US Event Horse Futurity (and giveaway!)

Alright, I’ll say it: the US produces horses that are just as good as the ones in Europe. Having seen and/or been involved with breeding programs on both sides of the pond, I believe that this is true without a doubt. And I’m not a commercial breeder, so I feel like I don’t have any bias in this one.

What Europe does have, that we do not, is a solid and well-established pipeline for bringing up and training their young horses, and a way to connect the talented ones with good riders. This, obviously, helps tremendously when it comes to sourcing good young horses as potential upper level mounts for their own riders. I often find myself wondering particularly about France… you so rarely see a French rider at the top international levels on a non-French bred horse. The same is often true of Ireland and Germany, as well. So if we believe that we produce horses here that are just as good as theirs (and I do), yet most of our upper level horses are imports – what are they doing that we’re not?

The biggest missing link in our chain seems to be in connecting the breeders, and thus the horses, with good young horse riders and producers. We don’t really have a program in this country that highlights riders that are particularly skilled at bringing up the babies, and we don’t really have any program to help bridge the gap between them and the breeders. At least… that used to be the case.

Futurity

New for 2019 is a brand new program, the US Event Horse Futurity. The Futurity is the brainchild of US breeders Laurie Cameron and Elizabeth Callahan, both of which have produced successful upper level event horses (Quantum Leap, in the top photo, was bred by Elizabeth Callahan). They, like many other breeders, have faced hurdles when it comes to connecting their best horses to our best riders. We have programs like FEH and YEH that highlight the horses once they get to competition level, but – how do we get them there? If you don’t already have a relationship with a rider, how do you find one, and how do you promote your breeding program within the US eventing community, to professionals and amateurs alike?

The purpose of the US Event Horse Futurity is laid out thoroughly on their website:

Purpose 

  • To develop a market for purpose bred /produced event horses through media exposure and publicity
  • To develop and promote a pool of professionals who are willing and able to develop the young event horse to the top levels of the sport
  • To develop and align a network of breeders, trainers, and riders to develop the pool of young horse talent in the US
  • To engage the general public into the world of young horses and Young Event Horse Training 
  • To develop a fan base for young horses and young horse trainers

For it’s first year, the basic outline of the Futurity is simple: it’s open only to US-bred horses that were purpose-bred for sport, and are turning 4 in 2019. There are 12 horses entered, and each paid an entry fee of $525. The money goes into a pot, and will be given out as prize money to Futurity horses that compete at the 2019 4yo Young Event Horse Championships at Fair Hill. Here’s the official prize money breakdown:

  • 10% to the breeder of highest scoring Futurity entrant
  • 50% to the highest scoring Futurity entrant
  • 25% to 2nd place Futurity entrant
  • 10% to 3rd place Futurity entrant
  • 5% to 4th place Futurity entrant
  • Ribbons to the Highest scoring horse and reserve
  • Ribbon to the fan favorite entrant (chosen by polling the week before the Championship)

Fan favorite? This is where things get really fun and unique.

We all know that a big part of what makes a program successful is the support it gets – both from the participants as well as from the public. If you can get the public involved and interested, not only is it good for the program itself, but it’s also good for the horses, the riders, and the breeders that are participating. After all, a big part of the purpose of the program is to increase public awareness, and help spotlight the quality of horses that we produce right here in the US. So, the Futurity wants to encourage public involvement as well.

Part of the requirements for the Futurity participants include monthly blog posts or videos so that fans can follow along on each horse’s journey as they aim for YEH Championships. You’ll get to see and hear about how the horses are coming along, what they’re working on, and get to know more about the riders and horses behind the scenes. For people like me, not only is this fun and engaging, it’s also a fantastic learning opportunity. How often do we to peek behind the curtain and get details about how a dozen different 4 year olds are being developed toward the same end goal? Not only is this interesting from the breeding perspective, IMO it’s interesting to anyone in any discipline that has or might someday have green horses.

The blog posts and videos will be posted on the Futurity’s facebook page, and they have an Instagram account that will post regular updates as well. They have already done introductory posts for each of the entrants, so you can learn a little bit about them, their history, their bloodlines, see photos and videos, and maybe pick an early favorite. There’s also a full entry list on the Futurity’s website.

Aside from all the prizes available for the horses, special prizes will also be awarded to the fans that interact most with the social media pages (via likes, comments, and shares). There will also be a winner chosen from the pool of people that voted for the horse that ends up winning. Yep, that’s right, YOU CAN WIN STUFF too! Just by interacting with a facebook page and/or Instagram account.

I am a big believer in what the Futurity is trying to accomplish here, and I really want to do whatever I can to help support it. The program is completely run by volunteers, as well as being self-funded, so having public support is going to be really important. I’m not a rider, and I don’t have an appropriate horse that can participate, but I do have a little bit of a public platform. What I REALLY want to do is encourage participation. I want people to follow along on social media and see how the year goes. I want people to see the kind of horses we’re producing here. I want these riders to get a chance to show us all how good they are at bringing along young horses. I want us all to learn more about what really goes on in the first year of an event horse’s career. So to help encourage more of you to follow the Futurity, I’m offering my own little prize package incentive.

