands), Tribute was backed at two, and Burgers occasionally hacked him around their farm this spring. "Since he no longer looked like "an ugly duckling" (as he had in his yearling and two-year old years), I decided to enter Tribute in the FEH competition at Serra Valley Farms in Maryland. I thought it would be a good experience for him as a young horse and for me as a first-time handler. Judge Suzanne Quarles was very complimentary of him and encouraged us to go to the Championships," said Burgers.
With upper-level rider Doug Payne in the tack, Tribute's future looks bright. "Lisa Reid helped me pair Tribute with Doug, who did a superb job of presenting him at the Championships," added Burgers. "Tribute will have the winter off, then return to Doug's barn in the spring, with the goal of competing in the four-year old division in the Young Event Horse series. We are hopeful that Doug and Tribute will have a long and successful career together."
The FEH has been a wonderful experience. The venues are set up to put young horses at ease and give them confidence in their surroundings. The judges are very helpful, as are the organizers and other competitors. Tribute definitely grew up in the process, and I would recommend the FEH series to anyone with a young horse as a great alternative to breed shows.
Top of Their Class
Linda Cowasjee's homebred Irish Draught Sport Horse filly, Kilkelly See The Difference, continued their winning streak, claiming the title of Champion Yearling Filly and also overall Champion Yearling. "Cee Cee" is sired by Cowasjee's athletic Irish Sport Horse stallion, Kilkelly All's Well, and out of Crest View, a talented RIDSH who was imported and competed in eventing by Wendy Furlong under the name Dreamcatcher. Crest View had an illustrious eventing career, with great success at the Intermediate level.
The African Queen, sired by Denny Emerson's eventing stallion Formula One, took home a second-place finish in the Yearling Fillies class for owners Wits End Eventing, LLC.
Professional handler Christine Smith had her work cut out for her during the show, handling four young horses, including the winner of the Yearling Colts/Geldings class, Royal Alyance. Also owned by Wits End Eventing, LLC, the Oldenburg is sired by the stunning Holsteiner stallion Royal Appearance, who stands at Virginia Tech, and is out of the Thoroughbred mare My Martina. Royal Alyance scored a 68.7 and also took home the Yearling Reserve Championship. He finished just ahead of Glenda Player's homebred Irish Sport Horse PL Black Diamond (PL Diamond Hill x PL Indy) who posted a 68.45.
Though the Two-Year-Old Fillies class was small, the competition was fierce, and two very attractive youngsters were presented to the judge. Taking the win and also the Two-Year-Old Reserve Championship was Llangollyn LL, owned by Peter and Diane Halpin, a lovely Hanoverian filly sired by the renowned stallion ES Landkoenig. With her score of 71.9, Llangollyn LL finished just over a point higher than Pat Bewley's Catoctin Northern Belle, a striking chestnut filly sired by the RID stallion Bridon Glenmore.
One of the crowd favorites was the pinto Irish Sport Horse/Holsteiner gelding Carnivale King, who won the Two-Year-Old Colts/Geldings class. Owned and bred by Alexandria Fisher-Morganti and handled by Christine Smith, the bay and white gelding (Chant de Paix x Flowerhill Callgirl) earned 74.5 and the admiration of many of the spectators.
Lisa Otten made a last-minute decision to enter the championships, and was surely glad she did, taking home not only the second-place ribbon for the Two-Year-Old Colts/Geldings class, but also the Reserve Championship for the Two-Year-Old division with her homebred Grand O Finale.
The Three-Year-Old classes were tough competition, and though Royal Tribute and Just About Perfect won their respective divisions, the rest of the field also posted stellar scores. In the Three-Year-Old Fillies class, Triton Farm's Hera (Heroicity x Electrica) took second, while Samantha Wallace's It's About Time rounded out the top three.
Highwayman, also owned and bred by Triton Farm, took Reserve Champion honors in the Three-Year-Old Colts/Geldings division, with a 72.6. Lisa Otten's Grand O Tyme (full brother to Grand O Finale) was third with a 71.8.
Special thank you to the title sponsors: the Irish Draught Horse Society of North American for their support of the Future Event Horse program, and also Handson Pottery, Fleeceworks, Foxden Equine, Back On Track, Horse Quencher, and the USEA web store for donating wonderful prizes. In addition, gratitude to Brian and Penny Ross for hosting and organizing the FEH Championships this year, as well as all the wonderful volunteers who came out to support the show.