Stricter rules will be in place for this year’s British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity evaluations, a nationwide scheme for the assessment of youngstock.
New rules this year mean that, with some exceptions, only offspring by graded stallions will be allowed to participate.
“This rule change has been under discussion for four years,” said Jan Rogers from the BEF.
“We want to make it as inclusive as possible, but are looking to improve the quality of breeding.
“It is sensible to start with the sires, as they have a greater outreach and – generally speaking – if they are proven by assessment, competition and progeny they should be genetically better, which will benefit the breeding industry.
“Obviously, there will be exceptions, but we want to encourage people to use graded stallions.”
A Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain spokesman welcomed the change.
“Anything that encourages people to use graded stallions and breed from the best is a good idea,” she said.
But Henk Minderman of the Anglo European Studbook told H&H: “If it is the BEF Futurity then I think it should be open to everyone. This seems all very exclusive.”
And one H&H forum user, Millitiger, said: “I think by bringing in the graded stallion rule, they are limiting the pool of potential horses and may miss out on some super ones who are no less great because their sire doesn’t have a bit of paper decided by another set of opinions.”
Forum user Eventrider23 added: “I disagree with the new ruling. I feel it is very elitest and only a short step away from them insisting that all mares must be graded as well, which, while in an ideal world would be great, is just not feasible here.”
Entries for 2012 opened last Friday (1 June) and evaluations for foals, yearlings, two-year-olds and three-year-olds will run from 10 July until 5 September.
Horses and ponies that were entered into Futurity in years prior to 2012, whether or not their sires fulfil the eligibility criteria, will be permitted to re-enter.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (7 June 2012)