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denny
Feb. 28, 2008, 09:07 AM
We just had a conference call with USEA and Bruce and Staci Griffin about how possibly to differentiate our eventing Future Event Horse classes from similar ones oriented at mainly dressage horses.
It was Bruce`s thought that we need to figure out a safe way to show the canter, since the canter/gallop is so key to the event horse.
The thought is to not have the canter at the various qualifiers, at least this coming year, but to get some sort of moveable pen/corral for the finals in the fall so that gait can be shown.
Yes, when youngsters are turned loose, even in a safe arena, there is a degree of risk.
But is that risk minimal enough to justify letting the judges have a more total picture of the young horses?
Thoughts, comments, suggestions???

mbj
Feb. 28, 2008, 09:19 AM
I really like the idea. Perhaps it could be tried out at a venue with an indoor such as Waradaca? Certainly breed inspections have had horses moving free for years.

eqsiu
Feb. 28, 2008, 09:22 AM
I think it is a good idea. I have been to many warmblood mare/foal inspections and the foals are shown at liberty. TB mares are shown at liberty for hanoverian inspections. I think as long as the area itself is safe and free from hazards it would be fine. Even a fenced arena should work. Perhaps 3 year olds could also jump through a chute at the finals?

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Feb. 28, 2008, 09:35 AM
At the Dublin Horse Show last year they brought in consultants from one of the verbands (Dutch, maybe?) to help make their free jumping safe and effective.

They turned one of their smaller rings into a hitchcock (sp?) pen, complete with some system for swinging a gate so the horse could start in the center and survey the scene before being diverted into the oval lane.Might be worth checking with Dublin and/or some inspection experts to get some advice.

Something I've seen at Hilltop Farm is they have these fabulous prtable panels which are light enough for me to carry one by myself, but between 4 and 5 feet tall and substantial enough they aren't tempting to jump. Made of 2X4s primarily. Much easier to work with than spare standards and poles, anda they don't look like jumps. ;) I bet enough might tuck into a horse trailer to make it not too difficult to transport between venues, is USEA or a group of organizers were so inclined to make a set.

mademoiselle
Feb. 28, 2008, 09:48 AM
Denny,

I was just thinking about that exact same thing the other day. I was thinking that it was weird that we would judge eventing horses without seing their canter.

At the different stallion inspections and breed inspections (BWP, AWR, RPSI) they always turn the horses loose after presenting them in hand. And so far, I haven't seen anything bad happened.

I just have one question. When I think about these breed inspections, I remember that most of the babies were pretty up and it translated in a very bouncy/choppy cross cantering type of canter that is very hard to judge.

In France, we also have classes open for young stock and they pretty much build a chute (it's right in between the size of a small dressage arena and a round pen), and they turn them free in it. If you want, I can provide you some pictures. The good thing with that system is that it's safe for the horses, the handlers and the judges. It doesn't take forever to catch the horsie ;) and the panel are so high that I have yet to see a horse who would try to jump out of it. They also can't pick up to much speed and work themself into a frenzie

denny
Feb. 28, 2008, 09:54 AM
The main contact person for this at USEA is Emily Dailey.
She`s at the nat`l office,703-779-0440, extension 3015, (or email her there), and is probably the best bet to bounce ideas off of.
These programs are often works in progress, and we`re always looking for input.

SueL
Feb. 28, 2008, 10:02 AM
I can't imagine evaluating an event prospect w/o evaluating the canter! <hair standing on end>

And that goes for jumpers too.

Things that can be improved - in order - the trot - easy to improve. The jump - use gymnastics. The canter. And then the walk. I would equate the walk and the canter fairly equally.

I tend to look at the walk with babies. If they can walk, they likely can canter pretty well. So that's a starting place.

I think there are safe ways to evaluate the canter/gallop. We need to explore those options.

Sue, who has a nice Oirish horse with a good canter (why we picked him out) but still a gawky baby

frugalannie
Feb. 28, 2008, 10:15 AM
Hmmm. Just throwing some wild ideas out there...

Does anyone else teach their babies to pony? When we start riding the mares, the babies come along and stick to their mommies like glue. By the time the mare is fit enough to canter, the foals are coming along and enjoying it as well. After weaning, they transition to being ponied off of other horses. But I suppose that woudn't work to show the canter in the FEH because it would disadvantage those that didn't have a dependable lead horse. And I would never, ever suggest doing it with a horse you and your youngster don't know.

Is it reasonable to ask a 2 year old (if not a yearling) to W/T/C on a 25 meter lunge line? I have to say, all of mine know how to at least W/T by the time they are long yearlings, and they all know canter by the time they are two. I don't suggest doing it in an open field, nor repeatedly, but within some enclosure would it be considered a reasonable request?

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 28, 2008, 11:31 AM
I think that a large round pen might work or an indoor if precautions are taken (like blocking off mirrors). The small indoor at Morvan might be suitable.

I remember when Bruce came out of the ring with Muggle at the finals at Morven saying to Staci that it was really ashame that we can't show their canter since that was his best gait. I really didn't think he won since he was trotting more like a giraffe (he was very aware of the horses walking down the road by the ring). As a three year old....I would have been able to show his canter on the lunge line (in fact I had to lunge him that day before his first class to take out some of his woohoos so that Bruce could keep a hold of him!) but that really wouldn't have worked for anything younger.


And while I do think that the canter is most important....it is going to be hard to judge. The way a yearling canters v. a three year old are pretty different. It will take a lot of training on the judges part but that is doable.

Perhaps Bruce could run faster:D Just kidding!

Kanga
Feb. 28, 2008, 11:56 AM
Cantering is clearly something that should be a part of this series, especially at the finals. This is one reason we need to have an enclosed area for our finals this year. The indoor at Morven is used for vendors so we were unable to use it last year (we did ask!).

I don't think that cantering is something that will be able to be done at every show. I think if we are going to have some kind of protocol for this series we must have the same thing happening at all shows. I know for a fact the 2 shows that we organize at River Glen & Champagne Run are unable to offer enclosed areas. We would have to have someone traveling around being able to haul these dividers to all the shows for something like that to work as mentioned above. Most likely all the venues offering these classes would not be willing to purchase them. I think the dividers are something that would need to travel to each event. In my opinion that is going to be hard to do.

What we should be able to do is have the finals in a place where it is feasible to be able to canter the horses. I would like the option of being able to show the horse at liberty OR put them on the lunge. My 3 year old lunges great and I would much prefer to do that then set him loose.

This is an area that needs many ideas put on the table, thanks Denny for posting this and everyone keep all the input coming.

denny
Feb. 28, 2008, 12:02 PM
Kanga, would you be kind enough to explain here what`s involved in hosting one of these?
I know Area One is low on these, and I`m trying to help get things going, possibly at GMHA, maybe even at our farm in Strafford, Vt.
But we all need input from those who have already done them.

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 28, 2008, 12:09 PM
I agree that perhaps that the canter could just be shown at the finals.

Is there someone that could donate the use of a large round pen just for the finals or could one be rented? That might be most fair so that if you want to keep your baby on a lunge line...you could do it in the round pen or if you felt better turning them loose, that was an option as well. I think the biggest thing would be making sure that whatever pen is used is large enough (bigger then 20m across) and can be set onto footing.


Alternatively, if there is an enclosed ring....could we set up a shoot like a jumping shoot but without the jumps? That might be something that could be done and most host locations.

mademoiselle
Feb. 28, 2008, 12:15 PM
Alternatively, if there is an enclosed ring....could we set up a shoot like a jumping shoot but without the jumps? That might be something that could be done and most host locations.

It's what I have seen done and it's not that hard. IMO, it shows the gaits better than a round pen or even longeing.

Here is my problem with longeing. I'm afraid that when the series gets more and more competitive and we have more and more entries, people are going to 'prep' their horse more and more. And between you and me, even if I agree that teaching them to longe is a good thing, it's an open door towards some sort of abuse from people who don't know better. And I don't want to start seing some 3YO longed to the ground so they look more balanced and better at a show.

I know that being free longed expose the horses to more risk, but I feel that it's more natural, therefore less chance to see some abuse down the road.

We should try to target the kind of setting they have for the big WB auctions in Europe. They always have some 1,2 and 3 YO shown free (they don't always jump), but they use a chute type of enclosure. All you need is an indoor with good footing and some pannels.

Kanga
Feb. 28, 2008, 12:45 PM
Hi Denny. This is Evan.. Couple things....

1. Last year we put on the two southeast shows at Events at KHP and River Glen (TN). River Glen was already holding YEH classes so Event Organizer was happy to hold the FEH horses in conjunction with the 4 & 5 yo's. As you know, the only space needed is an arena (preferably enclosed) perhaps 30-40 meters wide to hold the larger of the two triangles. A second warmup area is also needed where colt/geldings are warmed up a distance from the fillies. The organizer buys the ribbons (1st-5th/6th per age per sex - depending upon # of entries). In the perfect world, the top two yearling, 2yo, and 3yo of each sex, then compete for top colt/gelding champion and filly champion. Finally, champion & reserve champion on each side compete for show champion and reserve champion. River Glen utilized existing YEH judge to judge FEH classes. I am not sure if the event paid the judge extra money, but would gather they did.

At Champagne Run @ KHP, Wayne Quarles judged the FEH group - there was no YEH class scheduled, but he was already judging the Event itself. I obtained sponsorship from a local tack store to cover costs of ribbons and hung their tack store banner around the arena. The class was held in the Mary Rena Murphy arena with no problem. I called many local sport horse breeders to inform them of the show.

But as you know and were in attendance at our initial symposium at the Fork, some marketing had already been done. To get the horses to the Fork, again I picked up the phone and made calls to breeders in the NC, SC & TN area to see if they would be interested in attendance.

The success of the Fork Symposium brought about the ease of putting on a demonstration at Rolex Friday lunchtime. Janie was more than happy to allow this to happen, and is allowing us to do so once again Friday lunchtime this April.

2. I'm working on an email letter to FEH committee members regarding among other issues, the canter. I understand that the there are people who believe, and rightfully so, that the youngster should be shown at the canter. The issue is, as already has been mentioned, safety. Though I am unaware of such things, I wonder if Organizer's insurance premiums would increase.

3. As for jumping I could envision building a chute for free jumping the three-year olds only and only at the Finals.

I'll be in contact. Thanks again,
Evan Haller

Oakmont Sporthorses
Feb. 28, 2008, 12:59 PM
I agree with Kanga that the first step is to get the canter shown at the finals. People should have the option of showing the horse at liberty or on a lunge, according to their comfort level and the horse's current balance/ability (I've had a few young horses who, in hindsight, might not have been able to canter a 20-m circle in an attractive, balanced manner without falling down, with their hindquarters inches higher than their withers!).

I'm very reluctant to introduce lunging into the FEH program as an option at any level other than the finals. As was mentioned earlier in this thread, people tend to get carried away when producing a young horse. I have neighbors who show their young QHs in the QH lunging futurities and those horses are out their in their full body armor (blanket, neck wrap, hood, leg wraps, etc.) lunging EVERY SINGLE DAY, for a LONG time (plus the hot walker before and after). I know a lot of QH farms whose young horses are getting joint injections in nearly every joint by the time they're in the 3-yr-old and 4-yr-old ridden futurities, and they're fully broken down by the time they're 5/6 yrs. Although I would like to think we're better horse people, there will always be people who will overdo things to increase the chance to WIN, and we need to think about the best way to evaluate our youngstock while letting them be just that...youngstock with potential to be top competition horses.

We have the first step...the competitions are being established and breeders/owners are learning about the program and how to show and handle young horses. I don't think we should make the process too complicated too quickly. We need to get our organizers comfortable with young horse classes. I've heard complaints from England that some of the BYEH classes are now being judged too much on looks and not enough on potential? Perhaps we should think about having one of the two judges for the finals be a upper-level competitior or a top breeder (from overseas) with experience/knowledge in evaluating and selecting young stock. The other judge could be a licensed judge here in the US, but it would perhaps give the judging a bit more credibility from an eventer's point of view?

