Longtime event horse breeders Elizabeth “Didi” Callahan, DVM, and Laurie Cameron, DVM, have launched the U.S. Event Horse Futurity, a pilot program to promote U.S.-bred event horses and bring breeders and riders together.
In this first year, 12 horses bred by 11 breeders will participate in the futurity. Only U.S.-bred, purpose-bred, 4-year-olds were eligible for the test program. Each entry paid $500 to participate, and the funds went into a prize money pot that will be given out as a separate award for the 4-year-old division of the U.S. Eventing Association Young Event Horse East Coast Championships at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International (Maryland) in October.
Horses must qualify for the YEH championships throughout the season, and if they don’t qualify or choose not to contest the event, they won’t receive a refund.
Callahan, who breeds horses at her Cool Na Grena Sporthorses in Oxford, Maryland, said breeders often have a hard time marketing and selling their young stock, while professional riders don’t know where to find horses in the United States. She and Cameron, who owns Clear Blue Farm in Stockton, New Jersey, hope to promote a pool of professionals who are eager to develop young event horses as well as build a network of breeders, trainers and riders.
“I’ve had more riders than breeders contact me so far,” said Callahan. “I’ve had a bunch of breeders contact me and say, ‘I don’t have anything for this year,’ but they’re excited about the future. It’s all about the connection.”
The entries are posted on the website, theuseventhorsefuturity.com, and on the U.S. Event Horse Futurity Facebook page, where participants provide regular updates with information and videos. Callahan and Cameron want to give trainers a platform to share how they start and develop young horses, and to build a fan base of followers as well. They hope the futurity will showcase young horse training, build a market, and create a better pathway to develop purpose-bred young eventers.