Virtual Futurity 2020

Ever since it became clear that the coronavirus outbreak would continue to affect everyone well into the summer season, we have been working on a safe and fair assessment programme that is accessible to all and that does not compromise on the quality and detail of the evaluation and feedback we have all come to value in the Futurity.

With restrictions on international travel likely to continue, how could we continue to provide you with the team of international renowned evaluators everybody has to come to expect?

How could we take the right steps to maintain social distancing while still allowing everyone to interact, to give our evaluators a chance to discuss their observations, and to give you a chance to get feedback and ask questions?

The answer is: by running an online series. And here it is. We are proud to present our Virtual Futurity 2020, our first ever complete online assessment.

 

Who can take part?

The virtual Futurity is an in hand and loose assessment on the flat, and open to all British bred foals, yearlings, 2, 3 and 4 year olds that are aimed at Dressage, Showjumping, Eventing or Endurance. With the exception of Endurance, entries must be by licensed stallions. All you need is a smart phone or tablet, some straight hard standing, and an arena or flat paddock (well grazed or mowed) and get filming!

 

What do I need to do?

Our online entry system will open on 01 July 2020 and run for two months. This means that if you have several horses you would like to enter, you can spread them out a bit, making it more manageable for you. We are organising a weekly prize draw for all entries from that week, so it’s well worth starting early!

You will complete your online entry pretty much as normal. At the end of the entry process, you will be asked to submit your video files online. We will have example videos on our website for you with some useful hints and tips to show you what to watch out for.

Your foal or youngster will not be evaluated on the quality of the video footage or your editing skills, so keep it simple, and don’t worry, videos taken on a smart phone or tablet are perfectly suitable for this!

Equally, you can use any type of arena or other surface you have available. If you don’t have an arena, a straight bit of paddock is absolutely fine, as long as the grass is nice and short.

  

 

Above all, please ensure you stay safe and adhere to the government guidelines, avoiding unnecessary travelling and maintaining social distancing. We have designed this year’s evaluation with that in mind!

The first section of videos will cover the part of the assessment you normally complete with the vet and nutritionist, as well as the conformation assessment you normally complete in the indoor school. For this, you need some hard standing, and a straight bit long enough to show as few steps of walk and trot. You will show your youngster standing up and in hand walking and trotting away from and towards the camera.

   

   

 

The second section of videos will cover the walk, trot and canter assessment you normally complete in the indoor school. We are not able to support ridden assessments at the moment, so movement will only be judged loose, which is why the age maximum is 4 years. In order to comply with Government guidelines on safe activities, we won’t be able to assess loose jumping this year.

For this part of the assessment, you will need to get some footage of your youngster on both reins in all three gaits. Try and get as much footage side on as possible, as this makes it easiest to assess. 

For this part, you can use an arena if you have one available, but if not, a flat paddock with short grass is equally fine. Think about the practicalities of having to catch your youngster in a large field, and choose one that is not too big, with good, safe fencing. Please avoid anywhere with long grass or tall weeds (or get them mowed, first), as this will obscure parts of the movement.

The walk is usually best shown in hand, make sure you take long and active strides, as this will encourage your youngster to do the same. The trot can be shown loose or in hand, or you can opt for a combination of the two. The canter will need to be shown loose. For foals, you can either let both mare and foal loose, or you can take them both to one side of the arena or paddock, hold on to the foal while you move the mare away to the other side, then let the foal loose who will then usually canter to join his or her mother.

      

      

Happy Filming! If you have any questions or want some further advice, we are only every a phonecall away, so do not hesitate to get in touch!

 

 

How does the Assessment work?

Your videos will be looked at by all evaluators, with the veterinarian and nutritionist  paying special attention to correctness and limbs, and the rest of the team evaluating the topline conformation and gaits of your horse or pony, just like in a normal futurity.

After looking at your videos individually, the evaluators will hold a weekly conference call where they discuss and agree the profiles, feedback and marks for all the entries from that week – just like on a normal Futurity day. We will write all of those observations down, and email you a full and detailed feedback pack, including your linear scores, numerical marks and verbal feedback comments. At the end of the season, you will receive a certificate and rosette in the post.

If you would like to discuss your results and find out more, you will have the opportunity to book an online conference feedback slot, where you can speak to the evaluators and ask any questions you may have.

We will also produce a weekly highlights video with the best footage and positive comments from that week to be published on social media. As always, you can also upload any photos and descriptions to your online database profile.

We are also working with ClipMyHorse, who would normally be providing our livestream, and they are offering you the opportunity to upload the best bits of your videos to their platform, where they will market your foal to their global audience.

We realise that this is a lot of information to digest, and that you will all have further questions. Please watch out for more announcements, explanations and examples on our website and social media. If you have any comments, thoughts, or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch, we are always happy to help!

 

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