For those people who like the idea of jumping chutes for the young horses, perhaps that's something that could be considered as a separate optional class at the finals. One more point -- I'm sure that some people have some of their 3-yr-olds under saddle already by finals time, and I can forsee a point in the future where someone will want to show their 3-yr-olds under saddle instead of at liberty or on a lunge line. I am VERY strongly against this - I think it is NOT a good idea in the main class, as then people will start trying to hire the best pro for the ride, and it will turn into something like the International Hunter Futurity, where the pros are frantically trying to train the young horses the day before the finals, in an effort to make it look good under saddle quickly. If it ever became an issue, an optional class (like the free jumping) could be held after the finals.

tom
Feb. 28, 2008, 01:01 PM
No matter the age of the horse (beginning soon after birth) no evaluation of a sport horse prospect for any Olympic discipline has any worth or value without an assessment of the canter.

This is so fundamental a characteristic that if a venue cannot provide the means to permit a horse to safely canter at liberty the venue should not be used.

LisaB
Feb. 28, 2008, 01:04 PM
I've been pondering this YEH series ever since I saw the AEC's. Why? Because some of the riders really bothered me. They were slamming and cramming these youngsters around. I know that if I were shopping on the high end market, I wouldn't want a young horse going to all these events. A few, yes, and it would depend on how the horse was trained but I was bothered on who was placed in the end. I would think making a jump chute for 3 year olds would have these riders practicing the jump chute ad nauseum. That doesn't make for good long term training in the end.
The tests on paper are great. They are fine for the age of the horse. But the riders turn around and go way beyond that, IMHO.
I've seen here and there various forms of showing the canter. Mostly, they are in an indoor and let them go. This was after they've been in the arena doing whatever was required of them.

eqsiu
Feb. 28, 2008, 01:09 PM
I certainly don't think 3 year olds need to be shown under saddle, and I think cantering at liberty would be vastly preferable to cantering on the lunge. Frankly, the canter is used to judge the quality of the gallop, and you can show a good working canter free much better than you can show potential on the lunge. I think an enclosed arena is better for this than a round pen, because you can see the horse open up a bit down the long side. And that is something that you can't drill so it would not encourage over working babies.

I suggested a jumping chute specifically for 3 year olds at the finals. I think at that point the horses would be of similar enough quality that a jumping eval would be helpful in the judging.

Kanga
Feb. 28, 2008, 01:13 PM
TOM -

Just a quick reply here. This UNFORTUNATELY is not like Ireland. We don't have indoors at all our venues like you do over there. We are going to have to come up with something that will work in this country to show the canter safely.

I think we will horribly limit ourselves in the expansion of this series if we were to only hold this series where there are indoors available. I agree in the perfect world that is what we want but we don't live in that world and have to come up with other ways to make this work safely.

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 28, 2008, 01:15 PM
Just to clarify....I suggested a jumping shoot WITHOUT jumps. I just meant a similar set up so that the youngsters were not blasting around on tight turns. It would be a way to perhaps show them at liberty but still maintain a bit of control.

I don't jump my three year olds very much at all...if at all. Muggle free schoolled once at the end of his three year old year. I also don't lunge them much or work them hard in a round pen. Muggle knew how to lunge as a three year old and at the finals I only lunged him long enough to make sure he wasn't going to be an idiot and drag his handler (about 5 minutes each direction)...and perhaps give his handler a chance to show his walk since he had JIGGED the entire time at his outing at Fair Hill and showed no walk at all...the finals were only his thrid time off the farm. And I agree, I would not want to much lunging because I too would be afraid of people taking it too far. We are already seeing some folks doing a ton of prep work for the YEH classes that has me concerned...I would not want it encouraged any more.

As these events catch on...I do think that there will be some people who get very competitive. I wasn't one of those and just brought Muggle out because to me...he was exactly what I would look for in a Rolex prospect and he needed some experience getting off the farm.

I personally am not in favor of showing them over fences in any manner under at the ages of three and under.

Oakmont Sporthorses
Feb. 28, 2008, 01:25 PM
No matter the age of the horse (beginning soon after birth) no evaluation of a sport horse prospect for any Olympic discipline has any worth or value without an assessment of the canter.

This is so fundamental a characteristic that if a venue cannot provide the means to permit a horse to safely canter at liberty the venue should not be used.

How do they do it in Ireland? Do they have a set up at every show where they have in-hand classes (or only for eventing suitability classes)? I haven't personally attended any competitions overseas, but from the pictures I've seen in Horse & Hound, it looks like most of the young horse classes in England are judged in a large grass arena, in hand. I'll have to talk to some breeders in England to see exactly what the requirements are for the venue in the young horse classes there... If there's specific guidelines for classes in Ireland, it would be great to have a link to a website (or a phone number) so we can find out how things are handled there to minimize risks to competitors, horses, and management.

mademoiselle
Feb. 28, 2008, 01:33 PM
Ok, Forget the fact that the horse is free jumping, I don't want the FEH to turn into Free jumping competition.

But just look at the size and the type of setting the horse is in. That's something that in my opinion should be pretty easy to use. You could even install one in the dressage arena.

It's bigger than a roundpen, but it still not a huge arena where the horse can get out of control.

I know that they use this type of arenas a lot in Europe.

What do you think : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md3m1h1vf4U&feature=related

RiverBendPol
Feb. 28, 2008, 02:04 PM
Denny-
In thinking about venues in Area 1, it seems to me almost every one has either an indoor or a fenced area where a CANTERING (not for jumping) chute could be assembled for the babies. I really prefer this option to a round pen or lunge line. The idea of lunging 2-3 year olds makes my hair stand up because the more competitive the FEH becomes, the more SOME breeders will pound their babies. I agree that seeing the canter is an important part of the judging of youngsters but, as with the YEH series, I really fret about young horses being overtaxed. As is so often the case with experienced horses, the training, not the actual competition, is what does them in and I fear this for the young competitors.

Kanga
Feb. 28, 2008, 02:16 PM
RiverBendPol -

You are very correct as with Oakmont about the pounding that some people will do to their youngsters to try and perfect their canter in a round pen or on the lunge. I don't want to see that happen either. I think training a horse to lunge can be done properly and this won't happen, however that is not going to be the case for everyone. I KNOW THAT!

What I feel the issue is by what several of you have suggested is...Do some venues show the canter in a shoot?? and some venues don't because there is not access to put one up?? I think we have to have something across the board that is going to work for all venues that want to host these shows. If someone has to cart around all these dividers (or jump shoot) to each show, who will be doing that?

Are we going to require all the venues to purchase these jump shoots to show the canter?

bornfreenowexpensive
Feb. 28, 2008, 02:21 PM
Are we going to require all the venues to purchase these jump shoots to show the canter?

Is there a company that manufactures this type of equipement? Could this be a company that could be approached for sponsorship? Donation of two or three shoot panels that can be spread out. Free advertising for them and high profile use at an event attended to by the potential consumers for their products.

Just a thought. If there were a few of them that could be located around the general areas where most of the events are being held that would be great. Or something that could be transported easily....in a horse trailer by someone going to the event already.

tom
Feb. 28, 2008, 02:44 PM
Oakmont, I have never seen an in-hand class of any type that assesses the canter. But many people -- in error, in my opinion --still put a lot of weight on the results.

If you are going to have any chance of correctly evaluating eventing (or showjumping) prospects that are not under saddle you must have the facility to assess both the canter and the loose-jump. Anything less is a beauty pageant.

Asking a youngster to canter for a minute or two and to loose-jump several times in a safely constructed and sympathetic chute is neither unfair nor overly taxing. I assess my own youngsters' canters beginning at about three months of age and begin assessments of their loose-jumping at about 12 months.

Kanga
Feb. 28, 2008, 03:04 PM
TOM-

I understand that alot of times in Ireland/England you are loose jumping your horses as yearlings. I lived in England for many years and saw this approach with youngsters. I personally would not ever jump my one or two year olds. To me it is just too young and their not developed enough to put that kind of pressure on them yet. I would be more than willing at the end of the year in the finals to put a three-year old down a jump shoot. That would be resonable. Some of us are not looking to sell these horses and we are thinking about the long term best interest of the horse. Jumping them too young as with racing them so young potentially causes MANY problems down the line.

I believe that is what you would be up against here in this country if your approach was taken.

tom
Feb. 28, 2008, 03:19 PM
Kanga, there is absolutely nothing wrong/dangerous/unfair about loose-jumping two or three times a year times a yearling or 2-year-year-old if it is done carefully and sympathetically. Where is the pressure? What is the danger?

The yearlings are jumped about 80 cm - 1 metre to assess their technique and their mind. Two-year-olds are jumped 80 cm - 1.10.

Where is the empirical evidence that doing this will harm the young horse? I have never had a horse injured from this practice.

I am asking these youngsters to do in a structured way what they are doing naturally in the fields where they live 24/7.

Kanga
Feb. 28, 2008, 04:00 PM
TOM -

Not to start a big debate here, that is not what the thread is for.

BUT I think many veternarians have much evidence that when horses bones are not fully developed yet and you add into the equation the concussion that "normal" jumping causes even on the best of footing it has shown to have ill effects on the horses soundness long term.

You say this is something your horses do 24/7 in fields. Are they jumping around a pre-novice course in your fields? I don't quite understand that comment.

Yes, if they were wild horses running the land they would have to do so in order to survive but that is a completely different ball game from our future competition horses.

I am located in the middle of Lexington, Kentucky within 10 minutes from two of the best vet clinics in the world. There is not a vet at either facility that would recommend jumping one or two year olds.

We will probably have to agree to disagree on this issue!

ThreeDays
Feb. 28, 2008, 04:31 PM
Very exciting that there are 'strides' being made to allow the FEH series to set itself apart from other in hand shows by thinking of ways to allow these youngsters to demonstrate all three gaits.

I'll agree with other posters that lounging is often misused early on. And that it may open a can of worms. Allowing the participant the 'option' of free vs lounge demo of the canter gait may work.

I'm not sure that I'm sold on the chute idea for 2 main reasons. Point 1) the ability to offer this type of set up at multiple locations (and the related practicality of it) and point 2) if competitors aren't able to expose the young horse to this type of chute prior to competitions - the horse may show the gait poorly due to being more concerned with navigaiting unfamiliar sights etc.

I think - so long as the arena being used (indoor or outdoor) is safe and free of obsticals - that it should not be a problem. The hight of the area fencing may need to be suggested (as we know some arenas have rather low fencing).

Perhaps starting with offering the 'at liberty' session to championship and demo locations will be a good way to evaluate and suggest where to go from there.

I guess the 'backup' plan could also be to offer the 'at liberty/ canter' sesson to be optional. And in the case a competitor chooses to opt out of the at liberty section then maybe the score that would have been applied to evaluating the canter is then applied to the average of scores for walk/ trot gaits.

Question: How will the 'ideal' canter gait be defined? The ideal canter gait for a dressage horse vs hunter can be quite different.

Also - Is there anyway to trial the at liberty section at more locations than just the championships? Maybe offer it as a separate score that won't effect the scoring to qualify horses for the finals (thus allowing it as an option for both the host to offer and the competitior to participate it).

2ndyrgal
Feb. 28, 2008, 09:47 PM
I think that as long as you had a suitable height for fencing without having too large of an area, you could simply turn the horse loose in an arena and designate 2 or 3 "helpers" to assist the handler in quietly getting the horse to canter enough to see a good gait. A bit like free lungeing at home when one of you stands at one end of the arena and one of you stands at the other and you just keep junior moving a bit. I would, depending on the catchability of the horse, leave a short 2 ft lead on. I don't think lunging young horses is a good idea (I don't lunge any of mine, ever unless I'm looking for some phantom lameness) and any at liberty work gives you a good idea of where the horse is in terms of balance and stride. A good judge will look past the young horse ya ya's and see the structure and potential of the individual. I do think that you can improve the trot somewhat, but the walk and the canter a lot of times will be mostly what God gives them. You will have to think about how much additional time this might add to a competition, because unless you are using some sort of chute system (which on a temporary basis might concern me with a high or nervous horse more than him being in a larger space) then some of them are bound to be little buggers about being caught after spending a day in a trailer and a day or two in a stall. I think you need to look at the Warmblood breeders forums/shows for their babies and model after some of those. they've been doing it for years .

