Few dressage tests generate excitement like the young horse classes, where all the hopes, dreams, and possibilities for future equine dressage stars are on display. One program in particular can boast of a proven track record for identifying and rewarding talented youngsters capable of performing on a national and international stage: the California Dressage Society's Young Horse Futurity. When Alice Womble-Heitman's brown Hanoverian stallion "Sanceo" (San Remo x Rivera by Ramiro's Son II) strutted his way to a commanding victory in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Western Selection Trial during Dressage at Flintridge CDI*/Y/J in May, he was a resounding example of the talent showcased by the CDS Young Horse Futurity. Under the expert guidance of Sabine Schut-Kery of Thousand Oaks, CA, Sanceo earned an overall score of 8.23, and earned an automatic invitation to next week's Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships in Illinois, as well as a spot on the U.S. Short List for the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championships in Verden, Germany.
Spectators to last fall's California Dressage Society (CDS) Young Horse Futurity would not have been surprised by these results, as they were given a glimpse of the future when this elegant pair persevered in a tough field of talented four-year-olds to win the divisional Futurity title. At the time, the judges for the Futurity classes were impressed with the large and talented fields of young horses competing for top honors. "Overall, these classes were of very high quality, the lovely horses were well ridden, and a pleasure to judge," noted FEI judge Jane Weatherwax. Of Sanceo and Schut-Kery, division judges Paula Lacy and Scott Peterson were particularly pleased. "This was a very talented horse and rider who was a pleasure to watch," said Lacy. Peterson echoed, "The quality of this class was very strong, with spectacular horses presented."
This year, the CDS Young Horse Futurity will once again be offered in four, five, and six-year-old divisions, and held during the 44th Annual California Dressage Society Championship Show presented by HorseShow.com in conjunction with the Great American/USDF Region 7 Championships in Rancho Murieta, CA, October 6-9, 2011. For the Futurity, young horses compete against other horses of the same age in a two-test format, with four-year-olds contesting Training Level Tests 2 and 3; five-year-olds performing First Level Tests 1 and 2; and six-year-olds competing at Second Level Tests 1 and 2. The total number of points from both tests determine the final placings, and each age division also offers an Adult Amateur and Open Division.
In addition to bragging rights, competitors in the CDS Young Horse Futurity have the opportunity to win cold, hard cash - and a lot of it. Utilizing a nomination system for all horses, 100% of these nomination fees are channeled into prize money for the Futurity divisions, with total purses able to exceed $9,000. In addition, CDS offers a unique state-bred incentive program, with California and Nevada-bred horses eligible for a possible $6,000 in additional prize money. "Nowhere else in the country offers this kind of prize money for these classes," said CDS president Peggy Klump. "We believe we have a great program for young horses and are proud to offer CDS members the opportunity to showcase their horses' talent on the West Coast."
It's not too late for owners to nominate their young horses to the Futurity. For more information, including rules and nomination forms, please visit the California Dressage Society website www.california-dressage.org.