The U.S. Eventing Association announced the recipient of the 2017 Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Le Lion d’Angers Prize and Grant as Nina Gardner’s Twilightslastgleam on Sept. 20.
“Comic,” a 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem—Royal Child) bred and owned by Gardner and ridden by Jennie Brannigan, is the second North American-bred horse to receive the grant.
Twilightslastgleam will travel to Le Lion d’Angers, France, to compete in the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships Oct. 19-22.
“We are just thrilled with the opportunity to get to go,” said Brannigan of receiving the Holekamp/Turner Grant. “I love the horse. I love that, knock on wood, the past couple of events he’s been very good in the show jumping, and he laid down his best test [at Plantation Field]. For being a Thoroughbred, he’s a nice mover, and he’s 7 [years old], so the strength of the dressage is hard, but he’s getting there.”
“It’s very exciting to us, and very meaningful,” added Gardner. “Most of our Thoroughbreds in the past were sold to be race horses, but I have always tried to breed an all-purpose Thoroughbred that would have a life beyond racing and could possibly do something other than racing, so this means a great deal to me.”
In 2012, the USEA Young Event Horse Program introduced the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Le Lion d’Angers Prize and Grant to encourage the development of future U.S. team horses in eventing by providing them with increased international exposure and opportunity as young horses.
This grant, funded by Dr. Timothy and Cheryl Holekamp and Christine Turner, is awarded to the highest scoring horse from the USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old East and West Championships combined that is qualified as a 7-year-old and willing to compete in the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses.
In the interest in promoting domestic breeding, North American-bred winners of the Grant are awarded with a cash prize of $17,500 to offset the expenses of traveling to Le Lion d’Angers in France for the Championships, while imported horses are awarded $8,000.
In order to be qualified to compete in the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships 7-year-old CH-** division, horses must have completed one CCI* and one CIC** with no cross-country jumping penalties and no more than one rail in show jumping.
“It showcases our horses to the rest of the world,” said Marilyn Payne, co-chair of the YEH Committee. “People think you need to go to Europe to get a good horse, and we’re trying to develop our breeding program to produce top quality horses so that our riders don’t need to go to Europe to buy. This is a great way to show that we do breed top quality horses that can stand up to the rest of the world in competition.”
“It’s part of a pathway,” said Dr. Holekamp, who also co-chairs the YEH Program. “We’re interested in stimulating the production of top quality eventing horses here in North America—especially the United States.”