Home In previous issues Diving head-first into the KWPN crossbreeds program

Diving head-first into the KWPN crossbreeds program

Important feedback from Jean Bemelmans – former GP rider and Spanish team coach

By Sabine Timman
Photography: Sabine Timman

At the start of the KWPN Championships, the first informative event for their crossbreed’s program became a fact. This program was conceived some years ago, and has focused on crossing KWPN horses with Iberian breeds to see whether they can strengthen each other.

According to Wim Versteeg, who is leading this program at KWPN, the project already started four years ago. “Breeders reached out to KWPN to ask if they could register their cross-bred foals with our studbook. Of course, it’s always possible to register a horse, but it might be with the ‘A’ or ‘B’ register if we don’t know enough of the parents to allow them fully into our studbook. But this case of cross-breeding got our attention, because we are always searching for new ways to let our breeding program grow.
“In Portugal there are more stables that are using the cross-breeding in their program and are even breeding with the next generation. So, we did a proposal to our breeding council to make this a serious project on the agenda. But because this would be a trial, we didn’t want to take high risks with this project. They select the Iberian horses like PREs and Lusitanos as subjects other than we do at our studbook. This selection process is also not something we know a lot about and, according to our strict breeding program with veterinarian determinations, it was better to be safe than sorry.
“So, to prevent a lot of external influences you lose hold of, we started a five-year project to see what the offspring would look like if the oldest were three years old. If the breeders in our crossbreeds program used a dressage stallion of the KWPN studbook recognized by us, and a Lusitano or PRE mare, the foal would get an ‘A’ register. They can then grow into the studbook at a later age after the horse is scored at one of our inspections.
“The influence of these horses won’t be so huge when you start from the mare line. Currently, if you use a Lusitano or PRE stallion over a KWPN mare, then the foal will receive a ‘B’ register passport. These horses can’t go to inspections but can compete in classes for young dressage horses. We decided to do it this way in order to prevent people bringing a stallion Spain and letting him breed as much as they want without knowing anything about the exterior, health, and other important subjects.”

Great interest

At the first information inspection for the crossbreeds this distinguishing feature was also used to show any possible differences between the two. “In practice the biggest group of crossbreeds were the horses with a register ‘A’. We only had a few register ‘B’ horses. So, it’s hard to draw a conclusion which one would be better. It was a day with a lot of interest, and also with a lot of people we don’t normally see at our studbook events. Afterwards we received a lot of feedback from people who want to participate next year... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber