Visit our shop Join BD View forums

Your shopping basket
is currently empty.


Dressage breeding shines at the 2017 Futurity

last updated on September 28, 2017 14:09

Dressage breeding shines at the 2017 Futurity

The 2017 Baileys Horse Feeds/ British Breeding/British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity resulted in a total of 25 dressage bred youngsters being awarded prestigious elite premiums. The popular Futurity series for foals to three-year-olds bred in the UK for competition in eventing, dressage, showjumping and endurance ran from the 14 - 30 August at nine venues across the country.

An elite premium indicates that the horse has the potential and outlook to perform at international level. Fifteen percent of the 163 youngsters that came forward in the dressage section in 2017 were awarded elite premiums. 2017 was the first time in the history of Futurity that a three-year-old (Woodlander Gloria) took home the highest premium score awarded.

The 2017 Futurity saw strong entries across the four disciplines with the first increase in the number of horses entered for each day of evaluations since the effect of the recession on breeding was felt in 2011.

Hannah Markham’s three-year-old filly, Woodlander Gloria (Grey Flannel x Hotline) - pictured top - earned an elite premium of 9.55 to head the entire 2017 Futurity series. This is the second elite premium Gloria has to her name. As a foal, she took a Futurity score of 9.22. Gloria was bred by Lynne Crowden and Hannah bought her at six months old. Hannah said: “I bought another horse from Lynne and whilst I was at Woodlander, I saw this amazing foal in the field. We then watched some video of Gloria which I showed to my trainer, David Hunt, who said I absolutely must buy her. I can’t wait to start riding Gloria, it is so exciting to have her. She has really grown into herself this year.”

The other horse Hannah bought from Woodlander was Wikipedia with whom Hannah won the Hickstead National five-year-old Championship last year. Hannah continued: “I hope Gloria will follow in Wikipedia’s footsteps. I am planning to compete in the young horse classes with her next year.”

Two filly dressage foals both earned elite premiums of 9.40 to takejoint top honours of their age group. Lisa Greenhill’s filly foal, Who’s That Girl (Woodlander Wavavoom x Margue H) - pictured right - earned her elite premium at Solihull Riding Club. Who’s That Girl was bred from Lisa’s mare, Manhattan. Lynne Crowden said: “Lisa bought Manhattan from me as a two-year-old and competed her. I think she had to really pinch herself at how well Who’s That Girl did at the Futurity.”

At Catherston Stud, Woodlander Regatta de Blanc (Revolution x Zack) - pictured below - earned her elite premium of 9.40 for her breeder, Lynne Crowden. A delighted Lynne said: “I think Regatta is the best foal we have bred since Farouche. She has a phenomenal canter with a good walk and a great trot mechanic. Having seen Farouche grow up, Regatta’s uphill canter is very similar. Zahra Adry has bought Regatta who will stay with us to be produced and then she will go on to compete with Zahra. I am very excited for Zahra and hope we all enjoy their competition journey.” Woodlander Regatta du Blanc is an embryo transfer foal from the mare Zandra, a direct descendant from the dam of Sandro Hit.

Hartpury Futurity saw two dressage youngsters earn elite premiums of 9.35. Lynne Crowden’s two-year-old colt, Woodlander Wild Love (Wild Child x For Compliment) who was the highest scoring dressage two-year-old in the series and Alison Walton’s filly foal, Freestate (Franklin x Wesuvio). Freestate’s dam, Walk on the Wild Side scored two higher first premiums as a youngster at the Futurity and she is bred by embryo transfer out of Woodlander Farouche.

This was a second elite Futurity premium for Wild Love who also took an elite premium of 9.15 in 2015. Wild Love is out of St Pr For Your Love who herself attained an elite Futurity premium of 9.27 as a yearling in 2011. Lynne said: “Wild Love will go for stallion licensing next month, he is a grandson of Wavavoom and his mother is from the damline of Hanoverian mare champion, Louisiana, there is great predictability and consistency in the family.”

Keith Taylor’s filly foal, Danita Seagry (D’Egalite x For Romance) who is out of Keith’s Futurity elite scoring mare, Seagry Firstamour, attained an elite premium of 9.30 as did Alison Walton’s colt foal, Franschhoek (Franklin x Wesuvio). Evaluator David Trott said: “He is super elegant and has great elevation with an exceptionally balanced canter.” Franschhoek is also out of the very consistent Woodlander Walk on the Wild Side.

Another of Alison’s colt foal’s, Zimbali (Zack x Florencio) earned an elite premium of 9.25. Evaluator, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert said: “He is a beautifully set foal with a nice power to trot and an athletic mover.” Again, this colt is from a top damline, he is the fourth elite scoring Futurity progeny from his dam, Cayenne D.

Tracy Cooper’s two-year-old colt, Keystone Drum Roll (Dimaggio x Depardieu) earned an elite premium of 9.25 in the dressage section. Tracy said: “I am thrilled with Drum Roll, my mare, Dakota is super and has bred several lovely horses for me. They all have such great temperaments.” Tracy breeds from the one mare and the youngsters live at home with her. Luke Baber-Davies rides the horses Tracy breeds, including Drum Roll’s eight-year-old full brother, Keystone Drummer Boy who is now out competing at Prix St Georges level. Luke said: “I am really looking forward to backing Drum Roll next spring, he is a wonderful young horse.”

