The licensing is the most important selection step for young stallions. The colts are stallion graded either in-hand at two-and-a-half years or under the rider at 3-yr-old and older (April grading). The autumn grading of the colts is the breeding year’s major event. In Holstein, this event has been held at the Neumünster Holstenhalls for well above 30 years. At the Elmshorn grading sites held in January and April, older stallions are admitted, as well.
During the summer months June and July, the colts are presented for pre-selection to the stallion grading held at Neumünster in the end of October. There is no pre-selection for the Elmshorn grading sites. At least three members of the grading committee judge the colts at the pre-selection and the grading. In order to succeed at the stallion grading, they have to convince the panel in terms of conformation, movement and jumping ability.
Stallion performance test
At the grading, the stallions are primarily judged for conformation and structure. The evaluation of the free jumping provides the only information on own performance. Stallion performance testing is the first official assessment of own performance. The stallion performance test system has been thoroughly reformed in 2016. The test may be completed on station (50-day test) or by combining 14-day on-station testing and competition tests.
Stallion book registration
A stallion successfully completing the selection levels stallion grading and performance testing is listed in the stallion book I. Outcross stallions considered to hold exceptional value for the Holsteiner breeding programme can be listed in the stallion book I if they fulfil the requirements stipulated by the Holsteiner Verband articles.
Breeding Value Evaluation
Every year, in order to estimate a stallion’s potential as a sire, the results of the current breeding value evaluation are published. At the end of every breeding year each breeder is issued his breeding stock’s breeding values (stallions and mares) along with the Activated Breeding Stock Report.