Like every year, the past season was extensively evaluated in the autumn. The winter season was used to implement improvements and to take a close look at all the rules and guidelines with respect to inspections. Last year, after consultation with the breeding chapters, we agreed on a uniform procedure for the champion inspections on breeding days. This was to everybody´s liking and so will be continued next season. That also applies to the switching of the classes for Foals and Upgrading in case these both have to take place in the same inspection ring. One way to avoid stagnation is to start with the classes for Studbook mares in these rings. Last year saw the introduction of scoring cards for the classes Upgrading and Star mares and Star geldings. These scoring cards will be used again in the upcoming inspection season. The scores will also be included in the breeding value estimates. Points for improvement have been carried out at the Central Inspection but as yet not all changes are clearly visible due to the relocation of the CI to indoor facilities because of bad weather conditions (we are planning to enlarge the outdoor inspection rings and to replace the fencing).
A few amendments will be carried out in the assessment of foals:
The correlation between the walk of the foal and the walk at the age of Studbook registration is low. We think the judges will be in a better position to judge the walk when the foals are walked in-hand on the lead rope. We have positive experiences with this way of presenting during the champion inspections of foals. The presenter will have to lead both mare and foal in walk after the presentation in front of the Jury. Following that the foal can move freely in trot. People are well-advised to practise this at home.
•‘Development’ will become ‘legwork’
Legwork is an important feature in relation to use and durability. Up till now this element was only considered in the score for conformation of foals, but this is no longer satisfactory. We also wish to draw the assessment of foals to a closer level with the assessment of older horses so that it will be easier to make comparisons. The score for development has therefore been cancelled. Instead, a score for the feature legwork will be introduced. The features development and long legs will be incorporated in the scores for conformation. As foals are still growing the assessment of legwork will mainly focus on correctness of foreleg (with extremes toeing-out and toeing-in) and stance of the hind leg (with extremes sickle-hocked and straight) and the hardiness of the legwork.
•Double scores for movement
In order to better express the quality of movement for awarding premiums, the walk and trot of foals will, as is done with older horses, be counted double compared to scores for exterior (breeding type, conformation, legwork). The requirements for movement are cancelled.
•Premiums for foals
Premiums are dependent on the total scores acquired for the five characteristics:
1st premium: breeding type+conformation+legwork + 2x walk + 2x trot ≥ 50 points
2nd premium: breeding type+conformation+legwork + 2x walk + 2x trot ≥ 46 and < 50 points
3rd premium: breeding type+conformation+legwork + 2x walk + 2x trot ≥ 40 and < 46 points
No premium: breeding type+conformation+legwork + 2x walk + 2x trot < 40 points or in case one (or more) of the five characteristics is a 4, or if two (or more) characteristics are a 5.
App linear scoring
This year the Jury body will start working with an App for linear scoring and for processing inspection scores. At present the linear scores are still processed manually at the Studbook office but with the App all data can be digitally linked to the system which means that inspection results will be available far quicker.
Interpretation linear score form
For correct interpretation of the linear score form it is important to know that scores are given on the basis of breeding type average and not on the basis of the average of a certain characteristic. So a score of 25 represents the breeding type average. In some cases this is equal to the average of a characteristic (for instance correctness foreleg) and sometimes it is not. For the characteristic ‘body shape’ for instance, a score of 25 means a slightly downward body because the average Friesian horse nowadays still has a slightly downhill frame. A common interpretation error is to think that a score of 25 equals an exact horizontal body shape, right in the middle of the two extremes ‘downhill’ and ‘uphill’. In this case it is a score of 35 which corresponds with an exact horizontal body shape, the scores 40 and 45 indicate an uphill body shape. The desired scores for every characteristic are marked by the grey areas.
Correct stance hind leg
We see increasing numbers of Friesian horses with sickle-hocked hind legs. The linear characteristic ‘stance hind leg' is the only characteristic that shows a negative (undesirable) trend. Sickle-hocked or bowed hind legs are undesirable with respect to use (less potential for developing strength) and hardiness (more chances of wear). The same is true for straight hind legs. This calls for a stricter selection with regard to bowed (and straight) hind legs. Stance of the hind leg therefore will get a greater value within the combined score for legwork. Only then will a hind leg that is too sickle-hocked or straight be rightly incorporated in the assessment of a horse and with that also in the breeding values of stallions who pass on sickle-hocked or straight legwork. A bulge on the back end of the cannon bone just below the hock is undesirable, particularly when this occurs in combination with a sickle-hocked hind leg.
In case you have any questions or wish to discuss certain matters the Inspection can be contacted by mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Inspection wishes everybody lots of success and enjoyment for the next inspection season!
With kind regards,
Secretary DB Inspection