By Celia Clarke

With 398 entries across 11 venues around the UK, and a consistent panel of evaluators, the British Breeding/Baileys Horse Feeds Futurity Evaluations 2018 seem to have surmounted many of the issues that dogged past series, including the loss of funding and organizational support by the British Equestrian Federation(due to the BEF’s own internal issues), plus a loss of entries due to falling numbers of young horses being bred in the UK, as well as a growing distrust in the evaluations’ scoring system.

With a new organisation at the helm, British Breeding not only represents breeders but also discipline specialists. Their mandate included a thorough revision of evaluator training methods and the introduction of both live streaming and linear scoring, and a new-style Futurity that  not only combines its strengths of the past (discipline-based young-stock assessments completely independent of studbook breeding assessments) with state-of-the-art judging procedures. The evaluations were further enhanced by the inclusion of an end-of-series championship which were incorporated into an event called the Great British Mare Show. This was a noble attempt to address what has been an unresolved issue for some time, but now that it has been shown to work perhaps owners and breeders can look forward to a stand-alone set of championships in the future rather than the somewhat confusing format set by the currently inexperienced host organization, the British Breeders Network.

The quality of entries also reflected this new found upswing. Almost 10% of the animals forward achieved the ultimate ‘elite’ classification (nine plus marks out of a possible 10), and a further 87 gained the very desirable ‘upper first’, indicating that they had the conformation, soundness, temperament and bloodlines necessary to make them serious contenders to take part in top level competition once they mature. ..CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO BREEDING NEWS

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