GREAT BRITAIN (by Celia Clarke) Since the arrival of the New Year, the minds of breeders everywhere have turned to planning for the coming covering season. The issues breeders must address differs from country to country and among the various studbooks, and it’s far from easy in places where are are no clear breeding policies and a host of different studbooks vying for patronage. This is especially true of the UK, where five different studbooks chase the dubious honour of registering a maximum of 8,000 foals annually.
Compared to many other countries (apart from possibly the USA), a significantly higher volume of British sport horse breeders continue to prefer a high percentage of non-graded Thoroughbred, Arab, Anglo Arab and even native pony blood in their foals, so identifying successful stallions, breeders, and specific sport horse bloodlines becomes even more difficult.
It is clear, therefore, why the many annual breeders’ awards distributed by the Supporters of British Breeding, and now -– for the first year ever by the Competition Stallions Guide to successful UK-based stallions – are so important to British breeders. Almost all the awards are based on the constantly evolving and powerful assessment scores handed out to foals, yearlings, two year olds and three year olds at the 12 British Breeding/British Equestrian Federation Futurity Evaluations. For young ridden horses it is linked to the more senior branch, the BEF Equine Bridge and the multiplicity of discipline-based young horse competitions, that can play a significant role in mare owners’ decisions in the following months.
Stallion owners, therefore, strive for a good spread of representation throughout the various award categories, and many use the Supporters of British Breeding Annual Breeders Award Dinner as a celebration of their success. Certainly, attendance figures have risen from a lowly 30 about 15 years ago to well over 300 now, and the depth of knowledge that inspired the top bloodlines of the British-bred winners, listed below, shows how beneficial this approach has been over the years...