The purpose of the offspring inspection is to provide breeders and other interested parties with valuable information about the quality of stallions’ offspring.
Stallions which have been initially approved for KWPN breeding must undergo subsequent evaluations over time to determine if they can produce offspring which meet the KWPN breeding goal. Evaluations are conducted by the stallion selection committee dedicated to a particular stallion’s breeding direction (dressage, jumping, Gelder horse, or harness horse). The stallion selection committees conduct the following:
- The inspection of offspring as foals
- The inspection of four-year-old offspring
- The inspection of seven-year-old offspring
- The inspection of eleven-year-old offspring
The Offspring Inspection
The initial offspring inspection of a KWPN-approved stallion takes place the year in which the stallion’s first offspring are born. If a stallion already has a representative collection of offspring in the year he is approved, then the offspring inspection is conducted the same year. For riding horse stallions, the offspring inspection consists of two parts. First, a large sample of randomly selected foals (25 maximum) are viewed at their home locations and evaluated using the linear score form. The resulting scores are then converted to a breeding value. Second, a collection of foals from the stallion’s first year at stud are evaluated at the KWPN Center in Ermelo. The registered party of each participating stallion is required to invite six to ten offspring to this inspection.
On the day of the inspection, the appropriate stallion selection committee evaluates the foals standing and in the walk, trot, and canter. After each foal in an offspring group has been evaluated, the entire group returns to the ring, where the committee views them at the walk. Finally, the committee reports on each participating stallion’s ability to produce quality offspring based on the breeding value calculated from the foals scored at their home locations and the foals evaluated at the KWPN Center in Ermelo. This is a very interesting time for breeders, as they can directly observe the quality of a young stallion’s first crop of foals and the type of mare best suited for that stallion.
In contrast to the riding horse stallions, there are no home-based inspections for offspring of harness horse- and Gelder stallions. These breeding directions have an inspection requirement of 10 to 20 foals, which are selected by the KWPN. In addition, the registered party of each participating stallion may choose an additional 10 foals to present to the stallion selection committee.
The offspring inspection in Ermelo is open to the public.
Inspection of Four-Year-Old Offspring
For riding horse stallions whose foals are deemed acceptable, the next inspection takes place when a stallion’s oldest offspring are age four. However, the second inspection for Gelder- and harness horse stallions is held when their offspring are three years old. At least 10 offspring must undergo a linear score form evaluation at a studbook inspection or the first round viewing of the Stallion Selection. If the minimum requirement cannot be met at the time, evaluation is postponed until linear scores have been obtained for at least 10 offspring.
Stallions which are deemed good producers based on breeding values for conformation and movement are retained for breeding. Other factors considered in the decision-making process include the number of predicates earned by a stallion’s offspring at the studbook inspection and the number of second round viewing, third round viewing, and selected sons a stallion produces. In addition, a stallion’s own achievements, such as his performance in the stallion competition and the championships for young horses, are also considered.
Inspection of Seven-Year-Old Offspring
The next inspection takes place when a stallion’s offspring are age seven. For the harness horse breeding direction, this is the final inspection. At this point, the stallion selection committees consider a stallion’s ability to pass on sport talent as well as his breeding values for conformation and movement. Data compiled by the FEI, KNHS, and the KWPN (sport- and conformation indexes) are used in this evaluation.
Inspection of Eleven-Year-Old Offspring
The final inspection takes place when a stallion’s offspring are eleven years old. At this point, the selection committee either approves a stallion for life or dismisses him from breeding (a decision which is made about harness horse stallions at age seven). In addition, the committee uses criteria based on the sport- and conformation indexes to determine if a stallion can make a positive contribution toward achieving the KWPN breeding goal. Finally, the committee decides if a stallion can benefit other disciplines, for example, by producing eventers or hunters.