USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Unionville Wraps up East Coast Short Formats

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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Cover - Jack Curtis and Luska Candy Clover- ©Amy K. Dragoo.jpg

Unionville, Pa. – The final short format competition on the East Coast for the inaugural year of the Adequan©/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge (YTC) series took place Sept. 15-19 in Unionville, Pa. Three teams contested the CCI2*-S and two teams went head-to-head in the CCI3*-S.

The Unionville event drew competitors from across the country, with athletes representing a total of seven USEA Areas. Teams are composed of three or four riders with a drop score for the four-member teams, and athletes from different areas are brought together in mixed teams as needed.

In the CCI2*-S, the Area I team of Lea Adams-Blackmore (Norwich, Vt.) and Frostbite, Audrey Littlefield (Amherst, N.H.) and Prince Renan, Jack Curtis (Beverly, Mass.) and Luska Candy Clover, and Cassie Sanger (Lakeville, Conn.) and Redfield Fyre took home the win for the Northeast. All four team members started strong with dressage scores in the 20s. Curtis had an especially good result at Unionville, finishing the weekend on a 30.1 to post the best score in the YTC 2* division.

The combined team representing Areas I, III, and V earned the victory in the CCI3*-S. Jack Curtis and Playmate III, Ayden Schain (Bradford, Vt.) and Fernhill Hole Shot, Mia Farley (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Phelps, and Zara Flores-Kinney (San Antonio, Texas) and Elusive Dassett pulled ahead in the show jumping phase and held it through cross-country to secure victory.

Farley and Phelps had the best score of all YTC competitors at Unionville, finishing on their dressage score of 29.3. Farley has had past team experience, having competed for Area VI at NAYC in 2016 and training as part of the USEF Emerging Athlete Program, but this was her first YTC experience.

“I think it’s a great way to bring young riders together,” she said. “[Unionville] is a fantastic event to prep your horses at for a long format at the end of the year. Being able to compete on a team allowed us to practice under a healthy amount of pressure, which I think it always beneficial.”

Mia Farley and Phelps. Photo Credit_Amy K. Dragoo
Mia Farley and Phelps. Photo Credit_Amy K. Dragoo

Phelps is an off-track Thoroughbred owned by David O’Connor. Farley has been working with the gelding since 2018 when he was just a 5-year-old.

“We’ve been patient with him so far. He just moved up to intermediate this year and has done nothing but impress us at each show,” Farley said. “He’s a laid-back, smart, and really relaxed horse, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps moving up the levels.”

See full results here.

The East Coast schedule for the 2021 Youth Team Challenge series will conclude with the East Coast Final in Tryon, N.C., November 10-14, featuring CCI1*, CCI2*-L, and CCI3*-L competition.

The West Coast series continues with short-format events at Paso Robles, Calif., September 23-26, and Woodside, Calif., October 7-9. It will conclude with CCI2*-L and CCI3*-L competition at the West Coast Final in Temecula, Calif., November 3-7.

See all 2021 YTC dates here.

(Top Photo: Jack Curtis and Luska Candy Clover. ©Amy K. Dragoo)