The California Saddle Horse Breeders Association will host it’s 78th Annual Futurity Horse Show in 2023. A group of Saddlebred owners, under the inspiration of Floyd Shofner and Edward Radcliff, met in 1944 to form the California Saddle Horse Breeders Association whose purpose was “to promote the breeding of the American Saddlebred by organizing and presenting the annual California Saddlebred Futurity.” These charter members agreed to underwrite the expense of the Futurity for the following three years so that all monies paid as Futurity fees would be paid out as awards with no deductions. The California Saddle Horse Breeders Futurity was incorporated in August of 1944 with the State of California. Floyd Shofner was elected president and Edward Radcliff, secretary, positions which they held for the first sixteen years of the Association. Other charter members included such well-known persons as Revel English and Dr. W. Ballentine Henley and Mrs. Eleanor Lloyd Dees. The first Futurity classes were held during the 4th Annual Fall Horse Show, sponsored by the San Fernando Valley Horse Owners Association, at Strickland Park in Burbank with Charles Green of Missouri, judge. Two policies of the California Futurity were established: (1.) that all monies received as nomination fees be paid out as prize money, (2.) that the judge be a well know horseman from out of state.
As the county fairs were reactivated after the World War II war years, futurity classes were held at the county fair horse shows at Stockton, Bakersfield, Costa Mesa, Pomona and at the California State Fair. When many of these shows were curtailed or discontinued, it was decided that the CSHBA would put on its own show at a permanent location. The Los Angeles County Fair Association offered the CSHBA the use of the Carnation Ring with adjoining stalls, and financial support for a show to be held during the first weekend of the Fair. In 1960 with Mrs. Dees as President and Ella Mae Shofner as Horse Show Manager, the Futurity Horse Show was born. Starting with a two day show with afternoon performances and eleven classes by 1982 it grew to be a four day show with afternoon and evening performances and eighty-two classes. It has been helds at the Los Angeles County Fair, twice at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara and since 2010, every year but one, at the South Point Equestrian Events Center in Las Vegas.
The primary purpose of the Futurity Horse Show is to provide a setting for futurity classes. Performance classes were added to make it worthwhile for exhibitors to come to the show and to become exposed to the satisfaction and excitement that comes from watching the Saddlebred developed from babyhood to adolescence. The prize money awarded to futurity winners has always ranked high among the futurities recognized by the American Saddlebred Horse Association. In 1980, the total prize money of $12,390 was exceeded only by the futurities in Kentucky and for many years it was the 2nd or 3rd highest paying futurity in the country.
Each spring Futurity Facts is published by the CSHBA and mailed to all exhibitors, owners, and breeders of Saddlebred on record in California. It provides information about the rules of the Futurity as well as giving a preview of the coming Futurity Horse Show.
The California Futurity is noted for its consistency and integrity, two essentials for the continuance of a successful futurity. Evidence of this is apparent in the reputation that is has both locally and nationally, and with the many California breeders who have nominated their Saddlebreds over the years. Mrs. William P. Roth, who joined the CSHBA during its first year, holds the record for nominations, having never failed to nominate in the California Futurity for 38 years.
An attractive ring setting, a good audience, and a well-run show, all contribute to making showing at the California Futurity a memorable experience.
CSHBA Secretary & Nominations Secretary
Horse Show Manager
CSHBA Vice President