Lexington, Ky. – Top combinations from around the world competed in the 2022 FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championship for Young Horses at Le Lion d’Angers, France, from October 20-23. The championship is a collaboration between the FEI and the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses that showcases six- and seven-year-old eventing horses at the CCI2*-L and CCI3*-L level, respectively. A total of six U.S. combinations proved their mettle in the strong field of competitors with two combinations finishing in the top five in the CH-M-YH-CCI2*-L and three finishing in the top 10 in the CH-M-YH-CCI3*-L. The outstanding performances showcased the talented U.S. athletes producing quality young horses.
Caroline Martin and HSH Connor turned in the top U.S. performance of the world championship with a second-place finish in the CH-M-YH-CCI2*-L division for six-year-olds. Martin (Miami Beach, Fla.) and the 2016 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin, and Luann McElduff began the competition with an excellent dressage test to earn a score of 25.2. The pair expertly tackled Pierre Michelet’s cross-country course to finish with a double-clear round. Martin and HSH Connor had an unlucky rail over Michelet’s show jumping track to add 4 faults to their score, finishing in second on a score of 29.2.
“He was phenomenal in dressage. He couldn’t care less about the atmosphere,” said Martin. “He was phenomenal on cross-country. It was a tough track, and he couldn’t care less about the crowd and the questions. He was an absolute beast and was even 30 seconds under the time. And then in show jumping, I just turned my body too quickly and had the rail, which was totally mine. But we are just over the moon proud of him.”
HSH Connor has earned several top results during his budding career with Martin, including winning the United States Eventing Association Young Event Horse Championships as a four- and five-year-old and almost every event in the leadup to the world championship. Martin noted that it has been a team effort from Kelly Hutchinson originally sourcing “Connor” to Luann McElduff stepping in as an owner and the USEA and USEA Foundation grants she received that allowed her to train in England with Pippa Funnell.
“I remember the first day I was riding when I got to Pippa’s and she said, ‘That horse looks like he is going to win Lion,’” said Martin. “He's been a winner his whole life. Honestly, he loves it. He is such a competitor.”
Cornelia Dorr and DHI Qyaracolle Z were not far behind Martin and HSH Connor, finishing in fifth place. Dorr (Manchester by the Sea, Mass.) and the 2016 Zangersheide gelding owned by Dorr and Ann Wehrle scored 30.6 with their lovely dressage test. The pair had double-clear rounds in the cross-country and show jumping phases to finish on their dressage score of 30.6.
Phillip Dutton and Denim were the top U.S. finishers in CH-M-YH-CCI3*-L division for seven-year-olds, collecting a seventh-place finish. Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and the 2015 Holsteiner gelding owned by Caroline Moran, Ann Lapides, and Neill Sites scored 26.3 with an impressive dressage test. The duo added nothing to their score with textbook cross-country and show jumping rounds to secure their strong placing.
Liz Halliday-Sharp and Shanroe Cooley finished one point behind Dutton and Denim in eighth place. Halliday-Sharp (Lexington, Ky.) Ocala Horse Properties’ 2015 Irish Sport Horse gelding had a flowing dressage test to score 27.3. They had two double-clear jumping rounds to finish on their dressage score.
Caroline Martin finished in 10th place with her seven-year-old mount, HSH Blake. Martin and the 2015 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin, and Mollie Hoff were just one-tenth of a point behind Halliday-Sharp and Shanroe Cooley. Martin and HSH Blake scored 27.4 for their dressage test and added no faults to their score in the cross-country and show jumping phases.
Lucia Strini (Scottsville, Va.) and Keynote Dassett, Plain Dealing Farm’s 2015 KWPN gelding, scored 39.1 for their dressage test, but unfortunately were eliminated in the cross-country phase.
Learn more at www.mondialdulion.com/en.
Follow US Equestrian
Follow USA Eventing on Facebook and Instagram and US Equestrian on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Use #USAEventing.
The USEF International High Performance Programs and the USEF High Performance Pathway Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, the philanthropic partner to USEF. High Performance Program support is also provided by the USOPC and USEF sponsors and members.