2ndyrgal
Feb. 28, 2008, 09:49 PM
And as to how the "ideal" canter gait will be defined? I spent last weekend listening to Denny define it. He should most definately write the criteria. Balance and Impulsion. I paid attention.

eqsiu
Feb. 28, 2008, 10:07 PM
I think an ideal eventing canter is adjustable. It doesn't need as much bounce as a dressage canter, nor does it need the lope-like quality in a hunter canter.

Balanced, forward, and the ability to lengthen and shorten the stride efficiently.

retreadeventer
Feb. 28, 2008, 11:55 PM
I do not feel it is correct nor fair to judge the horses on different criteria at a final. All criteria throughout the season should be the same. If you are going to judge the canter at freedom, then you need to judge it throughout the year. It is patently unfair to have different standards at the final than those during the year.

It is also disconcerting to the training of the horses as well. I practice turning the horses loose for the breed inspections when I know they will be judged loose; we do not go to an inspection without teaching them how to free-lunge ahead of time, as it helps with relaxation and what the horse will expect, and also how much you need to use a lunge whip, etc. and accustom them to having people in the ring with them when they are turned loose.

It is not true that turning them loose is without injury. I have seen several horses injured at inspections while loose. It must be done with the utmost safety and with several experienced horse people in the corners and at gates to monitor the horse.

I don't think an indoor is entirely necessary, just a safely enclosed paddock or pen of some kind. People who are knowlegeable and experienced would be safer than pens that could be jumped, crashed into, fall down, need big men to set up or move, etc.

Perhaps only the three year olds should be judged at canter (free), with the judging of the two year olds optional at canter (they have the option of if they want to turn loose their two year olds) and the yearlings judged only at walk and trot. That would make it safe for those who are just bringing along this young event horse division, as the most mature horses would be judged in the manner asking for the most activity. And it would introduce the freedom in a gradual manner to each class of FEH as they aged.

JMHO.

tom
Mar. 1, 2008, 10:33 AM
Kanga, I do not want to get into a big debate about this either but I cannot let stand unchallenged some of your statements.

Where is the empirical evidence that loose-jumping a young horse (yearling and 2-year-old) several times a year at the height of 2.5 - 3 feet or so is going to harm them? I don't want some vet's opinion; I'd like empirical evidence.

Why are you comparing loose-jumping yearlings and 2-year-olds as I have decribed to jumping a pre-novice course? I am talking about a 80 - 100 cm jump in a chute and with jumps carefully and sympathetically constructed and managed. There is no comparison.

My horses jump the occasional stone wall, fallen tree, streams, etc. on their own accord.

If many breeders/producers in the USA are going to wait until their young horses are 3 or 4 or 5 years old until they ask them to do anything to prove their athletic potential then they are further behind the ball then I thought.

grayarabpony
Mar. 1, 2008, 11:37 AM
No matter the age of the horse (beginning soon after birth) no evaluation of a sport horse prospect for any Olympic discipline has any worth or value without an assessment of the canter.

This is so fundamental a characteristic that if a venue cannot provide the means to permit a horse to safely canter at liberty the venue should not be used.

Agreed.

Bensmom
Mar. 1, 2008, 01:52 PM
Thanks to Denny and to all of you that are developing this program and the criteria -- I am looking forward to attending the Friday noon FEH seminar at Rolex. I'm learning a great deal just reading the discussion.

If all jumping the young horses is bad, though, we'll have to have a meeting with my filly, as she started jumping anything jumpable in her pasture the day we brought her home as a yearling. She is the only one of the three we brought home that day that canters/gallops around and jumps the fallen trees in the field, seemingly on purpose and learned to do the bank up and down out of her stall before we re-did the back of the barn immediately and happily. Even if I didn't want her jumping anything at this age (she is now 20 mos) I'm not sure how I'd stop her! :)

I'm hoping to have a FEH competition close enough for us to do in her two year old year -- I think the program is awesome!

libby & H. Wineglass Shiraz, aka the Princess ;)

Clear Blue
Mar. 1, 2008, 04:29 PM
The Swedish system uses a taped off track around the perimeter of an indoor arena for their three year old mare test (and jumping sales for two year olds) . The horses are shown in hand at the walk and trot in the lanes of the track, and then let loose for the canter. Multiple people are stationed on the inside to gently guide the horse forward. After the gaits are evaluated, jumps are set up in a lane on the long side - forming a chute. A grain bucket/reward helps when it is time to be caught. The exact parameters can be found on the SWANA website under mare tests.

It is a very methodical/incremental process. The young horses seem to adapt quickly to the track. IME they do much better with this than shown free - where some just careen wildly around screaming for their buddies.

They are easy to set up using jump standards and the four inch "caution" tape (two strands). If you have enough educated helpers on the inside - you don't have to worry about a youngster going through the plastic tape. While not the best example - on my website under the sold section (velvet) is how we set the chute up on my farm. When just set up the tape is wider, doesn't sag, and looks more professional.

It is best suited for an indoor. There are no "outside" distractions which could affect the youngsters perfomance. Also some very game yearlings could jump out of a fenced arena. Two of my weanlings periodically jump out of their 4'6" fenced paddock just for fun (or when they think I am late getting them in for dinner).

I think that you can get a lot of information about a horse's ability going through a chute of just cross rails. Character, willingness, balance, rhythm, power, carefulness - and sometimes form. It is an easy way to see what the horses are willing to offer up on their own.

In the context of the FEH classes:
Yearlings could show their canter/gallop loose on the track, Two year olds could add some ground rails and then a few cross rails, Three years olds could have the chute built a little higher - but maybe 3'6" max.

FWIW - I try to start my youngsters in the chute by 18 months - very easy, very low. It helps me decide which direction to go with a young horse.

Laurie

Janet
Mar. 1, 2008, 04:45 PM
Hmmm. Just throwing some wild ideas out there...

Does anyone else teach their babies to pony? When we start riding the mares, the babies come along and stick to their mommies like glue. By the time the mare is fit enough to canter, the foals are coming along and enjoying it as well. After weaning, they transition to being ponied off of other horses. But I suppose that woudn't work to show the canter in the FEH because it would disadvantage those that didn't have a dependable lead horse. And I would never, ever suggest doing it with a horse you and your youngster don't know.

I pony babies a lot, but mostly at the walk and trot. We only canter along the side of a big field that both horses are familair live. I don't pony at a canter in the ring, even though I will at walk and trot. I certainly wouldn't want to pony at a canter in a ring unfamiliar to both horses

pwynnnorman
Mar. 2, 2008, 07:45 AM
Tom, Oakmont, Denny, others...if you get a chance, would you consider responding to a spin-off thread I posted on the Breeders forum, please? It's titled, "Assessing the canter: spin-off from Eventers forum," and I'd really appreciate your perspectives on the long-term ramifications of what Tom stated:



I have never seen an in-hand class of any type that assesses the canter. But many people -- in error, in my opinion --still put a lot of weight on the results...If you are going to have any chance of correctly evaluating eventing (or showjumping) prospects that are not under saddle you must have the facility to assess both the canter and the loose-jump. Anything less is a beauty pageant.


I guess my question (on the Breeder's forum, please) is whether "beauty pagents" have positive or negative, long-term value beyond marketing...and I'm not saying they don't. I'm just wondering about realities within big picture.

kt-rose
Mar. 2, 2008, 09:25 AM
I have a yearling and a two-year old that I plan to take to the FEH classes within striking range of me this year. While I understand the importance of evaluating the canter -- I spend a lot of time watching how they handle themselves playing in the field -- as an owner I can safely say that there is not the slightest possibility that I would consider letting my babies loose in a strange setting to show off their canters. I have way too much time, love and money invested in them to take that much of a risk. They are babies, they don't go off the farm much, the mileage I intend them to get is in hand at these shows -- mine might well be fine but I can easily see some youngster getting frantic finding itself loose in one of the fairly exciting venues the FEH classes are held. If that became part of the FEH program mine would stay home until they have the miles and education to show their canters under saddle.

Anyway, Denny, sorry to sound so adamant but you did ask and it would definitely be a deal breaker for me. They may do wild and crazy things in the field but at least I am not making them do them :) !!

Kanga
Mar. 2, 2008, 09:28 AM
kt-rose --- EXACTLY!!

camohn
Mar. 2, 2008, 10:29 AM
We just had a conference call with USEA and Bruce and Staci Griffin about how possibly to differentiate our eventing Future Event Horse classes from similar ones oriented at mainly dressage horses.
It was Bruce`s thought that we need to figure out a safe way to show the canter, since the canter/gallop is so key to the event horse.
The thought is to not have the canter at the various qualifiers, at least this coming year, but to get some sort of moveable pen/corral for the finals in the fall so that gait can be shown.
Yes, when youngsters are turned loose, even in a safe arena, there is a degree of risk.
But is that risk minimal enough to justify letting the judges have a more total picture of the young horses?
Thoughts, comments, suggestions???

I think this is spot on. WB inspections do assess the canter at liberty and a jump chute but no other venue does and certainly the jump/canter are a big thing for eventers. I also agree that maybe only having it at the series finals is a good idea too. Not that I would not love to have it at the qualifiers. The thing is that as note there is a risk some horses will jump out of a ring. Not so much as issue for geldings/mares but since I went to 2 FEH venues last year I can tell you I was surprised by how many stud colts were there. THAT would be my big concern if someone decided to jump out of a ring!! How do the WB inspections deal with it? Not all WB inspections have indoors. SOme do and some don't. The stallion owners assess their risk. Some are willing to take their stallion to a venue with an outdoor only and are comfortable that Mr. Studly will stay in the ring. Some will only take their stallions to a venue that has an indoor for freejumping being concerned Mr. Studly will in fact see the ladies and take and unscheduled exit!
I would not be all the concerned about the yearling classes. Due to both size and libido I can't see most yearling colts being a flight risk. Certainly a yearling won't be jumping much either. If they were asked to jump anything a crossrail would be it to show willingness. The 2 and 3 YO's are something else...especially if ungelded.

camohn
Mar. 2, 2008, 10:55 AM
Denny-
In thinking about venues in Area 1, it seems to me almost every one has either an indoor or a fenced area where a CANTERING (not for jumping) chute could be assembled for the babies. I really prefer this option to a round pen or lunge line. The idea of lunging 2-3 year olds makes my hair stand up because the more competitive the FEH becomes, the more SOME breeders will pound their babies. I agree that seeing the canter is an important part of the judging of youngsters but, as with the YEH series, I really fret about young horses being overtaxed. As is so often the case with experienced horses, the training, not the actual competition, is what does them in and I fear this for the young competitors.
I have mixed feelings about the jumping thing. Personally I can't sell a horse 2 or over as a hunter/jumper prospect that does not have a freejump on their video. We certainly do not jump them very high or more than a handful of times....just enough for them to get the idea and get a video. The are also popped over a few low fences when folks come to look at them here. Again, no one will buy a hunter/jumper/eventer prospect 2 and over that has not seen the horse go over something. Any of mine learn to go over something in one day: we lead them through a chute, get at treat, I trot them over a pole get a treat, repeat shooing them behind and we are done. BUT as noted in earlier posts: people get stupid when they get competitive. There are probably plenty of folks out there where the good of the horse will fly out the window when they get compeititve. So........I think maybe the freejump having a place for 3 YOs only at the finals only as way of really assessing the best horse at the end of the year is the most moderate way to go with it.Since it is in the fall you are talking about horses that are long 3 YOs at that point.
I still think the canter is an important thing to address. It's integral to eventing. At liberty is the best way to show true gaits.....and it addresses the Stupid People issue again that will start longeing yearlings or even older youngsters too much in the name of being competitive. It would be nice all all folks used their brains about young horses but unfortunately there are plenty of horrid examples of what stupid people will do with young horses in other disciplines when their competitive juices get going. It is safest to assume the worst of people for the good of the horses. So I also think having a 3 YO U/S class is something to avoid. Not that anyone HAS said that this is going to happen. It's just to say I think it's a bad idea to ever consider. The 4 YO YEH covers that already and mine are not being started at all until their 3rd birthday. ANyway, back to the canter. Since most 3 YOs are at least starting to longe under tack at 3 I don't have a problem with 3 YOs having the option of being shown at liberty or on the longe. My personal thought on the longe: if the venue is not at an indoor arena then owners of intact colts (2 and over) would have the option of showing their stallions on the longe. That would minimize the number of folks that would be trying to over longe youngsters.........very few people are really keeping stallions at the age of 2 and over unless they are professional enough to be aiming the horse at a career at stud.......but balance out the saftey issue of having loose stallions bopping around.

camohn
Mar. 2, 2008, 11:02 AM
Reading the posts on some folks being concerned about the saftey of turning a youngster loose: I guess I am just used to it being done since pre weaning at WB inspections. Now a wound up weanling DOES get real interesting to catch at times! Yearlings can be just as goofy and I also have something against showing yearlings at liberty for a very different reason: Yearlings tend to be at THE fugliest butt high and most uncoordinated stage of their lives. I think 2 is reasonable for a youngster to be easily catchable in the ring. By 3 for sure. I think the earlier suggestion that the canter be not shown at 1, optional at 2 and required at 3 is a good one.

camohn
Mar. 2, 2008, 11:16 AM
I do not feel it is correct nor fair to judge the horses on different criteria at a final. All criteria throughout the season should be the same. If you are going to judge the canter at freedom, then you need to judge it throughout the year. It is patently unfair to have different standards at the final than those during the year.


