Equestrian Sport Productions Announces the Spy Coast Farm Young Sporthorse Show Series

Wellington, FL - The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in cooperation with the North American Studbook will host three Young Horse Shows this year, one each month in January, February, and March. The shows will be held on January 25, February 22, and March 22, all Tuesdays, in the Mogavero Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Spy Coast Farm has generously signed on as the title sponsor of the Series, which will conclude in December 2011 with a Young Horse Final at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. That final will be the culmination of all of the Young Horse Shows this year.   

The Spy Coast Farm Young Sporthorse Show Series is designed to provide breeders, owners, trainers and riders of young sporthorses an affordable show venue. The goal of the young horse program is to introduce sporthorses of all disciplines to the show environment and provide special classes suitable to the proper development of young horses. It is also intended to create a sales environment where numerous young horses are in a single location and their talents may be displayed in front of a buying audience.  

"On behalf of the Wellington Equestrian Partners, we are delighted to incorporate the Spy Coast Farm Young Sporthorse Show Series into the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, and anticipate that this series will be an important contributor towards the evolution of sporthorse breeding in the US. We are honored to work together with Spy Coast Farm and the North American Studbook to help achieve their long-term vision of making breeding as prevalent in North America as it is overseas. We would like to especially thank the Louries and the Tolas for becoming the motivation behind this challenging endeavor," expressed Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of the Wellington Equestrian Partners.  

The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival and the North American Studbook (NAS) present the Spy Coast Farm Young Sporthorse Show Series for young horses of all disciplines one to five years of age. Disciplines include jumpers, dressage, hunters, and eventing. NAS Board Member Lisa Lourie hosted a very successful inaugural event at Spy Coast Farm this spring and looks forward to continuing the shows in Wellington this winter.

"This whole concept was the idea of NAS President Jean Yves Tola," Lourie acknowledged. "He approached me about having a show at Spy Coast Farm and he asked if we could pursue this in other settings, which is where WEF came in. We are basically trying to create a template for Young Horse Shows where the standards are quite clearly set so that we are not over facing these horses. The emphasis is on style and technique more than it is the competition to win. It is the intention of this Young Horse Show to provide young horses a suitable environment to begin their first steps towards a competitive career without the pressures of the show circuit."

In order to continue to educate other equestrians about the management of breeding and young horses, Spy Coast Farm will be hosting a seminar on the Economics of Breeding on Thursday, February 10, from 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. as part of the FTI WEF's Lunch and Learn series. They will also host a clinic in the Mogavero Arena on Tuesday, February 16, with the topic of How to Back a Young Horse.

The Young Horse Shows will host five divisions, each divided by age. Divisions include Suitability for Sport In-Hand, Jump Chute, Schooling Dressage, Suitability for Sport Under Saddle, and Style Jumping Under Saddle. Horses can compete in more than one division appropriate to their age group.

Suitability for Sport In-Hand
This class will combine an in-hand phase followed by a liberty phase. Upon entering the ring, the conformation of each horse will be assessed by the two judges independently.  The handler will then present the horse on the triangle at both the walk and the trot. The conclusion will be a maximum 3-minute liberty phase where all three gaits will be assessed. The horses will be scored on conformation (30%), quality of all three gaits (30%), overall athleticism (30%) and overall impression (10%).  

Jump Chute
Horses will jump an age appropriate chute comprised of three jumping elements: a cross rail to a small vertical to an ascending oxer. The judges initially will set the chute at an inviting height so the horse can become accustomed to the chute and will then raise the jumps accordingly. The horses will receive equally weighted scores for scope, technique, carefulness and willingness at the conclusion of their jumping effort.   

Schooling Dressage
Open to horses of all disciplines, horses will demonstrate their basic rideability, harmony with their rider and willingness to perform using a Training Level Dressage test.  The Training Level tests can be performed by any horse and rider pairing of any discipline that is capable of walking, trotting, cantering, and halting.  No lateral movements will be required. The judge will look for balanced, smooth transitions and clear, rhythmic gaits. Each element of the test will be scored and collective marks at the end of the test are given for the horse's gaits, impulsion and submission.  Since the focus of the class is the horse, the rider will not receive a score.

Suitability for Sport Under Saddle
Open to horses of all disciplines, judges will assess the basic gaits of the horse under saddle. Two horses and riders will be in the ring at once. Horses will be paired by age and by gender and will perform in the ring together with the judge asking the riders to walk, trot, canter and lengthen the gaits.  Horses will be scored on the quality of their gaits under saddle, as well as their overall impression. Horses will receive a score for walk (25%), trot (25%), canter (25%) and overall impression (25%). Each horse will be assessed by a single judge. The scores will be based on the individual horse, not on a relative basis.   

Style Jumping Under Saddle
Horses will jump an age appropriate course of eight to ten fences to demonstrate their jumping skill.  They will be allowed two rounds over the same course and fences. The focus of the judge will be on the horse's style (e.g., scope, technique, carefulness and willingness) over each obstacle. The course will be designed similarly to a hunter course in structure (basic in and out lines, no bending lines, no roll-backs), but comprised of colored (jumper) fences set with young-horse friendly, straightforward strides. Time is neither set nor judged. The horse will be scored over each obstacle and each individual score will then be combined for a total score.  

All prize list information and entry forms for the Spy Coast Farm Young Sporthorse Show Series can be found at www.equestriansport.com.   

The 2011 FTI WEF promises to be more exciting than ever with opportunities for every level of rider. More on the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, including sponsor information, prize list announcements, and other exciting news will be announced throughout the fall leading up to the start of the winter circuit.

The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 12 through April 3. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $6 million in prize money will be awarded.

WEF is proud to be supported by their title sponsor, FTI Consulting, Inc. FTI Consulting, Inc. exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex economic, legal and regulatory environment. FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history. For more information, please visit www.fticonsulting.com.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Photo: Lisa and Robert Lourie at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Photo: Ken Braddick-HorseSport USA