The KWPN are assessing a large group of 3 year old stallions this week in the city of Den Bosch in The Netherlands, with the purpose of carefully selecting a number of potential stallions for their studbook. Every year many breeders prepare their young colts and present them to the judges, hoping that their horse will fulfill a lifetime dream of becoming one of the KWPN graded stallions.
In most cases, these horses are already selected when they’re foals and raised carefully for this event. It all starts in December when the first selection takes place, and a few hundred two and a half year old colts go through the initial selection. First they are shown in hand on a hard surface which involves a study of their conformation and then their movement. Following this, they are shown loose in an enclosure. Special attention is taken to the movement of the dressage horses and the jumpers are loose schooled over jumps. The parents of the colts are taken into consideration, but this doesn’t play a major part in this first selection.
There isn’t a precise number that the KWPN want to grade, it depends entirely on the quality of the group in that particular year, but normally speaking about 20% will be selected for the following round in Den Bosch. These selected colts have to be vetted both clinically and x-rayed before they go to the next round. The x-rays are sent to a clinic and judged by a panel of vets, so at this stage some of the youngsters are rejected if they are not up to the standard required.
This year the KWPN grading starts on Wednesday January 30th and ends on Saturday February 2nd. The colts willl only be shown and judged in an enclosure, being judged on conformation and movement and in addition the jumpers are loose schooled over jumps. At this stage, the parents’ breeding is also taken into consideration, both the father and mother ‘s pedigree play an important part in the choice of a potential graded stallion. The first 2 days are for the jumpers, and the third and fourth for the dressage colts. In both cases the first day is used to chose the better youngsters , and the second day to make a final choice.
Fortunately, I’ll be at the grading this week, so I’ll follow this up next week with some information and photo’s of the potential, new baby stallions. Even better, I might see you there!