Sunday, April 13, 2008

USEA Future event horse program

A sucessful fledgling program enters its second year
Last year, the USEA (US Eventing Association) started offering in-hand breed classes for event prospects, called the Future Event Horse program. The program helps breeders and owners of future event horses promote and evaluate their young stock from yearling to three-years-old. It also begins a performance tracking process that will follow the horse throughout his life. Denny Emerson promoted the idea to expand the Young Event Horse program to include in-hand classes in his Chronicle of the Horse article "Why Couldn't We Expand the Young Event Horse Program?"

The breeder perspective
Around 10 qualifying competitions in Area II and Kentucky were held in 2007, and over 50 horses attended the championship/final even held at Morven Park. Reaction from competitors has been very encouraging. Marie Emrey (Lazy J Sport Horses) attended with LJS Achromatic, a 2005 black Knabstrupper filly. The filly took a first at Talbot Run, second at Fair Hill, and fourth the championships. "I love the series," Emrey said, "I plan on doing it again this year." She reflected that the judging is similar to USDF sport horse breed shows with a few differences. "I think they were looking for average size, decent movement with reach but not wasted movement--definitely a free shoulder is a must. They wanted impulsion but not out of control attitude. The horse should appear balanced from one end to the other." Emrey also appreciated that the judges wrote detailed evaluations of each horse.

On the Chronicle of the Horse bulletin board, Babette Jenn agreed that the judging was good. Her 2 year old filly Eire of Romance competed in classes. "I thought the FEH class was very educational for both owner and horse. They give very detailed and useful analysis of your horse's strengths and weaknesses, verbally and a written page you keep. They also work to make it a positive experience for the horse."

Megan Gillenwater from Kegan Sporthorses took her homebred yearling Paddy (Kegan MacCruise) to the Ark's FEH class. You can read her account of the event at

The USEA event planners are brainstorming how to make their new program even more relevant to their sport. Currently they are exploring ways to safely and fairly show/evaluate the canter. Currently the classes are run much like the USDF sport horse breed shows: stand horse in front of judge; walk the triangle, trot the triangle; stand the horse in front of judge. The score sheets stress the athleticism of the animal and conformational attributes that are predictive of future soundness. Correctness and efficiency of gaits is more important than flashy movement or beauty.

For anyone interested in learning more about this program, some links are provided below.The USEA contact is Wendy Weinstein at 703-779-0440. ext. 3017.

2008 Future event horse venues
USEA Program Description
Future event horse series guidelines
America's Bridle and Bit Inaugural USEA Future Event Horse Series Championships a Success!
Inaugural Future Event Horse classes successful at Wardeca
USEA Future Event Horse sympiosium

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