The well-established BEF Futurity series will include more riders on evaluation panels this year, the 10th running of these shows. A new bespoke linear scoring system is also being introduced, based on the continental model, and participants will have detailed results emailed on the evaluation day.
The BEF’s Jan Rogers said: “The team are working towards developing evaluator panel input from those who have competed internationally, without losing the strong evaluator base and the special competencies they have developed in assessing growing youngstock, specifically foals.
“The changes should make for an improved participant experience, with much more information at their fingertips.”
Following two years’ research, the bespoke linear scoring system enables the Futurity evaluators to give more objective individual scores to a range of components.
Evaluators will key scores into hand-held devices, which will generate same-day feedback via email for participants. The information will also be centrally stored to build up a clearer complete picture of which genetic combinations go on to deliver performance success.
Further developments see Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain (SHB) and the newly formed British Breeders’ Network (BBN) partnering with the Futurity.
SHB will hold mare gradings alongside 11 of the Futurity shows.
Marian Eydmann of SHB confirmed that its members are “looking forward to bringing both mares and their offspring to be assessed in one outing”.
The BBN plans to run a youngstock show concurrently with the Hartpury Futurity on 9 August, providing breeders with yet another opportunity for assessment and feedback.
“We hope to be able to build on these collaborations in future, giving British breeders some much-needed opportunities to be able to succeed and continue to excel,” added Jan.
Futurity entries open online on 1 July, with the first evaluation at Catherston Stud in Hampshire on 1 August.
In preparation for the series, Elite Stallions hosted an educational weekend (2-3 May) at Stretcholt EC, Somerset. Topics included evaluation of mare and youngstock conformation, as well as practical sessions assessing horses using the 130-trait linear German scoring system with Johanna-Lea Flörsch of the Oldenburg Verband and Philly Roberts (producer at a German yard of mares for performance testing and stallions for licensing).
There were workshops on young horse production — from foal inspection to mare performance testing and stallion licensing — as well as classes in optimal production and presentation of horses in-hand. Further courses are planned for August.
This article was first published in H&H magazine, 14 May, 2015