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  • Writer's pictureTaylor A. Flury

YHS Finals

The Young Horse Show Finals has seemingly found a home at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Since the start of this series, designed for horses aged 1-5 years old, the finals have been hosted at several different locations. It has been a challenge to find a central location for these finals due to the international scope and geographical extent of its attendees. Tryon seems to be the perfect location for the finals however; it is centrally located—in Mill Spring, North Carolina—and is a beautiful, very horse friendly facility. Truly, the creators thought of everything; mats in the aisles and stalls, hooks for buckets in the stalls, locked tack rooms, and much more. I believe as the young horse program continues to mature, there will end up being a final on each coast to give breeders all over the country the opportunity to participate. This is a wonderful program that Spy Coast Farm has generously backed. They recognize there is a systemic disconnect between American breeders and riders. The quality, and quantity, of young horses being bred on American soil is disproportionate to that of American bred championship horses in our show rings. The other difficulty we face here in the States is how expensive it is to campaign or show a young horse. As such, many nice young horses do not reach their full potential. The horses that competed in these finals had to qualify in their respective classes at one of the qualifiers throughout the year. A young horse could qualify by earning a score of 7 or higher in the jumping and under saddle class (double clears automatically earn a qualification), a 60% or higher in the dressage, and a 7.5 for the other classes.

Equestrians often ask what is the Young Horse Show Series, and what do they do there? The YHS Series has 5 different “divisions” of classes. In Hand/At Liberty classes are for horses aged 1-4 and judge the horse’s confirmation as well as their quality of gaits. Horses aged 2-4 are eligible to compete in the free jumping chute where they are jumped at appropriate heights for their age, and the judges are well trained on showing the horse to its best potential (using rails to help its form if necessary). The Sport Horse Under Saddle Classes are for horses aged 3-5 and are judged on rideability, the horses’ gaits, and how balanced and powerful they are—contrary to hunter flat classes. Horses aged 4 & 5 years old can compete in the Jumping Under Saddle classes; they have to jump 2 courses at age appropriate tracks and heights. Lastly, there is a dressage division for horses aged 3-5 years of age; again these are not judged like a USDF competition but rather on the horse’s potential for the sport.

The judges at these horse shows understand that these horses are green and young; they are very good at looking past the “greenness” and seeing what the horse’s potential is. Just because a horse has a rail down or bucks in a class they will not immediately lose the class, instead the judge wants to see the horse’s reaction. Two judges worked together in judging the finals in an effort to have consistent, top-notch scoring. Both judges write their comments on the score sheets so breeders are able to understand the evaluation process. Christian Schacht of Germany came over to judge, as well as Jos Sevriens. Jos is originally of The Netherlands and is now living in Newnan, GA; he has been an integral member of the YHS Team since its inception.

There are many other members of this team who make this series possible, and it could not happen without the volunteers who offer their time at the shows. Phil Silva and Klaus Schengber have been the official handlers of the YHS Shows since the beginning; the YHS Series has these official handlers for the horses in the ring as a safety measure. They are very experienced handlers who give the horses a good and safe experience in the ring. At the finals more handlers were brought in to assist with the high number of horses. Included in this were Quinnten Alston and Jordan Bali working in the Jump Chute to round out a great team. Jean Yves Tola of Lexington, KY is the key member of the founding team being the individual who has made this program into what it is today. Jean Yves and his wife are breeders who own Jump Start Farm. As he explains, “A few years after we started breeding, we realized very quickly that some things (not to say a lot) were not quite right here. Why was it that no American bred horses were ever at the top? Why was it that European imports were so much better at the shows than ours? Financially as well, if you did not have deep pockets, you had no chance of survival as a breeder. It did not take me long to figure it out: we simply had no development system for the young horses here (Quality control, show experience, performance assessment and last but not least, no market). So I researched the EU market (mostly France and Germany) and it did not take long to figure it out, we needed our own developmental program.”

