California Riding Magazine • March, 2013

CeCe Younger
Well-known horsewoman brings wisdom and experience back to Southern California.

Former United States Equestrian Team show jumper and multi-dimensional horsewoman CeCe Younger is back on the scene with 40 years of experience.

CeCe has settled in the Temecula Valley Wine Country. She is an experienced USEF judge, certified Equine Appraiser, Equine Expert Witness, Consultant, Clinician and Coach.

Much of her time is spent appraising horses for donations and litigation purposes and acting as an Equine Expert Witness, but CeCe also looks forward to using her 40-plus years of experience to give back to the sport as a coach in both the jumper and combined driving disciplines and to help stimulate both disciplines in Temecula. She hopes to even bring a combined driving event to Galway Downs in the near future.

CeCe emphasizes horsemanship every step of the way in her training and is frustrated that so many of the younger generations of professional horsemen and their students lack basic horsemanship skills. She sees an inability to connect with horses and limited understanding of proper horse care.

She teaches at several places in Temecula and also at her own place in the heart of the area's wine country. Since scaling back the family business, Banner Farms, when the economy plunged in 2008, CeCe now has more availability for other horse related activities.

She can often be seen washing and clipping her own horses and driving them around because she truly enjoys connecting with them on all levels. Quiet in her ways and unpretentious, CeCe is known for developing a special connection with the horses and that's what she most hopes to share with and teach to others. Also she is known for keeping horses physically fit and sound for many years, which she attributes to proper and conscientious horse care.

CeCe's interesting and accomplished life in the horse world has had its ups and downs. The latter includes having suffered a serious, near-fatal riding accident nearly 20 years ago when she broke her back, just below her neck, after being bucked off of a 3-year-old offspring of her family's stallion, Young Fleet.

That horse went on to win the 4-Year-Old International Jumper Futurity on the West Coast, but the accident marked the end of CeCe's riding career. Fortunately, she was wearing a helmet (which cracked) and she attributes that to saving her life.

In 1993, CeCe moved from Del Mar back to her family's Banner Farms in Bakersfield to recover and regroup. She raised her young daughter Geena, now 14, and put new life into Banner Farms by adding a very successful horse camp and a combined driving program to an already successful breeding, young horse development and sales program. Her famous Grand Prix jumping Quarter horse stallion Young Fleet sired three international Jumper Futurity winners on the West Coast.

CeCe has been associated with numerous champion jumpers over the years. She grew up in Bakersfield where she and her two sisters Lynda and Lisa also rode at the family's farm. CeCe trained and sold whatever horses were purchased for her to ride and compete on. Some of these rank yet talented Thoroughbreds were rescued off killer trucks. When she was 12, her goal in life was to make the Olympic team. Each year her family would put together a plan that would bring CeCe closer to that reality. She recalls the family meetings outlining the next year's plans to accomplish this goal.

Young Pioneer

At 19, CeCe made the US Show Jumping Team with her two Thoroughbreds, Henley and French Clover, becoming the youngest woman ever to make the United States Equestrian Team. It was only last year when Reed Kessler made the Olympic team at 18 that CeCe's record was broken – 20-plus years later.
CeCe overcame what she recalls were her three biggest obstacles during her riding career: Being a woman, Being short (4'11"), and being from the West Coast.

It's taken for granted now that women and men compete on equal footing in equestrian sports, but it was not always thus. In 1981, the International Equestrian Federation still had a weight requirement and most women had to carry dead weight on their horse's backs to meet it. CeCe had to carry more than 50 pounds of lead underneath her saddle in a specially-made saddle pad which had buckshot and lead plates. "It was a tremendous disadvantage," she says. CeCe recalls that the weights took their toll on her Grand Prix horses and eventually broke them down. She did find a silver lining in that experience, however, by learning how to keep her horses sound and physically fit.
Despite the success of several top women Grand Prix riders, including Mary Mairs Chapot and Kathy Kusner prior to this, it was not until the huge breakthrough of the FEI abolishing the weight rule that women Grand Prix riders began to dominate the sport.

In addition to Henley and French Clover, CeCe's other top Grand Prix horses during the 1980s and 1990s included Tandoori, Basel, Barbary Coast, The Girl Friend, Polo Boy, Santiago, Cattrick, Olympia and Young Fleet. Some of her greatest accomplishments included the 1981 Spruce Meadows Masters Nations Cup aboard Henley, Leading Lady Rider at Spruce Meadows, competing in the World Cup Finals in Goteburg, Sweden aboard Henley and the World Cup Finals in Del Mar on Olympia, winning the 1987 Mercedes Show Jumping Championships at Madison Square Garden aboard Young Fleet, being short listed for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, being a member of the 1990 Spruce Meadows Masters Nations Cup Team, qualifying for the 1990 Monterrey, Mexico Nations Cup Team (from which she had to withdraw Young Fleet due to an injury), being short listed for the 1990 World Championships in Stockholm and the 1991 Pan Am Games, and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics aboard her famous Quarter Horse Stallion Young Fleet.

Broad Interests & Accomplishments

CeCe has a tremendous non-horse resume that includes a double major with a BA in English Literature and in Art History and a minor in Journalism from Drew University. Her father, a successful personal injury trial attorney and past president and founding member of the California Consumer Advocates helped to prepare CeCe for her future roles both as a certified appraiser and as an equine expert witness.

Her impressive horse-related resume includes training with international US Olympic Show Jumping coach and rider George Morris for four years during college and training with US Team riders Katie Monahan Prudent for one year, Michael Matz, Linda Allen and Anne Kurskinski. It was Linda Allen who first introduced CeCe to the European show jumping world. CeCe's dressage coaches include Olympic medalists Hilda Gurney and Jessica Ransehoussen. Her combined driving coaches include former American Driving Society president Linda Fairbanks, Denise Cuendett and international level combined drivers Larry Poulin and Frank Leutz.

In addition, CeCe has experience with many different breeds of horses including Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Welsh Ponies, Miniature horses, Drafts, Haflingers, etc. Her own competitive combined driving horses include a Holsteiner, a Fjord, several Welsh Ponies and an assortment of miniature horses.

For more information about CeCe's many available services, contact her directly at 661-747-4394 or clyhorse@aol.com.