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Standards For Stallions... We Need Them! Your Opinion?


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#1 desertarabians.com

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:19 PM

I see all the time SE stallions going for lease (sometimes free lease), for sale cheap, for free to good home and of course for rescue. What this does for our industry, in my opinion, is of course it devalues our fine horses. Now having several stallions myself I know the problems involved with keeping stallions and can understand why many would not want have to handle them even though they are very gentle with me.

So the question is this, to reduce the number of stallions (yes geld some) do we set up a standard of achievement and excellence and maybe even rarity of bloodlines as I believe exist in other breeds and in other countries? Germany comes to mind but I do not pretend to have any knowledge of how their system of proving a stallion works. Even though this could not be enforced on all owners at least a system that recognizes a certain level of acceptance other than the often questionable showring and thus enhances the acceptability and value of those recognized.

Facebook has many SE sites and there are always unwanted stallions to be acquired on those sites; thus my concern and question.


Joseph

Let us get a movement started to establish this even if independent of the AHA.

#2 Roze

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:53 PM

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I think setting up incentives for geldings would be a better approach than trying to limit or inspect stallions. I think too many people feel their horse becomes worthless if they geld it and therefore they'll keep it intact even if it poor quality. There's no value to geldings, to fix a lot of the problems the first step would be to create a market for and promote geldings. Other breeds have far fewer issues with an over population of stallions because their geldings have value, sometimes more than the stallions themselves. This is where we need to start and then educate people what a good breeding animal is mare or stallion, but create a market and an incentive for people to geld and you'd see a lot of sub par stallions turn into great geldings.
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#3 Katy

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:23 PM

When I was working as a Vet Tech at a Repro vet, we saw all breeds. The most amazing thing to me was when an owner of a mare foaled out a beautiful filly and was mad! These were QH reiners. They wanted colts as they sold for 3 times what a filly sold for. I was sick that the Arab industry did not have this same attitude.

QH are working horses (as many Arabs can be too), and their industry is marketing to the young rider, the retired worker, and the trail rider. All far bigger markets that us selling to each other.

It was said a long time ago that if we did not create a market for our geldings we would soon be out of business. I think we are seeing that now. We have only breeder to breeder market...
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#4 desertarabians.com

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:58 PM

Roze and Katy both great comments.. Roze I think it should be done simultaneously but definitely the values of the geldings must be appreciated as both you and Katy state. I have heard of many who do not like to work with stallions and also with mares but I have never heard that of a gelding.

#5 Nadj Al Nur

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:47 PM

The problem is that ( and here is where I agree 100% with Hansi ) in order to create a market for geldings, we need to become breeders who RIDE geldings, and breeders who show ridden horses at least three quarters of the time, as opposed to showing halter horses. .........and not just breeders who breed.
I have nothing against halter horses, but it seems that there is a "great divide" between the people who do a lot of riding and a lot of the people who breed arabians and show them at halter. The people who do most of the riding, never see the halter shows. They couldn't care less about them, and the people who are doing a high percentage of the breeding, but do not ride themselves, have no idea what the riders are looking for..........so, the riders go elswhere for their mounts.
Now, all of us here know that arabians are the ultimate riding horse, but do we set out to prove that? No. We talk about it a lot, but we don't put our money where our mouth is and SHOW people, on a regular basis, like some other breeds do.
We need to get our collective butts back in the saddles and prove our point, and then there will be a market.
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#6 Roze

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

The problem is that ( and here is where I agree 100% with Hansi ) in order to create a market for geldings, we need to become breeders who RIDE geldings, and breeders who show ridden horses at least three quarters of the time, as opposed to showing halter horses. .........and not just breeders who breed.
I have nothing against halter horses, but it seems that there is a "great devide" between the people who do a lot of riding and a lot of the people who breed arabians and show them at halter. The people who do most of the riding, never see the halter shows. They couldn't care less about them, and the people who are doing a high percentage of the breeding, but do not ride themselves, have no idea what the riders are looking for..........so, the riders go elswhere for their mounts.
Now, all of us here know that arabians are the ultimate riding horse, but do we set out to prove that? No. We talk about it a lot, but we don't put our money where our mouth is and SHOW people, on a regular basis, like some other breeds do.
We need to get our collective butts back in the saddles and prove our point, and then there will be a market.


and if you can't ride (nothing wrong with that) get people who can, either spend the money on a trainer or even get someone else to ride. There are ammies and youth out there would would love to have a horse to ride and show, free leases work great and it promotes your breeding program. Give someone a horse to ride for a year to get some mileage on it, then sell it, I think it would be a win/win for both sides. Not being able/wanting to ride is not an excuse.
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#7 desertrat

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:09 PM

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If people observe the wonderful rapport between you and your Arabian Horse they will want to share in it! We must get out there and be seen enjoying our horses! No doubt, the poor economy is a major factor in making the selling of horses difficult.

