Go­ing Dutch

Dressage Today - - Born To Perform -

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.

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