I think I would disagree here since they series is being set up with qualifiers and finals.I don't see why the series finale should not be held to a higher standard. Why the canter/jump would not be held at qualifiers does not have to do with wanting to have a different standard anyway. It is a logistics problem (safe locations to be at liberty....limiting the shows to indoors is not probably reaslistic) and preventing the unreasonable people from pushing young uns too hard. But by putting it in the finals only then maybe the finals COULD be ensured to be at an indoor location. Again, somehow it is reasonable at some certain age to judge the canter in an event horse. I don't think that is asking something unreasonable. For those that are not comfortable showing their horse at a canter then perhaps the hunter show walk/trot in hand venues would be the ones that would best suit their needs. Otherwise the FEH shows are no different and do need their own identity.
At WB inspections the jump phase is done like this: the jump chute is done first. That way each horse does it and is done. If the indoor is needed for the rest of the show the jumps are taken down at that point for the in hand/at liberty phase. If it is a lovely day and an outdoor is also available then often the in hand stuff is done in the outdoor ring. This is because A) there are often photographers at inspections and it is really hard to get good pictures indoors/outdoor light is much better and b) better spectator venue outdoors. Most inspections are at private indoors that do not have grandstands/seating.

camohn
Mar. 2, 2008, 11:23 AM
I think an ideal eventing canter is adjustable. It doesn't need as much bounce as a dressage canter, nor does it need the lope-like quality in a hunter canter.

Balanced, forward, and the ability to lengthen and shorten the stride efficiently.

I would agree balanced and forward would be the criteria. There will in fact be different canters between a WB and a TB canter. One is not even better. Just different. A WB will be more upheaded/collected yet you don't want it to be so stiff/collected they can't lengthen. On the other end you don't want a hunter lope. Not collected enough/not enough impulsion. So...it really is going to be open to some judge interpretation here. No getting around it.

Janet
Mar. 2, 2008, 11:23 AM
I think I would disagree here since they series is being set up with qualifiers and finals.I don't see why the series finale should not be held to a higher standard.
It isn't a question of "higher" standards, but DIFFERENT standards.

If canter is only judged at the finals, the horse with the 7 walk and trot and the 9 canter is not going to get to the finals, while the horse with the 8 walk and trot and a 5 canter will get to the finals.

camohn
Mar. 2, 2008, 11:30 AM
It isn't a question of "higher" standards, but DIFFERENT standards.

If canter is only judged at the finals, the horse with the 7 walk and trot and the 9 canter is not going to get to the finals, while the horse with the 8 walk and trot and a 5 canter will get to the finals.

I see your point. I don't think there will be a perfect answer to that since the venues can't be limited to indoors for all the qualifiers. At least by showing the canter at the finals it will be judged somehow somewhere. By the finals it WILL separate the ribbons among the good trotters by who has the better canter.

mademoiselle
Mar. 2, 2008, 03:41 PM
KT -Rose and Kanga,

I understand your worries but I think it can be done safely. I have seen a lot of 'Elite' auctions and stallion inspections in Europe where the horses where loose and I have not seen any accidents.

I think that if you plan on eventing your horses at the higher level down the road (which is the purpose of these classes), they are going to be exposed to things that are far more dangerous and will have more chances to get hurt.

I think that it all depends on the setting of the chute. I agree that an indoor with chute is by far the safest option. If the horse starts panicking it's pretty easy to stop him and get him under control.

If you set up something like this all the way around the arena, it should be pretty easy to catch the horse :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQOeUuzk-Y8 (I took the video just to show the set up, not to say that free jumping should be included, that's a different debate), I just want to throw some ideas about a safe way to introduce the canter.

The stallion I am training has been inspected by 3 registries and so he had to be shown loose in an arena. 2x it was in an indoor and once in an outdoor. I felt much better when it was done in the indoor. The inspection with the outdoor, broodmares where near by and it was a little bit scary and even if he got approved that day, he didn't perform very well. The good thing, is that they allow you to put boots/wraps on the horses before you turn them loose. Something else to think about.

Clear Blue
Mar. 2, 2008, 03:52 PM
as an owner I can safely say that there is not the slightest possibility that I would consider letting my babies loose in a strange setting to show off their canters. I have way too much time, love and money invested in them to take that much of a risk. They are babies, they don't go off the farm much, the mileage I intend them to get is in hand at these shows -- mine might well be fine but I can easily see some youngster getting frantic finding itself loose in one of the fairly exciting venues the FEH classes are held. If that became part of the FEH program mine would stay home until they have the miles and education to show their canters under saddle.!


kt - the flip side is that some people feel the current "dressage format" isn't that valuable - and are keeping their Eventing prospects at home.

gillenwaterfarm
Mar. 2, 2008, 05:13 PM
Honest question...

Does any one else canter with thier babies in hand? I teach my "kids" that this is acceptable for a short distance, say down the long side of an arena, and they are to do it in a collected manner (without bucking or ripping off). I am not a runner, or long strided by any means, but can keep up with them for a long enough stretch of time for a judge to see it and assess it's quality.

Could this be an option for those resisting the thought of turning them loose?

Edited to add that I am in favor of judging the canter, either loose in an enclosed area, or in hand. The canter is what makes or breaks an event horse.

retreadeventer
Mar. 2, 2008, 05:57 PM
I think I would disagree here since they series is being set up with qualifiers and finals.I don't see why the series finale should not be held to a higher standard. .......

Because you do not compete at say, Training level horse trials all year at 3'3", then go to a championship course where the jumps are suddently 3'6". The criteria for competing at horse trials is carefully, progressively laid out to bring along the introductory levels to the testing levels upward to the Advanced level and then international. It all meshes together.

We need to encourage breeders to bring young stock to be evaluated for the good of the sport. If we scare them off by requiring loose horses chased around the ring, or some other thing that is not conducive to good horsemanship, then we risk the entire program. Yes, the canter is important. But you don't ride a weanling or yearling; so it's less important at that age than at a mature riding age, 3 to 4yo and up. Judge it when it's appropriate to judge it in the colt.

It's not always true that gaits exhibited in hand are same when in training. (Certainly we breed for that, and hope for that, but horses do change as they mature.) Many horses have developed their gaits once in training. My own horse is an absolute example of that. He did not have a canter at ALL for two years, he had racehorse gallop and long trot. He felt the two gaits sufficed for most of his needs. He argued over the need for the canter quite a bit and finally gave in, little bit at a time, and now (age 11) has a good canter. One day, when he was still young, I turned him loose at the gate to the paddock, and he "cantered" off to his buddies. I knew then I had taught him that gait, and he finally was comfortable with it. He was a coming 6yo at the time!

Foxtrot's
Mar. 2, 2008, 06:48 PM
These classes are new to me - so no comment to add - except I've been to many inspections and it seems odd to me that the canter is
not evaluated. Also, no inspectors have ever looked at my horses' feet, apart from a cursory glance as they walked around them. Hopefully, this will not be a negelcted part of an eventer's feet since they need to have pretty good ones to do their job.

camohn
Mar. 2, 2008, 07:04 PM
Because you do not compete at say, Training level horse trials all year at 3'3", then go to a championship course where the jumps are suddently 3'6". The criteria for competing at horse trials is carefully, progressively laid out to bring along the introductory levels to the testing levels upward to the Advanced level and then international. It all meshes together.

We need to encourage breeders to bring young stock to be evaluated for the good of the sport. If we scare them off by requiring loose horses chased around the ring, or some other thing that is not conducive to good horsemanship, then we risk the entire program. Yes, the canter is important. But you don't ride a weanling or yearling; so it's less important at that age than at a mature riding age, 3 to 4yo and up. Judge it when it's appropriate to judge it in the colt.

It's not always true that gaits exhibited in hand are same when in training. (Certainly we breed for that, and hope for that, but horses do change as they mature.) Many horses have developed their gaits once in training. My own horse is an absolute example of that. He did not have a canter at ALL for two years, he had racehorse gallop and long trot. He felt the two gaits sufficed for most of his needs. He argued over the need for the canter quite a bit and finally gave in, little bit at a time, and now (age 11) has a good canter. One day, when he was still young, I turned him loose at the gate to the paddock, and he "cantered" off to his buddies. I knew then I had taught him that gait, and he finally was comfortable with it. He was a coming 6yo at the time!

-Training level horse trials all year at 3'3", then go to a championship course where the jumps are suddently 3'6". The criteria for competing at horse trials is carefully, progressively laid out to bring along the introductory levels to the testing levels upward to the Advanced level and then international. It all meshes together.
*Apples and oranges. Going from 3'3 to 3'6 is a training issue. Weather to show a canter or not at a show is not a training issue. If a horse can canter or not comes naturally. (Weather he is in an unbalanced phase or not is a different issue.) The main issue is if it can be done safely at some or all venues since it would require the horse to be loose.


-We need to encourage breeders to bring young stock to be evaluated for the good of the sport. If we scare them off by requiring loose horses chased around the ring, or some other thing that is not conducive to good horsemanship, then we risk the entire program.
*I am not seeing where showing a canter equates to bad horsemanship. Being seen loose shows a more natural gait than in hand. Once the horse is loose at the canter usually they naturally spend some of their time trotting as well. The added benefit of at liberty is that the judge actually gets to see a natural trot too. For what it's worth breeders of warmbloods and WB crosses are very used to the inspection routine and are used to this/would not be scared off. For non WB folks it would be an adjustment to what they are used to.

-Yes, the canter is important. But you don't ride a weanling or yearling; so it's less important at that age than at a mature riding age, 3 to 4yo and up. Judge it when it's appropriate to judge it in the colt.
*You don't ride the walk or trot in a baby either.
*There is no weanling class/moot point though weaners actually move closest to what they will look like as an adult before the growth spurt fuglies hit.
*According to the above you say that it is important is a 3 YO. So you do support the canter thing for 3 YOs? Because the 3 YOs are in the FEH series.

It's not always true that gaits exhibited in hand are same when in training.
*Agree with you there...thus the benefits of showing at liberty.It shows the horse's natural gaits without interference. "Interference" can be a good or bad thing. For horses that have natural difficulty collection at the canter, for example, the training and rider aids are a help. For a horse with less tactful training it could be a hindrance. But the whole point of showing babies is to show their "potential" and to get some experience leaving home.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 2, 2008, 07:50 PM
kt - the flip side is that some people feel the current "dressage format" isn't that valuable - and are keeping their Eventing prospects at home.


