The United States Eventing Association (USEA) Future Event Horse (FEH) Championships are less than three months away, but there’s still time to get qualified! With many events still on the FEH calendar be sure to support your local events and attend a qualifier in time for the championships.
The FEH West Coast Championships will be held at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California on Thursday, September 20. The FEH East Coast Championships will follow immediately afterwards, returning to Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland on Saturday and Sunday, September 22-23.
New this year for the FEH program, a Central Championships has been added to the calendar to accompany the East and West Coast Championships that already exist. The 2018 USEA FEH Central Championship will be held Saturday, September 29 at the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas.
“This will be a huge boost for the [FEH] program,” stated FEH Committee Co-Chair Robin Walker. “The United States is so big that it’s hard for a lot of people and their very young horses to go from one coast to another to compete at the Championships and get recognized. Having the option to host a central championship is going to cater to the breeders in the middle of the country and strengthen the program across the board.”
Age Groups and Divisions at Championships
Founded in 2007, the FEH program was established to evaluate yearlings, 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds for their potential for eventing, based on their conformation and type. Horses are presented in hand and divisions are separated by age and gender. At the Championships, the 3-year-olds are also required to demonstrate their potential at the canter and over fences in an additional free-jump division.
10 years after its introduction, in 2017 the FEH program added a 4-year-old division designed for youngsters not quite ready for the rigors of the Young Event Horse program. These 4-year-old FEH horses are presented under saddle at the walk, trot, and canter before being stripped of their tack and evaluated based on conformation. Additionally, 4-year-olds also participate in the free-jump divisions to show their potential over fences. Learn more about the 4-year-old FEH division by clicking here.
Future Event Horse 3- and 4-year-olds demonstrate their ability over fences in the free-jump portion of competition. USEA/Kate Lokey Photo.
Jump Chute Clinic Opportunities
There will be an additional free jumping clinic the day before each of the three FEH Championships to help familiarize horses with the jump chute and for extra practice for the horses and handlers.
In addition, Loch Moy Farm, host of the FEH East Coast Championships, will also be holding a jump chute clinic on July 5 with FEH Committee member Samantha Allan. Town Hill Farm in Area I will also be hosting a jump chute clinic in conjunction with their August Horse Trials.
Qualifying for Championships
Horses must earn a minimum qualifying score of 72 percent at any qualifier to be eligible to compete in the FEH Championships. Horses may qualify at any qualifiers in the country, but may only compete at one of the FEH Championships, whether it be East, West, or Central.
4-year-old horses may qualify for both FEH and YEH Championships, but must only choose one championship to compete in; they may not compete in both the FEH and YEH Championships as a 4-year-old.
Pertinent Championship Information for 2018
The 2018 FEH Championship judges will be Robin Walker (USA) and Peter Gray (CAN). Robin Walker grew up riding in England prior to moving to the United States and has ridden at the Advanced and international levels of eventing. He is an ICP Faculty member,and serves as an advisor to both the USEA FEH and YEH programs. Walker runs a small breeding program based at Maute House Farm in Grass Lake, Michigan. Peter Gray has competed in the Olympics twice in eventing and has worked as the national coach for Venezuela, Canada, and Colombia. He is also a USEF “R” judge, has served on the USEA Board of Governors, and has been heavily involved with both the FEH and YEH programs as a judge and committee member.
The USEA will also be providing a professional handling team in the jump chute at each of the Championships led by Klaus Schengber.
The yearlings, 2-year-olds, and 3-year-olds will all still be judged at Championships with the original FEH scoresheet. The 3-year-olds will also still be evaluated on their canter and free-jump using this scoresheet. To learn more about the FEH classes, be sure to read the rules and some tips for competitors and handlers to be as prepared as you can be.