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  1. #1
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    Question At the end of the day ... what does it all REALLY mean???

    Now that the 2012 stallion testing is over and results are in, what does it mean - in real terms - to the Stallion Owners? To people who have foals on the ground by these stallions? To those Mare Owners thinking about their breeding choices in 2013 and beyond? To those trying to sell offspring by these stallions???

    Does finishing in the #1 Stallion position influence what weanling, yearling or 2 year old you buy? What stallion you breed your mare to? How much to ask for your youngster?

    Or - do you continue to assess the youngster standing in front of you based on their own merits and do you continue to select a stallion for your mare based on your own personal preferences and how you feel they mesh with your mare?

    Does anyone look at a group of 3 or 4 year olds and say "Hmmm ... the sire of the first one finished 9th at his stallion testing 4 years ago but the second one's sire was first overall at HIS test 2 years ago so based on that fact I am selecting Youngster #2???" Is ranking at the tests even considered at all before making a purchase?

    Does anyone really look into or care how the sires finished in their respective tests or does it all boil down to how well they have performed in the ring, and/or how their youngsters have performed and/or how well they suit their own mares?

    Its great for bragging rights and advertising angles for the Stallion Owners but at the end of the day, in very real decision making terms, does it matter one iota to the Mare Owners and young horse buyers looking to make their purchasing choices???

    (And I do realize that its a mandate and a requirement to get full breeding approval with the various registries as well ...)

    Very curious to hear how others view this and based on the exhorbitant costs and nail biting tension to send stallions through the tests, Im sure the Stallion Owners are curious as well as to what "Return on Investment" they actually get for going through this process ...


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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrueColours View Post
    Does anyone look at a group of 3 or 4 year olds and say "Hmmm ... the sire of the first one finished 9th at his stallion testing 4 years ago but the second one's sire was first overall at HIS test 2 years ago so based on that fact I am selecting Youngster #2???" Is ranking at the tests even considered at all before making a purchase?
    I doubt few if any people purchase a youngster based on the results of the stallion testing. I think that they would look more at which youngster that they liked better.

    As far as influencing breeding decisions, I think initially a stallion that did well at the stallion testing might receive more breeding contracts for the first several years following based on more exposure to mare owners. After that, I would think this influence would fade and his bookings would be based on his offspring and his performance (if he was showing).

    One thing I like to look at is how a "dressage" stallion did in the jumping portion and how did a "jumping" stallion do in the dressage portion. I personally like to breed to "all-around athletes" rather than "specialists". So the fact that Bliss MF did so well in the dressage portion impresses me. Also, I am interested in seeing the jumping video for Qredit. I have a homebred Quattro B mare who I love but his semen is not so good. It is nice to see some of that "blood" available fresh here. I may consider him with one of my jumper mares who I would like to improve movement down the road.
    Richard, Approved Black KWPN Stallion
    Website
    and Facebook page
    Oh Kaptain Underpants SFS, Approved BRp pony stallion
    Website and Facebook page


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  3. #3
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    What I am looking at when I research test scores is that I want to use a stallion who has decent scores in jumping and dressage and has good scores for rideability. If I'm breeding for a GP jumper, the other scores probably wouldn't bother me, but if I'm not breeding for the Olympic market then a stallion who is a decent all rounder who won't take away from my mare and who has high rideability is what I want.

    It's nice to be able to say 'my foal's sire won his 70 DT and was Supreme Champion of the World' from a marketing point of view, but I don't think it helps *that* much.


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  4. #4
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    Not a breeder/mare owner here, just an amateur buyer. I looked at the whole picture when I was shopping for a young one. All the items you mentioned were a consideration, the sire's performance records, testing results, foals on the ground, as well as similar research on the dam's history.
    And very important was the foal in front of me.

    Maybe mare owners/ breeders think differently but as a buyer I agree w/ your thoughts.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrueColours View Post
    Or - do you continue to assess the youngster standing in front of you based on their own merits and do you continue to select a stallion for your mare based on your own personal preferences and how you feel they mesh with your mare?
    Definitely. The test is just another piece of information and I'm glad it is available here.

    Does anyone really look into or care how the sires finished in their respective tests or does it all boil down to how well they have performed in the ring, and/or how their youngsters have performed and/or how well they suit their own mares?
    I put a lot more weight on results in the ring, but if they are not out there showing and they didn't score well in the test, I wouldn't look at them unless their offspring start showing up in the big ring.