See..I think that is a bit of BS. I think it would be great to show the canter but at the end of the day, you are judging young horses. Whether any of these horses will be top event horses will depend on things that can not be judged at this stage in their life. A NICE young horse will be competitive as a dressage prospect, event prospect and as a show prospect. All that these classes can do is judge whether the youngsters have the raw material to be top horses. Dressage IS part of eventing....but it is only part. But when judging raw material...we need to look at horses that do have the movement to be competitive in dressage AND have the conformation to have a gallop and jump.... I would love to show their canter at the events....but even without that, it would not stop me from taking an opportunity to give my young horse a great outing among people who have similar goals as myself.

kt-rose
Mar. 2, 2008, 07:51 PM
quote retreadeventer -- "We need to encourage breeders to bring young stock to be evaluated for the good of the sport. If we scare them off by requiring loose horses chased around the ring, or some other thing that is not conducive to good horsemanship, then we risk the entire program. Yes, the canter is important. But you don't ride a weanling or yearling; so it's less important at that age than at a mature riding age, 3 to 4yo and up. Judge it when it's appropriate to judge it in the colt. "

I agree. The thought of my yearling or two-year-old 'encouraged' to canter/gallop loose around some strange arena makes me ill and will completely keep me home. However, by the time my horses are 3, they don't work much but they have been a lot of places and been exposed to all kinds of things (with me keeping a firm hand on them ;)) and I would not be quite so adamantly against the idea. However, I'd rather show the three year old canter under saddle.

Perhaps I am biased as my babies are not for sale. They are two fillies out of my good eventing mares and I plan to develop them myself -- not necessarily always being the rider, but always the owner and 'planner'. So I may evaluate risk differently that someone who breeds as a business and really needs their youngsters out and making the right impression. But I am sure there are lots of folks like me who are excited about the FEH classes because it is a relevant place to take our youngsters but have a limited risk level we are comfortable with for our horses.

lecoeurtriste
Mar. 2, 2008, 09:46 PM
We just held both FEH and YEH classes (for the second time) this past weekend in conjunction with our spring HT, and could have very easily incorporated both jumping and canter work safely for the babies (we have both a 7ft tall 30m round pen and covered arena with 6ft tall moveable panels). I would imagine that quite a few venues could accommodate these additions--we're just not being asked. I can honestly say that I get more feedback about the FEH/YEH program through this forum and chats with individual members than any official channels. From talking with competitors this weekend and last fall, I also get the impression that they don't have much information about the program either (I even had a 5yo whose rider had never asked it to do a bank or ditch, and had no clue they could be included in the jumping test). I think there are many people in Area2 who would support the program if information was more easily found and if they saw consistency in the judging (but that's another thread completely!). In short, there seems to be a disconnect between the program organizers and the rest of us that should be addressed to make the program succeed.

retreadeventer
Mar. 2, 2008, 09:50 PM
-
*Apples and oranges. Going from 3'3 to 3'6 is a training issue. ....

You misinterpreted my example. Try showing all year at Training Level then getting to a championship show and being required to ride First Level. It is not fair to competition nationwide to require a different criteria at championship than at qualifier. You would then be judging apples and oranges, were that to occur.


- Weather to show a canter or not at a show is not a training issue. If a horse can canter or not comes naturally. (Weather he is in an unbalanced phase or not is a different issue.) The main issue is if it can be done safely at some or all venues since it would require the horse to be loose....

I beg to differ. It most certainly is a training issue. As I stated before, when I know I will be prepping a baby or a mare for a keur where they will be expected to be evaluated at liberty I most certainly do prepare the horse by training them to canter and ***relax*** while loosed. You better believe it makes a difference if they know what to expect and are trained to canter "free lunging" or not.


I had a mare once I presented with a poor canter, but I had prepped her well and she relaxed out there, did her thing and got a surprisingly good score. Another mare up with her was much better in terms of her natural gaits but was completely unprepared, scatted around - scared, trotting, leaping about, and forced to canter by a lot of spooking with whips and people (it took quite a while to catch her after) my mare beat her score by .5 point. We were very lucky they did not have that mare prepared, but it wasn't really right that we were champion and they were reserve and I felt bad for them, but that was what the judges saw and they had to judge what they saw. On the triangle only, the other mare had us beat. It is not just turning them loose to run about, you have to train the young horses to understand what is expected and furthermore to relax and balance themselves.


It takes a good bit of free lunging to get a young horse to bring the back up, use the space they have to extend, and relax thru the back so they really can use themselves; and not get excited about the people in there, etc. This is why I think the older horses it would be safer but the younger horses should not be asked to do that. Keurings are special and not shows. They are designed to be once in lifetime deals. That is why you want your horses at their absolute best during these evaluations.


Showing in FEH classes, on the other hand, is not a lifetime evaluation. It's just a thing we are doing to encourage breeding and rewarding young event horse breeders with less strenuous evaluations by knowledgeable peers in the sport. I believe it is meant to give an opinion and provide the owner with a quick check of their progress at improving the breed. I think when you are discussing a lifetime evaluation, you would want to see the colts from every aspect you can, and that is why they turn them loose to evaluate all gaits. But from just the FEH show perspective, which allows colts to return as 2yo's and then again as 3yo's to be evaluated, it does not become the "be-all, end-all". It is periodic, meant to check progress. That is why I do not think that canter is all that necessary at the young age but becomes increasingly more important further along you go in your growth and development of the colts.

I have raised cattle and horses all my life, so have a little perspective on this.

2ndyrgal
Mar. 2, 2008, 10:22 PM
I guess I'm old school. And perhaps used to seeing horses in all different kinds of situations. Want to have some fun? Go to a Standardbred yearling sale in the fall, take one of those babies home and hook him to a jog cart the next day at a fairgrounds race track he's never seen before? Or be the one that draws the short straw with the TB babies first under saddle trial. Or hook two unrelated draft mares to the same harness because the owner told you they were a "team". But I digress. You guys are really THAT freaked out about letting a presumably well handled yearling loose in a suitable arena just because it's outdoors? And this is going to be a future event horse? Do they not get to play with their buddies (note, million dollar TB babies get to play with their buddies in the FIELD for all the time, you can drive across 64 and watch them) So he's going to buck and play and run a couple of laps, don't feed him in the morning and rattle the grain bucket, he'll come to you. What you need is experienced horse handlers in the ring, and maybe a steady old "catch" horse, that will just stand still, and reasure junior that life is good. And the criteria for an upper level dressage "prospect" is much different than a racing prospect or a hunter prospect or an event prospect. Yes, event horses do need to be able to do dressage, but we all know it isn't the same "dressage" as the FEI horses do. The criteria might be the same, but the motion that makes an upper level dressage horse simply does not translate into a upper level cross country horse (and I'm not even considering the steeplechase). Horses that are truly efficient gallopers are not, by virtue of their conformation, terribly good at collection (which is why we don't see very many upper level dressage horses that are pure Thoroughbred) And under the old format (without as much emphasis on dressage) you weren't seeing the big warmblood types making the time. Those are the facts. If you have a horse with the conformation to gallop on and jump, then he can usually be taught to accept the bit, and collect and extend his gaits. He may never, and in fact will probably never, be a "brilliant" mover, in terms of dressage. Let's face it, even the best ridden dressage test at Rolex is never going to make you go "ooooh , ahhhhh', because the 3 day event horse simply does not have the extravagant movement, which is only 50% of the equasion. Somehow, I just don't see Buck Davidson sitting Brentina's trot. You have both the human and equine athlete, that are being as good as they can at three disciplines. Not specializing in one. So, you have to have a horse that, when you look at not only his conformation, but his way of going, you believe could not only do the dressage required in eventing, but can gallop and jump cross country. You are looking at two very different horses. In the dressage horse, they want to see the "big trot", with an event horse, when you see him trot in hand, you just want to make sure he's not lame. I watched a two clinics over the last two weekends, one of which was Denny's. Out of the 40 or so horses I saw, the most remarkable thing was that except for the usual half dozen or so plain bay OTTBs, none of the other horses resembled each other at all in any way, except that they were apparently all being evented more or less successfully by their owners at various levels. Some of the better horses, in terms of movement and performance, really didn't look like all that much just standing around. Until you saw them canter and jump, then you got why they could do it. The other thing that is important for an event horse, who is going to spend a good bit of his time on a sort of controlled suicide run, is to have a brain. So if I let my yearling loose and he bucks and farts and gallops around going "hey, look at me mom" as opposed to the one who panics and bounces around like a pin ball, guess which one a good FEH judge is going to want to throw a leg over in a couple of years? Just my opinion.

mademoiselle
Mar. 2, 2008, 10:59 PM
I agree. The thought of my yearling or two-year-old 'encouraged' to canter/gallop loose around some strange arena makes me ill and will completely keep me home. However, by the time my horses are 3, they don't work much but they have been a lot of places and been exposed to all kinds of things (with me keeping a firm hand on them ;)) and I would not be quite so adamantly against the idea. However, I'd rather show the three year old canter under saddle.


What is your goal with your horses ? Are you planning on taking them all the way to the **** level if they show the ability to do it ?

Because, if letting them loose in a controlled environment makes you ill, what kind of state of mind are you going to be in when they will have to go on the Rolex course;) I'm not attacking you, I understand that you only want the best for your horses but these classes like the YEH Series is geared towards upper level prospects.

Between you and me, I would rather let young horses loose in an arena than have to ride a 3 YO to show his canter under saddle ! Because it means that you will have to ride them pretty early in order to teach them canter depart and to somewhat get them balanced enough to stay at the canter for a couple of laps, but more than anything you would have to pay me a lot of money to ride a 3 YO in a warm-up situation in a big open space with a bunch of yearlings, mares and stallions. And I specialize in starting horses and riding stallions, but I wouldn't trust a 3 YO ...

I break my horses during the winter they are 4 YO. Before that, I just do some work in hand.

What are you scared of ? I'm genuine in my question. If the fencing is safe and the handlers are experienced, I don't understand what is so dangerous about letting a horse loose.

kt-rose
Mar. 2, 2008, 11:08 PM
You guys are really THAT freaked out about letting a presumably well handled yearling loose in a suitable arena just because it's outdoors? And this is going to be a future event horse? Do they not get to play with their buddies (note, million dollar TB babies get to play with their buddies in the FIELD for all the time, you can drive across 64 and watch them)

YES!!!! I am that freaked out about it because over the past 35 years I have seen about everything that can go wrong with horses go wrong despite ones best efforts to make sure everything was perfect. And I will never forget holding down one of those million dollar TB babies who broke his leg playing with his buddies in a field right near 64 (I worked as a yearling manager at that farm behind Keeneland right out of college) -- he was a beautiful colt and the vet took more than an hour to get to him. My babies are well handled. They tie, lead well, stand for the farrier and vet, the two year old wears a bridle, they play and rough house and are out from dawn to dusk -- will be more as soon as the winter and mud goes away. But still, as with all my horses, I balance risk and gain with everything I do with them and for me, for these babies I plan to keep and watch compete over the coming years, turning them loose in strange surroundings the risk is greater than the gain. It is just my opinion, obviously, but I do think I am not an atypical middle aged amateur :) !!

kt-rose
Mar. 2, 2008, 11:43 PM
What is your goal with your horses ? Are you planning on taking them all the way to the **** level if they show the ability to do it ?

M'slle -- Well, that is a whole 'nother subject -- eventing is what I do (or try to do :) !) and have done for so long I don't think I know how to do anything else but I defintely wonder whether I am going to be okay with letting them go way up the levels. Only time will tell with that. When I had two going prelim I about hyperventilated walking the courses they were going to jump -- so you can see I am perhaps on the conservative side of evaluating risk :lol: !!

If the rings and handlers were truly and consistently suitable, you are right that it would not be such a big deal but I have been to a bunch of those venues and I'm not seeing that being up to my comfort level. For example, Waredaca is an excellent place and does a wonderful job hosting events but they do not have a ring with a fence high enough that either of my fillies could not pop out over it and if I remember correctly the indoor has a long line of mirrors. There are several though I have not been to and they may be very suitable, I don't know.

