Grading explained : Warmblood Breeders' Studbook

By: Horse Deals

Grading explained : Warmblood Breeders' Studbook
Grading explained : Warmblood Breeders' Studbook

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.

WARMBLOOD BREEDERS’ STUDBOOK - UK (WBS)Founded in 1977 as the British Warm-Blood Society, the WBS supports and encourages the use of the best warmbloods lines under strict quality controls and only stallions and mares that pass one of the twice-yearly gradings are recognised for breeding.

Animals not eligible for WBS papers can be entered onto the British Sports Horse Registry and graded/inspected as British Sports Horses.

Stallion grading Stallions’ should be at least 15hh with pedigrees containing a minimum of 25% graded warmblood or at least one graded British Sports Horse Registry parent. Albinos or cremellos are ineligible.

Preferably, colts are presented with their age group as two-year-olds. From the age of three, stallions are graded in an open class. Young stallions with any permanent disability or unsoundness are not accepted, although older proven stallions who are unsound through permanent injury may come forward. Young stallions with vices such as crib biting, weaving or windsucking are not accepted and all stallions are checked at random during the grading for any sign of these vices.

An approved vet’s examination not less than two months before grading is mandatory and DNA typing is required after grading. Failed stallions can be re-assessed after reaching grade A show jumping, advanced eventing or advanced dressage level.

Mare grading This is part of the two-day breed show and successful mares are graded into one of three studbooks.

Select: mares with three generations of fully pedigreed and graded warmblood parents who scored very highly and stand 15.3hh or above. Less than 10% enter this studbook.

Main studbook: mares with at least one graded parent and a fully verified three-generation pedigree on both sides. Warmbloods must be above 15hh and Thoroughbreds or Anglo-Arabs at least 15.2hh, with some exceptions.

Permanent breeding register: mares with one graded and recognised parent, a suitable standard of conformation and movement and standing at least 15hh.

Before grading, mares must be measured for height, girth and bone.

The society is also piloting a scheme to produce warmblood ponies. Owners/breeders of mares up to 15hh with recognised pony or breed society papers who wish to use WBS graded or BSHR stallions can attend a grading within their own category.

Mare performance test The WBS star system for graded mares who compete has been extended to cover those destined for breeding. Additional elements to grading comprise loose jumping and group ridden and test rider assessments. Pass marks at the age of three, four or five will give mares one-star status.

Proven graded competition mares are awarded: One-star: grade B show jumper, intermediate eventer, medium dressage. Two-star: grade B show jumper, advanced eventer, advanced dressage. Three-star: international show jumper or dressage, two-star or above eventing.