Jun 06, 2017

Introducing the New Future Event Horse 4-Year-Old Division with Susan Graham White

By Carly Easton - Mythic Landing Enterprises
Susan Graham White explained the FEH 4-year-old division at the 2017 USEA Young Horse Symposium. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The Young and Future Event Horse article series is being provided through a partnership between Mythic Landing Enterprises, LLC., and the USEA.

As the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) program begins to progress, the FEH committee made the decision to introduce a new 4-year-old division. This new division will allow horses that aren’t quite ready to compete in the Young Event Horse (YEH) Series to still gain experience. Committee Chair Susan Graham White explains that this division is optimal for horses that are not fully developed enough to compete in the Young Event Horse 4-year-old division, as well as for breeders that have talented horses that can’t afford to put them in a training program with a professional. This new division also allows breeders and owners to showcase their horses at an affordable cost.

When the committee sat down to discuss adding this division they wanted to be fair to every young horse and give them every opportunity to succeed. “There are many 4-year-olds out there that just simply take longer to develop so we wanted to give them an option to still be able to be evaluated and compete.” White explains, “This class addition also allows riders who took their horse to compete at a Young Event Horse competition and had it not go so well to bump down and do the 4-year-old division at the next Future Event Horse competition.”

It’s important to note that horses can compete in both the Future Event Horse classes and Young Event Horse classes throughout the year, just not at the same show. A 4-year-old can only compete in one Championship – either FEH or YEH - not both.

A mock 4-year-old FEH class was held at the 2017 USEA Young Horse Symposium. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

“To participate in this class the horses need to be broke under saddle at the walk, trot and canter and safely show their gaits,” White clarifies. The class will be run similar to a hunter class where the horses will walk, trot and canter around the ring a few times and then their tack will be stripped off so the judges can evaluate their conformation. At the FEH Championships the horses will also show their skills through the jump chute after the conformation evaluation. The champion will have received the best overall score in each phase.

Overall disposition and rideability are the most significant criteria that the judges will be evaluating. White continues, “A horse that has quality within their gaits will be rewarded along with matching the ‘type’ that we’re looking for. In order for a horse to graduate from this program and go on to reach the four-star level they must have a considerable amount of blood. There will actually be a higher coefficient for the ‘type’ score on the score sheets.”  

White also strongly encourages participants of this new division to take a close look at the rules, especially the dress code for the under saddle portion. For the list of rules and guidelines, please click here.

It’s also important to note that your horse may be in the ring with more than one horse at a time but everything will be kept very small with everyone’s safety in mind. And finally, be sure to look at the calendar for where this division will be offered. There are already at least eight qualifiers at the moment leading up to the East Coast Championships at Loch Moy Farm this October and the West Coast Championships at Twin Rivers.

Click here learn more about the programs that USEA offers for young horses.

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