    Very curious to hear how others view this and based on the exhorbitant costs and nail biting tension to send stallions through the tests, Im sure the Stallion Owners are curious as well as to what "Return on Investment" they actually get for going through this process ...
    Thanks for the laugh!! Have you ever shown on the AA circuit? This test is a bargain for meeting the selection requirements as opposed to going the performance route.


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  6. #6
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    I think the stallion test is one more tool that we use for selection. History has proven that the winner does not always go on to have the most success in competition or breeding. In fact many great sires have finished out of the top ten and many 1st place finishes do not go on to anything great. But it is a great way to narrow down the field of all the young colts and to have creditable people evaluate the horses, especially now that many people are choosing stallions that they have never seen. I think it is great for the overall quality of WB's and necessary when breeding performance animals. Is it the final word on sire quality..no that comes when the horse breeds obviously.
    Was reading an article on Corde and how he probably wouldn't have been a breeding legend if he wouldn't have been put to the Holsteiner mares. There are so many factors but I think the stallion testing is an important part. The cost part is unfortunate but if we had more horses it would be cheaper, a draw back of being in a areas that has a low population, you are affected by economies of scale in everything.



  7. #7
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    In my breeding program, I breed for the overall athletic horse that can do any discipline, is sound in mind and body. When I chose to breed my Feiner Stern mare to Qredit, I looked at his mind, confirmation and movement. I had seen him as a youngster and liked him then. When I saw him at Hilltop, I went in and petted him while he was taking a nap.

    My Feiner Stern mare has great movement but also has wonderful jumping technique so I knew the cross would be good. The result is a gorgeous filly that shows great promise for any discipline and also has a wonderful disposition. Qredit winning the Stallion Championship was just icing on the cake!

    http://i1252.photobucket.com/albums/...feinedevon.jpg
    equistarfarm



  8. #8
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    Stallion testing scores are part of the overall picture that - in my opinion - should include results regarding performance and conformation from the parents and grand-parents of a stallion as well as their progeny. Only then do you get an idea of what those bloodlines can/will produce.

    Generally, stallion testing is done to select the horses that are good enough to earn the right to procreate. Some registries require complete x-rays (which I happen to like very much), as well as performance and satisfactory foal crop(s) before final approval is granted. It's just another "safeguard", if you will, to ensure that the horse is able to reliably pass on his good traits, and as a breeder I'm thankful for this safeguard.
    Siegi Belz
    www.stalleuropa.com
    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.



  9. #9
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    The position of the Warmblood Studbook of Ireland on stallion tests (2 March 2012):

    WSI Makes Fundamental Change to Stallion Approval Process

    The purpose of the stallion approval process used by sport horse studbooks is to identify male horses that have the potential to become highly successful sires. Although horses have changed, top-level sport has changed, and information technology has changed every major studbook, with only slight variation, is using the same approval process it used decades ago. The Warmblood Studbook of Ireland (WSI) believes it is time for a change and we have done so by fundamentally re-orienting our stallion approval process. Specifically we have changed our definition of what “stallion performance” means in the approval process. But before we explain our new system let’s explore the current stallion approval process.

    Approval of a stallion is an imprimatur, if not in the ecclesial sense than at least in the equestrian sense, that a stallion has been judged to be highly appropriate for the studbook’s population (or a sub-set of its population) of mares, has qualities and attributes that are highly desirable, and does not possess qualities and attributes that are highly undesirable. (Or more precisely, any undesirable qualities and attributes are compensated for by other highly desirable qualities and attributes.)

    When evaluating stallions three types of characteristics can be examined:

    Category 1: Invisible Characteristics
    By “invisible characteristics” I mean characteristics of the stallion that are very difficult, if not impossible, for breeders themselves to see or discern. Examples include the stallion’s DNA (is the purported pedigree of the stallion his true pedigree?) and health status (does he suffer from paralysis of the larynx or pharynx, or navicular disease, or degenerative bone disease, or a neurological defect?). Because it is often impossible for breeders to know whether these deficiencies are present in any particular stallion a studbook’s approval should be a guarantee, to the extent genetic science and veterinary medicine permit, that the stallion is who its pedigree purports it to be and he does not contain serious detectable health defects that are highly heritable. Unfortunately many studbooks still do not require DNA confirmation (or have only recently begun performing parentage tests and are now discovering discrepancies, even among their approved stallions) and/or have less than rigorous health examinations (or focus on health characteristics that are not highly heritable or problematic but add fuel to the studbook’s marketing campaigns).

