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The Road Less Traveled

Licensing Our Hanoverian Stallion Based on a Performance Career


ow, perhaps more than ever, the decision to breed and bring another horse into the world must be made with great care. A horse is a unique domestic

animal in that it typically has more than one owner in its lifetime, and in the case of Warmbloods, they are primarily purchased for sport. In times of economic hardship, leisure activities like horseback riding are hit hard. Producing an attractive riding horse should be a primary motivation for today’s breeder, ensuring the progeny will have a future home. Achieving this goal is greatly increased by selecting a stallion that, in addition to having traits that will improve on the physical characteristics of the breeder’s mare, has proven that he passes on exceptional temperament and rideability. As Sharon Garner states in her article “Responsible Breeding Selection Tips” in The American Hanoverian magazine, Summer 2010, “If a breeder is not doing their utmost to breed a quality riding horse, there is ultimately ‘nothing to sell for sport.’” Fortunately, much of the guesswork in the stallion

selection process is removed by the breed societies; they ultimately decide if the candidate meets their criteria to have off spring awarded the breed name. This includes standards that must be met under saddle. The Hanoverian breed is renowned for having one of the most rigorous stallion licensing systems. These highly selective standards were established in the Hannover breeding area of Germany in 1735 and have been adhered to by the governing society, the Hannoveraner Verband, and followed by their daughter organizations, including the American Hanoverian Society (AHS).

Overview of the Licensing Process A stallion under consideration for Hanoverian licensing

goes through a physical inspection before a commission comprised of judges from both the United States and Germany. The stallions that pass then undergo a post- licensing veterinary examination. To obtain lifetime Hanoverian breeding approval the horse must either pass an AHS- and German Verband-approved Stallion Performance Test or qualify with scores in competition. The fi rst step, the Stallion Inspection, is conducted at a minimum of three years

32 September/October 2012 By Jill Giese

of age and includes: a veterinary inspection following a strict protocol; conformation assessment; and evaluation of gaits, presence and masculinity. Stallions aged three to six are free jumped and must also be presented under saddle for an evaluation of their basic gaits and rideability. Older horses that have met the requirements in sport may be asked to free jump, or be presented over a course of fences, or, in the case of dressage performers, presented under saddle. To pass the inspection, a Hanoverian-registered stallion must receive an overall score of seven with no subscore lower than fi ve. As part of the approval process, all stallions are required

to satisfactorily complete a comprehensive x-ray protocol jointly agreed by the AHS and Hanoverian Verband. In the United States and Canada, the radiographs are read by an AHS selected panel of three veterinarians from the world renowned Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. This procedure helps safeguard that undesirable inherited traits, such as OCD, are not passed on to Hanoverian progeny. The next step is where stallion owners can choose the

path to fi nal approval. The most common route to complete the licensing procedure is the Performance Test. Within two years of successfully passing the Stallion Inspection, the stallion must attend an approved test facility where he is evaluated in dressage, show jumping and cross- country jumping. The Performance Test is known as the 70-Day Stallion Test during which the stallion is trained and evaluated by a selected and approved team, culminating in a three-day fi nal that includes evaluation and scoring by guest judges and riders. Since 2010, the AHS and German Verband have recognized the stallion testing conducted by Silver Creek Farm in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Manager Barbara Sikkink advises that in 2012 the fee for the testing will be $8,500, with additional costs for transportation from the stallion’s home base to Oklahoma. The alternate choice for stallion owners is licensing based

on Competition Performance. The licensing prospect must attain required scores or placings at specifi ed levels in the disciplines of dressage, jumping or eventing. At fi rst review, this may seem a less expensive route. However, as Barbara

At top: The young Dreammaster.

Courtesy Jill Giese

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