I understand your point, but I would still be happier showing a canter under saddle. My current 5 year old went to Upperville for his first show when he was 3 and a little bit. It was his third time cantering in a ring at all and he got a good ribbon. And I did not warm up for more than ten minutes or so. Perhaps my ammy-friendly Cleveland Bay/TB cross youngsters make it easy to do that without doing much work -- just regular puttering -- if they were 'bouncier' and took more work to get to that point I might agree with you completely. And please don't think I am misunderstanding the FEH mission when I say ammy-friendly -- I am breeding for rideability and jump and these two are meant for a pro to ride -- seeing as the jumps seem to look bigger the older I get.

Either way, I can't imagine a scenario at any of the venues in my area that would make me ok with turning my yearling or two year old loose to show off their canter. I agree completely with the poster who said the classes were check points along the way. Something to tell us if we are heading down a useful road instead of into left field.

camohn
Mar. 3, 2008, 12:12 AM
The point about indoors and mirrors is an excellent one BTW because of the stallion issue. If the indoors have mirrors they need to be able to be covered if a stallion is loose or that may well be an accident waiting to happen. Some stallions are OK with mirrors and some are not in a loose situation.

mademoiselle
Mar. 3, 2008, 12:13 AM
Thank you for taking the time to reply.

I understand what you mean and your fears.

I have never attended a FEH venue yet. The only one that was close enough last year, didn't work date wise and everything else was at least 12 hour drive:eek:.

So, my judgement is based on 'breed inspection' shows where all the horses have to go loose at one point. But I must say that all the places we went to were very safe.
2 were indoors without mirrors, full walls and perfect footing. And the last one was an outdoor with 7'rubber fencing, so no way for a horse to try to jump it.

I agree with you that I would not let any of my horses loose if the fencing is lower than 6' and I would never turn a yougster in an indoor with mirrors, so we are on the same page.

I guess there is a lot of work to do to try to improve the way of judging the horses and maybe in finding the right places to show in safe conditions.

J. Bewley
Mar. 3, 2008, 07:55 AM
Perhaps we need to evaluate not what is being judged ie walk, trot, canter but rather who is doing the judging and what specs the youngsters are judged against. And I don't mean that directed personally at any of the judges.

Yes, the canter is an important gait but I don't think it's feasible to demonstrate it during an in-hand competition and not all venues will have the appropriate setting to show at liberty. I also agree with other posters that criteria needs to be the same thru out the series and not be changed at the championships.

Over the years we've show a few youngsters in Hunter Breeding and almost without exception the judges were or had been hunter riders and/or breeders. We've also shown a few youngsters in Dressage sporthorse breeding and again the judges were primarily dressage focused breeders and/or riders. Note that the canter is not shown in either of these and the canter is just as important.

I ventured this opinion at the end of last years FEH series - we need eventers judging or at least assisting in the judging. There are many successful event riders that are also successful breeders eg Denny, Bruce, P. Dawson, T. Watkins, Darren, etc.

And/Or, perhaps we need to very carefully evaluate the specs and directives on the score sheet and see if they need to be/can be changed to more acurately differenticate the event horse. Otherwise it is just another show on the triangle.

With all due respect,
Pat
Catoctin Sporthorses
www.catoctinsporthorses.com

2ndyrgal
Mar. 3, 2008, 08:57 AM
Well put JB. Do you think you could get that type of judging in the other disciplines as well (insert wink icon here) I DO think it needs to be judged by eventers, or at least judges that the top competetors would endorse. And yes I know that horses get hurt in spite of all we do to prevent it. I wasn't making light of it, in any way. I can't imagine anywhere in Lexington having an hour wait for a vet in an emergency however, you can't swing a cat without hitting 20 or 30 of the best. Anyone that works with horses long enough and enough of them, will see some of them meet a bad end eventually, they are as fragile as they are strong. But this entire sport is about taking calculated risks, and minimizing the danger to horse and rider as much as possible while still doing what eventers do. Take all the risk away and you've got hunters. So, I suppose that much like certain venues only have certain events or HTs, you will have certain venues that can't show the canter. Perhaps, you could take an average of the gaits, in the events leading to the final (certain places would have canter at liberty, certain would not) then have the final somewhere that the canter at liberty was safe and doable, indoors, and have the canter stand alone on a point basis. You could come up with a scoring sheet to reflect a high score, and have things like balance, stride length, adjustability. Ok, as I type this, I realize some of it is subjective, based on the way someone like Ned Bonnie could look at a yearling playing in a field and tell you whether he'd be a good one or not, but I think a good eventer would know what to look for even at liberty. Does he switch leads when he changes directions? Does he shorten and lengthen his stride. Does he seem balanced, can he turn either direction and roll back, does he break from the canter into the ''big trot" none of us will ever see under saddle? That kind of stuff.

camohn
Mar. 3, 2008, 09:47 AM
[QUOTE=2ndyrgal;3048157]Well put JB. Do you think you could get that type of judging in the other disciplines as well (insert wink icon here) I DO think it needs to be judged by eventers, or at least judges that the top competetors would endorse. And yes I know that horses get hurt in spite of all we do to prevent it. I wasn't making light of it, in any way. I can't imagine anywhere in Lexington having an hour wait for a vet in an emergency however, you can't swing a cat without hitting 20 or 30 of the best. Anyone that works with horses long enough and enough of them, will see some of them meet a bad end eventually, they are as fragile as they are strong. But this entire sport is about taking calculated risks, and minimizing the danger to horse and rider as much as possible while still doing what eventers do. Take all the risk away and you've got hunters. QUOTE]

BEAUTIFULLY put!

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 3, 2008, 11:44 AM
While I hear what some are saying about judging...the reality is, people are always going to be unhappy with judging. You hear it at any show.....even when it is a dressage rider/judge judging dressage horses etc.

I also don't think eventers can look out at a field of yearlings and pick which one will be an UL horse. If they could, they would be doing just that. Sure you can tell a nice horse...but not a guaranteed UL event horse. Put 10 eventers together and have them describe their ideal UL event horse and you will get 10 very different responses.....and by and large, most the the characteristics described will be ones that you can only feel/tell undersaddle. There are some things that we eventers should be looking for in conformation but you will get some people who stress one thing and others who stress something else.

Muggle didn't get the same score at any venue....to a certain extent that was his handling (I couldn't get a walk at one venue and screwed up his trotting at another--with a pro handling him and by his third time off the farm, he scored much better). I thought that the point of these shows was to show what breeders are out there and give a good outing for youngsters. There will be some horses that are more suited for one person and others more suited for someone else. Any time ANYONE tells me that a horse will go all the way to the top and that horse is not already competing at the top....I take it with a very large grain of salt.

Do I wish there was more consistency in the judging.....of course...but like any dressage show or hunter show...I'm not going to hold my breath. In the end, I know personally what type of horse *I* want to sit on. But look at the warm up for any UL event.....the horses will all come in very different shapes and sizes. These competitions can help teach what are some of the stronger comformational points we should be looking for, help us track the bloodlines of these horses better and help eventers find who is producing the type of horse that such eventer wants to ride.

If we can safely show the canter...great...if not, I still think these events can serve their intended purposes.



I just don't want to see people start treating the FEH or even the YEH classes as the end all be all....these are just stepping stones for what should be our ultimate goal of producing a top event horse....not a horse that just does well on the line.

Kanga
Mar. 3, 2008, 12:32 PM
bornfreenowexpensive-

VERY WELL PUT!!

Everyone please remember, this is a NEW series, there will be growing pains. I'm sure in time and with some adjusting we will be able to come to a general concensus on how the program will run.

Keep all the ideas coming!

Thanks

kiz
Mar. 3, 2008, 12:48 PM
I got a call over the weekend from a friend who was spectating the FEH classes at The Ark on Friday. They had classes for 1-5 y.o.'s, right? Based on his comments about the results, I am now very confused and don't really see the point in the program.

I was under the impression that the purpose of the FEH and YEH classes was to identify horses/bloodlines/breeding programs for the upper events...specifically looking to ID horses that have 4* potential. Is that correct? Or is it just an "in-hand" class where the horse that performs the best on any given day wins regardless of its potential to ever make it to the upper levels?

For example, according to my friend (and for some reason, the results of the FEH/YEH classes are not on the The Ark website, though the results of the horse trials are up??!!!), in the 3 y.o. class there were two nice WBs (both by a well known stallion)...one may have been out of a TB mare. One of them did quite well last year in the 2y.o. getting a good ribbon at the finals. One of the others in the class was a Friesian (complete with feathers flying). I forget what the other two in the class were...I want to say a TB and something else. Anyway, the Friesian placed higher than the two WBs. Assuming that there were no major conformational faults in the WBs that would/could cause soundness issues, in what world would anyone think that a Friesian would make a better 4* star horse than purpose bred WBs????

In one of the YEH classes, there was a draft/saddlebred cross that apparently did quite well. Now we all know that on occasion you can get something nice out of a let's say a "non-traditional cross", BUT if the purpose of the FEH/YEH program is to ID upper level potential, what message did this judge send? Even if the horse was brilliant on the day, what chance does is realistically have to make it even to Intermediate with the best of riders, IMO that horse, even if brilliant, should not score well in this program. It may be a lovely horse, may be suitable for amateurs, may even someday be a packer at as high as Prelim, but COME ON!

I think this program is great and I wish that more venues offered the classes, especially Areas other than Area II! However, if the USEA SAYS the program is for one purpose and the judges PLACE something completely different, then I fear the program wil be shortlived.

Additionally, what are the requirements for becoming a FEH/YEH judge? My friend said he spoke to another spectator who apparently knew the judge and she is a TD and BN rider. I guess I question whether a BN rider knows what a Rolex horse looks like at 1, 2, 3 and just starting under saddle. I searched the USEA website and could not find the judging requirements, I guess I assumed they were dressage judges who took some additional conformation classes.

I guess I'm just disillusioned with the program at this point.

Sorry, rant over. My friend was planning on taking his 2 y.o. to some classes later in the year and now we just don't know that it's worth the effort. I mean, if he just wants some exposure, he can take her to local open shows and show her against QHs and accomplish the same thing.

ThreeDays
Mar. 3, 2008, 01:29 PM
Hmm - time will only tell.

Of course competitions such as the FEH and YEH are open to all.

I guess I initially thought the programs (esp the FEH) were supposed to be geared toward uncovering the breeding programs that might be suppling future upper level horses. But I think I misunderstood and that the series is actually much more general and is basically looking to reward promising youngsters regardless of their breeding or breeder's intent.

I don't mean to say that some of the crosses showing up aren't nice horses. I'm sure they are. It's just that some of the 'crosses' being talked about and one's who are listed from last year's series are not likely products of a focused breeding program.

In the breeding world there is a huge difference between popping out a sporthorse that can easily jump 3'6" and pack around a training/ prelim course and producing a horse with above average talent and the bloodlines to predictably reproduce itself.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 3, 2008, 01:50 PM
[quote=ThreeDays;3048791]
I don't mean to say that some of the crosses showing up aren't nice horses. I'm sure they are. It's just that some of the 'crosses' being talked about and one's who are listed from last year's series are not likely products of a focused breeding program.

[quote]



Well I can only speak for Muggle...last years grand Champion. He was the product of focused breeding by an experienced horsewoman but did not have the "international" caliber pedigree of some of his competitors. His dam has produced 3 event horses prior to Muggle (that I know of) and several turf and steeple chase horses. I own two of her offspring in addition to Muggle. I know what caliber event horse those siblings are and knew that by his sire....chances were in our favor of producing a top level event horse. His sire is not well know but was owned by his breeder. He is a very nice horse whose siblings have done well in both eventing and dressage. He is an exceptional jumper and has generally passed on his good jump, movement and ridability to his offspring.

So Muggle was the product of careful breeding by an experienced breeder who was not in the least bit surprised that Muggle turned out to be a pretty darn nice event prospect. He was breed to be one. Several of the other horses that I saw at the finals of FEH had to die for proven eventing pedigrees and were very nice horses. Muggle's breeder has gotten out of the breeding business but I plan on breeding his sisters and one is in foal due later this summer with what I hope will be an UL event prospect.