#8 Ray

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:04 PM

Breeder associations and various society and club organizations have a few standards, most of which are restrictions and conditions to membership and usually apply to a breed as a whole. I can find no major organization which restricts breeding to certain horses based upon anything other than bloodlines.

With regard to “standards”, AHA has a few but they are really quite basic – to register a foal, all that is required is correct DNA. AHA has no breeding standard to be applied to individual horses, therefore it is the breeders who hold the responsibility for the integrity of the breed going forward. In the Arabian breeding community, ambitions for the breed are as varied as are U.S. politics and, just as in politics, a majority of breeders follow the money when making breeding decisions. To these breeders, the definition of standards, of achievement, of excellence and even the importance of bloodlines are all very different from the definitions held by the few breeders who look beyond the halter show ring for evidence of qualities to be judged as worthy of a breeding animal.

This particular topic has been discussed more than once and I will repeat some of what I’ve said before. First and foremost, any meaningful standards of achievement and excellence must be based upon conformation and athleticism. The American Warmblood Society is one of the best examples of organizational standard setting which defines the testing and accomplishment required to attain recognition for achievement and excellence. None of those standards contain the word “beautiful”. However, Arabians are eligible to participate. ;)

AHA does provide some excellent opportunity and record keeping with regard to achievement and excellence. One of those is aptly named The Horse Achievement Awards program. Another AHA program is the Breeders Sweepstakes, which pays out for results. Other competition results are published in AHA’s Datasource and include the results from AHA sanctioned shows, racing records from the Arabian Jockey Club and ride results from the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference). These are all very good indicators of achievement and excellence. However, none of these are required and none of them are free. Breeders are free to do whatever they wish, including making choices to take advantage of existing opportunities, or not.

I will disagree with some of the statements made pertaining to geldings. Incentive to participate is equal in the aforementioned activities for geldings, stallions or mares, as these programs are all about accomplishment. Geldings are not sub-par stallions – they are stallions which were in surplus. Gelding a stallion due to conformational issues does not make a good horse out of a poor one. Geldings are the cream of the crop, or should be considered as such by their breeders. Geldings are the perfect choice for horsemen and women who are not breeders. The best thing for the Arabian horse would be for all of us to wish for more horsemen and women who are not breeders. :)
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#9 jmarcan

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:58 PM

I am all for gelding incentives...cannot understand why the gelding incentive program of the 1970s couldn't be revived...although expensive nomination fees would defeat the purpose. If a gelding is on Datasource and the computer is compiling the points, I don't see how it would be outrageously expensive. One would only have to ensure that the gelded status is up to date on the database.

I sort of like the system now used by VZAP for standards...not licensing in the German warmblood tradition but the awarding of gold, silver and white ribbons to stallions who are considered of breeding quality rather than just champion and reserve....gives you an idea of the jury's assessment of what is worthy of breeding on...but it is only that...an opinion. I also like how brutally clear the KWPN registry is in publishing the strengths and limitations of a stallion's offspring, even to the point of suggesting what mare traits best complement the stallion. The straight egyptian breeding subgroup could actually be an interesting 'clinical trial' for some of these concepts...JMO

#10 Aimbri

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:55 PM

Now that the Regionals fill a full Top 5 and the Nationals a full Top 10, in halter AND performance, achievement awards are much less meaningful. Just means that someone may have had more time and money to show, than someone else. If your horse placed 8th of 8 and still gets a National Top Ten . . . what does that say? Sometimes it's close for those placings, and sometimes . . . not close at all. Without seeing the class, one will never know.

Also . . . until judges STOP placing halter horses in breeding classes with conformational issues, ie club feet, out-of-proportionally-long cannons or pasterns, poor hip and/or shoulder angle, ewe neck, etc., etc., . . . then the halter points are also much less meaningful.

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#11 DKZ

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:48 PM

.........and not just breeders who breed.
I have nothing against halter horses, but it seems that there is a "great divide" between the people who do a lot of riding and a lot of the people who breed arabians and show them at halter. The people who do most of the riding, never see the halter shows. They couldn't care less about them, and the people who are doing a high percentage of the breeding, but do not ride themselves, have no idea what the riders are looking for..........so, the riders go elswhere for their mounts.



Many of you have good points, but I feel the above quote states the main problem.

