A mare's gaits are evaluated both in-hand and, if proper facilities are available, at liberty. Impulsion must clearly emanate from the hindquarters, traveling through a relaxed back swinging in rhythm with the gait. Movements should be big, yet light and springy. Above: EM Brienza (Bergamon-Damonie/Davignon) owned by Caryn Vesperman, bred by Horst Schirrmacher. Photo: © Karen Lietz.
Eligibility for Inspection
To enter the breeding program, mares and eligible stallions must be inspected for approval as breeding stock. Registered mares three years of age or older must be inspected and entered into a section of the studbook before their foals can be registered. No mare can be inspected without the original registration papers.
[Exception: If the commission chooses to inspect a mare pending original papers, the foal cannot be branded until the original papers are received by the Central Office.]
Hanoverian mares registered by the AHS or with the German Hanoverian Society (HV) or its daughter societies in Australia, Great Britain or New Zealand, are eligible for inspection. [Exception: Certificate of Pedigree horses are not eligible for inspection.]
Non-Hanoverian mares eligible for inspection are:
- Jockey Club-registered Thoroughbreds
- Registered Arabians
- Registered Anglo-Arabians
- German-foaled warmblood mares are eligible for presentation and entry into the AHS Main Studbook. To verify eligibility, the Central Office must review the pedigrees of these mares prior to inspection.
- Certain domestically foaled non-Hanoverian warmblood mares are eligible for AHS inspection and possible entry into the AHS Main Studbook pending pedigree approval by the Central Office.
As of 2008, Non-Hanoverian F1 warmblood mares with an acceptable sire and a Thoroughbred dam and with registration papers issued by a breed society or registry whose breeding program the AHS accepts are eligible for AHS inspection. Such an F1 mare is scored under the same criteria that would have been required of her Thoroughbred dam: she must achieve an overall seven (7) on inspection including a seven (7) for impulsion/elasticity (the trot) for entry into the AHS Studbook. These mares have the possibility to advance to the Main Studbook upon completing the Mare Performance Test (MPT) with the following result: she must either score an overall seven (7) or achieve a score of eight (8) in one of the three MPT categories (riding, gaits, jumping) and at least a six (6) in the other two categories.
More information regarding Thoroughbred, Arabian and Anglo-Arab mare inspection requirements is available on this site by clicking on the following link: Thoroughbred and Arabian Mare Requirements.
The principal criteria for evaluating breeding stock include the following:
- Masculinity/femininity and typiness
- Correctness of gaits
- Impulsion and elasticity of gaits
- Overall impression & development as related to age
Masculinity/Femininity and Typiness – Stallions must have a distinctly masculine bearing and mares a distinctly feminine expression. A horse’s type must correspond to the Society’s breeding goal.
Conformation – The main part of the body from the chest to the buttocks should fit into a rectangular (not square) frame with all parts harmoniously integrated. Also desired is a noble head with expressive eyes sitting on a well proportioned and well put on neck; withers that are pronounced and extending far back; sloping shoulders with the angle between scapula and humerus large and open; a long, broad forearm on a correspondingly short cannon bone; and straight legs. Also preferred is a strong, but not tight back that is well padded in the area of the kidney; a long, well sprung hind rib; and a broad, slightly sloping croup. Careful attention is paid to the hindquarters--their angulation, proportion, and joint formation. The hocks must be broad, clear, and well defined; the pasterns of all four legs must be of proper slope and length; and the hooves should be well shaped, strong, and sound.
Gaits – Movement as seen from the front and the rear must be straight with no paddling, winging, or crossing over.
Impulsion and Elasticity – Impulsion must clearly emanate from the hindquarters, traveling through a relaxed back swinging in rhythm with the gait. Movements should be big, yet light and springy.
Walk – The walk must be ground covering, relaxed, and regular. Strides must be even, and footfalls must be correct in their sequence--not lateral or pacing. Freedom of shoulders and haunches and a supple back must be evident.
Overall Impression & Development – As to size, sound judgment should prevail. Horses should be neither excessively large nor too small. In all cases, height should be in proportion to the overall build. Harmony is more important than size. A horse’s development must be commensurate with its age. This score is a summary, but not an arithmetic sum, of the foregoing elements.
Inspection Evaluation Scores
|Saddle Position||Corectness of Gaits|
|Hindleg||Overall Impression, Development|
(Divide Conformation Subtotal by 6
and enter the resulting number as the conformation score. If any category score is 4 or less, the subtotal becomes that score.)