At least from last year....Every one I spoke with had a horse from a focused breeding program.

camohn
Mar. 3, 2008, 05:01 PM
I got a call over the weekend from a friend who was spectating the FEH classes at The Ark on Friday. They had classes for 1-5 y.o.'s, right? Based on his comments about the results, I am now very confused and don't really see the point in the program.

As for the FEH one of the things that Evan told me last year when they were putting this together was that it was meant to be a way to connect breeders and event riders. Not all of the horses at the FEH are for sale...but many are...and those that were were asked to list in the program if their horses was for sale. At Morven Park one of the youngsters DID sell at the show. So...one reason. Another is it just being a way to get the young prospects some off the farm experience. If nothing changes from last year and all that is done is walk/trot in hand then while it is not a unique venue......it was friendly, well run, the people running and attending it were nice...I would certainly go again. If the canter thing is added in a safe indoor environment then I would attend that too. The show venues I attended were at Fair Hill and Morven Park. I agree with BFNE that the breeders I saw at those shows did pretty much have breeding programs with a purpose. Now I think some of that had to do with the fact of HOW it was being initally marketed as well. As the series was new in order to encourage attendance Evan just picked up a phone and started calling breeding farms and explaining the new show venue and encouraging breeders to attend. All the folks I talked to at the show liked how it was run and would attend again and bring other horses. SO...for the first year I think it was quite well received. Weather in hand horses go on to be top performance horses has always been open to debate...if a horse ends up a top performance horse depends on so much more than just the confo and movement of the horse.....but I think with the hunters and dressage in hand shows it has always been the intent that these horses go on to performance careers. And so.....as noted.....this is a place to start. For all the "canter/free-jump thing of the future" (or not) being contested here I DO want to take a moment and give kudos to the folks that DID do a great job with it's maiden year in 2007 and trying to find an identity of it's own beyond that.

Orkney96
Mar. 3, 2008, 05:34 PM
I definately agree that there will be growing pains in this process of figuring what the FEH/YEH should ultimately be, so I just want to say lets make sure that we arent just complaining about how things have gone but trying to figure out what will make it better.

I did compete at the FEH at the Ark this past weekend and I took two yearlings (8 and 9 months) I took my full Irish Draught colt by Touch of the Blues and a filly Ziraffe, by Ciceras Icewater. Both of these are youngsters that I am raising for my breeding progam and sine they had to compete against each other here is how I felt about the whole thing: First overal we had a great time and we HAVE to keep this process going forward. On a juding note and from an event rider perspective, here is my dilemma - my colt is GREAT and paid a lot of money for him and I think he will go far, but he will be heavy and I am not sure that as I look at how the world of eventing is changing for the horses that he himself would go onto the highest level - he will be a solid sound guy that has a lot of talent and will go a long ways, but it is his offspring when crossed to lighter mares that will make the ultimate event horse. FUrther more he was marked down for having a plain head and I am not sure that the look of the head should make that much of a difference in your event horse. My filly has a great conformation and she is BRAVE and has a lovely topline and will be the great mix to go to the top when you look at all her characteristics and the courses today. I would have bet 100 to 1 that the filly would beat my colt! Good thing I didnt bet!

So to babble on...the colt placed second and the filly 4th - I think the problem is that without seeing them moving free you would look at his standing conformation and think it is a touch better then hers, but to see them move alone and to see the personality and heart come out - I can guarentee that at leat 8 of 10 event riders would choose her as their prospect. So are we using the FEH/YEH to determine 1. great looks, conformation and pretty movement 2. a horse that will stay sound and be good all around, maybe go prelim and be sound or 3. a horse that given the right rider and training and someone with $$$ can make it to the Olympics/Rolex/WEG??

Thoughts?
Lisa

lucky bunny
Mar. 3, 2008, 06:52 PM
I was also at the Ark that day and I am totally mystified by the judge's decisions. From what I understand, the judge volunteered to judge the FEH/YEH to get more experience. I took that to mean that she has none. A lack of continuity among FEH judging is evident when remarks include "plain head".

Hmm... I thought the purpose here was to identify potential upper level prospects? Am I wrong?

I understand that at this point the FEH/YEH is developing. There is a burgeoning problem of a lack of consistency among judging. Upper level eventers who also breed should be called to step forward and fill this role.

btw that filly, who placed 3rd at national championships, placed last at the Ark on that day.

eventrider
Mar. 3, 2008, 08:34 PM
I was also at the Ark, and I was confused by the judging as well. So I stopped the judge later and asked her about it. I was confused by how a Fresian could be placed 2nd in the 3 yr old class. After a long discussion, the judge told me that she did not think that there was anyway for someone to judge a horse's upper level potential at 1-3 yrs, and not even really at 4 and 5 yrs old. So her impression was that the 1-3 yr old were to be judged based on whether they would make nice lower level event horses....basically whether they could go out and event and be safe. This was NOT my impression of what the horses were to be judged on. So I then stopped the TD at the event and asked her what the purpose of the classes were. She told me something different. So we have 2 different impressions right there.
On a side note, my clients have a breeding program for producing purpose bred event horses, with great bloodlines, and wished to really support our sport. They were so upset by the judging that they will quote "never take another horse to the FEH/YEH classes", and are questioning breeding for eventing. It is really a shame that breeders might be turned off due to inconsistencies in judging, etc. They have the time, money, and had the enthusiasm to really help the sport.
I am not stating an opinion on the horses or judging of the classes, just the lack of clarity on the purpose of the classes, and lack of consistency judging. When a horse is awarded the overall high score of the day at one event, and then has the lowest score of the day at the next, with no changes in the horse...there is something wrong. How do we fix this?
BTW, I am planning on getting my own FEH/YEH judging qualifications this year, so I am not just trying to criticize, but actually learn what we are supposed to be looking for!

Christan

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 3, 2008, 08:44 PM
Perhaps Denny or others will chime in but my understanding of the princples of these classes are to seek out UPPER Level horses. Both for the FEH classes and the YEH classes. This comes out very clear on the USEA web site. While a nice ammy horse might go all the way....the point of both classes is to judge youngsters that have the potential to be the top in the sport....not just safe mounts. I'm not sure how someone could read the USEA web site and miss this. The web site lays out very clearly what is supposed to be judged and the purpose of the judging....it is also very clear as to what to expect as a competitor at the events.

Denis Glaccum has judged FEH classes and when I took a couple of 5 year olds in a YEH class, one of our judges was Bruce Davidson. He judged the jumping, conformation and suitability. The judging was very consistent at that event in that between my two 5 year olds, one is put together beautifully....the other is a better jumper and has a better gallop. Both of their scores reflected that.

retreadeventer
Mar. 3, 2008, 09:10 PM
To support Bornfree -- This is directly from the USEA FEH page, and the link to the entire directive is here:
http://www.useventing.com/competitions.php?section=feh

(I don't know how to make bold face brackets but it seems to me that the very first sentence should be boldface, italic, underlined, asterick'ed and whizzing in and out with starbursts. Hello...)

"Notes to Judges
The horse's conformation must allow for it to stand up to a career that will consist of training, competition and performance at the upper levels of the sport of eventing. Therefore, conformation defects which might indicate early unsoundness will lower the scores.
Blemishes such as scars and/or splints should not count as it is future performance that is being determined. Event horses are not beauty queens but are athletes.
Straight limbs and good feet are key. Weaknesses or faults predisposing a horse to unsoundness or difficulty with training should be penalized.
Overweight horses of any age are undesirable and handlers/owners should be advised if the horse is carrying too much weight for its age.
Colts and fillies are expected to look and perform appropriately for their age. Attempts to speed up a horse's development by overfeeding, or by any other means, are discouraged.
Gaits should be pure and correct. This is more important than a flashy movement. Event horses must show a willingness to move forward and cover the ground. Straightness is desirable. Judges will be looking for horses who swing through the back and who show an uphill tendency.
Unsound horses will be disqualified."

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 3, 2008, 09:14 PM
And for YEH

http://www.useventing.com/competitions.php?section=yeh

Guidelines for Judging
The aim of these classes is to encourage breeders and trainers to produce and present the correct type of young horse which is considered to be the best material to make a top international event horse.

eventrider
Mar. 3, 2008, 10:08 PM
Thank you for posting the req's. I, as well as Kiz and Lucky Bunny can read that to answer the question, but if the JUDGES aren't aware, or are unable to judge a 1-3 yr old on their upper level suitability, then there is something wrong with the program. For example, the high score horse of the day at the Ark was badly toed in on his left front, and paddled severly on both front legs, so you could see it even when he wasn't coming straight at you. I asked the judge about this later and her response was that he was very soft through his back in the trot (he was a Hanov., and a big mover in front) so even though she took off for the crooked front legs and movement, his flashy front end made up for it score wise. She said that he did not interfere, so it was not that bad of a fault. She also said that he might grow out of it. Now to me, I would much rather have the other horses that were not as flashy, but VERY straight and correct, with no conformation faults....what is going to hold up better, and what should we be encouraging/breeding?
Maybe my thoughts are way off base about that, but it is something that should be made clear in the judging, etc. I want to know if I should only be bringing my really huge moving, pure warmblood babies instead of the TB crosses that I personally will be eventing....I won't be eventing the WB babies at the upper levels, they will be sold to dressage riders.
Again,,I am really not trying to pick on any of the horses, or their people here, just trying to learn what we are suppossed to be looking at/aiming for. I cannot do that without examples.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 3, 2008, 10:23 PM
Well sounds like some bad judging....or at least judging that many will disagree with.

I think you know what type of horse should be doing well...

But again...at the end of the day, I hope regardless of the judging, it was a good outing for the youngsters. I can honestly say....I cared far more about just getting my young horse out and seeing the world at these shows then I did about winning. I also enjoyed seeing all the other youngsters. But maybe I'm just not that competitive. I know that some people would pick other horses over mine....doesn't mean mine isn't nice or that some one else would pick mine over other people's horses. Even if Muggle doesn't do well in the YEH series or I disagree with some judging....I will still have fun bringing him out and watching the other youngsters progress.

Kanga
Mar. 3, 2008, 11:44 PM
Just to clarify as did a few other people, this series is meant to be judged by looking for the upper level Event Horse. As with the YEH, there are going to be nice amature horses in the program, all of whom are encouraged to come show their horses but the judges SHOULD be looking for the potential future stars in the highest level of our sport.

I found this very interesting about the Friesian Sport Horse. Then I thought to myself, how did this happen?? The first thing that came to my mind was it was Bruce Griffin handling that horse and that is why it did better than the others. Well, called Bruce, wasn't him but he sure would like to see that horse go X/C! For those of you that don't know our WONDERFUL Bruce Griffin yet, he handles some of the top Fresians in the country.

Everyone please don't get discouraged about this. The USEA/EMCO Future Event Horse series has a lot to offer. I agree that the judging has to be one of the first things that is addressed.

eventrider
Mar. 4, 2008, 12:44 AM
Kanga,

Funny you mentioned that, as Bruce and Staci are friends of mine, and I was planning to call them tomorrow to talk about it!!
FWIW, I was at the Champs in the fall at Morven, and instantly picked Muggles as the one horse there I would want in my barn....so I guess I can't be that far off on what the judging should be! I am afraid that the clients I spoke of will not be participating in future events, unless I can do some serious persuading, and until the judging is more consistent, I cannot faithfully assure them that their time and money is well spent. I am sure it will all come together with time. I look forward to hopefully being a part of getting some of these "bugs" worked out.

Christan

gillenwaterfarm
Mar. 4, 2008, 12:59 AM
I didn't pay attention to the other horses, or the judging, at The Ark, because like bornfreenowexpensive, I didn't come for the ribbon or the competition. This was about a positive outing for my colt. I thank the USEA for offering this opportuinty, and look forward to supporting the program again in the future.

From what I understand, the hired judge was not able to attend, and the actual person judging filled in as a way for the show to go on. Was my information incorrect? I am glad the organizers didn't cancell the class, and very thankful to the person who stepped forward to fill the judges spot. For those critisizing the judging, please, become one yourself and help create a solution to "fix" the "problem".