    Category 2: Easily Seen Characteristics
    By “easily seen characteristics” I mean characteristics of the stallion that are easily observed and/or discovered by breeders. Examples include the stallion’s pedigree, athleticism, jumping ability, movement, and conformation. Most studbooks spend a lot of resources (or to be more precise, the stallion owners’ resources) concentrating on these easily seen and discoverable characteristics by requiring stallions to complete a 10- or 30- or 70-day performance test (unfortunately Germany’s new but seriously flawed 70-day test incorporates the stallions breeding value index score into his overall test score) or to compete in special shows for approved stallions and stallion candidates or to achieve a certain standard in open competition. But we know from history that studbook officials often make two types of errors: Type 1 errors (i.e., a false positive), whereby a bad stallion is approved (we see this every year as only a very small percentage of the hundreds of newly approved stallions become successful sires); and Type 2 errors (i.e., a false negative) whereby a good stallion is rejected (we all have read anecdotal stories of famous stallions that failed their initial grading and/or performance test and went on to become important sires). A further difficulty with the requirement of performance through the stallion test is that there appears to be little if any evidence of a positive correlation between success in these tests and later success in top sport and even less evidence of a positive correlation between success in these tests and success as a sire. So many studbooks are using a proxy (i.e., the stallion test) that appears to be worthless in its stated goal of identifying or predicting future top sires. And even using results in open competition is problematic because this selection tool is not immune from Type 1 and Type 2 errors and there is no convincing empirical evidence of a correlation between success in open competition and success as a sire.

    Category 3: Difficult to Evaluate But Discoverable Characteristics
    By “difficult to evaluate but discoverable characteristics” I mean the core issue with respect to what a stallion approval process should be concerned: The quality of the progeny sired by the stallion. I am aware of only two sport horse studbooks that make progeny evaluations a key component of their stallion approval process, the KWPN and the WSI. Other studbooks ignore this most important criterion for evaluating a sport horse sire, namely the athleticism of his progeny and their later success in sport. Many breeders, even highly experienced ones, have difficulty evaluating young horses and especially very young horses. But this is perhaps the most important contribution a studbook should be making -- differentiating stallions that produce outstanding progeny from the ones that produce “normal” (i.e., average) and inferior progeny while taking into account the quality of each mare (with respect to her athleticism, genotype, and phenotype) that produces a foal sired by that stallion.

    The WSI has decided to eliminate the traditional stallion performance requirement (i.e., the stallion performance test and/or performance through open competition) because we believe it is neither a valid nor a reliable predictor of a stallion’s potential to become an important sire. We also believe the stallion test is often not in the best interest of these young stallions because before the initial grading and before they enter the testing center many youngsters are pushed (or shall we say “tuned-up”?) to jump and move extravagantly and in an unusually flamboyant and circus-like manner that puts them at risk for physical and/or psychological injury. In its place we have made more rigorous the WSI progeny evaluations. So in the future for the WSI “stallion performance” equals “performance as a sire”.

    The WSI has eliminated the status of “Licensed Stallion” and from now on every stallion normally resident in Ireland judged by the Stallion Inspection Committee to be a potentially valuable contributor to the Irish Warmblood gene pool will be classified as an “Approved Stallion.” In keeping with the current rules each crop of foals sired by the stallion will be formally inspected by the Stallion Inspection Committee so we can learn about the stallion’s genetic potential and what type of mare best matches his genetic endowment.

    But under the new WSI rules each stallion will be formally reviewed and assessed on an annual basis by the Stallion Inspection Committee. And each year the inspectors will be required to select one of three outcomes for each stallion: (1) Approval Maintained for the next twelve months; (2) Placed on the Watch List for the next twelve months; or (3) Approval Rescinded.

    Each annual evaluation will consider the stallion’s entire population of progeny born into the WSI (and where appropriate, such as in the case of genetic defects and/or health problems, progeny registered by other studbooks). Every potential data source will be utilized in the annual evaluation: His progeny’s foal inspections, mare inspections, stallion inspections, and results in national and international showjumping.

    When the first crop of foals sired by the stallion for the WSI reaches 10 years of age the Stallion Inspection Committee, using all available data, will make a definitive decision on the stallion’s status within the studbook. The stallion will receive either Lifetime Approval or he will lose his approval and from that point on will be ineligible to sire foals for the WSI (except in the limited case when EU and national legislation require that a foal be registered by a studbook if at the time of covering or insemination both the sire and the dam of the foal had been born into or are currently entered into that same studbook). To achieve Lifetime Approval a significant percentage of the stallion’s progeny must compete in international (CSI) sport.

