The USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Championships, presented by Priefert, are fast approaching with the West Coast Championship taking place next Friday, September 23rd at Twin Rivers in Paso Robles, California. The East Coast Championship will take place Thursday, October 6th at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland. The Future Event Horse Championships include an in-hand class for yearlings, two-year-olds, and three-year-olds, with the three-year-olds competing in a free-jump division as well.
Both east and west coast FEH Championships will be judged by FEH/YEH Committee Advisor, upper level Event and Grand Prix show jump rider, and ICP faculty member Robin Walker, accompanied by Olympian, USEA Board of Governors member, and young horse expert Phyllis Dawson.
East Coast FEH Championship and Jump Chute Clinic at Loch Moy Farm
The East Coast FEH Championship at Loch Moy Farm will take place Thursday, October 6th. Klaus Schengber and his team of handlers will serve as the jump chute experts for the east coast, and will offer a clinic opportunity at Loch Moy Farm the day before, on Wednesday, October 5th.
Klaus will offer 30-minute clinic sessions for $60 per participant, with the first fifteen minutes of each session focusing on handling techniques, and the last fifteen minutes focusing on working through the jump chute with each young horse. For more details on this clinic, visit Loch Moy’s calendar of events page, and click on “Jump Chute and Handler Clinic” to register. Loch Moy is also hosting a qualifier event on October 5th to offer one last opportunity for FEH horses to get a qualifying score for the Championship taking place the next day.
Additional schooling opportunities prior to the Championships are available by appointment with Natalie Hollis and/or Kelley Williams. Please contact them at [email protected] and [email protected] for more details.
West Coast FEH Championship and Jump Chute Familiarization Opportunity
At the West Coast FEH Championship at Twin Rivers, Willy Arts and his team will serve as the jump chute experts, helping guide each three-year-old through the jump chute’s free-jumping class. Willy Arts will be available for jump chute familiarization for each horse competing in the Championship the day before, on Thursday September 22nd. All competitors in the three-year-old division are urged to sign up as soon as possible for a time slot with Willy Arts on the 22nd, so please contact the event secretary Christina Gray to register for this free opportunity: [email protected]. Horses of other ages are able to attend for a $60 clinic fee with Willy Arts. Twin Rivers is also hosting an FEH qualifier event on the 22nd, allowing young horses one last opportunity to qualify for the west coast Championship the next day.
About the FEH Program and the Championship Divisions
The FEH program focuses on yearlings, two-year-olds, and three-year-olds, and judging the potential they have to become a successful event horse. Horses must earn a minimum qualifying score of 70% at any qualifier to be eligible to compete in the FEH Championships. In FEH classes, horses are judged on both their conformation and the quality and correctness of their gaits. Upon entering the arena, their handlers are asked to stand the horses up for inspection to allow the judge to analyze the strengths and weaknesses in their conformation. Then, they are asked to walk a 15-meter triangle, and then trot a 30-meter triangle. Finally, they are asked to stand up one last time for the judge to make their final observations.
While the yearlings and two-year-old Champions are named after their in-hand divisions, the 3-year-old overall Champion will be determined after completing the in-hand class, combined with the score of their free-jump class in the Priefert jump chute. Three-Year-Olds will be asked to show their canter, and then have 4-6 attempts through the jump chute. The Three-Year-Olds will be judged in three equal parts during the free-jumping division: The Canter, the Free-Jumping Technique, and the Free-Jumping Ability/Scope.
The jump chute competition will feature a grid made of three obstacles. There will be a distance of 9’-12’ between a ground pole and the first obstacle (usually a cross rail), 18’-22.5” between the first and second obstacle (usually a vertical), and 19’-25’ between the second and the last obstacle (usually an oxer). In practice at home, owners and handlers are encouraged to learn which distances suit their young horse best. The maximum height of the first fence is 2’7”, the second is 2’9” and the last fence is only going to be 3’ in front, 3’6” in back and 4’ in width. Each horse will be allowed to jump through the chute 4-6 times, gradually building up to maximum height.
*Please note the USEA will have an entire team of professional handlers for the three-year-old jump chute divisions at the Championships, but competitors are urged to hire handlers on their own for the in-hand portion of the Championship classes. Contact Kate Lokey at the USEA for more information.
Learn more about the FEH Policies, Procedures and Protocols.
The USEA would like to thank FEH presenting sponsor Priefert for providing a jump chute structure for the West Coast, which was custom built for the FEH program with safety being the main priority in the design. The custom structure is composed of 12-foot long mesh wire panels, each standing 7-feet tall. The USEA would also like to thank the other FEH Series and Championship Sponsors: SmartPak, Standlee Hay, Professional’s Choice, and Merck Animal Health.