We have been presenting foals at inspection with ISR/Oldenburg N.A. since 2004.
The timing of these inspections has gotten later and later in the year and this year it was scheduled for September 11.
Over the years I have noted that frequently the foals score higher if they are 3 months old or younger. I think this is mainly due to their conformation at that time.
Around 4 to 6 months many foals begin a growth period that puts them on their forehand and affects their gaits negatively.
Since the foals are scored on their Conformation, Gaits, and Overall Impression, I don’t think that a big growth period is a good time for them to be presented.
We have had many premium foals over the years and even the one’s that did not get a premium score were within .5 or less of achieving that goal.
I’ve watched them grow and several went through some pretty ugly stages before emerging around 3 -4 years of age with the promise they showed in the first three months.
The judge for our inspections, Christian Schacht, also presents educational clinics on conformation, training, and riding. See his new book, Sport Horse Conformation: Evaluating Athletic Potential in Dressage, Jumping and Eventing Prospectsat Amazon.com.
I had been talking with him about doing one at our farm this year and when he told me that I could also combine my inspection (we have a private one so that we don’t have to transport 6 or more horses every year) with the clinic in June, I was sold.
Our foals would be 1 -2 months old at that time. The inspection was a success with 2 premium foals (the 3rd was only .10 short) and a premium mare.
As a bonus the clinics on Free Jumping and the History of Conformation were so educational that I plan on having him return for more clinics.
Christian also gave Melissa a lesson on Patrick that was so impressive – I have seldom seen either one of them look so good!
The fillies that had premium scores are definitely wonderful Sport Horse prospects with beautiful gaits and conformation, but I wonder if they could have shown it as well in September as they did in June.
I wonder why ISR/Oldenburg and many other Warmblood registries are doing the inspections so late in Michigan.
I am thinking that if this trend continues, I will breed later.
I would like to hear from other breeders – do you think that the conformation and gaits of young horses are better at certain stages, or is a premium foal premium at any age?
Leave your comments in the box below – thanks, I look forward to hearing other opinions.