I fully expect a program in it's infancy (the FEH in this case) to have some kinks to work out. First you have to create a standard for judges to uphold. Then you have to create a program to teach potential judges the standards, and how to score the horses presented to the standards you have set. All of these things are being addressed by the USEA, and will be "fixed" in due course. The YEH classes are a few years of tweaking ahead of the FEH program, but I have been well pleased with how things have been addressed, changed, and implimented. I fully expect the FEH to progress and grow in a similar fashion to the YEH program.

I'll say it again...Thanks to the USEA and EMCO for supporting the FEH series. I can't wait to support it again. It was a positive outing for my youngster, and a great experience all around.



A lack of continuity among FEH judging is evident when remarks include "plain head".

You must have been reading my colts score sheet. :) He recieved "Touch plain head". I just figured it was a polite way of saying he has a typical Irish head. Plain, big, framed with big goofy ears that we hope he grows into. :)

denny
Mar. 4, 2008, 07:57 AM
Over the years I`ve used the very large public platform of Between Rounds in The Chronicle of the Horse to propose any number of new initiatives to the sport.
These have included running a four star event at Rolex, creating a USEA National Championships (AEC), and starting a FEH program.
In EVERY instance, I was told by many people that there were too many problems, and that these ideas couldn`t work.
The key is to give them time to sort out the inevitable problems.
Just read this thread, as an example.
Some people say that any test without a canter is useless, while others say that if the canter is required, they will not participate!
Talk about kinks to work out!
In ten years time, we can more readily assess how it`s working. Or not!

camohn
Mar. 4, 2008, 08:22 AM
How about putting a poll over on the breeders forum about if you had a 3 YO class with showing the canter in an indoor situation at the finals would folks be for or against it? I say to put it in the breeders forum because since we are talking about horses ages 1 to 3 is IS primarily the breeding farms that will be the bulk of the attendance.

Orkney96
Mar. 4, 2008, 09:06 AM
If we all want this to succeed lets push to get a clinic set up - I am willing to volunteer my farm as venue and I am willing to work on trying to get a few well seasoned event riders to come and have this open discussion to make this process better. I can push tp have people volunteer, but usually there ends up being a fee as we all know! If everyone can help me cover the costs I am willing to host a weekend clinic where you can bring your own horse or I have a barn of 15 that range in age from 1-12years old and all have been bred or shown as showjumpers, dressage or eventing that we can openly compare and discuss. I am sure that there are people on here that a bigger barn than i do that would like to offer something like this as well ????
My farm is Finncastle Farms in Mooresville, NC www.finncastle.com
Thought?:winkgrin:
Lisa

ThreeDays
Mar. 4, 2008, 09:22 AM
The more clinics the better!

Keep us posted. We're up in Virgina but might be able to plan a trip. I have a 3yr old filly and 2yr old colt that can join.

camohn
Mar. 4, 2008, 10:19 AM
I would volunteer though Carolinas is too far for me in SE PA....if there is one in SE PA/MD/No VA I would help.
Added: I have a 1, 2 and 3 YO I can volunteer.

eventrider
Mar. 4, 2008, 10:41 AM
Orkney,

I would be happy to help in anyway with a clinic. That is a great idea!
The judge was the one that was hired...no stepping up to fill in. I think that she judged as she thought the program was suppossed to be judged...it just isn't the goals that have been explained here. Again, no one is criticizing her or the horses..just trying to learn and get on the same page. I think a clinic would really help with this!!

Christan

Kanga
Mar. 4, 2008, 11:45 AM
Just to clarify here, you are all talking about a clinic for JUDGES? Is that right? I think we need to get the people together that are potentially going to be judges in this series and have a clinic for what they should and shouldn't be looking for in the future event horse. Many of them probably need education on conformation since that is not always what is covered when judging at an event.

We put together the symposium held at the Fork last year, which was very educational for the competitor/breeder but I am not sure that is exactly what is needed right now. I think some educational clinics for judges that want to judge these classes is needed immediately.

Again, just my opinion....

camohn
Mar. 4, 2008, 12:22 PM
Just to clarify here, you are all talking about a clinic for JUDGES? Is that right? I think we need to get the people together that are potentially going to be judges in this series and have a clinic for what they should and shouldn't be looking for in the future event horse. Many of them probably need education on conformation since that is not always what is covered when judging at an event.

We put together the symposium held at the Fork last year, which was very educational for the competitor/breeder but I am not sure that is exactly what is needed right now. I think some educational clinics for judges that want to judge these classes is needed immediately.

Again, just my opinion....
Yes, that is what I think people are saying...to get the judges on the same page for consistency. And the last part about confo probably being the weakest part is also probably correct. This is not in any way reflecting on last year's judging...just random examples I am throwing out for examples of what to look for in a clinic:
1) confo flaws. And a flawless horse is of course ideal but few will be flawless so then that moves on to which flaws should be graded more harshly. For example over versus back at the knee a little. Over is not ideal, but functionally horses don't ruin knees being over at the knee but BACK at the knee does do nasty joint stress/damage landing jump after jump and should be graded harshly. Foot quality is important: an nice thick walled foot that is of good size. Small shelly feet....not a good thing for an event horse. Any tiny feet landing a lot of jumping concussion will be prone to navicular problems. Slight club foot is not ideal, but I would take a horse with a slight club and big sturdy feet over one with level but small and shelly ones. Trimming can help the club more than the hoof quality. If the horse has a big old butt being slightly cowhocked is not a bad thing to allow hind end clearance to reach under themselves but post straight hocks is going to give a bad ride and damage hocks from the concussion. Plain heads are of no importance/you don't ride the head BUT a thick throatlatch and neck will affect the horse ability to bend and collect for dressage.That sort of thing.
Gaits: it IS easy to be impressed by a flashy front end and kinda miss what the hind end is doing.The hind end needs to ideally have a nice overtrack...but a event horse may not have as much suspension as an upper level dressage horse prospect. The neckset is going to need to be set on high enough that they can do better collection for the dressage phase than say a hunter type but might not need to be AS high as an upper level dressage horse again. They will need to go longer for the cross country phase than a dressage horse.
The TB stallion we sadly lost last year was very correct and not very flashy. A couple BNT clinicians at dressage clinics we went to said the same thing about him: he was very correct in a not very flashy way. If I showed him at the lower levels were were probably going to lose to WBs with a flashy auction trot...but as he moved up the levels they would expect he would actually start to do better than the flashy front end horses.

eventrider
Mar. 4, 2008, 01:11 PM
This is a great and much needed idea! I am waiting to hear back from the USEA about the req's and dates to become a judge for this. I would be happy to put together, host, or participate in a clinic like this, for judges, once I have gotten or completed the judging requirements myself. We are in central NC. Lets PM if anyone would be interested. I can talk to the NCDCTA about helping with this as well.

Christan

mademoiselle
Mar. 4, 2008, 01:16 PM
Is anybody interested in opening a group on : http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/ to keep brainstorming.

That way we can have an interactive group to come up with some ideas and stay in touch without having to deal with emails ?

I will try to set something up. I think this discussion is very intereesting and they are so many topics we can cover that a group would probably work better.

mademoiselle
Mar. 4, 2008, 01:27 PM
Ok, I did it, I started a group with 2 threads :
http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/group/fehyeheventingseries

Anyone who has an interest in FEH and YEH should join.

GreyDun
Mar. 4, 2008, 03:04 PM
I'll add a little bit more in a minute (after I finish wolfing down my sandwich) - but FYI, we're hoping to do a clinic at Virginia Tech this summer.:D

frugalannie
Mar. 4, 2008, 04:19 PM
Sticking my neck out (in?) here, and will join the other thread, but in helping put together the YEH/FEH at Ledyard this summer (Monday after Groton House 1: mark your calendars!), getting Eric Smiley as our judge drove our date. In addition, we are having a second judge who has stated she wants more experience at FEH (smart woman). We will be trying to do our best to have her work alongside Eric as well as independently on the YEH, where she is comfortable. IN essence, we're allowing a mentorship to happen if both parties are interested and willing.

camohn
Mar. 4, 2008, 05:55 PM
I can't seem to post a reply Over There for some reason. (Yes, I did sign up for it and all...)

mademoiselle
Mar. 5, 2008, 07:45 AM
keep coming on the discussion group. There are already 2 discussions going on and we need more ideas and more people :yes:

camohn
Mar. 5, 2008, 08:16 AM
Posting here on a point Over There as I can't seem to post a reply for some reason...I click on post a reply and it just takes me back to the home page.
The topic was if there was a canter class what age and how many horses should it be limited to.
1) One poster noted that she feels that 2 and 3 is OK but she would not want to see a yearling class at liberty because she feels a yearling away from home for the first time will be nervous and she wants the first year of showing to be a confidence builder. Having her there with the youngster at all times to ressure him/her will do that. Makes sense to me/I can agree with that.
2) Having a canter phase will increase the amount of time a class takes.In order to keep things moving perhaps the canter should be limited to only the top 2 horses in a class to determine champion and reserve. I AM against this one. An eariler poster here was against any canter at the finals because it was not fair it was not shown at all the venues. I don't think that can be helped as not all venues will have an indoor and it just can't be gotten around. However, if you are at the finals and have the indoor: if one horse gets to show the canter at this venue then all of them should. The thing is that if the canter is deemed important enough to include at the show and deemed important enough to make the show get an indoor for that specific reason then it is important enough for all the entries to have the opportunity to show it. I can see how it will add time to the class....but I think that pales in importance to why the canter is included in the first place. More value should be place on it for ALL the ribbon placings, not just to determine the champion and reserve. Now...on the flip side this past year there were maybe 8 entries in a class so that is not unmanageable. Playing devils advocate: say in the future this show gets really popular. We have 40 entries in a class. IS it practical to have FORTY young uns having to canter. I still think it would be best...but I can begin to see the practical issues at that point. So...here would be my middleground suggestion. Since 6 ribbons were issued at the show I would have the top 8 horses in the in hand walk-trot phase show at the canter. I figure if your walk/trot was not good enough to get into the top 8 then having a better canter is probably not going to make a big enough difference to get you into the ribbons ANYWAY. But for those close to the ribbon line having the better canter COULD change the ribbon lineup if number 7 or 8 going into the canter phase had a great canter and number 5 and 6 did not.
SO....there is the long winded explanation of why the top EIGHT should show the canter in a 6 ribbon show. If the scores for those near the ribbon line were extremely close it could be up to the judges discretion to include a couple more...say if the scores were extremely close for numbers 6 to 10. If running time of the show is such an issue then limit the canter class to 3 YOs only. As a starting point to me it kinda sounds like some folks would be most supportive of having the canter in the 3 YO class only anyway..so that is still the best place to start. I personally would like to see it in the 2 YO class to but would agree only starting it in the 3 YO class is the best way to get the ball rolling and maybe revisit the idea of it in a 2 YO class in the future when folks get used to it.

On a different topic (the confo judging): 2 YOs and 3 YOs are not as hard for the most part. The young uns have growth spurt uglies but they look more like a horse for the most part. I think the hardest part in getting a judge will be one that can judge the yearlings. Yearlings can look just horrid with the way their parts grow and are the hardest to judge. I almost think more weight should be placed on gaits for the yearlings and less on confo (should still deduct for gross confo flaws). Beautiful weaners turn into butt high critters with compartively short looking necks when the back grew/the front didn't yet etc. My stunning wenaner was sooo ugly as a yearling I would not have brought her out from behind the barn regardless last year!

camohn
Mar. 8, 2008, 12:42 PM
Another post over here since I can't post a reply on the BB forum for some reason/Molly is still trying to figure out why.
The topic Over There was that some big confo flaws were overlooked in favor of flashy movement at The Ark show (which I am nowhere near/didn't go) but it did bring up a good point that it will be hard to find upper level event riders/judges that do in fact have a good grasp on confo issues...in other words that breed and train/ride. A suggestion was made that there be a judge that is a certified eventing judge or an upper level rider AND a breeder paired up. One would be better at seeing the upper level talent and one would be better at picking out the confo flaws and you don't have to find one person that can wear all the hats. As noted in my last post....the yearlings are the hardest to see through the growth spurt fuglies.