The German Federation has agreed changes to stallion testing and these will start to take effect in all German breed societies this year.

The main change will be that the 100-day test will no longer be an absolute requirement.

In deference to performance and the numbers of stallions now competing, it will now be possible to have only compulsory 30-day test, although stallions taking this route will have to show proven performance ability within a set time frame. There will also be greater flexibility in other routes to grading.

All stallions will have to have an initial 30-day test at the end of their third year and will have to gain the required minimum mark before they will be provisionally entered into the stallion book.

After this, there is the option of a 70-day test before gaining full approval. The only difference to the 100-day test is that the cross-country performance requirements will be less difficult than before.

If they have taken a 70-day test only, a stallion will have to gain a mark of more than 7.5 in young horse classes as a four-year-old, then, by the age of seven, be proven in dressage at S level, the equivalent of a grade A show jumper or attain levels M and S in eventing.

Also, after 2002, foals by stallions that have not completed the 30-day test will not get official registration papers other than a basic birth certificate.

John Shenfield of the British Hanoverian Horse Society said: “The basic idea has come about as many have felt that 100-day testing can be too much for three-year olds