Over 500 horses and ponies from foals to three-year-olds came forward for evaluation at the 2016 Baileys Horse Feeds/ British Breeding/British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity. Breeding numbers in the UK have dropped in the last few years and so less horses have been seen at the Futurity recently. However, while people are breeding less, the foals they are breeding are improving in their credentials for becoming top competition prospects.
A total of 38 Futurity youngsters, or 9% of entries were awarded elite premiums this year. An elite premium indicates that the horse has the potential and outlook to perform at international level in their chosen discipline. Futurity scores are marked out of a total of 10. A score of 9.00 and above is an elite premium.
The Futurity aims to identify top British bred young potential sport horses and ponies that are destined for careers in dressage, eventing, showjumping and endurance.
Check out the videos below:
Eventing Highlights CLICK HERE
Dressage Highlights CLICK HERE
Showjumping Highlights CLICK HERE
Endurance Highlights CLICK HERE
The Futurity evaluators have a lifetime of experience and are all top class professionals. The 2016 evaluator team consisted of Chris Hunnable, Fred Bergendorff, Katy Holder-Vale, Dan Greenwood, Lesley Peyton Gilbert, David Trott, Jo Claridge and Rosemary Attfield.
Katy Holder-Vale has really noticed the improvement in the horses that are being bred in Britain, she said: “Each year the preparation, breeding and producing of the young horses brought forward for the Futurity improves and so we see an increase in the quality of the animals. The breeders are understanding better what they need to do.”
The dressage filly foal, Headmore Valentina (Vilancio x Rubinstein) earned the highest score awarded in the 2016 Futurity with an elite premium of 9.70 for her owner and breeder, Sarah Oppenheimer. This is the joint third highest all-time Futurity score. Valentina was born via embryo transfer as her dam Rubinsteena was unwell last summer, she is back in foal to Belissimo M for 2017.
Sarah said: “We thought she was a bit special. I am chuffed to bits that Valentina has received this Futurity score as we think she is outstanding.” Valentina’s dam, Rubinsteena has previously produced two national champions and two runners up. Rubinsteena is the dam of Half Moon Frizzante, National Winter Open Elementary Champion in 2011 and former National 6-year-old champion, Headmore Wimoweh. Sarah added: “Wimoweh and another daughter of Rubinsteena’s, Headmore Davina have both qualified for the 2016 National Championships.” Sarah will keep Valentina and she will go on to have a ridden career.
The first ever Futurity Overall Supreme Champion back in 2005, Headmore Dream On, was bred by Sarah. By Keystone Dimaggio, Headmore Dream On has gone on to compete at young riders and international level.
Colt foal, CAWrus Boy (Diamond Hit x Ring of Ford) took the top eventing score awarded in the 2016 Futurity – an elite premium of 9.29. CAWrus Boy was born by embryo transfer and has a full colt foal brother, Diamonds CAWever who gained a Futurity premium of 9.04. Both foals are owned and bred by Barbara Heaton Smith.
Barbara bought their dam, CAW Blimey as a three-year-old from Kilkenny in Ireland, she evented with Fiona Cardrick and has also competed in dressage. She has bred a total of four elite Futurity scoring youngsters and very sadly died earlier this year.
Barbara said: “It is very exciting to have these youngsters. I had no idea what to expect from the two colt foals at the Futurity although I did think they both moved nicely.” Barbara is principal of the College of Animal Welfare and so each horse she has bred has the CAW prefix in their name.
Highest showjumping scorer of the 2016 Futurity was the three-year-old, Millfield Counterfeit (Cooper van de Heffinck x Contender) bred by Sue Jaggar of the Millfield Stud and now co-owned by Sue and Simon Buckley. Counterfeit earned an elite premium of 9.25.
Sue said: “Millfield Counterfeit is super, he is a real athlete and looks the part. He won the loose jumping competitions for 3-year-olds at both the Harthill Stud and at Northcote Stud. We just have to hope he does the job under saddle.” Simon said: “Sue and Brian Jaggar are passionate about breeding horses and they have done so much for British breeding. I want to support them and am looking forward to competing this exciting young horse.”
Chris Wray’s colt foal, Kamili (Shuawaiman Al Rais x Cloud Stepper) earned the highest premium score ever awarded to a potential endurance horse at the 2016 Futurity with a score of 9.25. A delighted Chris said: “This result is just fantastic. Futurity evaluator Jo Claridge said Kamili is extremely nice and has great potential.”
Kamili’s dam, Zawadi has bred several foals, her eldest daughter, Takwenya has represented the British Endurance team and she and Chris were the top British endurance combination in the 2015 FEI world rankings. Another daughter of Zawadi, Peponi by Krayaan Dilmun took the 2015 British novice endurance championship with Chris who is hoping that she will go on to be a contender for WEG in 2018.
The BEF’s Head of Equine Development Jan Rogers said, “We are increasingly noticing that breeders, buyers and riders of British bred horses are finding that a Futurity premium is a very useful aid in helping assess these horses. We are also seeing a marked improvement in the standard of youngsters entered in the futurity, which is very good news for the future of British breeding”.
Futurity scores are used by many breeders as a credible marketing tool for their young horses, adding value to a young horse whilst it is still too young to have achieved a performance record.
For more information, visit www.britishbreeding.org.