Three local breeders win futurity awards

Michael Bates with Escobillo  Photo: Craig Payne Photography
Michael Bates with Escobillo Photo: Craig Payne Photography
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LOCAL breeders Suzanne Lavendera from Ashurst, Elizabeth Lawrence from Storrington, Nicki and Michael Bates from Barnham have all earned high accolades for their young horses at the Baileys Horse Feed/British Breeding/British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity Evaluations held at Plumpton College recently.

The BEF Futurity evaluation series aims to identify British bred young potential sport horses and ponies destined for careers in dressage, eventing, show-jumping or endurance, and may even find the Olympic Champions of the future.

An Elite premium indicates the young horse the potential and outlook to perform well at international level competition. A higher first premium indicates that the young horse has the outlook and potential to compete at national competition.

Owned and bred by Suzanne Lavendera of Ashurst, near Steyning, from the Keystone Stud, a colt foal, who is yet to be named, was the top scoring youngster of the day from across all the disciplines, earning an elite premium with a score of 9.02. He is by Suzanne’s stallion Dimaggio out of Elite mare Estrada by Escudo. Estrada qualified for the German Young Horse Championships, was sold through the Elite Horse Auctions and also won young horse classes as a five-year-old.

She has had three foals by Dimaggio and a fourth who was by Walentino. Dimaggio, now 17, is standing in Germany this year and has proved to be very popular over there.

“He produces big elastic movers and was a good cross with Estrada. We would like to keep the colt as a breeding stallion, perhaps to replace Dimaggio in the future” said Suzanne. “He’s got a lovely temperament and really looks like a potential stallion”.

The top three year old eventer was Golden Revolution, owned and bred by Elizabeth Lawrence. The mare, known as Gucci, earned a first premium with a score of 8.13. Gucci is by Revolution out of Spinning Gold, who was Elizabeth’s daughter’s pony club pony for many years and at the age of 19 is still out doing things in the pony club with other riders

“Gucci is just like her mother, they both have a great temperament and good movement” said Elizabeth, who has also had another foal by Revolution from her other mare, “The two are completely different but hopefully will be equally as good”. Elizabeth chose to use Revolution because of his “stunning looks and lovely personality”.

“I wanted an event horse and had read about his progeny and seen pictures” said Elizabeth. “It was my first time at the Futurity and I thought the vet was fantastic. She was really informative and helpful. The evaluators gave clear and thorough feedback and I thoroughly enjoyed the day”.

Elizabeth is now considering breeding from Gucci before breaking her in, “If I do, I would definitely take the foal to the Futurity” she added.

Nicki and Michael Bates’ Escobillo was the top scoring three year old showjumper of the day, earning a first premium with a score of 8.24. The gelding is by Ustinov out of Nicki’s mare Tropical.

“I bought Tropical five years ago to show jump but unfortunately she had to be retired through injury so is now our broodmare” said Nicki. “She’s had three foals now and we’re really pleased with how Escobillo has turned out. We backed him a month ago and he’s been so straight forward, it all went very smoothly”.

Nicki now plans to produce him for showjumping with the intention of competing in young horse classes next year when he is four.

“We chose the stallion Ustinov because his progeny have been very successful” said Nicki, who had a baby two months ago, so has had a short break from riding. She competes in show jumping whilst husband Michael competes in dressage.

“It’s a family run business so we all muck in together” said Nicki.

The BEF’s Head of Equine Development, Jan Rogers, said: “The futurity continues to grow and be shaped by feedback we receive and is developing into an assessment the British horse world recognises as a valuable indicator of future performance talent”

The BEF Futurity Evaluations are held at 12 venues 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.