Stallions selected at the last viewing in ‘s-Hertogenbosch qualify for the final phase on the path to KWPN approval: the Stallion Performance Testing. This test yields a wealth of information about each stallion. In the performance test, stallions are evaluated on both natural sport talent and temperament. Ultimately, they are selected for their potential as breeding stallions for the future KWPN population.
Duration and participation
Owners of three-year-old riding stallions may choose one of three testing periods: spring, fall, or the following spring. The 70-day spring performance test immediately follows the KWPN Stallion Selection. The 50-day fall test and the following 50-day spring test are each preceded by one evaluation of the stallions under their own riders. The performance test begins approximately three weeks after the this first evaluation. At this evaluation, the stallion selection committee has the right to excuse any stallion from further participation. In such case, a stallion may not take part in the 50-day test that follows.
The performance test is used to carefully assess and record the natural talent of KWPN stallions. During this period, stallions are cared for under standardized conditions and trained by KWPN representatives. These include competent equestrian ground staff and professional riders or drivers, supervised by a training manager who maintains close communication with the stallion selection committee. Upon arrival and departure, stallions are thoroughly examined by veterinarians. Veterinarians also attend stallions on other occasions, as needed.
The performance test program includes daily under-saddle work, both indoors and outdoors. In addition, stallions regularly work in the horse exerciser and are turned out in safe paddocks. In all aspects of care and training, the horses are given special consideration for their young age. The primary goal of training is optimum preparation of all stallions so that the selection committee can obtain a good assessment of their natural talent by the end of the performance test.
The selection committee evaluates stallions in the performance test at regular intervals. They may be presented by their usual training rider or guest riders, who are professionals with ample experience training young horses to become world-class competitors. After working a stallion, the rider gives the committee oral and written reports on the horse’s potential.
At any point in the performance test, the committee has the right to excuse a stallion from further participation or refer him to a subsequent following test. This right may be exercised if a horse is deemed too immature or if an injury is evident.
The performance test also includes evaluations of stable and training behavior. An extensive training report is published upon conclusion of the test. Stallions that pass the performance test are granted KWPN approval.
Many older stallions participate in the performance test. In principle, they are registered for spring testing for a minimum of 21 days. In exceptional cases, the stallion selection committee may reduce testing to five days if a stallion has demonstrated excellence in sport or if he is an outstanding sire of performance horses. The committee has the right to alter the testing period at any time in exceptional cases.
Gelder and Harness Horse Stallions
The performance test for harness and Gelder stallions takes place in the spring.
The 50-day test for harness horse stallions includes a varied program of in-harness work (indoors and outdoors) and lunging. In addition, stallions work in the horse exerciser and receive turn-out time. In all aspects of the program, the horses are given special consideration for their young age.
Three-year-old Gelder stallions are tested for ten weeks or 70 consecutive days. The performance test carefully assesses and records their talent in the following areas: movement, jumping, in-harness performance, and attitude.