The Baileys Horse Feeds/British Breeding /BEF Futurity celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 2005 the Futurity has gone from annually seeing around 100 young performance horses of the future to nearly 900 at its peak in 2011. Breeders, riders and potential purchasers of young British bred horses are increasingly valuing the merits of a horse with a Futurity premium.
The Futurity organisers have listened carefully to evaluators’ and participants’ feedback over this time and there is much impetus for the Futurity to keep moving forward in line with the BEF’s annual operational plans in support of the strategic goals set out in 2013. Following extensive research, a new bespoke linear scoring system will be introduced in 2015. There has also been a shift in the Futurity evaluating panel to ensure greater consistency of scoring.
BEF Coordinator Jan Rogers said, “This year will be a year of positive change for the Futurity. It is fundamentally working very well and we are trying hard to ensure that it continues to be a well-respected and sought after series for young British bred horses – a new Futurity for another decade. We have carefully analysed the feedback received , looked at who has sent it, how much insight they have, and made sure it is all given for reasons which support the objectives of the series”.
As a result of looking carefully into evaluator combinations the Futurity team are working towards developing the panel of evaluators with more input from those who have competed internationally but without losing the strong evaluator base and the special competencies the evaluators have developed in being able to assess growing youngstock, specifically foals. Jan continued, “The changes in combinations, greater consistency in evaluators across the 12 venues, renewed emphasis on competition experience and the linear scoring detail should make for an improved participant experience with much more information at their fingertips. This is what owners have told us they want to see”.
Following two years’ research into complementary linear scoring systems on the continent, Futurity has taken the best from what it has learned and built its own bespoke linear scoring system to take into account the criteria scored for performance potential as distinct from the systems used by continental studbooks which record data for studbook fitness. The Futurity linear scoring system enables the Futurity evaluators to give more objective individual scores to a range of components which make up the Futurity assessment.
Evaluators will key their scores into hand held devices which will generate same day emailed feedback for the Futurity participants. This information will also be centrally stored to build up a more complete picture of which genetic combinations go on to deliver performance success.
This year Futurity enters a new age of collaboration. Futurity is set to team up with Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain SHB(GB) and the newly formed British Breeders Network (BBN).
SHB(GB) will offer mare gradings side by side with Futurity at 11 of its venues in 2015. Jan Rogers said, “This is an unprecedented exercise, where the plan has been set out and the outcomes clearly defined, we hope that mare owners will see more opportunities to have their mares graded at convenient locations without having the added expense of an extra journey. We are very pleased to be working with one of the UK’s leading World Breeding Federation studbooks on this pioneering initiative”.
Marian Eydmann of SHB(GB) said, “We are delighted to be offering our members the opportunity to have their mares graded at the Futurity venues. We have already had a large volume of interest and breeders are looking forward to bringing both mares and their offspring to be assessed in the one outing”.
The BBN has a high profile youngstock event scheduled at Hartpury College on 9 August to coincide with the Futurity evaluation. Jan Rogers said, “This again gives breeders more choice for youngstock outings and an opportunity to showcase their stock in front of both Futurity and BBN audiences. We hope to be able to build on these collaborations in future giving British breeders some much needed opportunities as identified by BBN in their extensive information collection as to what British breeders need in order to be able to succeed and continue to excel”.
The 2015 Futurity evaluations will run from the 1st to the 18th August, covering 11 venues nationwide with a total of 12 days of evaluations. Entries are taken online and will open on the 1st July 2015.
For more information, visit www.britishbreeding.org