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breeding career can choose one letter or the other. Belgian and Dutch Warmblood names begin with

a letter corresponding to their year of birth. So, for example, a Dutch Warmblood born in 2010 will have a name beginning with the letter “F”, in 2011 a “G,” etc. Holsteiner colts are named after the first letter of the sire, but fillies get a name based on the year, and 2011 is “D.” A Belgian Warmblood registered with the sBs (or Royal Belgian Sport Horse Society) born in 2011 will be granted a name beginning with an “F.” However, a Belgian Warmblood registered with the BWP/NAD (Belgian Warmblood Breeding Association) born in 2011 will get an “L” name. Be careful to know which registry your horse is actually papered from. Some registries, such as Swedish Warmblood, have no hard and fast rules about initial letters, and only require the name be 24 characters or less, spaces included. (For a more thorough explanation of naming conventions, see Warmbloods Today, Sep/Oct 2009 issue, “What’s in a Name?”)

Clue to Identification – The Brand Your next, and perhaps most obvious clue, is your Warmblood’s brand. While some European countries have stopped branding horses (Dutch and Swedish horses no longer receive brands, for example, and branding is on the hot-seat in Germany too, though still allowed), most American-born Warmbloods are still branded. An excellent way to identify some Warmbloods, in fact,

is the two-digit number under their registry brand. Most German-bred Warmbloods are branded with their registry’s mark on the left hip plus the last two digits of their individual registration number beneath it. In the U.S., the Rheinland Pfalz- Saar International (RPSI) registry brands horses with an individual number beneath their brand, and the American Hanoverian Society brands

Above, top: The branding iron used by the RPSI registry. Photo courtesy JoAnn Cohn, RPSI Bottom: An example of an Oldenburg brand. This horse was born in Germany. At Right: The TB mare Ladyslewmood, posed as the KWPN Princess Wynston, and (top)her lip tattoo. Photos courtesy Tina DiCenso-Westlove

28 September/October 2011

with the last two digits of the year of birth under their trademark horse- headed H. Jennifer Arnoldt, owner of

Dreamscape Farm in Langley, British Columbia, stands 13 Warmblood stallions, and registers foals with a variety of registries, including the German Oldenburg Verband, the RPSI, and Westfalens. “As soon as I see a number under a brand, I immediately ID the horse as an import,” Arnoldt says, “unless it’s an RPSI horse bred in America.” The brand number can actually help identify a lost

or stolen horse. RPSI Stud Book director Otto Schalter remembers helping to identify a mare abandoned on BLM land in Nevada through her approximate age, color, and brand-mark. Otto stresses that a brand is a permanent method of identification and is possible to see from some distance, unlike a microchip which requires a reader. Because many European registries have stopped

branding, however, you can’t be certain about your horse’s heritage merely by looking for a brand.

Beware of Bogus Registrations Tina DiCenso-Westlove of Warrenton, Virginia found herself the proud owner of a beautiful 16.3 h. Dutch Warmblood mare. The previous owner had bought her through an internet ad, and the leggy, elegant, and slightly flat-crouped bay mare was picture perfect as “Princess Wynston,” with a KWPN registration number and pedigree, and official papers on the way. She had no brand, but that was no surprise, considering branding had been banned in Holland. Imagine her new owner’s surprise when the vet came to float her new mare’s teeth, only to find a Thoroughbred Jockey Club tattoo on her upper lip!

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