This is a quote taken from the sister site post #129 from the topic US National Reactions. " speculation breeders whose only education about horses is what they have read in the AHT or AHW and breed to whoever their trainer says, who is most likely getting a cut of the stud fee...... It is no wonder that the long time breeders who were true horsemen/women have gotten out."

IMO these people probably shouldn't be breeders. I may sound rude, but if you don't have any miles in the saddle, it would be very hard for you to know what a horse with different conformational aspects feels like and reponds like under saddle. I certainly wouldn't want a car I buy to be designed by someone who never drove. True horsemanship is becoming a lost art, and that is a shame!
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#12 diane

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:43 AM

AHA has no breeding standard to be applied to individual horses, therefore it is the breeders who hold the responsibility for the integrity of the breed going forward.

firstly, not disagreeing with you but - no breeding standard applied but there is one IMPLIED and its universal in its implementation. This is the problem in as much that it disadvantages the Arabian Horses themselves. Suggestively everyone conforms via peer pressure.

Any system which can be subjective should be considered and then seriously reconsidered most likely in the negative (including the show ring). All good intentions can come to a similar ending like as now. I'll always remember El Shaklan as the stallion who got one of the (if not THE) most prestigious blessings from the German Licensing body AFTER having blown a tendon in the last activity. Hello... what is that if not a double standard... isn't that what licensing is supposed to be about - weeding out the ones that can't cope and do get physical problems such as bowed tendon(s)!

People need to know what they are breeding on with and why. It's a hard line to spin when the Arabian is the only Breed in the world which, essentially, has at least seven different bone-fide body types (not just skull variances). These types are born from, I suggest, two distinct skeletal structures and then the others are a mix of these two in differing volumes. Understand these, market them and promote them and the over abundance of a specific mono-typed Arabian mightn't be such an issue to deal with. Though breeding has probably hit the wall (a good thing) any way. Perhaps a slow recovery is a good thing.

Another issue - gelding is one way to deal with an over abundance of males. The original breeders were all for the females. How many females are actively out and about ie being used for anything other than breeding?
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#13 VanAlma

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:20 PM

I like the WB method of inspection and acceptance into the books. It won't happen, though, even though I'd like it. What would concern me at this point is who would create those standards.
I just had a major rant with myself about lost horsemanship and the quick fix, investment, cowboy and natural horsemanship "fly by nighters" that are out there right now claiming to know everything because they went to a clinic and bought a few videos or paid someone a ton of money so that they could say they know that person, train with them, etc. Riding takes years to learn and you need to ride for years before you can train. That is also lost to the entire horse world, not just Arabians, but at least the rest of the horse world rides their animals.
I'm currently in the market for a stallion and people ask me what I want or people will tell me a stallion is "great" and everything about him is "excellent" and his whole family is "awesome" :th_cool: I'll then ask them to comment on things like legs, muscle system, drive, freedom of movement etc in the individual and family, if applicable. :huh: I even do the dreaded thing and ask about FAULTS in the individual and the family, again if applicable. :blink: You wouldn't believe how many perfect stallions and colts are out there, people, you just wouldn't believe it. :5298_orcspash: Most of these comments come from BREEDERS of these animals.
If anything, I'd like a stallion to have to be under saddle, even if just at an inspection to prove he's under saddle, WTC in any discipline, before he can be accepted into the books. That might slowly change a lot of people's minds about the perfect stallion they all own.
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#14 Aimbri

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:38 PM

MY first SE stallion was shown under saddle to the Regional Level (ridden by a junior) . . . in more than one discipline (Native Costume, Showhack, Country English Pleasure) (Open and Amateur). . . and qualified to the National Level. Shown to the National level in Halter. In my opinion, he had it all. Great pedigree(Bred by Gleannloch), great conformation, great temperament.

We didn't get more than a handful of outside breedings, because we weren't affiliated with a big name trainer/showbarn, and because we weren't the flavor of the month. Sad, but true!

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Tammens Nadira (Tammen x ADH Nadafe by Shukri) 1995 Bay  
Aimbri Ansarah (Aseffa Moniet by Rasmoniet RSI x Zahara Basharah by Ramses Maris) 1996 Bay
MB Faheena (Safeen x AK Bint Fatiha by Moniet El Sharaf) 1997 Ches. 
Aimbri Amira Matrabb (El Matrabb x Dorian Mon Amie by AK Na Moniet) 1998 Ches/Flax 
Aimbri Zaafinah (Moon Sheine x Aimbri Ansarah) 2004 Ches/Flaxen 
Aimbri Amurra (Moon Sheine x MB Faheena) 2005 Ches. SOLD!
Aimbri Fawzia (Moon Sheine x Tammens Nadira) 2005 Ches/Flaxen
Aimbri Zakirah (Moon Sheine x Aimbri Ansarah) 2006 Bay SOLD!
Aimbri Amira Alia (Moon Sheine x MB Faheena) 2006 Ches/Flaxen
Aimbri Bint Bint Matrabb (Moon Sheine x Aimbri Amira Matrabb) 2011 Ches.