    The WSI assumes that every stallion it approves will pursue a sport career and hopefully be talented enough to compete successfully in international showjumping. But by eliminating the traditional stallion performance requirement we are enhancing the welfare of young stallions and focusing our efforts and resources on what truly matters: Does the stallion sire athletic youngsters that later become international showjumpers? If he does, his annual performance evaluation will be positive and when his first WSI crop is 10 years old he will be given life-time approval. If not, his approval will be rescinded when the Stallion Inspection Committee becomes convinced that his progeny are simply not good enough for him to warrant approval by the WSI. And that revocation of approval may occur any time during the first ten years after the stallion has been approved.

    The leadership of the WSI recognizes that our new strategy may be viewed as controversial by some and flies in the face of established industry norms. We believe, however, that a sharper focus on the quality of progeny produced by WSI approved stallions will lead us to breed better athletes and to achieve our goal of becoming the studbook with the highest percentage of foals that go on to become international showjumpers. And since we are not encumbered by an industry network of state studs, professional stallion prospect rearers, stallion auctions, and other entrenched interests we are able to forge a new path quickly and decisively.


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  10. #10
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    wow.

    2 immediate questions. How will you know about the potential genetic flaws (by whom and how will the data be reported)?

    How will sample size (or lack thereof) be addressed?



  11. #11
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    Every foal must be inspected, and the ongoing evaluations, mare inspections, and stallion inspections will reveal genetic defects. Plus mare owners are encouraged to report genetic defects.

    There is no sampling error because we are dealing with populations, not samples.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom View Post

    There is no sampling error because we are dealing with populations, not samples.
    I didn't phrase that well. What I mean is how do you account for a stallion that has 3 foals a year and one who has 300? The smaller foal crop could be exceptional every time as the stallion was bred to exceptional mares and the other stallion could have been bred to 300 mediocre mares - do you take that into account when you do the foal evaluations?



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom View Post
    Every foal must be inspected, and the ongoing evaluations, mare inspections, and stallion inspections will reveal genetic defects. Plus mare owners are encouraged to report genetic defects.

    There is no sampling error because we are dealing with populations, not samples.
    This is interesting as it gets to the heart of the issue, similar to the BLUP information. It also acknowledges the fact that it is the actual breeding and the results that count and you have to bite the bullet and see what you get.
    The logistics are going to be the challenge. Good luck with this, there is much merit in many of the ideas.



  14. #14
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    In reply to Molly Malone:

    Yes. We use all available information and are reasonable about what inferences we can make. But at the end of the day we must make decisions.

    In reply to stoicfish:

    Thank you.



  15. #15
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    I'm curious on the Navicular aspect. As in the current term it describes anything with pain blocking to the heel area and not a genetic defect or deterioration of the navicular bone itself. Most cases are management related more than genetic. Having just taken one out of shoes for the first time in 6 years, not Abba by the way, and seeing the changes inside and out, my eyes have been opened. This is not my broodmare either.

    Just asking. I have the utmost respect for what you have created here in Ireland and look forward to seeing it grow.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


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  16. #16
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    Terri, we are referring to navicular bone changes, and we would not expect to see navicular bone changes in a healthy young stallion not yet in sport or only in light sport for a few years (4 - 7 year-olds). That said, we take advice from the partners at Troytown Equine Hospital, who comprise the WSI's Veterinary Committee.



  17. #17
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    Brilliant. Thank you for explaining. My eyes were opened now that I'm doing miles of roadwork with barefeet with one I couldn't keep 100% sound in shoes including remedial work. It's just the whole bad foot thing has me wondering if it can be more of a management issue.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
    I have the utmost respect for what you have created here in Ireland and look forward to seeing it grow.

    Terri

    I agree with Terri, Tom. Very best of luck in the future.
    A FINE ROMANCE - JC Reg Thoroughbred - GOLD Premium CSHA - ISR/OLDNA Approved
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  19. #19
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    What a great concept! I am very interested to watch how this progresses, it will certainly limit the pool of stallions at that 10 year point, but could really distill the quality into something very nice...would also limit indiscriminate breeding as the stallion owner now has much more of a vested interest in the performance quality of the get (not sure if that's a problem there or not).

    Thanks for posting that!
    TPR!
    Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc
    www.goodhorse.org


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  20. #20
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    Tom - when you state each year the stallion will be evaluated, do you mean actually re-evaluated in person or just evaluated in terms of performance and/or progeny?

    If its in person, in a small geographical area like Ireland that doable, but in North America, probably cost prohibitive and logistically impossible for most



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