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New series to crown next generation of equine stars at Hickstead

A new series for young horses in the Olympic disciplines culminating in a final at Hickstead is set to be launched this summer.

The Nexgen Young Horse Series has a total prize pot of £15,000 and is open to all four-, five- and six-year-olds in eventing, showjumping and dressage.

There will be extra prizes for British-bred young horses and the organisers are also working with British Breeding to provide qualifications for the Equine Bridge programme at the final.

The Equine Bridge supports top young British-bred horses with the potential to compete at the highest levels through training, veterinary and nutritional advice, and financially.

The Nexgen series is open to young horses in all three Olympic disciplines and the format involves marks out of 10 for the overall performance in each section.

Each qualifier is held on a surface and will adhere to the current government Covid-19 regulations as well as the individual venue’s regulations.

While there are specific qualifying events for the dressage and event horses, showjumpers qualify for the Hickstead final (15 to 16 September) by jumping two double clears at British Showjumping shows at the relevant age level. The final will be 1.10m for four-year-olds, 1.20m for five-year-olds and 1.30m for six-year-olds.

The team behind Nexgen is Uptown Eventing’s Rachel Wakefield, Caunton Stud’s Victoria Wright, event rider Julia Dungworth and German dressage rider Martin Schleicher.

“Having grown up with the Bundeschampionat in Germany, I have a real passion about the connection between breeding and sport,” said Martin.

“The Nexgen Young Horse Series is an exciting new concept showcasing the top young horses of each Olympic discipline in the UK, in one place.”

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Julia adds: “A lot of hard work goes into breeding and working young horses. This series will go some way to recognise that and give both horses and riders a chance to prove their skills.”

The final will count as the required ridden assessment for producers wishing to put their horses forwards for the British Breeding Equine Bridge programme. As part of this, those who score more than 8.0 for the final performance will automatically qualify for the Equine Bridge.

“We are thrilled about this new initiative, which recognises talent and rises to the challenge of providing young horses and their owners and riders with highly valuable opportunities to compete and gain helpful feedback to move up in the sport,” said Dr Eva-Maria Broomer, director of British Breeding.

“We are delighted that we will be able to provide an opportunity for British bred four- and five-year-olds to qualify for our prestigious British Breeding Equine Bridge programme by offering a full Futurity evaluation at the Hickstead final. We are very much looking forward to working with the Nexgen team on this exciting new collaboration.”

The series starts at Richmond Equestrian Centre on 31 July with further qualifiers held at venues across England in August and early September.

Victoria said the series has been a “dream vision for some time”.

“Breeders achievements in the UK need putting on the map and we need to showcase the strength we have in each discipline,” she said.

The title sponsors for the showjumping series is Coldstream Equestrian and further sponsorship announcements will be made for dressage and eventing.

Rachel added: “Nexgen is a brilliant concept and something that’s been missing in the UK for a long time. I’m excited to see where this event will grow to with a passionate team who will bring the UK’s young horses to the forefront.”

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