Want to win a “Have a Great Ride” saddle pad from Ride Heels Down and a $25 Riding Warehouse gift card? I’m going to make this really easy, with 4 different ways to win. Pick as many as you like!

futurityprize

Let me know in a comment which entry options you took! I will draw a random winner from the pool of entries (and yes, I will verify the follows and likes) so the more entries you get, the better your odds of winning. And remember – the more you like and comment on the US Event Horse Futurity’s social media accounts throughout the year, the more chances you get to win prizes from them as well!

I’m really excited about this program, and I think it could be exactly the kind of thing we need to help us start bridging that gap between US breeders and US riders. How neat would it be to someday have a winning US team all sitting on US bred horses? How neat would it be for all of us – pros and amateurs alike – to be able to easily connect with US breeders and good young horse producers, and be able to get nice horses without having to go to Europe to do it?

66 thoughts on “US Event Horse Futurity (and giveaway!)

  1. Oh my favorite by far has to be Irie… #3 I think. Her sweet little face reminds me of my 4yo! I did all 4 options for the contest! I’m kbequestriann on insta.

    Like

  2. I wish I could be as optimistic about this as you, but I don’t see the reality on the ground changing anytime soon. 😦 US Eventing has long scoffed at and insulted the grassroots of the sport, and it doesn’t make economic sense for them to bring up young horses when their ultra-rich patrons can buy experienced horses from Europe. I definitely like the idea of this, and I hope it succeeds, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Like

      1. For sure, and I hope I’m wrong about this. I’m probably more cynical that most, considering I live in Area IV, home to the most baffling and inscrutable leadership this side of eventing. Seriously, their decisions over the last few years would make more sense if they were trying to *eliminate* eventing from this area. So unfortunately, my optimism is rather low at the moment. :/

        Like

  3. Vada is my favorite! I actually acquired her from her breeder, did most of her groundwork, and backed her before selling her to her current owner/rider! Second favorite would have to be the other Trakehner!

    Like

  4. I ran across this article recently, and was fascinated: https://dressagetoday.com/lifestyle/should-i-shop-for-dressage-horses-in-europe . What I think it hits on, that many of us miss, is the number of average riders bringing along young horses. There was this culture in Europe of training a horse up the levels then selling, to the US or an upper level rider. We don’t have that in the US. Not all upper level riders are MJ, who want to bring their horses along from the beginning. Many (if not most) upper level riders I know in all sports are good at finishing a horse’s training, but aren’t interested in the backing and good citizen training that goes into a young horse. They want something started and ready to finish. Where are all the starters? Where are all the people teaching young horses about soft contact, impulsion, and general trust? To be honest, we’re missing that training for most riders as well. That’s what the US needs most of all, imo.

    Like

    1. This is exactly it, and that’s something that this program is hoping to help address. It’s meant to highlight the riders and their training programs just as much as the horses and the breeders. Several of the riders participating are not well known or big name. As the Futurity grows and expands, they are hoping to find more of these types of riders and help give them more recognition.

      Like

  5. They’re all lovely babies, but something about Karpe Diem is making my little heart happy. Her face and sweet, bright expression remind me of my own lovely bay mare. ❤
    I did all four options! 🙂 siobhan.gb on Instagram

    Like

  6. What a cool program!
    I shared on fb
    following now on insta
    and liked the fb page.
    I visited 2019 entries page but I’m having issues with it loading its either the icy cover slow as molasses internet here or maybe we are swamping the page 🙂🙂

    It will an interesting program to follow for sure

    Like

  7. My favorite is Comet Chrome because we bred her (major bias…), and because one of my favorite people, Skyeler Icke-Voss, is riding her. Skyeler is not only an incredible rider and horsewoman but also just a world class truly nice person who cares deeply for the riders and horses she works with. Also, Chrome has 4 knee high white socks and a white blaze….just saying…. 🙂

    Like

  8. I’m @theory_of_flight on Instagram and followed on there for an entry! I’m torn between Quiberon and Irie. I’ve been a long time fan of Doug Payne and I know he is incredible at building confidence and being patient and kind with the babies, but Irie has a great chance with Coti too and definitely has that star quality about him!

    Like

  9. Well, Karpe Diem is locally bred, so she was my first pick (and lovely!) but Hunting Stars and Quiberon have some very interesting pedigrees. Have not checked out all of them yet. Liked on FB!

