Q: I have a new, five-year-old gelding with a KWPN passport. In the space for his name, it just has the letter V — I have been told this relates to the year he was foaled. Does this mean I can name him and that it has to begin with V, or can I use any name? Do I have to send the passport away to Holland to be updated with the new name?

A: The Koninklijke Vereniging Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland (KWPN) is the Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands. The letter referred to does establish the year a horse was born, and the KWPN does need to be contacted about any changes to the horse’s passport.

H&H asked Rebecca Fallows, partner of Cheshire-based LG Sporthorses, which specialises in importing and training Dutch-bred young stock, for advice.

“Letter prefixing is an identification measure adopted by the KWPN alongside other methods such as micro-chipping,” she says.

“It’s a quick way of establishing a horse’s year of birth. Some horses, like this one, are just given a letter relevant to the year of birth as foals are produced in great volume and naming them all may be impractical.

“The letter prefix does not affect your horse’s affiliated name in the UK — it’s merely for identification purposes. So your horse’s passport name should begin with the letter V.

“However, you may give your horse a completely different competition name, for example, if you compete at British Dressage shows. The British disciplines do not stipulate that competitors use their horses’ passport names.

“The KWPN uses a letter depending on the year of birth of the horse,” continues Rebecca.
“For example, horses foaled in 2002 will have names starting with the letter V. Horses foaled in 2003 will have names starting with the letter W, and so on. If there is a suffix appearing after the horse’s name on the passport, it will have been given by the breeder; the suffix is often a Roman numeral or an abbreviation of the stud name.

“Naming the horse in question on his passport can be done, as can an existing passport name be changed, providing the horse has not produced any offspring and the prefix letter for the year of birth does not change. Both the passport and registration paper need to be sent to the KWPN in Holland [details below], accompanied by a covering letter stating the new name, which cannot exceed 15 characters. The KWPN will then issue an invoice for 35 euros, which can be paid by credit card over the phone.”

  • LG Sporthorses (tel: 01625 829158) www.lgsporthorses.com
  • KWPN (tel: 0031 3412 55555) www.kwpn.nl