Allround recreational horses and ponies are to be included in British Breeding’s Young Horse Evaluations this year. The new ‘recreational’ section is designed to recognise horses that are suitable for non-professional riders and temperament will be an important consideration in the evaluation procedure. A section for sports ponies has also been included in this year’s series.

The South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB)/British Breeding Young Horse Evaluation Series has always assessed potential soundness, trainability, jumping ability, paces and temperament in four-year-old horses and ponies. These assessments provide data about stallions and mares to enable identification of good stock at the earliest possible stage and supply reliable material for research and development. They also indicate where quality lies in individual horses and expose Britain’s most talented young horses.

For 2006 the series has expanded to include both recreational horses and ponies and sports ponies. “It was always our intention to introduce ponies,” says Jan Rodgers, BEF Head of Equine Development. “We want to encourage recognition of Britain’s good sports ponies both for the UK market and abroad.”

The decision to introduce a section for ‘recreational’ horses is a pilot scheme. “These horses are bred for a different target market,” explains Rodgers. “But whilst they are not usually destined for international competition, there is demand to have them evaluated anyway. There will be a greater emphasis on temperament in the evaluations as, by and large, they will not be for professional riders.”

British Breeding is positive about the 2006 series. “Breeding in the UK is going from strength to strength and in order to continue this there needs to be heightened awareness,” Rodgers claims, adding that the series is not looking for a finished product but the willingness and temperament to participate.

For further information on the series, log onto www.bef.co.uk.

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