December 2015 - Promoting Young Horses
Written by CRM
Saturday, 28 November 2015 01:58
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Young Jumper programs undergo expansion and revisions.

Next year will bring a few changes to two U.S. programs designed to promote the breeding and development of jumper prospects: the Young Jumper Championships and the International Jumper Futurity, the latter of which will change its name to the Young Jumper Futurity.

Cross Creek Farm’s Caramel won the West Coast Young Jumper Championships 6-year-old division in September. Owned by Dana B Nemeth, CCF Caramel was bred by Carol and Michelle (his rider) Parker at Cross Creek Farms. She was sired by the Darco son Durango La Silla, a Belgian Warmblood. Her dam is the Chin Chin daughter Charisma 57. Caramel’s famous family also includes aunt Sapphire and uncle Ravel. During the 2009 World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, McLain Ward rode Sapphire to the reserve championship in jumping and Steffen Peters and Ravel took top honors in dressage.

Led by Olympic course designer Linda Allen, the Young Jumper Championships began in 1998.  To be registered in the YJC program, 5, 6 and 7 year old horses first have their age and breeding verified by the organization. YJC then tracks their performance in sanctioned classes in which they earn eligibility for participating in one of three regional championships around the country.  The Western Regional was held at the end of August at Del Mar Horsepark in Del Mar.

The change to this program is that qualifying for the 5 year old Regional will no longer be restricted to USEF-sanctioned competitions.

The expansion of competitive opportunities will give owners more flexibility in gaining experience and a marketable show record for these horses at age-appropriate heights. Opening the program to more shows will allow horses to compete closer to home, often at one-day events, versus multi-day rated shows, which is typically less expensive. In the past, these youngsters had only been able to earn YJC qualification in USEF-recognized shows.

The cost of developing young horses in the United States has long been a big obstacle for domestic breeders and this YJC move is one attempt to reduce that.

Flexibility was another factor. “We wanted to make the program more adaptable to different horses, in part because their abilities change so much throughout the year,” explains Linda.

SFlashdance, 5 Year Old West Coast Young Jumper Champion. The Hanoverian was sired by For Edition (Forsyth x Leggiera) and he’s out of a Virginia II (Quinar x Raja V). Flashdance is owned by Felyn Farms, and campaigned by Jamie Sailor of Mike Edrick Stables.

The revised YJF and YJC programs will now allow 4-year-olds to accrue tracked records, and 5-year-olds to get additional mileage and earn YJC Championships qualification at “quality schooling shows,” Linda explains. Examples of such non-USEF events include the “No Shows” staged by Blenheim EquiSports in San Juan Capistrano and the JK Presents schooling shows hunter/jumper trainer Jen Kallam is staging at the Woodside Horse Park in the Bay Area.

Another example is the Young Horse Shows series started by Spy Coast Farms that are hosted around the country. “We wanted to be able to pull all of these types of shows and programs together when it comes to reflecting a young horse’s record,” Linda says.

Also new for 5-year-olds is a reduction in fence height, to a minimum of 1M, for YJC classes held early in the year at rated shows and throughout the year at unrated shows.

Competitions that would like to have their classes count towards the Young Jumper program only have to provide results (scores, fence heights) to YJC: there are no fees for the organizers and YJC does not mandate the details of how competitions are run, Linda notes. YJC can also help publicize these classes and shows by adding a link on their website.    

Young Jumper Futurity

Meanwhile, the International Jumper Futurity takes on its new name, Young Jumper Futurity, along with other changes. From 2016 on, participating horses will not have to be sired by a nominated stallion: they just have to be foaled in the United States.

“We wanted to convert it to something that really recognizes the successes of the U.S breeders,” Linda explains. “And to make sure the breeder continues to be recognized through the horse’s career and to create some financial reward for the breeder.”

Linda notes that both programs can be good options for individual breeders looking for age and breed verification outside of breed registries. Registries have their place, but for the owner who is doing a one-time breeding of a retired show mare, for example, the YJC and YJF can be simpler options for verifying and tracking performance. -by Kim F. Miller

For complete details on the new 2016 specifications, visit