2 SE/AK Sweepstakes Nominated Chestnut Geldings by El Matrabb  SOLD! $
Aimbri Emir Hilal (Moon Sheine x Aimbri Amira Matrabb by El Matrabb) 2007 Ches. $


#15 Willowbreeze

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:22 PM

My concern with stallion inspections is - who decides what is desirable for the judging standards-AHA? If we let AHA decide the criteria for inspection, I am afraid we would further discriminate against the western and sport types as the powers that be will advocate for the english type in any official AHA inspection process. Those of us that breed for the versatile arabian would be pushed even further out by an AHA inspection process in my opinion. I have never figured out why the english movement is favored over the other types in scoring halter movement, as this type of movement would be least efficient for covering difficult terrain in the desert; but the bias is there and the more extreme the knee and hock action the better the movement scores even over more correct, forward,ground covering movement with more extension and impulsion than lift.

Secondly, even if we could get them to consider western type and hunter/dressage types we would still be encouraging the specialist horse breeding. I think to preserve the breed we need to encourage breeding for the all around athlete, this encourages outcrossing to keep the athletic versatility and keeps more genetic variability. Specialized discipline breeding tends to line breeding the same lines over and over to keep that specialized look and movement. The inspection thing works for warmbloods in my opinon, because they are only of sport type-either jumping or dressage and all are capable of doing a little of both. The Warmbloods are essentially all specialists. The strength of the arabian breed to me is in its versatility and I am afraid an inspection process would do away with that versatility once and for all.
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#16 Ray

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:47 PM

My concern with stallion inspections is - who decides what is desirable for the judging standards-AHA? If we let AHA decide the criteria for inspection, I am afraid we would further discriminate against the western and sport types as the powers that be will advocate for the english type in any official AHA inspection process. Those of us that breed for the versatile arabian would be pushed even further out by an AHA inspection process in my opinion. I have never figured out why the english movement is favored over the other types in scoring halter movement, as this type of movement would be least efficient for covering difficult terrain in the desert; but the bias is there and the more extreme the knee and hock action the better the movement scores even over more correct, forward,ground covering movement with more extension and impulsion than lift.

Secondly, even if we could get them to consider western type and hunter/dressage types we would still be encouraging the specialist horse breeding. I think to preserve the breed we need to encourage breeding for the all around athlete, this encourages outcrossing to keep the athletic versatility and keeps more genetic variability. Specialized discipline breeding tends to line breeding the same lines over and over to keep that specialized look and movement. The inspection thing works for warmbloods in my opinon, because they are only of sport type-either jumping or dressage and all are capable of doing a little of both. The Warmbloods are essentially all specialists. The strength of the arabian breed to me is in its versatility and I am afraid an inspection process would do away with that versatility once and for all.


Good thoughts. The strength of the Arabian is indeed in versatility - across the board. By that I mean they are versatile in everything from endurance to refinement. Therein lies the "problem". Finding a "standard for stallions" for the Arabian breed as a whole is tough to do when you have to consider such a variety of acceptable possibilites. Most other breeds have it easy in that regard - they are specialists, which means their owners are all on the same page with regard to expectations and standards.

I do believe that AHA follows the money, as every organization will do, and this may explain the emphasis on "english". I don't know that this is still the case. As everyone is aware, the "great divide" in the Arabian world is between halter and performance. In my estimation, this is the cause of the "specialized breeding" which is detremental to the breed as a whole, as each "camp" breeds specifically for their own end game. AHA at least paid lip-service to performance by requiring horses to earn a point in a performance class to qualify for something, I don't remember what - Regionals, maybe? Whatever, even this small concession caused quite an uproar in the ranks of the halter folks.