Another two-year-old impressed dressage evaluators David Trott and Dan Greenwood at Catherston and earned an elite premium. This was Gavin Makinson’s colt, Kerouac (Sezuan x Sorento) who earned a score of 9.15. Kerouac was produced for the Futurity by Catherston Stud and Charlotte Dicker presented the horse. Jennie Loriston-Clarke said: “Kerouac really showed off for the evaluation, he has recently been backed and is feeling very well in himself. He has a great future ahead of him.” 

Kerouac’s owner, Gavin Makinson said: “We bred Kerouac by embryo transfer from my talented mare, Everoniek. He has such quality and is a very special horse. He will stay entire for now so he has all the possibilities ahead of him. I would ideally like to see him have a sporting career.”

Top dressage yearling of the 2017 Futurity series was Julia Wilkinson’s yearling filly, Gigi (Galaxy Win T x Londonderry) with an elite dressage premium of 9.15. Bred by Sara Lucas, from her mare St Pr Limoncello, this filly will go on to be produced for competition by Julia. Lynne Crowden said: “Sara is a long-term client at Woodlander and Gigi is a super filly who Sara absolutely loves.”

Joanna Robinson’s colt foal, Vix Dream (Dream Boy x Acolord) took home a dressage elite premium of 9.10 from Catherston. He is out of Joanna’s mare A la Ballerina and was presented at the Futurity by Mike Smith.

Roland Tong and Debbie Bates’ three-year-old gelding, Swanmore Fine Romance (For Romance x Charatan W) earned an elite premium score of 9.10. This handsome chestnut was bred by Ben St John-James from his mare, Charatana who herself competed to Grand Prix level. Futurity evaluator Dan Greenwood said: “He is a modern, supple and free-moving horse.” Swanmore Fine Romance also scored a Futurity elite premium as a foal. Ben St John-James said: “He will be backed and broken in and our rider, Emma Bailey will take him out to the four-year-old classes next year. The outing to the Futurity has been really good for the horse as he was quite shy but he has gained confidence throughout the experience.”

Twenty-two-year-old Sian Harman bred elite scoring dressage foal, Huntercombe Burlesque (Silvester x Princess Royal) for an elite premium of 9.10. Sian said: “My heart is in breeding and this is the sixth foal I have bred on my own. I am so pleased with her. Burlesque’s dam, Diva has done everything from novice eventing to being a side-saddle champion, she is such a pleasure to have.” Huntercombe Burlesque was sold at just nine days old to Sian’s trainer, Giles Carradine for his step-daughter, Jessica Kirby to ride.

9.10 proved a recurrent elite score for elite dressage foals in 2017, colt foal, Dynamic (Diaggio x Jazz) also took this score for owner and breeder, Ashleigh Hill. Ashleigh who has competed up to Prix St Georges began breeding six years ago. She said: “Dynamic is just brilliant. As soon as he was born everyone was really taken with him and his ‘look at me’ attitude, his temperament is also amazing. He will be broken and produced for dressage.” Breeding is for Ashleigh very much a long-term plan, she is breeding one or two a year and is aiming to produce the horses she breeds for competition and also for further breeding. She continued: “My mare Tactiek – Dynamic’s dam - is wonderful. I have known her pretty much all her life and then bought her as a 9-year-old. She competed to medium level and she has now bred four foals for us, the eldest of which is now 5 and has just started competing at novice.”

A trio of youngsters by Timolin attained elite premiums in 2017. Yearling colt, Catherston Tick Tock (Timolin x Breitling W) earned 9.10 and colt foal, Catherston Tuxedo (Timolin x Number One Guy) and yearling colt, Catherston Top Hat (Timolin x Sir Donnerhall) both scored 9.0. Jennie Loriston-Clarke was delighted. She said: “Tick Tock is possible stallion material, he has great athleticism and is very light-footed and uphill. He was champion at the British Breeders Network show in 2016 and we hope to bring him on and produce him. It depends on how he develops as to whether he stays entire.”

Colt foal, Catherston Tuxedo is out of the Saddlebred x Hanoverian mare, Catherston Georgia who was champion sport horse mare at Devon County Show last year with Tuxedo’s full brother, Texas at foot. Texas received a higher first Futurity premium in 2016. Jennie said: “Georgia has bred some lovely foals, Savannah by Catherston Springsteen who won at the Royal Bath and West Show and sports pony, Catherston Bobby Bright are amongst her offspring.”

Yearling Catherston Top Hat is out of the dressage mare Sweetheart. He is the full sister to Catherston Tiffany – a foal by embryo transfer – who also scored an elite Futurity premium as a foal. Jennie said: “We are really pleased with Top Hat, he was a late foal and so the Futurity is the first thing he has been to. Sweetheart is a beautiful mare and we will put her in foal to a different stallion in 2018.”

