With breeding season wrapping up, horsemen and women are now turning their attention to the preparation of their best young horses for annual inspections. With that in mind, the KWPN-NA (Royal Dutch Warmblood Studbook in North America) recently announced dates and locations for the 2014 KWPN-NA Keuring Tour.
A respected jury of Royal Dutch Sport Horse experts, including Lana Sneddon (IN) and Deborah P. Harrison, DVM (CA), will be joined by fellow judges Bart Henstra and Arie Hamoen of the Netherlands in a whirlwind tour of keurings at 13 different sites in the United States and Canada during the month of September, looking for the "best of the best" from North American breeders as foals, yearlings, young horses, geldings, stallions and mares are evaluated for conformation, movement, and potential talent for sport.
Producing the world's best sport horses is a process which begins long before conception, and the annual keuring tour is an opportunity for breeders to proudly showcase the results of their breeding programs and their dedication to advance the breed. Each horse presented will receive expert evaluations which support the breeder and/or rider to make decisions about riding or driving careers and future breeding decisions. This constant pursuit of improvement of the breed has led to unmatched performance in the competition arena, as year after year the KWPN has held a top position in the studbook rankings of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH).
Jury member Lana Sneddon of Stonecrest Farm in LaGrange, IN, believes this success is directly related to the quality of horses bred and presented at keurings. "The sport starts by producing a top quality animal, with not only a sound body but also a sound mind," noted Sneddon.
"The keuring tour is very important for our breeders and for the studbook," explained Willy Arts, Chairman of the KWPN-NA Board of Directors and long-time breeder with DG Bar Ranch in Hanford, CA. "The primary goals are 'quality control' for the breed here in North America as well as to educate both breeders and spectators."
Equine veterinarian, sport horse breeding judge, successful breeder and stallion owner Dr. Deborah Harrison of Lio Lomas Dutch Warmbloods in San Juan Bautista, CA, agreed with Arts. "These keurings give breeders an objective opinion of their horses and how they meet the Dutch system's expectations and goals for their type of horse and sport direction," said Harrison. "Our goal as judges is to evaluate, educate, and advise the participants at a keuring, imparting as much information as we can. We advise them on what they may need to improve on, since as breeders their goal is always to improve the next generation. We see wonderful horses on this tour, and I always enjoy being part of the jury and I am happy to help breeders in any way I can to pursue their breeding goals."
Participation in last year's KWPN-NA keurings increased markedly over previous tours, and both Sneddon and Arts expect the growth and support for the Royal Dutch Sport Horse to continue among North American breeders.
"There's no question KWPN horses are continuing to increase in popularity and are in high demand causing strong sales for breeders," said Sneddon. "When sales are good, breeders get excited about breeding and spend more time planning and researching breeding choices and aren't stifled by a low budget, which in turn causes quality to improve."
Arts also expects the growth to continue, adding, "Quality is going up every year, and I contribute this to the strict selection system and criteria of the KWPN, as well as the ever-increasing knowledge of North American breeders."
The 2014 KWPN-NA keuring tour dates and locations include:
- September 6: Finishing Touches Farm, Genoa City, WI www.finishingtouchesfarm.com
- September 7: Claybrook Farms, Ithaca, MI www.claybrookfarms.com
- September 8: Prima Equestrian, Mount Albert, Ontario, CAN www.primaequestrian.com
- September 9: Imajica, Williston, VT www.imajica.net
- September 10: Clarion Farm, Inc., Franklin, MA www.clarionfarm.com
- September 11-12: Iron Spring Farm, Coatesville, PA www.ironspringfarm.com
- September 14: Sonnenberg Farm, LLC, Sherwood, OR www.sonnenberg.us
- September 15: El Sueno Equestrian Center, Somis, CA www.elsuenoequestrian.com
- September 16-17: DG Bar Ranch, Hanford, CA www.dgbarranch.com
- September 18: Black Star Sport Horses, Rockwall, TX www.blackstarsporthorses.com
- September 19: Blalock Lakes, Newnan, GA www.blalocklakes.com
- September 20: Pennock Point Sport Horses, Reddick, FL (no website)
- September 26: Windy Knoll Farms, Sullivan, OH www.windyknollfarms.com
A multitude of awards and cash prizes will be available as part of the KWPN-NA keuring tour to reward excellence in breeding stock and to highlight the development of Dutch sport horses for careers in sport. The popular DG Bar Cup is a competition for three-, four-, five/six- and seven/eight-year-old dressage horses, rewarding gaits, rideability, balance, rhythm, suppleness, and the ability to collect and extend. Returning for its second year is the Claybrook Farms Cup, a free-jumping competition where two-, three-, and four-year-old hunter and jumper prospects are evaluated for scope, carefulness, quickness, technique and willingness. New for 2014 is the KWPN Fine Harness Cup, where horses aged three and older will have an opportunity to show off their talent in harness.
The KWPN-NA will recognize the Top Five horses in premium grading, studbook inspection and performance classes, and the honorary Gert van der Veen Award will once again be presented for the KWPN mare earning the highest overall score in this year's keuring tour. In addition, the Iron Spring Farm Keuring Championships will distribute $7,500 in prize money to breeders of the Champion and Reserve Champion Foal and Mature Horses in each of the KWPN's five breeding directions, including Dressage, Jumpers, Hunters, Harness, and Gelders.
"The KWPN-NA keurings are so educational because they are an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the KWPN system, mingle with other breeders, have their horses evaluated, and see how they compare not only to breed standards but also how they stack up to other North American horses/breeders," concluded Sneddon.
And there's still time for you to participate, as entries for the 2014 KWPN-NA keuring tour are now open, but hurry--the first entry deadline is July 11, with late entries accepted through July 29.
For more information about the 2014 KWPN-NA keuring tour, download an information booklet and entry forms, and to find and attend an inspection at a location near you, contact the KWPN-NA office, http://kwpn-na.org/ or by phone 541-459-3232.