The five mares who received the highest marks across the Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain’s (SHB(GB)) 2006 gradings have each received a £500 service voucher. All other mares graded into the head studbook gained a £200 voucher.

Two of the top five are former eventers: Richard and Sarah Jewson’s former international campaigner Beat The Retreat and Sue Lanz’s Friday Feeling II. Both mares are by SHB(GB) graded stallions Queen’s Soldier and Matinee Du Madon and are hopefully in-foal to the graded stallions Mill Law and McGuigan.

Racing is represented by Zagala, a six-year-old mare by Polar Falcon owned by Colleen and Kerry Salmon. Following a successful career on the flat, Zagala will now retire to the paddocks.

Madonna 141, a Bavarian Warmblood owned by Maureen Nash, also gained a voucher. This mare was competed in dressage by Lizzie Murray up to prix st georges level. Last year, Madonna had a foal by Diamond Hit, but she will return to the dressage arena this season.

The fifth mare is the successful small show hunter Queens Walk, by Earl Cottage VII. Queens Walk won at Royal Windsor, East of England and South of England, twice at the Royal and Great Yorkshire and three times at the Royal International. Her showring career will hopefully continue as a broodmare in 2008.

SHB(GB) will again run a full programme of mare gradings around the country from August to October in 2007.

This year, £500 service vouchers will be awarded to the 10 mares with the highest marks, and all other mares who grade into the head studbook will again receive a £200 service voucher.

Don’t miss today’s sport horse special issue of Horse & Hound (8 February, ’07), which includes a guide to stallion gradings, interviews with top competitors turned breeders Mary King and Kyra Kurklund plus the Davies family, and a look at the continued popularity of coloured horses, on sale now.