Only whole numbers are used in scoring – no fractions are allowed. Marks are given on a scale of 1 to 10:
- 10 - Excellent
- 9 - Very Good
- 8 - Good
- 7 - Fairly Good
- 6 - Satisfactory
- 5 - Sufficient
- 4 - Insufficient
- 3 - Fairly Bad
- 2 - Bad
- 1 - Very Bad
Elite Mare Status
To be designated as an AHS Elite Mare, the mare must be in the Main Studbook and be out of a Main Studbook mare. She must score an absolute overall seven (7) upon inspection with no rounding up of marks. A scoring modification approved in 2009 allows a mare that meets the other requirements for Elite eligibility, but does not score an overall 7.0 on inspection (42 points), to have her free jumping score added to the overall inspection score and the resulting total divided by 7 (instead of 6). She must also pass the Mare Performance Test (MPT) with the following result: she must either score an overall seven (7) or achieve a score of eight (8) in one of the three MPT categories (riding, gaits, jumping) and at least a six (6) in the other two categories. In addition, to obtain Elite Mare status, the mare must produce at least one AHS-registered foal. As of 2008, there is no longer a specified time limit within which a mare must produce a foal in order to gain the Elite Mare title.
A Hanoverian mare three years old and older will be entered in the Main Studbook if she is a registered daughter of an AHS or HV Main Studbook or Studbook mare and attains an inspection score of an overall six (6) or better with no subscore below five (5). If the mare is in the HV Main Studbook she will be entered in the AHS Main Studbook.
A non-Hanoverian warmblood mare that holds registration papers acceptable to the AHS and HV shall be entered into the Main Studbook if she attains an overall inspection score of seven (7) with no subscores below five (5).
A registered Thoroughbred, Arabian or Anglo-Arabian mare entered into the AHS Studbook with an overall score of seven (7) with no subscore below five (5), including a subscore of seven (7) for impulsion and elasticity (the trot), is eligible for an upgrade to the AHS Main Studbook upon meeting the AHS Mare Performance Test criteria as prescribed for Elite Mares. This means completing the MPT with an overall score of seven (7) or better (at least 21 points) or with an eight (8) and two 6s (20 points) or through provision of scores in competition.
A three-year-old or older Hanoverian mare or a non-Hanoverian warmblood mare with acceptable registration papers that could have been Hanoverian foal branded (both sire and dam in the AHS or HV breeding program) will be entered in the AHS Studbook if she:
- Is out of a Main Studbook or Studbook mare and scores at least an overall five (5) but less than an overall six (6) with no subscore less than four (4)
- Is out of a Pre-Studbook mare and scores at least an overall six (6) with no subscore less than five (5)
- Is a registered Thoroughbred, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian mare that scores an overall seven (7.0) or above on inspection, including a subscore of seven (7) for impulsion and elasticity (the trot)
- Is a registered Thoroughbred, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian mare that scores an overall seven (7) or above on inspection but does not receive a seven (7) or more for the trot but meets the AHS Mare Performance Test criteria as prescribed for Elite Mare status
- Important note: All registered Thoroughbred, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian mares that were inspected prior to 2005 (the year mares were allowed to be shown at liberty for the trot score) and scored an overall seven (7) or above on inspection are retroactively eligible for an upgrade to the AHS Studbook upon request. The AHS Board of Directors approved this motion in 2008 since these mares did not have the opportunity to show their trot at liberty, which usually, but not always, results in a score one point better than shown in hand
- Is an injured or aged registered Thoroughbred, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian mare whose past record of performance in dressage, jumpers, eventing or hunters is verified by the Central Office in accordance with the AHS Rules of Registration
- Is a non-Hanoverian warmblood mare with registration papers acceptable to the AHS and HV that has a registered Thoroughbred dam and scores an overall seven (7) with no subscore below five (5) including a subscore of seven (7) for impulsion and elasticity (the trot). These mares may upgrade to the Main Studbook upon completion of the MPT with an overall score of 7.0 or better (at least 21 points) or with an 8 and two 6s (20 points) or through provision of scores in competition
A copy of the registration papers of every mare enrolled for inspection must be submitted with the enrollment form. Entries that lack this documentation may be delayed. The owner of any non-Hanoverian warmblood mare enrolled for an AHS inspection must have previously submitted a copy of the mare’s registration papers to the AHS office for pre-approval. Owners of such mares will be promptly advised as to their mare’s inspection eligibility with AHS. Registered Thoroughbred, Arabian, and Anglo-Arabian mares are automatically eligible, but their owners must provide a COPY of their mare’s registration papers when enrolling.
For those mares that pass inspection and/or the MPT, certificates and stickers, stamped and signed by the AHS, will be sent with instructions for the owners to affix to the original papers. The certificates will have the breakdown of scores.
Mare Inspection Day Checklist
- For non-Hanoverian warmblood mares, did you submit your mare’s pedigree to the AHS Office for pre-approval?
- Has your horse been pre-enrolled with the AHS Office?
- Has the AHS Stabling Form been sent to the site host?
- Do you have your Coggins and/or Health Certificate with you?
- Have you made arrangements with the site host for inspection services, such as braiding and handling?
- DO NOT BRING ORIGINAL PAPERS TO THE INSPECTION SITE.
- Yearlings being branded must be sedated at least 20 minutes prior to branding. Yearling horses will not be branded without sedation as we want to ensure a safe branding for both horse and brander.
Mares are usually inspected only once. However, a mare may be reinspected upon the owner’s application to the Central Office.