East Anglia Breeders Gain Elite Premiums at the BEF Futurity

Local horse breeders, Kirsty Millard (26) from Bradwell Essex and Sharon Keable from Writtle in Essex gained elite premiums with foals they have bred at the Baileys Horse Feeds/ British Breeding/British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity held on the 14th August at Writtle College, Essex.

The BEF Futurity Evaluation series aims to identify British bred young potential sport horses and ponies destined for careers in dressage, eventing, showjumping or endurance. It may even find the stars of the future who will go on to compete at World Championships or become Olympic Champions

Sports pony filly foal, KMD Dornlight, bred and owned by Kirsty took an elite premium of 9.02 in the dressage section at Writtle. An elite premium indicates that the horse has the potential and outlook to perform at international level.

This is the second year in a row that Kirsty has bred a foal that has scored an elite premium at the BEF Futurity. Kirsty said, “It is just brilliant, Dornlight is excellent. We are only breeding a couple of foals a year, its pretty much back garden production”. In 2013, Kirsty’s KMD Rialto scored an elite premium of 9.07.

Kirsty bred Dornlight from her mare, Daylight who has represented GB on pony teams. She is now retired from competition and Kirsty intends to breed further foals from her. Kirsty said, “I am planning to move up to Scotland so we haven’t put the mares in foal for next year. Daylight is a great mare and I jumped at the chance to buy her to breed from”.

KMD Dornlight is by the pony stallion, Rembrandt.

Kirsty is a former member of British Young Breeders. She represented GB at the International Young Breeders Championships. Kirsty added, “The experience I gained from the Young Breeders team and championships was absolutely invaluable. I learned so much from it”.

A delighted Sharon Keable, owner and breeder of dressage colt foal, Divine Comedy, said, “My boss, Jenny Belloy gave me the opportunity to use her broodmare, Bieke Van Ter Lint to breed a foal for myself. She is a lovely mare and I jumped at the chance. Divine Comedy is lovely, he has a fantastic personality and is kind and trainable. I was worried before the Futurity in case he didn’t get a good score!” Divine Comedy scored an elite premium of 9.00.

When it came to deciding upon a stallion, Sharon spent a lot of time deciding which stallion to use. Sharon added, “I spoke a lot to British Dressage judge, Gloria Leverett who suggested using Debonair. I went to see him and went through his pedigree and we decided to use him”.

Sharon continued, “It is all so exciting and I am just thrilled to bits with Divine Comedy. I will keep him and compete him myself”.

The Futurity is a continually evolving process, 2013 saw the introduction of the Futurity equine bridge which is now being run as an extension of the Futurity evaluations. The Futurity equine bridge provides top Futurity graduates with the direction and support they will need as 4 year olds so that they begin their early years under saddle in a way that allows for sustained physical and mental development. In order to be eligible for the Futurity Equine Bridge all horses must obtain a Futurity score of 8.5 or above in their three year old year.

Head of Equine Development at the BEF, Jan Rogers said, “The Futurity is now in its ninth year and over this time we have seen it develop to provide real support to British breeders to help achieve their aims. Through their carefully planned breeding decisions, year on year we are seeing an improvement in the horses presented at the Futurity for evaluation”.

With entries limited to 60 at each evaluation venue, places are keenly sought after. Entries are categorised by discipline with age groups for foals, yearlings, two and three year olds and each horse is evaluated in hand and loose in a safe indoor environment as well as undergoing a vet’s assessment.

The BEF Futurity Evaluations are held at 11 venues over 14 days throughout the UK and young horses go home with a BEF Premium (grade), a stylish rosette and a detailed, informative score sheet. An attractive certificate to keep and frame follows on after the event. All results are published on the fully searchable British Breeding website. www.britishbreeding.org.