Aug 09, 2017

Introduction to Judging the 4-Year-Old FEH Division with Susan Graham White

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Amy Dragoo Photo.

Co-chair of the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Committee, Susan Graham White, judged the 4-year-old FEH division at the Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials at the end of June. This 4-year-old division is new in 2017 and was introduced to give horses who are not quite ready to compete in the 4-year-old Young Event Horse classes an opportunity to compete. In addition to judging the class, Graham White took some time to sit down and discuss judging this new division in greater detail.


All USEA organizers that are already hosting FEH divisions are encouraged to add the 4-year-old division to their events. The new class includes an under saddle class, where 4-year-old horses are evaluated while ridden at the walk, trot, and canter in both directions. They are asked to show their gaits and rideability, and then are stripped of their tack and judged on conformation. The 4-year-old under saddle class scoresheet can be found here, and the conformation scoresheet can be found here.

At Championships only, the 4-year-old division will be required to complete a free-jumping class, and that scoresheet can be found here. Further information on the new division can be found in the FEH Rules document, on page 7.

The yearlings, 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds will all still be judged at qualifiers and at Championships with the original FEH scoresheet. At Championships, the 3-year-olds will also still be evaluated on their canter and free-jump using this scoresheet.

Other helpful links

2017 FEH Championship Information

Horses must earn a minimum qualifying score of 72% at any qualifier to be eligible to compete in the FEH Championships.

West Coast Championship: Thursday, September 21, 2017 at Twin Rivers (CA)

East Coast Championship: Saturday-Sunday, September 23-24, 2017 at Loch Moy Farm (MD)

The 2017 Championships will hold a jump-chute class in the 3-year old and 4-year old divisions only.

4-year-olds may compete in qualifiers for both FEH and YEH Championships at different events, but they must select one Championship to compete in, either the FEH or YEH, not both.

*If you have 4-year-old horses and are interested in these new classes, please do not hesitate to reach out to the event organizers in your Area and ask them to host these classes at their event. Knowing they have interest and support in their Area will help them to add these divisions to their events.*

If you are an organizer interested in hosting FEH classes and adding the 4-year-old division, please contact USEA Director of Programs and Marketing, Kate Lokey. For more information regarding the 4-year-old division, please contact FEH Committee Co-Chair, Susan Graham White.

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.

The USEA would like to thank the FEH series sponsors for their support: SmartPak, Standlee Hay, Professional’s Choice, and Merck Animal Health.

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