With the announcement of the 2017 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Championships, the West Coast will be held Thursday, September 21 at Twin Rivers Farm (Paso Robles, Calif.), followed by the East Coast at Loch Moy Farm (Adamstown, Md.) that Saturday and Sunday, September 23-24, it is time to start preparing your young horses to be judged at their best. Both Championships will be judged by FEH Committee Co-Chair Robin Walker, and world-renowned horseman, Chris Ryan.
In addition to the regular format of the FEH classes, in which each age group is judged in hand, 3-year-olds in the FEH East and West Coast Championships will be asked to free jump through the jump chute to analyze the horse’s full potential for eventing. Through the jump chute, the judges will be able to examine the horses’ canter movement, jumping technique, jumping ability and scope. This process was introduced to the East Coast in 2015, and was mandatory in the 3-year old divisions at both the East and West Coast Championships in 2016.
New in 2017, the FEH Championships will offer a jump chute division for 4-year-olds as well. There will be several opportunities (shown below) for young horses to practice in a jump chute before arriving at the Championships.
“Based on last years’ experience, it was very obvious to the judges which horses had practiced and were confident, and those who had not,” Walker said. “I would recommend strongly that as many of you as possible attend these functions. Come Championship time, you'll be glad you did!”
Robin Walker working with Patina CF at the Dragonfire Farm Jump Chute Clinic in 2016. USEA/Kate Lokey Photo.
Jump Chute Clinic Opportunities:
Both Championship host farms will hold a jump chute clinic the day before each Championship, to help familiarize the horses and handlers with the process, and to safely set them up for the Championship the next day. More information and entry forms for those will become available later this summer.
In addition to the two clinics being offered the day before each Championship, two more jump chute clinic opportunities this summer, taught by judges Ryan and Walker at Loch Moy Farm and Pure Gold Stables respectively, will be conducted to give the horses and their handles the chance to practice well in advance of the Championships.
Loch Moy Farm (Adamstown, MD) is hosting their jump chute clinic with FEH Championship judge, Chris Ryan, on July 5th. Here, horses will have the chance to practice in the Championship jump chute, with one of the expert judges. More information, and entry forms can be found on the Maryland Horse Trials website. The closing date is quickly approaching, so get your entries in as soon as possible.
Pure Gold Stables (Salem, OH) is hosting their jump chute clinic with FEH Championship judge, Robin Walker, on August 29th. More information can be found on the Pure Gold Stables website. Pure Gold Stables will also be hosting an FEH qualifier show the same day as the clinic.
The jump chute set-up. USEA/Kate Lokey Photo.
Helpful information for the FEH Championships:
The yearlings, 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds will all be judged at Championships with the original FEH scoresheet. The 3-year-olds will also be evaluated on their canter and free-jump using this scoresheet. The 4-year-olds will include an undersaddle class, where 4-year-old horses will be evaluated while ridden at the walk, trot and canter in both directions using this scoresheet. They will be asked to show their gaits and rideability, and then will be stripped of their tack and judged on conformation using this scoresheet, finally they will be required to complete a free-jumping class, and that scoresheet can be found here.
Other helpful FEH links:
For more information about the FEH Program and Championships, contact Kate Lokey at 703-779-9897.
Loch Moy Farm jump chute clinic participant, Iron Butterfly. USEA/Kate Boggan Photo.
About the USEA FEH Program
The USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) series was introduced in 2007 as a pilot program as, what the USEA hoped would be, a successful precursor to the already popular USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) series, which is designed for 4- and 5-year-olds. Since the “test year” was so successful – with more than fifty young horses competing at the year-end Championship show – 2008 would see the FEH’s first season as a bona fide USEA program. FEH Classes are in-hand classes for yearlings, 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. At Championships, 3-year-olds are required to compete in an additional free-jump division. New in 2017, the FEH program will offer a 4-year-old class in which the horses show their gaits under saddle at qualifier events, and compete in a free-jump division at Championships as well.