KFPS/AFHS Judging system explained

Maybe you own a foal or a somewhat older mare or gelding and bystanders have advised you to take your horse to an inspection. But how does this work? What is the relevance of taking horses to inspections for registration in the Studbook? What kind of inspections does the AFHS/KFPS organise and what are the different classes? What premiums and predicates can be awarded to horses at inspections?

For acceptance in the Studbook a horse needs to be inspected and its owner must be a registered member of the KFPS. At the inspection, the judges will assess whether the horse has enough quality to be accepted in the Studbook and to what extent the horse meets the KFPS breeding goal criteria.
The KFPS has established an inspection system with various classes, premiums and predicates. This is relevant for the preservation of the quality of the Friesian breed and to make sure that the breed keeps evolving in the direction of the KFPS breeding goal. For owners of inspected horses, the jury’s assessment is a significant touchstone to gain insight into the horse’s quality and its potential for breeding and the sport. Furthermore, inspection results may to some degree influence a horse’s market value.


Types of inspections
In the Netherlands, the KFPS organises Studbook inspections, Foal Book stallion inspections and foal inspections. In addition to this there are ten breeding chapters all organising their own annual breeding days. Breeding days have a wider range of inspection classes than Studbook inspections. Breeding days also include classes for yearlings, 2-year-olds, Star-, Crown- and Model mares and colts. At the end of the inspection season the best horses will be re-inspected at the Central Examination in Drachten.

Outside the Netherlands, the KFPS daughter associations organise annual or bi-annual inspections that are similar to Dutch breeding days.  Over 55 countries outside the Netherlands are home to around 45% of KFPS members, where the residing affiliated associations will organise local inspections for Friesian horses. At these venues a Dutch jury team will be on hand to inspect the horses. As far as inspection classes go, these inspections can be seen as a combination of breeding days and the Central Examination in the Netherlands. Crown and Model decla-ration can take place on one and the same day by re-inspecting the horses a second time later on in the day. In most cases it will also be possible to complete an IBOP test.  The AFHS being the daughter association for the KFPS in Australia falls into the bi-annual category.

Foal inspections
Following their birth notification, Friesian foals will be registered with the KFPS and included in the Preliminary Foal Register (VVR). In the Netherlands foals can be microchipped and inspected at Studbook inspections and on breeding days, in  Australia they can only be presented at the bi-annual inspections. Entering foals for inspections is not mandatory but microchipping within six months of birth definitely is. Inspecting foals and awarding premiums takes place individually with the focus on breeding type, conformation, legs, feet, walk and trot. The jury has the option to award a first, second or third premium. Foals that are irregular or receive insufficient scores for one or more characteristics will not receive a premium. Once the foal has been chipped and its parentage has been verified it will be accepted in the Foal Book (Vb) for stallions and mares and the owner will receive a Studbook certificate. Yearling- and 2-year-old mares and stallions. can also be taken to breeding days for premium inspections on a voluntary basis.

Acceptance in the Studbook
Mares must be inspected before they can be accepted in the Studbook. These mares must be at least 3 years old and have been registered in the Foal Book. Height at withers must be a minimum of 1.54m. It is up to the jury to decide if the mare will be accepted or not. If the horse is accepted it will receive a first (high-est), second, third or no premium (lowest).
Geldings can also be accepted from the age of three but they will be entered in the Gelding Book. They get similar conditions and opportunities as mares, provided that they have a minimum height at withers of 1.56m. Stallions must follow different procedures before they can be accepted in the Studbook.

Linear score form
All horses that are presented for acceptance in the Studbook will be assessed by means of the so-called linear score form. This form is divided into two parts: the upper bar and the lower bar. The upper bar (the ‘crosses’) lists 27 linear characteristics, like expressiveness of the head, shoulder conformation, quality of the legs and feet. The lower bar (scores) includes five rating characteristics, namely breeding type, conformation, legwork, walk and trot. Awarding premiums (first, second, third or no premium) for acceptance in the Studbook is based on the linear score form. Following the inspection the linear score form of the scored horses will be sent to the owners.


Honourable titles
Mares entered at inspections can qualify for three honourable titles or predicates, namely the Star-, Crown- or Model predicate. Mares can be eligible for the Star predicate from the year in which they turn three. In order to qualify for this predicate they need to meet the minimum requirements for exterior, movement (in-hand) and height at withers (minimum of 1.56m).
Star predicates will only be awarded to inspected horses with at least a first or second premium. This predicate is also available for stallions and geldings. Stallions can be awarded with the Star predicate but they do not receive premiums. If the inspection for acceptance in the Studbook has not resulted in a Star predicate for your horse, then you can give it another go at the next keuring in Australia. Entering horses for inspections is limited to once every two years in Australia. Horses with a minimum age of four that meet the criteria for exterior but failed to convince with their in-hand movement can be declared preliminary Star. They still have the option to be declared permanent Star by completing a performance test (ABFP or IBOP test) with a minimum average score of 7 for trot and walk.


Crown and Model
The second honourable title that is available for mares with a minimum age of three and minimum height of 1.58m is the Crown predicate. This predicate is for the top range of Star mares that have received a first premium at the inspection and are considered of sufficient quality to have been selected for judging at the central Examination where Crown declaration takes place. And again sport aptitude is very important: to become permanent Crown, mares must complete a performance test: the IBOP at 4 years old or ABFP test. They must achieve a minimum overall score of 77 points for this test with a minimum average of 7 for the three basic gaits walk, trot and canter, and are not allowed any score below 6 for either of the basic gaits.

The best mares of the population will be considered for the Model predicate with again, the criteria being exterior, movement and sport aptitude. Another key factor for this predicate is durability. The minimum age for this predicate is seven and the mare must have nursed at least one foal and stand at a minimum of 1.60m. For permanent Model status mares must also have successfully completed an IBOP or ABFP test.
During the time between the jury’s selection of the mare and the successful completion of either IBOP or ABFP test the mare in question will be preliminary Crown or preliminary Model. In countries outside the Netherlands the IBOP is the only available test. Instead of completing an IBOP or ABFP test, selected mares can also secure permanent Crown or Model status by earning the Sport predicate.