The 2016 Baileys Horse Feeds/ British Breeding/British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity saw some top class young horses put forward for evaluation. A total of 11 youngsters took home elite premiums. These were well spread over the ages and Futurity venues – 5 elite premiums went to foals and interestingly three yearlings took elite – many breeders feel that yearlings are less likely to gain a high score. Just the one two-year-old took elite and three three-year-olds were assessed for this top premium.
An elite premium indicates that the horse has the potential and outlook to perform at international level. The BEF Futurity Evaluation series aims to identify British bred young potential sport horses and ponies destined for careers in dressage, eventing, showjumping or endurance.
Three of the elite scoring eventing youngsters at are out of the same mare. Two colt-foals born by embryo transfer and a two-year-old filly all from Barbara Heaton Smith’s mare, (CAW Blimey by the thoroughbred, Ring of Ford) picked up elite Futurity premiums.
CAWrus Boy (Diamond Hit x Ring of Ford) took the top eventing score awarded in 2016 – an elite
premium of 9.29 at the College Keysoe Futurity. His full sibling Diamonds CAWever attended the Writtle College Futurity for a score of 9.04.
The two-year-old filly, CAWrus Girl (Chippendale x Ring of Ford) came home also from Keysoe with and elite premium of 9.08. CAWrus Girl was also the top scorer for her age.
Owner and breeder of all three youngsters, Barbara Heaton Smith said: “CAW Blimey is 20 now, so we decided to go for embryo transfer this time. She has been a brilliant mare for me and is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement.” Barbara bought CAW Blimey as a three-year-old from Kilkenny in Ireland, she evented with Fiona Cardrick and has also competed in dressage.
Another youngster out of CAW Blimey, DeCAW Diamond, an older full brother to the colt-foals, also gained an elite Futurity premium as a foal in 2012.
Barbara said: “It is very exciting to have these youngsters. All four foals I have bred from my mare CAW Blimey have achieved an elite premium. I had no idea what to expect from the two colt foals at the Futurity although I did think they both moved nicely.” The fourth youngster bred from CAW Blimey, DeCAW Diamond, is now 4 and heading for the equine bridge in November, he attained an elite Futurity premium as a foal.
Barbara is hoping to take all her young horses to the Osberton Young Horse Championships, she added: “I am not sure if it will actually be possible to get all four of them there on the same day. In the long-term I hope to keep and professionally produce them for eventing. My goal is that they all go on to realise their competition potential.”
Barbara is principal of the College of Animal Welfare and so each horse she has bred has the CAW prefix in their name.
Jane Townshend’s, Classictop Up and At It (Up With The Lark x Roviris) scored an elite premium of 9.25 at Writtle to become the highest scoring yearling at the 2016 Futurity.
Jane said: “Classictop Up and At It went beautifully at the Futurity. He has been getting better and better at home and we went to Writtle thinking he had a chance of an elite premium. To be the best yearling in the country is just wonderful.”
Classictop Up and At It’s dam, thoroughbred, Beseeka Dawn Fox has a very good Futurity record, her offspring have produced two elite and two higher first premiums. Jane added: “Beseeka Dawn Fox is in fourth in the Futurity dam rankings, she is very consistent and produces athletic youngstock.” Jane plans to take the yearling to the Osberton young horse championships.
Three-year-old colt, Heritage Arrakis (Heritage Orion x Carnival Drum) was best of his age group with an elite premium of 9.18 in the eventing section. His owner and breeder Jane Marson of the Heritage Coast Stud was delighted, she said: “To have gone back to the Futurity and received another elite premium – with an even higher score than last year – is very exciting. Heritage Arrakis will be broken in and produced for the equine bridge and young event horse classes next year. I have his full brother, Heritage Apollo who is now 6 and I am competing at BE100 level.”
This is the second elite Futurity premium Heritage Arrakis has earned. In 2015 he scored an elite premium of 9.08. He was bred from Jane’s mare, Carnival’s Dancing Dream.
Also taking elite Futurity premiums in the eventing section at the 2016 Futurity were:
Filly foal, Lawford Petite Pomme (Leprince des Bois x Clover Echo) 9.17 for owner and breeders, Sue and Abigail Cubbitt-Smith from Nether Whitacre.
Filly foal, Hilltopstud Fransjesca (Fransje x Diamond Chin) 9.08 for owner and breeder, Verity Woods from Meopham.
Filly foal, Clarissa of Westoak (Classic Juan x Fuerstenreich) 9.08 for owner and breeder, Sue Simmons from Chesterfield.
Three-year-old filly, Angelic Proposition (Primitive Proposal x Inish Free) 9.07 for owner and breeder, Nicola Hazlett from Harrogate.
Yearling filly, Catherston Timpany (Timolin x Tagula) 9.00 for owner and breeder, Jennie Loriston-Clarke from Stockbridge.
Yearling filly, JD All That Jazz (Up With The Lark x Goldsmiths Hall) 9.00 for owner and breeder John Dodson from Great Ayton.
The Futurity is a continually evolving process, 2013 saw the introduction of the Futurity equine bridge which is now being run as an extension of the Futurity evaluations. The Futurity equine bridge provides top Futurity graduates with the direction and support they will need as 4 year olds so that they begin their early years under saddle in a way that allows for sustained physical and mental development. In order to be eligible for the Futurity Equine Bridge all horses must obtain a Futurity score of 8.5 or above and a high enough vet score in the in their three-year-old year.
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.