by Susan Winslow
There are a million reasons to get involved with showing Halter horses, but in 2012, the Breeders Halter Futurity gave people exactly $1,040,000 worth of reasons to pack up their gear and horses and head to the Midwest. The 2013 Breeders Halter Futurity and National Halter Championship will be held again at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines from September 11-15. The event has experienced phenomenal growth in popularity since its inaugural event. The event has singlehandedly given the horse industry a much needed boost during challenging economic times.
Making a lie out of the old adage, ‘two horsemen, three opinions,’ the Breeder’s Halter Futurity represents a unique and refreshing collaborative effort among some of the top stallion owners in the country. The event was started in 2010 by ten dedicated stallion owners as a way to grow the industry and encourage breeders, mare owners, amateur owners and exhibitors to participate in halter. The eleventh slot was sold at public auction where heated bidding brought a whopping $600,000 from high bidders Linda and Gary Gordon of Fossil Gate Farm in Argyle, Texas.
The National Halter Championship is a separate entity that was developed by the Breeders Halter Futurity. This event represents the pinnacle of Halter competition in the United States. The eleven stallion owners receive no remuneration from the futurity or the National Halter Championship; all monies go back into the futurity or the show, itself. Their sole incentive in developing this event was to give exhibitors a reason to consider breeding to their stallions or buying a horse from their bloodlines. At the same time, they are drawing new people out into the show ring which benefits everyone in the industry.
The rules of this event have been carefully deliberated in an attempt to make the show fair and exhibitor-friendly. Judging is done by a three judge panel in what the event calls a ‘unified decision’. Foals must be nominated in the year of their birth and horses must be re-nominated every year to be part of the Breeders Halter Futurity. Horses that place in the top 10 as a weanling cannot compete as a yearling, and Weanlings and Yearlings that place in the top 3 cannot compete as a 2 year-old, so there is plenty of room for everyone to shoot for top honors and payouts. The event is careful to point out that prior to September 10, 2013, any horse that has finished in the top 3 at the AQHA World Show (Youth, Amateur, Select, or Open), the Breeders Halter Futurity, or the National Halter Championship Show is ineligible to compete.
The program has been well received, and The Breeders Open Futurity, with a roster of 50 stallions, opens the event to all exhibitors. Well-respected show manager Karen Kennedy is the Secretary for the National Halter Championship. She describes the development of the event, “Georgia Snow first contacted me about helping the Breeders Halter Futurity group with their Inaugural Event. They were holding their Amateur and Open Weanling classes at the Iowa Quarter Horse Show and Futurity. I attended the Futurity and helped them that year. The next year, they had an idea about adding the National Halter Championship Show (with a full slate of halter classes for Amateur and Open from Yearlings to 2 Year-Olds to 3 Year-Olds to Aged Horses) along with the Breeders Halter Futurity (which was now going to include Amateur and Open Weanling and Yearling classes). WOW! The job became very interesting! This group had never held their own event so we had a lot of work to do, but it was huge success. We awarded over $1,040,000! Checks were presented at the awards banquet on Saturday night and everyone went home with a big smile on their face. Now, in 2013, we have added Amateur and Open Weanling classes in addition to our full slate of halter classes and we have Youth Mares and Youth Geldings. Then in the Breeders Halter Futurity we have the 2 Year-Old Classes, and in addition to that we are paying $100,000 each to the Overall Amateur and Open High Point 2 Year-Olds.I think it is going to be a very exciting week in Des Moines. Please make plans to attend!”
For more information on the Breeders Halter Futurity and a full listing of both the Amateur Stallions and Open Stallions, visit their website: www.breedershalterfuturity.com. For more information on the National Halter Championship, visit www.nationalhalterchampionship.com.