    Betsy in WI

    Like

  10. I don’t know too much about warmbloods and their breeding, but after looking at all the horses entered I think my favorite is Quiberon. Mostly because I liked his name and I am fan of Doug Payne! Also I followed the US event horse on Instagram!:)

    Like

  11. I never comment but this is really exciting! It’s hard to choose between these horses! Initially I thought Hermione because I’ve considered breeding my mare to Concerto Grosso, then I saw Karpe Diem’s photos and fell in love, but Irie, wow. His pictures were good but the video clip of him looks like a horse you could canter on all day long. I also followed on FB and shared 🙂

    Like

  12. I fully support a US breeding program for future event horses. What I don’t fully support is this:
    “The money goes into a pot, and will be given out as prize money to Futurity horses that compete at the 2019 4yo Young Event Horse Championships at Fair Hill.”
    To me, we’re pushing these talented horses to compete as 4 year olds, when, really, some of them may not be ready to. But, if we want to win money, and get our horses recognized, we feel like the best way to do so, is to get them going at this level at what can be a very immature age for some horses.
    Could a Futurity horse be a late bloomer, yet just as talented? I think so. But it misses out on this chance and therefore not getting recognized and not getting the attention it deserves.
    I appreciate the program and what USEA is trying to do, I really do. But I think sometimes it isn’t what’s actually best for each individual horse. There are probably some really talented horses who as 4 years old aren’t going to show that talent at a YEH competition.

    Like

    1. You’re right, the late blooming horses are not typically going to be good candidates for this futurity, or for YEH in general. No program is going to work for every horse. It’s highly unlikely that all of the horses entered in the Futurity this year will even make it to Championships, for various reasons. We’ll find out as we go along.

      Very important to note, this program is NOT associated with USEA in any way. It is completely self-funded and run by volunteers, mostly breeders. They are the ones that chose the specifics and decided how it would be run. It would not be at all feasible at this time for them to have their own championship or their own classes, so it makes sense to utilize ones that are already in existence and widely available.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That does make sense and I apologize for my mistake about the association with the USEA.
        I’ll just always be skeptical of the YEH program, however am excited about the work being put into the futurity classes

        Like

  13. As Karpe Diem’s owner, I am biased and my vote goes to her 🙂 Thanks for your help to spread the word about this initiative that has so much promise to help educate on bringing along the young event horse!

    Like

  14. I have to vote for Quiberon because my sister bred him, but I think there are 12 lovely horses in this group, and there is something I like about each of them. It will be very interesting to see how they all progress.

    Like

  15. I like #6 Hermione M-S because I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd and it was too hard to pick between all of the beautiful babies otherwise lol! Liked and followed and so excited for this program!

    Like

  16. Liked on facebook and on instagram (@katzs44). I like Karpe Diem and also Hermione M-S simply because I am a fan of anything named Hermione (especially my dog). I know nothing about sport horse breeding and my breeding knowledge extends only a little to TB racing so… I’m going by looks and names alone. But it will be interesting to follow this year!

    Like

  17. Liked on facebook and instagram (@malpal0825), shared your post and will likely be back to share a favorite when not at work. Long time reader, have never commented before but this is an awesome idea!

    Like

  18. Following on Facebook and IG. Irie and Hunting Stars are my favorites right now – partially because of adorable foal pics, and partially because of their expressions and uphill conformation. 😍

    Like

  19. Comet Chrome is my favorite. Wits End does a fabulous job finding the right blood lines to create the ideal upper level mount.

    Like

  20. Double Diamond C is my pick, and I followed on FB and Insta because I am so excited by this.

    That being said please do not include me in the giveaway, as I think it would be better off going to someone NOT on the other side of the world

    Like

  21. I like Quiberon the best! I love his sire (and grand sire QDR), and he has a nice pedigree IMO. His trot pictures are quite nice too! I like both Facebook (Seva Perniciaro) and Instagram (@silver_lining_sport_horses) and shared too!

    Like

  22. I really enjoyed the vlogs and it’s so hard to choose just one! I think I’ll go with Double Diamond C. (I liked amd followed on fb and insta)

    Like

  23. I have to choose Quiberon, being a huge fan of A Fine Romance and his progeny! But they’re all gorgeous. Even though I’m not an eventer myself it’s my favorite equestrian sport to watch (and you’re my favorite blogger). I’ve certainly noticed in the hunter/jumpers and eventers that so many horses are imported, so I’m all for any program that will help rectify that!

    Like

  24. I’d have to pick either Quiberon, mostly because I love Doug Payne and I think his approach to starting young horses is pretty in line with my beliefs, or Karpe Diem. Not gonna lie, that one is solely because I think her face is ADORABLE. I’m picking up some Presto vibes there with the star and the snip? I’m not very educated on breeding and young horses, but I’ve been loving your content on the subject! It’s a great jumping off point to do my own research.
    I did everything but share the post on FB! My Insta is emily_suhr.

    Like

  25. Liked on FB and following in Insta (nicnac8892). I really like both Quiberon and Irie, but I am excited to watch them all progress!

    Like

  26. I’m going with Double Diamond C. I liked their page on facebook and instagram. Thanks for making me aware of the program. I look forward to following along!

    Like

  27. Maybe I’m just ignorant of it, but I feel like I live in 100,000 miles from any type of sport horse breeding programs. Imports we do see! Not saying breeding programs don’t exist in the Midwest, but I don’t see or hear anything about them. (Which is sad) This sounds like a really interesting opportunity and I hope it spreads the message of quality. I’d like to cheer for a US bred horse too. 🙂

    Also, my favorite has to be Irie! What a fancy boy! I liked insta and facebook!

    Like

Leave a Reply to Emily Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s