Grading explained : Sports Horse Breeding of Great Britain

By: Horse Deals

Grading explained : Sports Horse Breeding of Great Britain
Grading explained : Sports Horse Breeding of Great Britain

Modern day British sport horse breeders are almost spoiled for choice as the number of internationally recognised UK studbooks continues to grow. Horse Deals highlights just a few of the best-known societies, with details on how to grade your stallion or mare.

SPORTS HORSE BREEDING OF GREAT BRITAIN (SHB (GB))The oldest British sport horse studbook began in 1884 as the Hunters Improvement Society and took its present name in 1998. Today, it has more than 3,500 members and its objectives include promoting and marketing the achievements and improving the quality of British-bred sport horses and overseeing show hunter and sport horse classes.

Stallion gradings These usually take place twice a year and are open to stallions aged three or over, standing 15hh or more and with three generations of proven pedigree. Owners must submit a DNA sample and five-stage vetting certificate.

Previously ungraded stallions aged seven and over must have a successful competition record and have sired stock competing at the same level.

Stallions are assessed on conformation, movement in-hand and loose jumping and shown under saddle at walk, trot and canter, with optional jumping under saddle. Thoroughbreds need not be ridden or loose jump.

The grading is a two-stage assessment but at either stage the judges can reject the horse if it fails to reach the required standard. Stallions must complete both stages to become life approved.

Elite stallions and mares Elite stallions and mares or their progeny must have been placed at a three-star CDI at intermediate or grand prix, completed a four-star CCI or finished in the top 12 of a three-star, been placed in a grand prix at a CSI or CSIO or competed on a Nations Cup team, have a minimum flat rating of 110 or a national hunt rating of 145 or more.

Mare gradings

These take place throughout the summer, with £500 service vouchers awarded to the top mares annually. Depending on their pedigree, performance record and progeny, successful mares enter the Head, Main or Foundation studbook. All mares achieving Head studbook status also receive a £200 service voucher, while a £100 voucher goes to those ineligible for the Head studbook but achieving an average of eight or above.

Mares must be three or over and 148cm and above. They are shown in-hand following a trot-up on a hard surface. Owners also have the option of presenting them under saddle and those who prove their rideability or can provide proof of ridden competition success may be awarded the initial R (for Ridden) in front of their graded status.