The Baileys Horse Feeds/British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity, which began in 2005, is all set to go this year with new venues, new dates and the addition of a pilot section for the evaluation of endurance horses.
Building on the established sections for young potential sport horses destined for careers as dressage horses, eventers, show jumpers and sports ponies in age group categories from foals to three years, potential endurance horses of the future will now be part of the mix.
On a Futurity evaluation day, all young horses are first seen by a vet who will establish whether an equine has any potential performance inhibiting features which may be resolvable, for example by foot trimming or remedial farriery. The vet’s mark sets out whether, in the opinion of the vet on the day, that horse has the potential to stay sound over the rigours of the long competitive careers modern sport horses are bred for. The vet provides feedback and advice on any conditions which may require management.
Following the vet’s assessment, young horses are seen in hand and loose, in a safe indoor environment, and are appraised by a team of three evaluators with specialist skills who assign marks for conformation, correctness of paces, athleticism, type and temperament. Horses are seen standing still, in walk and trot on a triangle then loose at all paces; including jumping down a lane of fences for three year old eventers and show jumpers.
Successful young horses go home with a BEF Premium (graded either Elite, First, Second or Thrid), a stylish rosette, and a detailed, informative score sheet. An attractive certificate to keep and frame follows after the event. All results are published on the fully searchable Futurity site, and afterwards feature in performance records on NED, the National Equine Database.
Jo Claridge, Vice Chairman of Endurance GB said: “Here at EGB we have been monitoring the Futurity for a couple of years and liked the idea of independent assessments of performance potential. Coupled with this, some of our members asked if endurance could feature and we are very happy to have been able to team up with the Futurity to meet their needs".
BEF’s Head of Equine Development Jan Rogers adds: “The Futurity is shaping up to be an assessment system which British breeders value, because it enables them to demonstrate, long before a horse is able to compete, that it has performance potential. It is serving as a valuable marketing tool for breeders and we are delighted that the endurance sector would like to join.”
The BEF expects to asses around 700 young horses this year. Dates and venues for 2009:
21 July The Grange, Okehampton
2 July College EC, Keysoe, Bedford
28 July Plumpton College, East Sussex
30 July Arena UK, Grantham
04 Aug Myerscough College, Preston
06 Aug Sunnybank, Caerphilly
11 Aug Richmond EC, Yorks
13 Aug Heart of England, Stafford
18 Aug Catherston Stud, Hampshire
20 Aug Solihull RC, West Midlands
25 Aug Fountain EC, Aberdeen
27 Aug Tall Trees EC, Cornwall