A total field of 18 future event horses came together today for the first ever USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Central Championships. The FEH program has traditionally run an East and West Coast Championships, and Snowdonia Farms approached the USEA about organizing a Central Championships for youngsters in Texas, to provide an opportunity to breeders, owners, and competitors between the coasts. With six yearlings, seven 2-year-olds, two 3-year-olds, and three 4-year-olds, it was a very successful inaugural Championships in Texas, which was organized by Snowdonia Farms and held at the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas.
Jayne Lloyd from Snowdonia Farms felt very enthusiastic about the first Central Championships that she organized for the USEA, stating “it’s just so exciting! I love the energy of everybody here. Everyone’s had a good time and people have come to me and said they’ve learned something while they’ve been here, which is what we want. The [FEH] program is about educating and that’s what I want to include at my farm – I want to teach people and educate people the right way. We don’t always step on these horses as a finished product. We have to start them somewhere, so this is where I want to help produce the right horse, produce the right trainers, and follow through with the USEA programs.”
The morning began with some lovely yearling colts and fillies, and Amanda Chance’s SBS Belgian Sporthorse, Like Magic WTW (Mighty Magic x Westbound) won the yearling colt division on a 79.925. Christine McCarter’s Irish Sport Horse filly Deanfield Ice Queen won the yearling filly division, and also took the overall Yearling Champion title with her score of a 80.675. The beautiful grey filly who goes by the barn name “Elsa” is by Braveheart and out of Glenlord’s Laralie.
Next up for FEH Judges Peter Gray and Robin Walker to see were the 2-year-old colts and fillies, which showed great quality for the first Central Championships in Texas. The 2-year-old filly Champion was Jayne Lloyd’s Dutch Warmblood, Diamond Follie (Diamond Domini x Gouverneur’s Pardon), who Martin Douzant handled and presented, scoring a 77.375. Jeanne Dolan’s Thoroughbred colt Changi (Giant Oak x Our Miss Brookside) took home the Overall 2-year-old Champion title on an impressive score of 84.55. Dolan bought the full Thoroughbred from the Fasig-Tipton sale, which offers hundreds and sometimes thousands of horses for sale each year in Kentucky.
While the yearlings and 2-year-olds are just shown in-hand, the 3- and 4-year-olds also must complete the jump chute class to end on a cumulative score, where the young horses are judged loose in the jump chute on their canter, and then jump through a line of three fences, with the opportunity to build to max height across 4-6 trips down the line. If a horse is ever over faced, the judges may ask the horse to be excused and finished, or have the fences lowered for a final, un-judged confidence boosting jumping effort. For the 3-year-olds, the maximum height of the first fence is 2’7”, the second is 2’9”, and the last fence is 3’3” in the front and 3’7” in back. For the 4-year-olds, the maximum height for the first fence is 2’9”, the second fence is 3’ 3”, and the last fence is 3’7” in front and 3’9” in the back.
There were just two 3-year-olds for the FEH judges to analyze, and Ellen Doughty-Hume’s Thoroughbred filly Through Osmosis (Hat Trick x Belvedere Miss) scored a 75.597 to claim the 3-year-old filly Champion title and the Reserve Champion title for the age group. The 3-year-old Champion, also known as the FEH Grand Champion came out to be Jayne Lloyd’s Dutch Warmblood stallion, Diamond Davinity (Diamond Domini x Hyperboreas), who Martin Douzant from The Plains, Virginia presented for her in the competition, scoring a 78.93. Lloyd bred the stallion herself and stated “I was handed his daddy as a 20-year-old horse. He was originally from England and I was offered him because he wasn’t in the breeding program where he was at, so I said yeah sure, I’ll take him over a phone call,” laughed Lloyd. “He was a grand prix jumper, 15.3 in size, but a big heart, big engine and I thought he was awesome and he taught me a lot.”
"As we bred quite a few babies out of him, when [Diamond Davinity] hit the ground, we knew he was something special,” explained Lloyd of her 3-year-old Champion. “He was full of personality, he was brave, he was full of sass and all show business from the get go. He has a lot of heart and I’m proud of him today. We’re going to keep going with the FEH next year with the 4-year-olds as he’s already under saddle now. I want to get him really solidly showing before we breed him. He’s going to get approved as a breeding stallion first and then we’ll move forward with him in the [Young Event Horse] and hopefully move him up through the levels.”
The 4-year-old division saw two Thoroughbreds and an Oldenburg, and Ellen Doughty-Hume’s bay Thoroughbred gelding, Two Step Program (Two Step Salsa x Itzcockailtime) claimed the 4-year-old Champion title on an 80.56. “I bought him from Stacey Emory in Florida last January or February as a 3-year-old,” explained Doughty-Hume. “He’s just doing basic stuff now, and schooling some Beginner Novice, but I’m hoping he’ll be a nice upper-level horse. He’s got all the means to be an upper-level horse. Doing the jump chute has helped him under saddle – he’s figured out better how to jump, and I was really pleased with how he jumped today. I also want to thank Lindsay Gnann for riding him and showing him this weekend,” concluded Doughty-Hume.
Championship judge Walker stated that “the quality is better than I thought it was going to be for the first Central Championships. When we started East and West Coast Championships, we had some nice horses, but always some real misfits. Clearly there’s some nice horses and good decisions being made down here in this area, and overall it was a higher standard than I expected, which is great.” Championship judge Gray added, “typically how Robin and I measure the quality is that we ask ourselves ‘would we get out our checkbook for any horses we saw?’ And the short answer for today was, yes we would for some horses today.”
“I’m impressed with the way it’s been organized here, the way it’s been put together,” stated Walker. “The standard that Jayne [Lloyd] has been able to maintain on the side of organization since day one is great, and I don’t think it’ll be long before we see a deeper bench here at the Central Championships with even more quality.”
About the USEA Future Event Horse Program
The USEA introduced the Future Event Horse (FEH) Program in 2007 as a pilot program in response to the popularity of the already established USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program. Where the YEH program assesses 4- and 5-year-old prospective event horses based on their performance, the FEH program evaluates yearlings, 2-year-olds, and 3-year-olds for their potential for the sport based on conformation and type. Horses are presented in hand and divisions are separated by year and gender. At the Championships, 3-year-olds are also required to demonstrate their potential over fences in an additional free-jump division. New in 2017 was the FEH 4-year-old division, designed for youngsters not quite ready for the rigors of the Young Event Horse program. These horses are presented under saddle at the walk, trot, and canter before being stripped of their tack and evaluated for their conformation. Additionally, 4-year-olds also participate in the free-jump divisions at Championships to show their potential over fences. Click here to learn more about the Future Event Horse Program.
The USEA would like to thank SmartPak, Standlee Hay Company, and Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the Future Event Horse Program and Snowdonia Farms and Texas Rose Horse Park for hosting the 2018 FEH Central Championships!
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