The finals weekend is about more than just competing and showing; it is a fun weekend for breeders, riders, and owners to connect with each other and talk about the sport for young horses. The camaraderie between everyone during these shows is truly one of the nicest aspects of the weekend; too often at competitive shows there is a stressful, anxious environment, but not at Tryon. In this vein, on the Friday evening before the Finals, AliBoo Farm hosted an exhibitor party during the stallion show. The chef at Tryon, Chef Dave , and the entire hospitality staff did a wonderful job of catering this event providing delicious hors d’oeuvres in a fantastic setting. Rounding out the culinary delights was the AliBoo Farm scrumptious candy table complete with delicious desserts. There was something for everyone, and no one went home hungry. Beautiful, majestic stallions were showcased in the ring with both young and older stallions presented to the crowd accompanied by music and lights. Each of these stallions were beautifully turned out and behaved admirably. It was a great experience for these youngsters embarking on their career, and it was a terrific opportunity for the spectators to get to know them early on. For many this was a favorite event of the weekend! Another unique and special aspect of this weekend was the wonderful outpouring of support from the community. A local brewery and vineyard jumped in to donate the alcohol for this event and they got raving reviews about the quality of these products. Individuals from the local hunt also volunteered in strong numbers during the weekend, offering their services for scribing, announcing, and running the gate.

Several special awards were given out during the weekend. Tryon International Equestrian Center sponsored the inaugural high point Best American Bred Perpetual Trophy. This was won by Diamant d’Heure ABF a 4 yr. old BWP Stallion bred and owned by AliBoo Farm of Minooka, IL with his score of 9.45 in the 4 yr. old jump chute. He also earned a score of 8.82 in the 4 yr. old in-hand/at liberty division, an 8.78 in the 4 yr. old under saddle, and a score of 8.03 in the 4 yr. old jumping under saddle. Wilbur as he is lovingly known by all, is by Diamant de Semilly who is currently ranked #3 on the World Breeding Federation sires list and out of Grand Rose ABF (Rio Grande x Lord Incipit) a winning hunter mare. He is the grandson of AliBoo Farm’s foundation mare Viva La Rose and the first approved stallion to be bred at ABF. Last year he was champion in the 3 yr. old jump chute at the YHS Finals. Wilbur does have his first foal crop due next year and will be used as a breeding stallion as well as campaigning to the highest of his potential. One of the things always remarked about upon him is his great character.

Nutrena graciously sponsored a Best Turned-Out Horse Award that was won by Kimmel SCF; bred and owned by Spy Coast Farm of Lexington, KY. Kimmel earned a 2nd in the 4 yr. old under saddle class with a score of 9.01 and a 3rd in the 4 yr. old jumping under saddle with a score of 8.24. Kimmel is a 4 yr. old BWP Stallion by Amaretto D’Arco a winning international grand prix horse ridden to fame by Shane Sweetnam before being sold to Katie Dinan, and out of the Olympic Mare Rolette (Lester x Voltaire). When talking with Lisa Lourie of Spy Coast she explained how they chose this cross. “Amaretto d’Arco and Rolette really complimented each other in terms of their build, their temperament (character), and their way of going; they improved upon each other to create an even better horse. It’s interesting because we have two full brothers of this age group (Kimmel and Kentucky Bourbon) and the one that looks like d’Arco rides like Rolette and vice versa. We ultimately chose to keep Kimmel as a stallion for different reasons, and he is the first approved stallion we have bred. The 4 yr. old foal crop was really our first real foal crop, and we have continued to learn and improve upon each subsequent foal crop.” Willie Tynan is the head trainer at Spy Coast farm with many years of experience working with young horses, and under his tutelage these young horses get their start and foundation.

