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AskHQ: How are stallions selected for the KWPN stubook?

Q: How are stallions selected for the KWPN studbook?

A: The Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands (KWPN) is known around the world as a source of good riding horses, many of whom perform successfully at the highest level of the sport. To maintain the quality of its sport horses, the KWPN implemented specialised breeding several years ago. Since then, breeders have been able to choose stallions who fit a specific breeding standard. Stallions are classified according to the following four breeding directions: showjumpers, dressage horses, harness horses and “Gelder” horses.

To ensure strict selection, the KWPN holds an annual stallion selection event, which is followed by a performance test. The first round of viewing for two-year-old stallions is held in the KWPN National Equestrian Centre in Ermelo, and the stallions selected for the second round (the performance test) are then viewed in January at the stallion show in Den Bosch. The third round sees stallions selected from the performance test being viewed at the stallion show. This event is the biggest stallion show in the world and attracts almost 30,000 visitors worldwide. During the normal 70-day test, the stallions are stabled in the test centre, ridden by the official KWPN riders and further trained and evaluated by the stallion committee.

Stallions must meet certain basic requirements, regardless of their breeding direction. Furthermore, they must demonstrate talent for a specific discipline, a good pedigree, and correct conformation that is both functional and attractive. KWPN horses must be healthy and strong so that breeders and/or owners can enjoy them for many years. Finally, they must be people-friendly and have a wiling disposition with a clear desire to perform.

Later on, stallions approved by other studbooks can be approved by KWPN if they have achieved a specific level in sport, or if their offspring are excelling in the equestrian sport. KWPN-approved stallions are also awarded with predicates for the outstanding traits they pass on to their offspring. Approved stallions are eligible for the ‘keur’ and ‘preferent’ predicates. The stallion selection committee decides if a stallion qualifies for a predicate based on his breeding values.