France has a complete young horse circuit for 3-7 year olds that has proven time and again it is a vital part of the preparation of young horses.
The 3 year old classes are not as full as the 4,5, and 6 year old classes, as many owners chose not to show their horses until 4 years old. The three year old classes include free jumping and riding the horses in a class very similar to hunter hack, where the horse is walked, trotted, and cantered both directions in front of judge and then jumps a line of fences. It is the perfect way to get a young horse exposed to a show atmosphere and give them a good basis to start their jumping career.
Diego (pictured above)
The four year old series includes both the training and qualification series, where heights are maxed out at 1.15m. The courses are set with friendly fences, wide turns, and riders are even given the opportunity to jump the open water at the regional finals.
Cash (pictured above)
The five year old series also includes a training and qualification series and courses are set at a max height of 1.25m. Much like the 4 year old series, this series offers courses that are meant to build confidence for the young ones.
Briseis (pictured above)
The 6 year old series becomes a bit more demanding and Alize and I believe this is where the cream of the crop stand out. Courses are set at a max height of 1.35m and include also a speed round. The turns are smaller, lines more challenging, and the horses have to demonstrate scope. The horses that are unable to continue at this height are offered a 6 year old training series which is set at the same height as the 5 year old qualification (1.25m). Horses that compete in the 6 year old qualification series that qualify for both the regional and national final clearly demonstrate scope for 1.40m or higher.
Aurane (pictured above)
The last young horse series that is offered, is the 7 year old series. This series is for GP prospects. It is demanding, high, and technical. Only the best make it through to the regional and national finals, where they often times finish with great rounds and high price tags! However, we have found some really talented horses competing in this series that are still reasonably priced. If you are looking for a 1.45m prospect or higher, this is the place.
The 3,4,5,6, and 7 year old young horse show circuits provide great exposure and confidence building courses for the young ones. As the horse gets farther along they are challenged and pushed to become better. We feel horses that compete in the young horse series are incredibly well prepared to compete in the American young horse shows as the heights are higher in France.