‘The approval of Sport stallions via the Short Test tends to be a controversial issue for breeders. So therefore it’s a common subject to come on the table under the any-other-business item of regional meetings. In my opinion such a critical view is not always justified’, KFPS Director Ids Hellinga states in his column of the January Phryso.
‘Critics tend to have too much of a belittling attitude towards the required Sport predicate as a legitimate qualification to be eligible for participation in the Short Test. The prevailing view that these stallions sail through the approval because they have advanced to high levels in the sport is not an accurate representation of facts. In the long run the stallions approved via the Short Test have to fulfil the same high standards with regard to lineage, exterior and sport aptitude as the stallions that have completed the standard procedures. The requested sport requirement should be seen as a qualifying criterion for assessment in the Short Test rather than a quality requirement. Illustration: in 2016 nine Sport stallions were assessed by the jury with ultimately ‘just’ one of them being approved. The other side of the medal – and that is a legitimate worry – is that great performances in the sport are usually solely attributed to the horse’s genetic aptitude whereas we know that with growing age the horses’ sport development increases but the hereditary component is reduced. That’s why I’m quite sceptical about the genetic capacity of Sport stallions that showed little talent as youngsters.
I’m just as sceptical by the way about stallions that exhibited promising aptitude as youngsters at for instance the Central Examination, but never lived up to expectations in competition sports. I have the idea that breeders don’t give this much consideration. Part of the failures (stallions who failed to live up to expectations in breeding) would have surfaced much earlier if sport results (or the lack thereof) had been taken into account. The Stallion Competition (which ran for two years but was cancelled partly due to limited interest of the public) was introduced with the intention to provide breeders with exactly this information. But there are more ways of collecting this information, such as the KFPS competitions, the show driving classes and not to forget the standard classes for dressage- and driving horses. Phryso also plays a part in this. This issue offers an overview of the performances in sports of KFPS stallions in 2016. We are planning to include this feature as an annual contribution aiming to bridge the gap between breeding and sports.’