Farm Ireland

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Lights on for stallions

Norman Storey

We sport horse breeders remember the days when we had a list of approved stallions and that was it. It was great and it was simple.

The problem was that if a stallion was not on the list, you did not know another thing about him. I remember one particular stallion whose heart was so bad that the vets on inspection duty refused to lunge him. Nobody knew what happened, so the stallion went home and continued to cover mares.

Then we got three classes of stallions -- Approved, Section 1 and Section 2. Once we understood the classification, this was also a good system.

However, in recent years this system was increased to six categories and led to some confusion among breeders.

From this year on we will have a new 'traffic light' system of stallion classification.

I am all for programmes that make things simple.

  • The green light -- A stallion with a green light is 'Recommended for Breeding'. The stallion has reached the required standard in all sections of the inspection process.

A stallion with a green light has passed a vet's examination, meets the standard for conformation, movement, athleticism and performance or has progeny that meet the required standard.

  • The orange light -- A stallion with an orange light has a 'Preliminary Recommendation for Breeding'.

This means that the stallion has passed the vet's examination and has reached the initial standard for conformation, movement and athleticism. But, the stallion must still complete either the riding and/or competition section.

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  • The red light -- Stallions with a red light are 'Not Recommended for Breeding'. So that is very clear.

They are not recommended because they did not reach the required standard in one or more of the veterinary examinations, conformation, movement, and athleticism on their own, or their progenies' performance is not good enough.

'Green light' stallions that are Recommended for Breeding (RB), who become successful performers or have progeny who are successful, will be awarded star ratings.

Ranging from one to five stars, the star award's criteria have so far only been outlined for showjumping performance, but the criteria for awards needs to be expanded. If a stallion or his progeny is successful in any discipline at a national level or higher, they must be recognised. We have been the leading breeding nation for event horses for the past 15 years. This must be reflected in the awards system for stallions whose progeny have contributed to this achievement.

The stars are awarded on the performance in national, CSI and CSIO competitions.

However, very few of us know what these letters mean. So to fully understand the star ratings, you will need to understand the abbreviations used in the descriptions for each star level.

The letters are abbreviations that describe the different equestrian events run under the umbrella of the FEI -- Federation Equestre Internationale. Like the FEI, they are short for French titles

For example a 'CS' is short for Concours De Saut D'Obstacles. This is an event or show where the competitions are for jumping only.

Avoiding confusing French titles, here are more examples:

  • A 'CN' is a national event;
  • A 'CI' is an international event;
  • A 'CSI' is an international event for jumping only;
  • A 'CIO' is an official international event. A CIO must include official competitions for teams, eg nations' cups;
  • A 'CSIO' is an official international event for jumping only. For example the RDS is a CSIO event.

Events (shows) have a star rating ranging from one to five stars depending on the standard of competition. For example the RDS is a CSIO five star event (CSIO***** or CSIO5*). This is the highest level of competition available. To win at such a show, you and your horse are at the top of your sport.

The other equestrian disciplines have similar event descriptions:

  • A 'CC' describes a competition for eventing;
  • A 'CIC' is an international one-day event;
  • A 'CCI' is an international three-day event;
  • A 'CCIO' or 'CICO' is an international event with an official team competition.

Eventing competitions also have a star rating depending on the standard of competition, for example a CCI3* is a three-star international three-day event.

Each discipline has its own abbreviations:

  • Dressage is 'CD';
  • Driving is 'CA';
  • Endurance is 'CE';
  • Vaulting is 'CV';
  • Para-equestrian is 'CPE'.

There are also abbreviations for juniors (J), young riders (Y), pony riders (P) and others: 'CCI' = 'J', 'CSIO' = 'Y' and 'CN' = 'P'.

A full list of events and abbreviations are available on the FEI website.

Irish Independent