Penny Walster’s two-year-old sports pony filly, Bathleyhills Swift Farouche (Woodlander Wild Child x Thursden Vallye Raphael) was the highest scoring dressage sports pony in the 2017 Futurity with an elite premium of 9.05. This dressage sports pony is a grandchild of Woodlander Farouche, although this time on the paternal side. Swift Farouche is out of Penny’s mare, Bathleyhills Sea Swift who is by her stud foundation mare, Loveden Sea Swallow. Penny said: “It is great for the stud for another youngster in Sea Swallows’ family to get an elite Futurity premium. I am delighted.”

Ponies bred by Penny from the damline of Loveden Sea Swallow have gone on to become top jumping and dressage ponies including the top 128 pony, Bathleyhills Sea Mist and British Dressage Nationals winner, Bathleyhills Sea Worzel. Penny continued: “Breeding ponies has become an outgrown hobby. I work at Burger King in the evenings to fit earning some money in with the ponies and my daughter, Millie. I am hoping that Millie will go on to ride Swift Farouche.”

Tammy Ruffles’ yearling, Reminicse (Woodlander Rockstar x Dayano) achieved an elite premium of 9.05. Tammy said: “I am smiling from ear to ear. We brought Reminicse onto the yard two weeks ago to start a bit of practising for the Futurity with her, she is so kind – we call her the friendly giant!” Tammy has ridden up to Intermediare level and decided to start breeding as a cost-effective way of acquiring potential top-class horses. She added: “My parents used to breed Welsh cobs and have been a great help and I have also been in touch with Lynne Crowden who has been really inspirational. The whole Futurity experience has really added to my learning curve. I plan to keep Reminicse and produce her for dressage.”

Also scoring an elite premium of 9.05 was Jo Gummer’s col foal Ricochet (Revolution x Michaelangelo). Jo said: “He is the second foal bred from my mare, Affinity. The first, Fools Gold, scored a higher first premium as a foal. I am thrilled with Ricochet for his elite premium. I took a further three youngsters to Keysoe and they all came home with top higher first premiums.” Jo has been breeding for many years now and was the winner of the first ever BEF Young Horse Evaluation 15 years ago. She continued: “It was under saddle for four-year-olds at Keysoe, in February – in the snow! I won with Gironde who is now 19 years old and still out competing at Inter 1 level.”

Colt foal, Champions Bolero (Champions Limelight x Houston) brought home an elite premium dressage score of 9.03 for Shelby Smith of Champion Park Stud. Shelby said: “It was a spontaneous decision to bring him to the Futurity. I thought Bolero was looking really good at home and so swapped an entry to bring him along. He really showed himself off, I haven’t been to the Futurity for a few years and am really glad that we decided to come this year.” Bolero is out of Shelby’s mare, Wiona whose yearling, Bellagio earned a higher first premium at Keysoe. Shelby also bred Bolero’s sire, Champions Limelight who himself gained an elite Futurity premium as a youngster.

Rachel Ablett’s sports pony yearling colt, Dance of Destiny (Dance of Joy x Ricardo Go For Gold) earned an elite premium of 9.00 in the dressage section. Rachel’s stallion Dance of Joy, competed in international pony classes with Rachel’s daughter, Imogen Ablett. Now he has retired from international competition, Dance of Destiny is his first progeny. Rachel said: “My plan is to breed lovely ponies with nice temperaments for children to ride. Dance of Destiny is out of my mare, Reitland’s Helina, who is herself very well bred with a wonderful temperament.”

Dance of Destiny was graded with Oldenburg as a foal and Rachel plans to leave him entire. Rachel added: “I really enjoyed the Futurity, it was interesting to watch and the commentary from the evaluators was great. The comments were really constructive and positive.”

Elizabeth Ball’s colt foal, First Words (For Romance I x Wavavoom) scored an elite premium of 9.00. This dressage colt was bred from Elizabeth’s mare, West End Diva whom Elizabeth also bred. West End Diva herself attained a higher first Futurity premium of 8.88 as a three-year-old.

Katy Holder-Vale’s colt foal, Frankie Sinatra (Flammengold x Robespierre) also earned an elite premium of 9.00. Katy said: “The dam, Rosenschimmer is well bred, her family go back to Rubinstein. She competed to elementary level and retired sound. Frankie Sinatra is her third foal and they have all attained good higher firsts at Futurity. This foal has more star appeal and is the studs’ favourite personality, although all our foals are bred with temperament being paramount. The stud is keeping an open mind about his future but will keep him and bring him on very happily if he isn't sold! All our foals go to Futurity because it's a positive experience for them and they benefit from the farrier attention and the handling and travelling which makes them easier to manage as older horses.”

The BEF’s Head of Equine Development Jan Rogers said: “2017 has been a great Futurity year with the number of entries for each venue increasing for the first time since 2011. We have looked carefully at breeders’ responses to the survey at the beginning of the year and as Futurity moves into its new chapter, we are keen that the standards and integrity that Futurity offers are maintained and built upon. We have received expressions of interest from a number of organisations for the running of Futurity and we are looking at the detail of how this happens. We are excited about the possibilities for the future, both for Futurity itself and for the competition successes of Futurity graduates who are up and coming in the performance arena”.

For more information, visit

Photo credit: Kevin Sparrow.