It’s In the Blood: 2019 YEH Championships

Is there anything more exciting than an American young horse championship? Okay, maybe… but not too many things. Looking at the potential superstar horses of future is really fun. Before we dive into the details though, I do have to say: breeders, owners, importers, riders, PLEASE for the love of all that is holy, make sure your horse’s pedigree is entered in some kind of online database. I spent more than 6 hours researching all the YEH entries to try to get enough pedigree information to come up with numbers and details, and it was tedious AF. Between horsetelex, rimondo, hippomundo, allbreed, pedigreequery, equine access, the irish horse register, webpedigrees, and good ol’ google, I was able to dig up and piece together the vast majority, but jesus H. That was ridiculous. It is 2thousandfreaking19.

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how I felt during this entire process

If you don’t want to enter your own horses or don’t know how/where, send them to me and I’ll gladly enter them all for you. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to learn if we can’t even easily access a pedigree. Also, I’m convinced that there’s a special place in hell for people who own papered horses, make the show name different from the registered name, and then choose to put “unknown” as the parentage for the horse’s USEA or USEF recording. I think I’ve found my new biggest pet peeve. DO NOT DO IT. I AM JUDGING YOU.

Okay, moving on.

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Let’s start with the 4yo’s, and I’ve combined the West Coast horses in with the East Coasters. Same judges, two days apart, so the scores are comparable. The highest scoring 4yo (also the highest scoring horse of the whole 2019 YEH Champs) was Courtney Cooper’s Excel Star Time to Shine, an imported Irish horse by Luidam (by Guidam) out of a Cavalier Royale mare. If those names sound familiar to you, they should… they’ve been mentioned before in these In The Blood recaps of 5* horses that I keep forcing you to read. Luidam died in 2017 but is the sire of an up and coming young stallion that was getting a lot of buzz when we were in France last month – Candy de Nantuel.

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Those certainly weren’t the only “familiar” bloodlines in the field, though. Names like Ramiro B, OBOS Quality 004, Quite Easy, Jaguar Mail, Contendro, Mighty Magic, Heraldik xx, Clover Hill… we’ve seen them time and again in some of the top horses in the world.  In fact, those same sires were in the pedigrees of the horses competing in the 6 and 7yo World Championships on the same day in France. It bodes well for the quality of horse that we’re seeing in this country. Even more encouraging is that 68% of the 4yo field was bred in North America.

There were two full siblings, by Jaguar Mail out of a Primitive Rising xx mare (making them 90% blood!). Some googling showed that there were actually 3 full siblings born that year via embryo transfer, all owned by Boyd.

that time I made googly eyes at Jaguar Mail

The average blood percentage for the 4yo field was 64%, with thoroughbred being quite popular and close up in the pedigrees, as we’ve rightly come to expect with eventers. Eight horses (25% of the field) had at least one full thoroughbred parent. There were 3 full thoroughbreds, one by Bernardini, one by Hunt Crossing, and one by Warrior’s Reward.

Two entries in the 4yo field were sired by what have generally been known as hunter stallions here in the US – Cunningham and Escapade. There’s also one by dressage stallion Sezuan.

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Cunningham (Cassini x Contender) – maybe not such a surprise

As far as scores go, the highest dressage score and overall second place of the East Coast (and the winner of the US Event Horse Futurity) was Double Diamond C by Diacontinus out of LePrimeur mare. West Coast horse Keep Calm, by Biscayo (by Contendro) out of a Numero Uno mare, slightly edged him out for the overall best dressage score by just .2 points. The highest conformation score of the entire YEH Championship went to Keepsake, by the thoroughbred stallion National Anthem xx. Keepsake was also one of only two horses on the East Coast to get a General Impression score over 9.

Moving on the the 5yo’s, I sure hope Tara Tibbetts is reading because she’s gonna LOVE this. The West Coast winner (3rd place overall) with the highest combined jumping score of any 5yo was the full thoroughbred Mucho Me Gusto, by Macho Uno (by Holy Bull) out of a Ghostzapper mare. He raced 10 times before starting his eventing career last year.

The overall winner of the 5yo was FE Celestino, a German bred horse by Ce-Matin (by Cellestial) out of a Betel xx mare. He scored 30 out of 30 on XC, the only horse to do so.


The percentage of North American bred horses drops a bit in the 5yo group, to 54%.

Dipping further into the field, we again see some big names in eventing breeding, just as we did with the 4yo’s. There are more OBOS Quality 004 offspring, another Quite Easy, Riverman, Master Imp xx, Lux Z, Shannondale Sarco, Balou du Rouet, and so on. The average blood percentage of the 5yo field was the same – 64% – with 8 full thoroughbreds. Of all the 5yo’s, 37% had at least one full thoroughbred parent.

