British Breeding has announced plans for their renowned Futurity evaluation series to go digital this year as a result of the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the support of their long term sponsor, Baileys Horse Feeds, the team made the decision to turn to a digital format having considered the requirements and risks of holding the physical evaluations. Entries will open on 1 July and the series will run until the end of August. A two-part live training webinar to help breeders prepare their entries are available to watch on the British Breeding website. High scoring entries in the digital series will also be eligible for selection for a new online Elite Futurity Auction to be held in September. The 2020 Futurity series also has a prize fund up for grabs, and significant cash awards presented by a leading studbook for top scoring foals on their register.
“Our highly respected team of international evaluators normally travel from all over Europe to assess our youngstock. We felt that the risks of travel for them, and our dedicated team of vets, scorers, nutritionists and organisers under the current conditions, was too much to ask, even if restrictions were to be lifted sufficiently to allow them to make the journey,” explained organiser Eva Maria Broomer of British Breeding.
“However, we are also very aware that breeders need an evaluation service for this year’s crop of foals, as well as all the yearlings, two- and three-year olds, and we did not want them to miss out on that opportunity. The answer was to create an online evaluation process that would give the breeders the level of feedback that they want from our same panel of experts, including the veterinary and condition scoring assessments and full evaluation process.”
The British Breeding/Baileys Horse Feeds Futurity Evaluations are now in their fourteenth year, the third under the new management of British Breeding. The series provides an independent evaluation of performance potential of foals, yearlings, two- and three-year olds for dressage, eventing, show jumping and endurance. Entries are assessed using British Breeding’s world leading linear scoring system, recognised by the World Breeding Federation and valued by breeders when marketing their youngstock.
Jane Buchan, Baileys Horse Feeds Marketing Manager, said: “With Covid-19 restrictions on equestrian activities, many of us have had to embrace digital communications in our day to day lives and we’re pleased to be able to turn this situation into something positive. We’re looking forward to seeing and assessing this year’s youngstock and hope that the digital option will be embraced by a wide range of breeders.”
Entries for the 2020 series will be required to submit details and videos of their horses and ponies online. The videos will then be assessed by the veterinarian and nutritionist and the panel of evaluators via online video conferencing. “The scores and detailed scoresheets will be available to the exhibitors at the end of each week, and certificates and rosettes will be distributed by mail at the end of the series,” explained Eva.
“While we will miss the opportunity to see these animals in the flesh, and while many of our breeders value the chance to get out and about and give their youngsters valuable experience, there are also many advantages to the new digital alternative. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that the digital evaluations continue to provide the same high quality level of feedback, and the lack geographical or transportation restrictions makes the Futurity accessible to all, regardless of location. We have already had a huge amount of positive feedback from breeders who do not live close to any of our usual venues.”
Highest scoring Elite foal 2019, Finnegan (Foundation x America). Kevin Sparrow photo
Detailed training videos have been produced, in collaboration with Baileys Horse Feeds, to show prospective entries for the Futurity series how to present their horses on video. The training videos and further information is available on the British Breeding website and through social media.
Prizes are on offer for high scoring entries this year. A £5 levy on the entry fee will be ringfenced to create a prize fund that will be allocated to the top scoring youngsters in each age group and discipline. In addition, the Anglo European Studbook are offering prize money of £500 for the top foal in each discipline registered with them, with smaller prizes for the runner up and third highest scorers.
As well as their scores and detailed feedback, participants will also be eligible for selection for the first ever online British Breeding Futurity Elite Auction, which is organised in conjunction with ClipMyHorse.
Says British Breeding director Rachael Holdsworth: “We enjoy an excellent relationship with ClipMyHorse.tv who have been life streaming not only our Futurity series, but also our Bridge and Stallion Event. With their global reach and outstanding reputation, they were the perfect partner to approach for this exciting new project, aimed at giving our breeders the opportunity to reach out to wider audiences to market their youngsters.”
The auction will be widely promoted in the UK and Europe and provides an ideal marketing opportunity for those wishing to sell. Its unique selling point will be invaluable detailed information and feedback from the Futurity series that will be available to interested buyers who can bid with confidence in the knowledge that every entry has been through a rigorous and unbiased evaluation process.
“We are extremely excited to offer these new opportunities facilitated by the possibilities for digital evaluation. The series provides the perfect opportunity for a wider audience to enjoy the benefits of participation,” added Eva.
All the assessments are for foals to three-year-olds to be shows in hand and loose. The three-year-old assessments will also count towards qualification for the 2021 Equine Bridge. There is currently no plan for digital ridden assessments for four-year olds.
The live training webinars was held in two parts – part 1 covered veterinary assessment and nutrition and part 2 covered the evaluation in walk, trot and canter.
Online entries are now open and can be accessed at www.british-breeding.com
Get regular updates via the British Breeding Futurity Facebook page.