Almost a year ago an idea was put forth to put some money on the line and take a group of unstarted U.S. purpose event bred 3-year-olds to develop, qualify and compete at the 2019 Young Event Horse Championships East at Fair Hill International in October. While some argue that you never know what you have with a 3- or 4-year-old, a handful of dedicated people decided to give it a go, and document the journey.
The terms were simple. The horse had to be bred in the U.S. with documentation of age, the nominating fee was paid, and most importantly, the trainer had to agree to the condition that a training blog or vlog was required monthly. This vlog was to document the training and progress of these young horses on the journey to the Championships. Twelve entries were submitted and all were accepted.
While the audience followed online, there were plenty of unscripted/authentic twists (and some we could never have predicted!) and turns to keep up the interest level to develop a fan base of over 1,000 online followers. Logo items were awarded to the top commenting fans. At the end fans voted for their “fan favorite,” as well as who would be the ultimate winner.
Each trainer had their own training style, different resources and their own timeline. Fans enjoyed seeing that there is no one way to train the young event horse. Entrants also documented the “true” aspects of training and how good horsemanship is more important than competition, and that transparency was appreciated by followers.
Watch Maya Black’s final monthly vlog from the US Event Horse Futurity at Fair Hill:
Laurie Cameron’s Double Diamond C and his Final 2019 Vlog update from the ￼￼4yr old championships! He was a ⭐️ – winning the inaugural Event Horse futurity and finishing an overall 2nd in a huge championship class. 📸 chronicle of the horse, Shannon Brinkman photography and USeventing. It’s been such a pleasure starting him and working toward this goal over the past year. I hope everybody has enjoyed following our journey.￼❤️ Can’t wait to see what 2020 brings for both these 4yr olds after their well-deserved Florida holiday! Just getting settled down here and I have 2 more spots available for horses in training this winter and also available to teach lessons at the beautiful Mardanza Farm and surrounding areas, And also I have availability in my winter clinic schedule -so contact me for any of the above￼￼! Let’s get this Florida winter season started!🌴🌞🌴☀️🌴￼
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Posted by Maya Black Eventing on Friday, November 8, 2019
This year, the required score to qualify was raised to a 75%. This certainly added some difficulty to the qualifiers. Limited access to qualifiers also posed a challenge to some of the non East Coast candidates. Ultimately half the class was able to qualify and five horses competed in the Championships (one did not make it off the waitlist). Changes are in the works to increase the number of finalists for next year, so we hope everyone who qualified will be able to compete!
It was a challenging environment at the Fair Hill YEH Championships! The 4-year-olds shared the dressage warm-up arenas with the four-star horses on a cold and very windy day. The futurity horses were beautifully presented, and stayed calm and confident in their dressage work. They kept their cool and stayed focused when the older event horses could not resist acting up a little. It was wonderful to see the babies handle all the atmosphere like pros!
During the jumping phase, not one futurity horse dropped a rail. They all looked like legitimate contenders for the top prize and future success in eventing. A total of $5,500 in prize money was awarded to the finalists, and prize money was also awarded to the breeder of the winning horse.
With scores ranging from 85.51-88.2, it was high honors for the US Event Horse Futurity Class. All five contestants finished in the top nine of the class of 27 of the best young event horses in the U.S.!
This is an exciting program to support U.S. purpose event bred horses and the young horse trainers that have the talent to develop them. For more information about this program please see our website at www.theuseventhorsefuturity.
Entries for the 2020 US Event Horse Futurity are open and we can’t wait to see next year’s class! For more information contact us at [email protected]