Stallion Selection

Stallion Selection

A KWPN-approved stallion is the dream of every breeder, but before a stallion can begin his breeding career, he must undergo a strict selection process. The KWPN Stallion Selection is an annual event at which quality stallions are evaluated in two separate viewings. A stallion’s traits, conformation, ability, lineage, and health are all considered before he may advance to the final step in the selection process: the performance test. Following successful completion of the performance test, a stallion is approved.


To ensure strict selection, the KWPN holds an annual stallion selection which is followed by a performance test. Stallions must also meet certain basic requirements, regardless of breeding direction. Furthermore, they must demonstrate talent for a specific discipline, a good pedigree, and correct conformation which 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 willing disposition with a clear desire to perform.

Jumper Stallions
Jumper stallions are selected for conformation, health, temperament, and natural jumping talent. As part of jumping talent, a stallion must possess a good canter, reflexes, form, and scope. Of course, attitude and the will to perform are also important traits for a jumper. The KWPN’s ultimate goal is to breed Grand Prix jumpers.

Dressage Stallions
Dressage horses are selected for their dressage talent, which encompasses the following traits: a pure, rhythmic and regular walk; and a trot and canter that demonstrate good stride length, suppleness, power, carriage and carrying power. Conformation, health, and temperament also weigh heavily in the selection of quality prospective breeding stallions. The KWPN’s ultimate goal is to breed Grand Prix dressage horses.

Harness Horse Stallions
The KWPN strives to breed harness horses that perform at the highest show class. Harness horse stallions are selected primarily for trotting talent, the traits of which include good suspension, long front leg stride length, high knee action, and powerful hindquarters that step under the body. These qualities should be paired with a proud bearing, facilitated by a long neck that extends vertically from the chest. Besides these traits, conformation, health, and temperament weigh heavily in the selection of harness horse stallions.

Gelder Stallions
Gelder stallions are selected for genotypical and phenotypical talent that facilitates versatility, for Gelder horses must perform as well in harness as they do under saddle. Furthermore, a reliable and uncomplicated disposition is critical for this type of horse. Gelder horses must also have conformation distinct from that of riding or harness horses; Gelder horses should be full-bodied yet elegant. Moreover, they should demonstrate a well developed forehand and move with good carriage, using their front end in an attractive manner. Finally, they should have a long stride with moderate knee action and powerful, carrying hindquarters.

Veterinary requirements

Acceptance second round viewing
Prior to the start of the second round viewing in the selection process, a stallion must meet a number of veterinary requirements. First, he must be current on vaccinations for influenza and tetanus.

Furthermore, a complete PROK examination must be completed, including back and neck x-rays. In addition to the previous radiological requirements, four extra images (two of the hocks, two of the knees) must also be taken. Incidental findings with proven clinical relevance will be considered in the assessment for granting the PROK predicate.

In the case of a class B or C in the hock (sagittal tibiakam class B-C, lateral trochlear ridge talus class B) and a class B in the knee (lateral trochlear ridge femur), the genomic breeding value OC will be taken into account. If the genomic breeding value OC is 100 points or higher, a stallion can be accepted for the performance test. This decision is based on the addition of genetic information represented by the genomic breeding value for osteochondrosis. By combining the x-ray images with the genomic breeding value OC, the two measuring instruments complement each other. Stallions can undergo PROK radiography from September in the year they turn two.

To prevent disappointments and unnecessary costs, it is advised to conduct this examination before the stallion is actually taken into training for the stallion inspection. For dressage and jumper stallions, the genomic breeding value for osteochondrosis must be determined before the start of the second round viewing.
For Gelder and Harness horse stallions, it is required that they undergo a radiological PROK examination before the second viewing in order to be admitted. If a stallion is selected for the performance test, the stallion's lineage will be checked via DNA testing.

Participation in performance test
Before the delivery of the stallions in the performance test, stallions must undergo a respiratory exam for roaring. The owner also has the semen quality examined. Minimum requirements are set for both the respiratory test as well as the semen quality to be accepted into the performance test. During the delivery of the stallions to the KWPN center for the performance test, a clinical inspection is being done of the heart, eyes, teeth, and leg disposition feet and movement on the hard surface as well as on the circle. All examinations must be performed by veterinarians and institutions approved by the KWPN.


Individual recognition of stallions

Upon the stallion selection committee’s recommendation, those stallions that have demonstrated excellence in siring good jumpers or dressage horses, or stallions that have demonstrated excellence in sport are granted KWPN-recognized status. They do not have to meet KWPN requirements for conformation or radiograph results, as they have already proven themselves superior in performance or breeding. Individually recognized stallions are granted the same status as approved stallions, which means that their foals are registered in the Foal Book, and mares age three and older may be accepted into the studbook without having to meet additional requirements. Only exceptional stallions are eligible for individual recognition.

News Items

Stallion selection: the stallion’s mother

 21 FEBRUARY 2022 | 11:05

Prior to the first-round viewing. At this point the quality of each stallion’s dam is evaluated based on information from studbook registration and the mare tests.

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Stallion selection: damlines and heights

 14 FEBRUARY 2022 | 11:48

In the first round viewing. A stallion must measure at least 1.60m to be eligible for the second round viewing.

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Selection criteria: free movement and free jumping

 17 JANUARY 2022 | 10:40

In free jumping and free movement, the respective selection committees evaluate a stallion’s way of going.

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Selection criteria: a functional and correct conformation

 10 JANUARY 2022 | 10:27

At the first-round viewing, prior to the free-movement/ free-jumping evaluation. Functional and correct conformation plays a co-determining role at every point in the selection process.

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Selection criteria: for jumper- and dressage stallions

 3 JANUARY 2022 | 09:23

The KWPN stallion selection is known for its strictness, and only the best stallions are licensed for breeding. These stallions have passed extensive evaluations regarding natural ability, conformation and also good health is of paramount importance. In the coming weeks, we will discuss all the criteria that an approved stallion must fulfil and the purpose of it all. We have asked Wim Versteeg, Senior Inspector stallion selection, to explain how jumper and dressage stallions are selected.

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About the KWPN

The KWPN (Studbook of the Royal Dutch Sport Horse) is a Netherlands-based organization specializing in the breeding of jumpers, dressage horses, harness horses, and Gelder horses.

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