Although dressage is a discipline, it can be thought of in a more generic sense. In my opinion, classical training methods which are used to develop horses for the dressage discipline are still the best method for starting, training and conditioning any horse for any discipline from racing to the halter showing. I would recommend that AHA follow the warmblood example and use the dressage format as the inspection tool of choice. I don't think there is a need for the "accessories" of dressage for inspection purposes. By "accessories" I mean the tight pants, suit jacket, english tack, snooty attitude, etc. An inspection at this level should be for judging the horse in motion.
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#17 Morabene

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:33 PM

What we really need is to educate the breeders and the judges on conformation. Judges don't seem to know conformation in the depth that is needed nor do many of the breeders. We all can tell what a pretty horse is. Heck most of the public can too but when it comes to something other then beautiful eyes, tippy ears and flashy tail carriage things start to become more difficult for folks to see the conformation. Movement which is a direct result of conformation, confuses many people. They think that the presence, suspension, flash is fantastic movement when in reality that horse will make a showring western pleasure horse, a poor hunter or dressage horse, much less english, endurance, race or working western horse. But they don't train their horses to be ridden so the reality of it is not presented by a trained horse.

We do not need breed standards for stallions. Why would we want a judge who does not know conformation or movement to be judging breeding stock. Until the knowledge level rises this is just another way to send the breed spiraling downward. There are some nice horses out there with good conformation, decent movement who wouldn't do squat in the showring b/c they are not the exotic headed creature with a freakishly long neck and flashy tail carriage.
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#18 diane

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:34 AM

Dressage as a tool to judge a horse. I don't think so. Again - only because there is way too much subjectivity. Just sit with the judges while pencilling - this should tell you enough! Nuno Oliveira gave up on dressage because of all the subjectivity of the rules and the way they were applied MANY years ago at Olympic level (?1950s). He was phenomenal as a rider.

I was pencilling one day and a judge heavily penalised an individual for not standing "square". The individual horse was in fact standing square - as square as his frame would allow him to stand square ie his cannons were at right angles to the ground. What the judge was seeing was that the hindlegs were out behind. So... this individual had long gaskins which put his hindlegs out behind him. To stand "square" that individual would have to have been unbalanced with his weight not fully supported and his legs under stress. The fallacy of looking at and for a standardised individual.

Horses are living beings. Just as humans are. If any one can show me a "standardised" group of human beings then I might consider standardising horses.
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#19 Ray

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

Dressage as a tool to judge a horse. I don't think so. Again - only because there is way too much subjectivity. Just sit with the judges while pencilling - this should tell you enough! Nuno Oliveira gave up on dressage because of all the subjectivity of the rules and the way they were applied MANY years ago at Olympic level (?1950s). He was phenomenal as a rider.

I was pencilling one day and a judge heavily penalised an individual for not standing "square". The individual horse was in fact standing square - as square as his frame would allow him to stand square ie his cannons were at right angles to the ground. What the judge was seeing was that the hindlegs were out behind. So... this individual had long gaskins which put his hindlegs out behind him. To stand "square" that individual would have to have been unbalanced with his weight not fully supported and his legs under stress. The fallacy of looking at and for a standardised individual.

Horses are living beings. Just as humans are. If any one can show me a "standardised" group of human beings then I might consider standardising horses.


Diane, what if you were appointed "king" of all judges and your pencil work was the final word? Would that serve to justify using dressage as a tool for judging movement? It would satisfy me if I were appointed "king". And this is exactly how things work - each breeder is king of his own program and evaluates horses according to his/her own personal standards. I don't know about Nuno Oliveira, but I am encouraged with the example set by Egon von Niendorff.

In the case you mentioned of the horse "out behind" being penalized - some would consider "out behind" as a fault and therefore agree with the penalty. On the other hand, if a breeder would like to lengthen gaskins in his herd, a horse with longer gaskins may be exactly what he is looking for.

I don't think of "standards", in the sense used here, as being created to be a sort of common stamp, or a cookie cutter to somehow maintain commonality or conformance across the board. At the end of the day, were the warmblood standard of stallion inspections taken seriously for Arabians, breeders will still make decisions based upon their own personal standards. We see this all the time already - stallions with the highest honors in achievement - Legion of Masters and Legion of Excellence "++++//" get very few breedings while stallions having nothing to their name beyond very high-dollar marketing and promotion as "works of art" sire hundreds of offspring.

#20 Morabene

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:48 PM

The Warmblood inspectors are human. They have their politics as well. You must hire a professional handler, etc. Not unlike showng halter where the handler is judged. So it is not the end all. Education is the best thing to do. What is a well put together horse, not focusing on smaller parts. A good horse is a good horse. Straight legs, well laid back shoulder, balanced body will allow for the differences in the strain types. We should not be mashed into one standard. We need the squatty body and the tall and stretchy horse and all those inbetween to make the arabian breed. But we need freedom of movement with stride extension, good legs, etc.
  • Nadj Al Nur and diane like this
Martha White
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