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North American Jumper Breeding Program

Introduction

In 2005, the Verband hannoverscher Warmblutzüchter (Hanoverian Verband, HV) and the American Hanoverian Society (AHS) established the Jumper Breeding Program (JBP). A cooperative effort between the AHS, the HV and the two regional Hanoverian breeding clubs in Canada, the Jumper Breeding Program is intended to promote the breeding of high quality Hanoverian show jumping horses in North America. The Jumper Breeding Program is based in part on the successful experience of the Programm Hannoveraner Springpferdezucht (“PHS”) in Germany.

By way of background, the PHS was created by the Hanoverian Verband in 1993 to recognize, promote, and market the breeding of Hanoverian show jumpers. About

1,700 mares have been selected to participate in the PHS. These mares have been selected based on their pedigrees and their talent as measured via competition or Mare Performance Test. Mares in the PHS are encouraged to be bred to stallions that have also been selected for the program. The Hanoverian Verband annually publishes a list of mares and stallions that have been selected to participate in the PHS.

The Hanoverian Verband showcases offspring from the PHS in a variety of ways. In addition to the PHS designation, which can be seen, for example, identifying certain horses in the auction catalogs, the Hanoverian Verband offers a foal show specifically for PHS offspring as well as an annual free jumping competition for three- and four-year olds. In 2005, nearly 150 horses were presented to a judges panel that included Toni Hassman and Dr. Guenther Friemel who scored each of them on their scope, technique and overall impression (which accounts for canter, type, etc.). Last year, Lars Nieberg and Anja Rietbrock were on the panel.

In the U.S., a team of jumper breeders worked together over the past year to initiate a plan and implement a similar program in North America. At the Annual Meeting of the AHS in February 2005, the Board of Directors approved the general concept and formed the Jumper Breeding Committee to implement and administer the Jumper Breeding Program. The Board, with input from Dr. Christmann, appointed the following Committee members: Michael Boyd, Hanoverian Breeding Club of Eastern Canada; Dr. Ludwig Christmann, HV representative; Patricia Donahue, AHS Registrar; John Gillien, AHS member; Judy Hedreen, AHS member; Albert Kley, the Hanoverian Breeding Club of Western Canada; Edgar Schutte, AHS member and director, and Rick Toering, AHS member. In addition, the Mare and Stallion Committee appointed one of its members, Karin Himmelmayer, to act as a liaison to the Jumper Breeding Committee.

Selection of Breeding Stock

The Committee’s first task has been to identify and select the mares and the stallions here in North American that are most likely to produce high quality show jumping horses. In simple terms, to be selected for the Program, mares and stallions must have BOTH an appropriate jumping pedigree and demonstrated jumping ability or offspring with demonstrated jumping ability.

While simple in principle, the task of identifying and selecting the mares and the stallions for inclusion in the Program has been a difficult one. The selection process is not perfect, and should be recognized as a work in progress. The Committee looks forward to receiving additional information from the membership that was either overlooked or unavailable so that additional mares and stallions may be included in the Program.

The Committee has adopted the criteria used by the PHS for selecting the stallions for the Program. In addition to having an appropriate jumping pedigree, a stallion must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • a score of at least 125 in the jumping index of the stallion performance test
  • a jumping score of 8.5 in the stallion performance test
  • a successful competition record
  • offspring with successful competition records or
  • a breeding value for jumping of at least 120

By way of example, the stallion’s success in USEF level 8/9 jumping competitions, Canadian jumper levels at 1.4m or above, experience at international levels of competition, or qualification to participate in the World Championships for young show jumpers or the offspring’ s successes at Canadian jumper levels of 1.3m or above, resp. USEF level 7/8 jumping competitions would be factors considered in favor of including a stallion in the Program. However, successes in hunter competitions will not be considered.

Because competition records are not readily available in the U.S., the Committee relied primarily on stallion performance tests and breeding values for this initial list of stallions. The Committee encourages owners of stallions not otherwise included in this initial list to provide us with the competition records of the stallion or his offspring. The Committee will evaluate these records and if sufficient, may include the stallion into the Program. In addition to the stallions already selected for the PHS, the initial list of North American stallions selected for the Program is set forth below.

The Committee has also adopted similar criteria to that is used by the PHS for selecting the mares for the Program. In addition to an appropriate jumping pedigree, mares selected for the Program must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • a jumping score of at least 8.0 in a performance test
  • a successful competition record in show jumping or eventing
  • offspring with successful competition records
  • relatives (full siblings or offspring from the same dam) with successful competition records or
  • other criteria; a breeding value for jumping may be considered as well. Again, successes in hunter competitions will not be considered

Because the Committee does not have access to competition records of many of these mares or their offspring, we relied primarily on the Mare Performance Test data and competition records previously submitted to the office. The Committee recognizes that there may be mares not on this initial list that have successful competition records, offspring with successful competition records, or other factors that we have overlooked or not considered. Owners of mares not otherwise included in this initial list are encouraged to provide the Committee with the appropriate additional information so that the mare may be considered for the Program.

Going Forward

The Committee will publish the list of stallions and mares selected for the Program, and other details of the Program, on the AHS website. The Committee will update these lists as additional mares and stallions are added to the Program.

The Committee recognizes that, in North America, Hanoverians are primarily associated with “dressage horses” rather than “jumping horses.” One of our goals is to change that perception over the coming years. We suspect that many of the mares on this list have historically been bred to dressage stallions (with the resulting offspring being exceptional horses, of course!). However, in order to make this Program successful, the Committee encourages owners of these mares to breed them to stallions also selected for the Program with the hopes of producing some successful jumping horses!

For further information on the Canadian Jumper Breeding Program, please contact Mike Boyd (mmboyd@rogers.com).

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