K wpn stands for Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland, which translates as royal warmblood horse Studbook of The netherlands. Kwpn-nA stands for Kwpn north America. Kwpn horses like Verdades are commonly referred to as dutch warmbloods, and there are three among our Top 11 horses, which merits an exploration of this studbook and its priorities. johan Knaap, Kwpn director, provides an overview: “Kwpn distinguishes the following characteristics in our breeding goal: performance, health, conformation and character. horses are strictly selected according to these standards.” Knaap also explains that the Kwpn distinguishes a separate breeding standard for each breeding direction, providing descriptions for the ideal dressage, jumping, harness and the gelders (all-purpose) horse. he says, “The functional aspect for the sport is our starting point. For example, does the height of the withers affect the horse’s ability to learn or execute what he’s being asked to perform? if so, the breeding standard will reflect the ideal height of the withers.”
According to Knaap, these standards are not set in stone. he explains, “new scientific research, forward-looking insights and market trends are all developments that may or may not lead to a reconsideration of the breeding standard.” Knaap says developments within the Fei are closely monitored. For example, after the advent of the musical freestyle, Kwpn saw more horses with strikingly graceful and elegant movement and lots of expression, which shifted goals for dressage horse breeders.
Knaap says, “besides strict selection with respect to conformation and movement, character is also an important aspect. A horse must be intelligent, honest, have a pleasant temperament and will to perform.” he adds that Kwpn considers health aspects strictly and consistently when selecting horses—a policy that without any doubt has contributed to Kwpn success.
According to Faith Fessenden, former Kwpn-nA judge and longtime chair of Kwpn-nA’s education committee, “A priority for dutch breeders has always been to have a top-quality product in the sport horses produced. within any given discipline, dutch breeders will focus on the bloodlines that have proven themselves as well as on the conformation and movement that are successful in the show ring. breeders often ask themselves: what will place, and, therefore, what will sell?”
natalie diberardinis, managing director at hilltop Farm, inc., in colora, maryland, points out that Kwpn success can be partially attributed to the studbook’s clear goals. For example, it’s stated that the goal of the dressage breeding program is to produce horses for the grand prix ring. Though she points out that this level of specialization can have pros and cons, diberardinis says that Kwpn has made impressive progress since beginning specialization. She also applauds the Kwpn for being progressive (scientific-minded) in its use of linear scoring to evaluate breeding stock since the 1990s, a technique that gives breeders an exceptional amount of transparent data about potential breeding stock.