Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hanoverian Stallion Licensing: A Critical Eye

The licensing of Hanoverian 2-year-old stallions was recently held in Verden, and eurodressage posted an article yesterday that takes a critical look at the process. Thank you to author Kerstin Aronis for her willingness to address some serious issues in stallion presentation at one of the largest and most prestigious registries in the world.

More than half of the article discusses the relative merits of the top stallions, which is itself interesting reading. But in the final three sections, entitled "Lunging Horror," "Bad Santa," and "Auction Mysteries," Ms. Aronis tackles the issues of how stallions are trained and presented; how the selection process is "terribly biased, unprofessional," and lacking transparency; and several issues with the auction sale itself, from price fixing to rudeness.

I'm not in a position to know about this specific auction, but the German approval process for 2-year-old stallions has been known as an extremely political process for decades, in every registry I know of. This article indicates that if anything that has gotten worse - which, with the economic pressures that breeders and registries face in Europe today, would not be surprising. 

I'm not an expert, but it does seem to me that the Hanoverian Verband has always been driven by competitor (buyer) input. This is a good thing to a degree. If you don't stay in touch with what competitors want, you don't position yourself to provide it. If your foals don't have the qualities people want to pay for, they won't sell at the foal auctions. So the Hanoverian Verband decides what the Hanoverian horse should be, based on what buyers want. 

But what happens when the buyers want foals with flashy front-end movement, perhaps to the detriment of more fundamental qualities? What happens if buyers of 2-year-old stallions want to see a level of development that is not appropriate for a 2-year-old horse? What happens if the Verbands allow bloodlines to die out because they are not popular now? 

My personal opinion is that each Verband has a responsibility for stewardship of the horse, not just a huge marketing engine. The registries have always spoken of abstract ideals, and the mission of directing breeders toward producing the most perfect type for sport. That implies the ability to rise above the current fad or flash in the pan, to rise above decisions that are made purely for greater financial gain. To take a strong position on what the ideals should be that are best for the horse, and best for the sport in the long run.

Click here to read Kerstin Aronis' article, and I invite you to return here and post your thoughts and reactions.

If you're on Facebook and a member of the Warmblood Breeders group, be sure to visit that page as well for some interesting discussion of the article.

No comments:

Post a Comment