Enhanced Concept for 2020/21 Equine Bridge Announced including Bursaries worth £4000

Wednesday, September 9

Enhanced Concept for 2020/21 Equine Bridge Announced including Bursaries worth £4000

British Breeding, British Showjumping, British Eventing and British Dressage have launched an Enhanced Concept for the 2020/21 Equine Bridge,
including British Breeding Bursaries Worth £4000.

The purpose of the Equine Bridge is to support the transition of British bred young horses into the sport. Centred on the equine athlete’s needs, it brings together all stakeholders, riders, owners, breeders, trainers and the Olympic disciplines to identify and nurture talent.

Working in close collaboration with British Showjumping, British Dressage and British Eventing, British Breeding has responded to the challenge of COVID-19 by developing an enhanced programme, with at its heart an annual two day ‘performance test’ style event at a centrally located equestrian facility the spring 2021.

The overall top scoring entries from each discipline, as well as the top scoring pony, will receive a £1000 bursary each from a fund put up by British Breeding to help nurture the talented young horses bred and produced in this country. The bursary can be used towards a variety of activities aimed at supporting the horse’s journey into the sport, such as training and competition entries.


Identifying Equine Talent

Conceived as a continuation of the British Breeding Futurity, the aim of the Bridge is to identify young horses and ponies who have the potential and talent to represent Great Britain at FEI level.

Says British Equestrian Interim CEO and CEO of British Showjumping, Iain Graham:

“Investing in the training and production of a young horse represents a significant economic commitment. By identifying horses and ponies not only with the ability to reach the highest levels in the sport, but with the constitution and longevity to stay successful at that level, the Equine Bridge provides invaluable information for those seeking to invest their resources, from owners, to riders, to other stakeholders such as the Olympic disciplines.”

The basic structure of the Bridge event is inspired by the German-style two day ‘performance test’ for young horses, in that the candidates are observed by a team of international evaluators over a number of days and challenges to determine their individual abilities.

These include a 45 minute discipline-specific training session with an internationally renowned coach on day 1, a set ridden performance test on day 2, and a session under an experienced test rider.

Where the Bridge differs significantly from other performance tests is that is offers detailed veterinarian and allied professional input, aimed at supporting the key objectives of longevity and the promotion of equine health.


The Pool of Equine Talent

The Bridge candidates have undergone qualification via the BB Baileys Horse Feeds Futurity Programme and will have scored an overall mark of 8 or above (Gold Premium) as a 3, 4 or 5yo at one of the Futurity events.

New for 2020/21 is the additional requirement that Bridge horses must demonstrate sufficient ridden experience, either by having competed at least twice in affiliated competitions in their target discipline, or by having qualified for and subsequently scored over 70% at the NexGen Young Horse Final at Hickstead on 15th and 16th September 2020, where 4 and 5yo horses will have the free opportunity to complete a Futurity evaluation on site.

Says CEO of British Dressage, Jason Brautigam:

“It is very important to us that horses arrive at the Equine Bridge well prepared and able to complete the two-day assessment with ease and confidence. We have therefore introduced a new requirement of some competition experience that allows for a smooth transition from the original Futurity assessments to the more demanding Equine Bridge experience.”


The Healthy Equine Athlete

The BB Baileys Horse Feeds Futurity and British Breeding Equine Bridge programmes support breeding and management of horses and ponies for longevity and soundness by collecting data and resources to improve future breeding decisions and by providing detailed professional veterinarian and allied professional feedback to optimise the management and production of young horses and ponies.

Says British Breeding Director Dr Eva-Maria Broomer:

“In a time when ‘the social license to operate’ equines in the sport can no longer be taken for granted, we must respond positively to the challenges and concerns over equine welfare in modern competition from within and importantly outside the equestrian community. Everything we do at British Breeding centres on facilitating the breeding and production of happy, sound and successful horses.”

As part of the Equine Bridge programme, every horse or pony undergoes a detailed soundness and performance evaluation with the organisation’s senior veterinarian and her team of allied professionals, comprising of an experienced master saddler, a master farrier and a qualified nutritionist, providing a holistic assessment of the horse or pony’s overall wellness, conformational traits, muscle development, saddle fit and foot balance.

To enhance the support available and to promote equine health and welfare, British Breeding is  inviting a range of professionals and services aimed at supporting the health of equines and riders alike to provide taster sessions at the annual Equine Bridge event, in addition to working with third parties to make available ongoing programmes  of support.


The Route into the Sport

The Equine Bridge programme seeks to provide meaningful support to riders, breeders and owners to ensure the Bridge horses fulfil their potential. The annual Bridge event provides excellent feedback, and will be accompanied by ongoing support for the production of talented young horses developed in partnership with the Olympic Disciplines and relevant third parties.

Says British Breeding Director Jane Marson:

“Our vision is for the Equine Bridge is to fulfil the need of the industry to source the best horses for the best riders and to understand and overcome the impediments that are currently leading to good horses not fulfilling their potential, and talented riders being unable to find good horses in this country.”

Says CEO of British Eventing, Jude Matthews:

“Riders and investors need to be able to come to one place where they can see a good range of suitable horses to choose from for the future. The Equine Bridge provides an excellent opportunity by bringing together the best crop of young horses forward from the Futurity and putting them through a rigorous two day programme designed to provide reliable information about ability, soundness and rideability.”

The Equine Bridge seeks to provide a wealth of information and utter transparency, via its public, livestreamed events, webinars and public database, which provides pedigrees, linear profiles, evaluators’ comments, videos and photographs. All evaluations are carried out by an independent team of experts.

Says British Breeding Director Rachael Holdsworth:

“We would like to thank British Showjumping, British Dressage and British Eventing for their support and extend a warm invitation to interested riders and investors to engage with the Equine Bridge to take advantage of the opportunities to meet the horses and their breeders. As soon as we will have a clearer understanding of the possibilities of running public events in the spring, we will provide further details on our website.”

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