By Sally Reid
Photography: Courtesy NZWA
The New Zealand Warmblood Association’s foal inspections were a ‘virtual’ affair this year, with assessor Matthias Werner working long hours in Germany to choose his champions and award classifications from a large number of video entries. In a country where imported semen is often used for sport horse breeding, it’s gratifying to report that the top three foals – two colts and a filly – were sired by their breeders’ own NZ-bred stallions.
All the breeders were provided with a sample video, and followed it closely. Matthias Werner, who has been to New Zealand several times as an assessor, was very happy with the results and appreciated the amount of work that went into making the videos.
Werner judges on the same scale he uses in Europe, and to award an 8.0 is really something special. He says it is certainly harder to judge by video than by being there in person. “If you can see the foal in front of you, you can judge the size and whole frame more easily. Going down on to your knees to do the videoing of the conformation might be better, as standing up you get a different point of view of the foals, and most of the time they look smaller than they are.” Werner used a background object, such as a fence, the mare or a human to get a better feeling for the height and growth of the foal.
When asked to compare the quality of the foals with those he’d seen in the flesh in previous years, he said; “The quality of the horses was not the problem; the time the videos were done was more of an issue. Most were bum-high in their growth at the time they were videoed, so they were in a place where it is harder for them to show more lift and more freedom of the shoulder to see the full potential of the movement. Also, if they are really bum-high it’s difficult to give a good conformation mark for their topline too.”
However, he was “absolutely impressed and amazed by how everyone mastered their videos. There were some really outstanding videos and some ‘regular’ ones.” For Werner it was a smaller tour, but still a good tour.
Top foal – Rangatira Fucero
The top foal, Rangatira Fucero (Timbermill Fifth Avenue - Rangatira Lady Poppy x Lucero Omega) comes from Rangatira Stud, which is operated by just two people, Sarah Sutherland and Dougal Watt (see separate story). Fucero was sired by the couple’s own NZ-bred stallion and was also Top Colt and Top Eventing Foal, which tallies nicely with the stud’s aim of producing eventers. His damsire Lucero Omega (Landioso - Stellar Miss Universe x Sacramento) was also bred in New Zealand, which gives young Fucero a nice depth of NZ genes. He scored 77.5 for conformation, and a terrific 83.5 for movement: a total of 80.5 for an Excellence Award... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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