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FEH Experiences

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  • FEH Experiences

    Hi all... I'm new to the COTH posting scene, so I apologize if this topic has already been discussed..... I'm re-entering the eventing scene after a couple year hiatus and I now have a lovely filly foal that I would like to take to 1 maybe 2 FEH evaluations next summer... How have your experiences been at these evals? Have they (USEA) decided on a way to evaluate the canter? Are FEH classes all you do with your youngsters? I have seen that there are some county shows that offer sport horse classes on the east coast *I'm guessing similar to what's offered in the UK?*.... Has anyone participated in these shows? If so experiences? Was it worth it? How do I find these classes? Please know that I don't want to over show my filly.... I just want to know what's out there because I want to pick the best events to do with her in order to give her the best experience I can. Also if anyone has any showing in-hand tips I'd appreciate it since as an Eventer I don't have much in-hand experience. Thanks all!
    "A good feeling after the round is better than any ribbon." ~ Bert de Némethy

  • #2
    I did some last year with my yearling and 1 this year as a 2 yr old. It is a nice way to have a low key outing - usually only 10 horses total in the 3 I've been to. Comments from the judges have been fair, but smts not based as an event horse, but more of a dressage horse. You should read some info on presenting on a triangle and should do work with your filly at home so she stands, walk and trots with you and so you present a nice picture. Too often, the babies haven't been taught at all, and you see people dragging the babies ( or the babies dragging the owner)
    Very few people to spectate, so don't plan on using it as a sales opportunity


    • #3
      FEH was a great low key pleasant educational experience for our 2yo. The detailed 2 page plus verbal evaluation by top flight judges was also terrific. If we get the time we will take our current 2yo later this summer. And our graduate of FEH continues to enjoy his life as a young sporthorse,clearly benefiting from his FEH experiences. Very confident and calm.


      • #4
        Great idea on the thread! I'm aiming to take my 15 month old out and am a bit nervous! I've never done the baby stuff before.

        And sadly the baby is a giant mess!!!! He's full of scars and cuts and scrapes.... Poor kid! Not to mention the giant incision on his belly from colic surgery.... but he's doing great now!

        So we'll see. I'm a bit nervous to hear what others think of him.


        • #5
          I took my filly out to one last year as a 2-year old and would do it again if I had the opportunity but I'm not going to a show JUST to do the FEH classes and none of the local shows decided to host them this year.

          I think it was an excellent training opportunity and reasonably priced. I'm not sure whether it accurately evaluates future event horses since it does not evaluate the canter. I'd like to see an arena where the horses could be shown at liberty or require that the gaits be presented on the lunge line for the older (2 & 3 year olds) horses. I'm not criticizing - just stating that I don't think it can accurately assess successful future event horses without seeing the canter, when the canter is such a critical gait.
          The rebel in the grey shirt


          • Original Poster

            Thanks so much for the comments and suggestions! I'm glad people seem to have such a positive experience. I truly think this is an exciting program and a great tool for advancing eventing in the US to a higher level! I will definitely take my filly to one. But I agree with you JWB... I hope the USEA comes up with a solution for the canter. I've been reading a lot about the BEF evaluations I like their program and hope that we can adapt some aspects from them.... evaluating the canter, I also like the grading ie 1st Premium, Elite, and I also hope to see some Broodmare classes added someday. What do you all think of their program?

            Also back to learning how to show in hand... have any of you watched the video called 'Showing your Sport Horse In Hand'? I'm also nervous because I haven't shown a youngster in hand and I wouldn't want to make a fool out of myself! I guess practice practice practice!
            "A good feeling after the round is better than any ribbon." ~ Bert de Némethy


            • #7
              Do you have any friends that have done it before? I'm getting a friend of mine to help me out and make sure I'm doing it right It sounds pretty easy in theory, but...

              Good luck!!!


              • #8
                I've been to two so far with my yearling and overall they have been enjoyable, rewarding experiences and a great opportunity to get them out when they're young.

                The first one I went to was fairly disorganized. They had posted the time it was supposed to start on the website but the organizer had a different time in her head, there wasn't communication on what we were doing, when we should be down there and how the placings/ribbons thing would go so it was kind of annoying when you're trying to handle a bored yearling (though mine was extremely well behaved considering) with a ton of other youngsters around. They also finished up the YEH in-hand phase at the same time?! so made all the FEH people wait around for that before the placings. I was a bit disappointed as the judge didn't give any verbal comments when I was up there, and had barely written a comment or two on the score sheet in the line-by-line items. There were NO general comments at the bottom. Finally they brought us all into the ring and called out placings.

                The second one I went to seemed a bit better organized (they had assigned times) although they were running very early so we got there 'late'. I'm not sure what was communicated beforehand, but we were one of the last horses to go so had no wait time (that's another thing, organizers: it helps to have the younger horses go later so there's not as much standing around for them!). They then asked everyone to go in the ring and read out scores and placings and everyone clapped (much better viewer turnout at this one). The judge was really nice at this one and chatted with me and asked questions and such. She had given a few more detailed comments but still no overall description.

                Maybe I have a totally wonky perspective on how this could be run but here's what I'd like to see:
                - Start times so we don't have to wait around
                - Clearly defined guidelines on how the day is scheduled (ie. 3 year olds, then their placing, 2 year olds, then their placing, 1 year olds, then their placing, with a note that all first and second place are expected to return to the ring for the championship at such and such time)
                - Clearly defined guidelines on placing (I'm not sure how it's supposed to be placed but once they placed boys and girls separately and once they placed them together)
                - Judges willing to talk to us and provide feedback (verbal and written) who seem interested in their job!
                - This might be disliked by some, but I view this as a learning experience not just for my yearling, but also for myself. I would love it if the judges, upon lining them all up for the placings, would go through with a microphone and provide some feedback to all competitors and viewers and give commentary on what they liked or didn't like about a horse, or what was hard to judge, or what they think the horse might be like, etc. They did this at my baby's Old NA inspection and it was absolutely wonderful and educational. Yes, you hear some things you don't want to hear because that baby is your pride and joy, but I personally still want to hear it and think it's extremely valuable to know what you're getting into, especially for those of us ammies who aren't making a business out of breeding...

                So, rant over, time to answer your questions

                I think I covered my experiences above but let me know if you have specific questions

                AFAIK, FEH is still not evaluating the canter but have heard this suggestion from many people. I would love it as my baby wants to walk or canter, no trot

                In terms of competition, yes, FEH is all I do. Not sure about any of those shows you are talking about. I could do hunter breeding as my barn owner does a lot of it but after talking with her and seeing it for a few years know it's not our place.

                For in-hand practice, I took my yearling through learning to jog in hand (best advice I got is just be patient, don't stop them right away if they try to canter as you just want them to learn to go with you calmly) and then got him used to turning away from me but at this stage he gets bored really quickly and is really smart so I try NOT to practice

                Hope you get out there! Best thing I did was watch a couple when mine was a foal