Young Horse Show sponsors Blue Chip Farm, BWP/NAD, and AliBoo Farm sponsored the high point coolers for each of the 5 divisions. Carrasca Z (Asca Z x Calato) a 4 yr. old BWP Approved Stallion bred by Hyperion Stud and owned by AliBoo Farm since he was a weanling, earned two of these coolers; winning both the High Point In-Hand/At Liberty cooler with a score of 9.64 and the High Point Jump Chute cooler with a perfect score of 10. In addition, to these placing’s, he was the reserve high point in the jumping under saddle class with a score of 8.37; finishing 2nd in the 4 yr. old jumping under saddle class. He also earned the accolade of being the first horse to ever earn a perfect score of 10 in any class at the Young Horse Show. When speaking with Janet Flury of AliBoo Farm she remarked that, “Hank is truly perfect in all ways and he is even more special because he was named after my father, Hank Nowakowski. Hank is a breeding stallion, but he will also be campaigned to his full potential.”

Another BWP Stallion, Klinton OBF (Clinton x Heartbreaker), bred and owned by Old Bull Farm earned the High Point Jumping Under Saddle cooler with a score of 8.63. Klinton has been started and developed under the trainers at Spy Coast Farm who have been campaigning him in the young horse shows this year. Irish rider David O’Brien works with Willie in starting the young horses at Spy Coast and was in the irons to ride Klinton to this award. Old Bull Farms is a breeding program run by Dr. Paul and Jeannine Johnston in Nova Scotia, Canada for the past twenty years where they have bred several exceptional horses. Klinton is out of their foundation mare line and they have 2 full sisters to him; this mare line has produced several top performing horses. Not only is Klinton performing well in the show ring with top results but he has also sired several promising foals this year and has more due next year.

Faramund (Fidertanz x Donnerschlag), a 4 year old Hannoverian Stallion bred by Dr. H Von Tiedemann in Germany and owned by Hannah Salazar Dressage earned the Dressage Cooler with a high score of 92% in his 4 yr. old Dressage Test. Hannah imported Faramund as a 3 year old and has brought him along to great success in his young career. He was the champion last year of the 3 yr. old Under Saddle division and the 3 yr. old In-Hand/At Liberty classes at the YHS Finals, as well as being the champion stallion during Dressage at Devon. In talking with Hannah she told us about why she uses this program to help develop her young horses. “This is a great opportunity to get Faramund and other young horses out, exposed, and confident at shows; this program really allows them to sort through their greenness in an environment where it is understood. I also really like the professional and great handlers that handle my horse in the ring here and feel very safe and comfortable knowing they will show my horse to his best potential. I’m hoping to develop Faramund into an upper level Dressage Horse and right now we are focusing on his career.”

The last cooler for the High Point Under Saddle Division was earned by Monticello (Rosenthal x Hall of Fame), a 5 yr. old RPSI Gelding with a high score of 9.18. Monticello was bred by Patty Brantly and ridden by owner Jennifer Smith in the 5 yr. old Under Saddle Class. Monticello is no stranger to winning as he was the champion of the 3 yr. old In-Hand/At Liberty class during the 2012 YHS Finals.

As both a rider and a breeder while attending this horse show, I was continuously impressed by the quality of horses being bred and raised here in the States and the talent they were displaying in the ring. These shows help breeders know what they can improve on, where the sport is headed, and also help them give their horse’s exposure and experience. The judges here are knowledgeable and they readily offer what they know to the competitors and spectators; it is a wonderful learning experience. Lisa Lourie made the comment, “ I really enjoyed and learned a lot while listening to the judge’s evaluations and thoughts when they were telling the audience about the horses during the in-hand classes.” There are many top-notch young horses in the YHS series that show promise for bridging the gap between great American riders and American bred horses. We live in a wide ranging equestrian community and these shows help to bring the breeders and people associated with young horses together. This is a program we have committed to supporting as we believe it will continue to grow and improve, as well as being a much needed program for the young horses. A big thank you goes out to the many generous sponsors who support this program it would not be possible without each and every one.

For full results from the 2014 Young Horse Show Finals and more information on the Young Horse Show Series please visit:

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