Geoff Glazzard's guide to what makes a good stallion

By: Horse Deals

Geoff Glazzard's guide to what makes a good stallion
Geoff Glazzard's guide to what makes a good stallion

Geoff Glazzard won some of show jumping’s greatest prizes before turning to horse breeding and acting as a grading judge. He tells Horse Deals what he looks for in a potential stallion.

Famed for his winning partnerships with household names such as Pennwood Forge Mill and Apollo, followed by the stallions It’s The Business and Hello Oscar, former international show jumper Geoff Glazzard is now regarded as "the stallion man".

A judge in demand at gradings both here and in Europe, Geoff is renowned for his knowledge of breeding and owns Beech House Stud in Staffordshire, where he stands stallions and has bred many top performers.

In a perfect world, every stallion would possess presence, 100% conformation, scope to burn and a good, level-headed temperament. But no one, be it man or beast, is perfect. So, what does make a good stallion?


"The conformation does need to be pretty correct," says Geoff. "It isn’t any good using a stallion who will pass on faults and flaws that can affect performance and soundness. But I will say that a fault that isn’t hereditary wouldn’t be judged harshly at a grading.

"For instance, take a horse who turns out a foot slightly but all other aspects of his conformation are good. He’d be marked down a little, but as long as the foot didn’t affect his performance, movement and jump, such as when landing over a fence, he wouldn’t be failed."

Because of his competition experience, Geoff is often called upon at gradings to judge a stallion’s jumping ability.  "I’m generally looking for a jumper," he says, "but most importantly, I want a horse that looks like an athlete."

A good walk — the horse need a good length of stride and must walk with intention and purpose — is one requirement, and the canter needs similar qualities.  "A horse with a stuffy, ‘stompy’ canter could pass this on to his offspring — that’s not something you need on the most wanted list!" explains Geoff.

So some faults can be forgiven if the horse has exceptional qualities elsewhere, but Geoff is adamant that bad hereditary faults are still bad faults at the end of the day.

"The whole point of gradings is to weed out all but the best stallions to use for breeding purposes," says Geoff. "Britain still has a way to go to catch up with Germany and Holland, but we have made a solid start."

At stallion gradings, marks are given for conformation, movement and performance. Conformations marks are vital because if the stallion scores low at this stage, he will fail his grading.

"It wouldn’t matter if he looped the loop over a fence, as low conformation marks won’t add up to a pass," explains Geoff. "Although it’s sod’s law that some horses with perfect conformation will be glued to the floor when it comes to jumping!"


A good temperament is a definite must have for a stallion.

"Regardless of how talented they are, if the temperament of the stallion won’t allow them to be trained and produced, they aren’t any good from either a sport or breeding point of view. They won’t be able to reach the top of their discipline if their attitude’s wrong and temperament is hereditary," says Geoff. "Some stallions are known to produce sharp horses — which is fine when they’re put to a level, laid-back mare — but a bad-tempered horse could pass this on to his offspring and that’s something to avoid. It would be false economy to keep a horse like that as a stallion."