Some of the TB names on repeat were National Anthem – who had a direct offspring in each group, AP Indy – who is represented THREE more times, and Distorted Humor. It’s notable to me to see AP Indy show up as the sire’s sire on three horses, all through different sons – Bernardini xx (that offspring was out of a Gold Tribute xx mare), Malibu Moon xx (offspring out of a Brahms xx mare), and Dance with Ravens xx (offspring out of a Broad Brush xx mare). Distorted Humor showed up through sons Understatement xx (offspring out of a Welsh Cob mare) and Distorted Reality xx (offspring out of an Atticus xx mare).

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AP Indy

Lovers of a less traditional event horse – yes you did read that right, there was a Welsh Cob/TB cross in attendance. MFS High Octane has a full TB sire and is out of a mare by Brynarian Brenin ap Maldwyn, the same sire as 5* horse Honor Me.

The feel-good story of the weekend definitely goes to full TB mare Not Ours (registered as Small Batch, by Cherokee’s Boy out of a Broken Vow mare) who came out of the New Holland kill pen as a 2yo having already raced 7 times. Not Ours placed 2nd overall in the East Coast 5yo’s, with the second highest dressage score and second highest XC score.

All of this is even more exciting knowing that we’ll finally have a 6 and 7yo international event next fall. Will we see some of these 5yo’s again in the 6yo 2* class next year at Morven Park? I guess we’ll find out…

15 thoughts on “It’s In the Blood: 2019 YEH Championships

  1. Interesting about the “lost” pedigrees. Isn’t that what happened in a high profile hunter class a few years ago? A high level eventer was sold to a hunter barn, and they “lost” the horses pedigree and competition record so they could show it in more classes? I can’t remember the details, but I think I remember something like that.


      1. It drives ME crazy, too, but not because I’m a pedigree researcher like you! 😉 I just *hate* that people with a ton of money to spend on a horse feel the need to cheat like that, too. “(Blank)blood of unknown breeding,” my a*s. That horse is the product of many generations of extremely careful breeding in Europe and everyone has known everything about it before it was even born. Don’t think they’re fooling ANYONE with that BS and yet the Hunter world continues to accept it as the way things are done. UGH. Hurray for microchipping, for multiple reasons!


  2. I had to look up Not Ours-that’s quite the success story. Question though- “she developed a wind problem”….as in: not enough stamina for races? Wouldn’t that hinder her as an eventer, too?


  3. That Welsh Cob stallion was local to us and a ton of local eventers compete on products of that breeding program. As you’d expect there are a pretty big variety of types despite them all seeming to be TBx but they’re all consistently sporty and fun looking…and maybe a bit hot, lol. It’s kind of fun to see some upper level ones out there. I had big dreams of crossing my mare with him, but sadly he passed away that same year.


  4. Fun fact about Not Ours, she’s owned by a friend of mine who kept her at our barn right after she was rescued. I actually helped give her a bunch of nasal treatments for her wind problem during the initial phase of rehabbing her. She’s been solid gold since day one with so much tenacity, you just knew she was going to be SO SPECIAL! She was also sold directly to slaughter by her race trainer which is why her JC is not publicized:)

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  5. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My love of Ghostzapper is yet again confirmed! I would own a GZ baby for every day of the week if I had the space!
    I also love the Not Ours story and the Welsh Cob/TB! These posts are my absolute favorite. And I’m with you. Let’s start a business where we enter horses into online pedigree sites so that we can all stalk them. I will say that the hunters have gotten much better even in the past 2 years since microchips became mandatory. There seemed to be far fewer horses with unknown breeding at the Derby finals this year.


    1. Woohoo! #ghostzapperclique FTW! There’s a GZ mare that did RRP local to me that I’d snap up in a heartbeat if I had the funds. It kills me that she is just sitting there! I hope my GZ can live up to Simon’s high standards!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not super into breeding (sorry) but I do like to know where my horses come from. And it is driving me BATTY that I have zero info on both Eros and Shiny. None. Shiny was never registered before I got her. Eros was, but it’s all “unknown”, So I feel you here.


    1. Love this ! Well done. Thoroughbred blood and influence gives forward thinking and ease of travel…two essentials for the upper level prospect. Good conformation aids good soundness and therefore longevity. Good prototype gives good efficiency in movement and jump. your research into bloodlines shows the cream coming to the top. If a horses performance can be improved with a better genetic choice and TB influence why not ?!. The Irish Sport horse wins the WBFSH rankings yet again this year -23 out of the last 26 years backed up with great TB usage.. Some lovely horses in the YEH and FEH finals that should be tracked .
      “If you can’t measure you can’t improve”. There should be a database giving genetic identification and a database recording it. The breeders are the unsung heroes and need this information for their choices.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally agree! And a good database would really help a lot I think, both breeders and riders alike. It’s all part of the continuing education – good horses don’t end up at the top by accident. The more we know, the better.


  7. And for anyone who loves an Irish pony, my college best friend rode a full Connemara stallion in the 5 year olds (Doonhill Dancer). He’s seriously sassy and adorable.


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