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before the age of seven or complete the 70-Day Stallion Test to keep his breeding approval. Based on the results of the 70-Day Stallion Test, Baron’s owner Edgar also hopes to present him for licensing and breeding approval with both of the Oldenburg registries.

his preparation for the stallion testing was conditioning. “Baron is an easy-going stallion, so I don’t worry too much about him in new situations,” Edgar says. “Instead, the number one consideration for me at one of these tests is how the horses hold up physically.”

Te Testing Begins

Most of the 16 stallions in the test were shipped

Baron Van Gogh.

Photo © Draygonfyne Design

Preparation

Stallions are typically worked six days a week during the

stallion testing, with a seventh day for a quiet hack or lunge. All stallions are trained and tested on both their dressage and jumping (stadium, free jumping, and cross country), regardless of whether they are considered ‘dressage’ or ‘jumper’ stallions. This can require some special preparation, as some dressage stallions may have never jumped before, and some jumper stallions may not have had much formal dressage training. The stallion’s fitness is also very important, because the testing is so physically demanding. Because Shakespeare RSF is primarily a dressage stallion, he hadn’t had any prior jumping experience. To help prepare him for the 70-Day test, he was ridden three to four times a week for fitness, was free-jumped weekly and was taken a couple of times to another farm to be jumped under saddle and on courses.

John Lee Amber trains Shakespeare at home.

Photo courtesy Mo Swanson

commercially to Silver Creek Farms and began arriving the week before the start of the testing. Although the stallion testing is open to the public daily, most stallion owners only attend to watch certain portions of the testing. Each horse is required to have a full veterinary

examination prior to beginning the 70-Day Stallion Test. The stallions will undergo a total of five veterinary examinations throughout the course of the Stallion Test—at the beginning, midway through (on the 35th day), and on the morning of each of the final judging days. Naturally, stallions must remain sound and healthy to participate in the test. Stallions are required to stay at the testing facility for

the duration of the test, unless illness or injury requires that they be taken elsewhere for treatment or diagnosis. Stallion owners can speak to the training director and/ or the barn manager daily, but training and handling of the stallions must be done by the test staff only. As Edgar noted, this part can be tough because it can be hard for some stallion owners to “hand over their babies” but adds that “the people at Silver Creek do a really good job.” Shakespeare RSF and Baron Van Gogh were both

shipped commercially to Silver Creek. Both arrived healthy and happy, with Baron Van Gogh arriving a week before the testing began to give him a chance to settle in. Both passed the initial veterinary examination and were cleared to begin the training period. The training period is extensive, about 65 days, and makes up about half of the test results. The training is overseen by Training Director Harald Hoffman of Germany, who “lives and breathes this test and was there the entire time,” according to Silver Creek Farms’ manager Barbara Sikkink. Once the training period begins, the stallions fall into

Baron Van Gogh was already a very talented jumper but needed cross-country experience to help prepare for the stallion testing. He was schooled on trails to help prepare him for the cross-country portion, and he was schooled a bit more in dressage, but the primary focus in

a fairly regimented routine. They have six days of training, followed by a quiet work day on Sunday. The training period is important for two reasons. First, it prepares the stallions for the final testing and second, the stallions are evaluated and scored during the training period. The scores from the training period are not made public but factor heavily into the final score. The training period allows the training director to evaluate things such as character, temperament, willingness to work, rideability, athletic ability, dressage (walk, trot, canter) and jumping (free jumping, stadium jumping, and cross country). The two month training period is a waiting game for

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