Selection criteria: free movement and free jumping
This week’s subject: Free movement and free jumping
In the first- and second round viewing.
In free jumping and free movement, the respective selection committees evaluate a stallion’s way of going. Dressage stallions are also evaluated on their body position, and jumpers are evaluated on the canter and free jumping. A stallion can only pass on traits which he inherently possesses. For this reason, the selection committees focus on a stallion’s self-carriage, movement and body use. They want to see supple, easy and correct movement with a self-carriage.
For a dressage horse, the ability to carry itself is essential in all three gaits, while a jumper mainly needs to carry itself well in the canter. The entire training of horses is aimed at exercising the body in order to achieve optimum results in the sport. Naturally balanced movement is therefor also necessary. In a dressage horse, good self-carriage and a hind leg which steps properly under the mass are important traits. Furthermore, the way a stallion moves on the long side of the arena, as well as his ability to shorten and lengthen is strides, provide important information about his ability to carry himself. With jumpers the movement in the figure-eight track which they must show prior to the free jumping evaluation, reveals whether a stallion can change leads easily and keep his balance in the turns. People often think that the jump over the last oxer in a triple combination is the deciding factor; however, the first two jumps demonstrate how well a stallion can assess distances and if he can also use his body correctly over a lower obstacle.
Next week this article series will be continued. We will take a closer look into Dam-lines and the horse’s height.