Young horse shows in France and why they are proving to be so valuable.

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.

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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.

Vetting a horse in France

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So you have decided you want to buy a horse in France, but you have no clue about vetting a horse in France and what it entails. Completely normal! Many clients have reservations about this part of the purchasing process, that is why FHE believes it is important to explain the process in detail. After a horse has been negotiated down to a price that both the seller and buyer are happy with we move to the vetting process. A major difference between Germany/Holland and France is that not all horses in France have been vetted before or have previous x-rays. Therefore, we push to negotiate either that the owner pays for a set of 12 x rays before the full vetting is done or that if the horse does not pass, the owner will pay the vet bill.

We begin the vetting by drawing blood on the horse and sending it to the lab. The horse must be negative for piroplasmosis. In all the horses we have tested we only had two test positive. Although this is a very low percentage, we encourage clients to undergo this test first before doing a full vetting in order to avoid any unnecessary costs. The results can take anywhere from 3-6 days to get back, depending on what day the blood was sent. After we get the OK that the horse is negative we move to the vetting. The normal vetting includes a complete checkup, analyzing the horse’s heart rate, respiration, etc. It also includes lameness tests: flexions, trotting/cantering circles, trotting on a hard surface. These lameness tests are filmed so that everything is transparent for the client. We also ask the client to provide a list of x-rays that their vet wants to have done. If the client does not have a list, we can discuss which x-rays we suggest having done. After the vetting is complete, we translate the report, send over x-rays, and transfer videos.

We use several vets depending on where the horse is located. These are vets we have worked with in the past and are aware of U.S. vettings. Therefore they send everything usually the same day. We also ask that they notify us immediately if anything abnormal comes up during the vetting so we can check with the client whether to proceed or not. As these are not our personal horses, it is important for the clients to remember we are honest and will not push you into a sale that you are not comfortable with. If the horse demonstrates anything that makes you unsure, we will look at other horses and options for you. Our job is to find the right sound horse that you have no hesitation buying! For more details you can check out our services included during the import process.

Horse Tours

For all you new readers out there, French Horse Exports offers horse tours customized for each client. We are just getting back from a fun and successful four day horse tour with Californian clients. Our tour consisted of going to 13 different barns to look at horses suitable for the hunters, jumpers, or the eq ring. The clients also got to visit the D-day beaches and of course every evening ended with good French food, wine, and laughs. Please feel free to email us for more information on these tours.

For more information on horse tours, check out Services

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