Inspections and Riding Tests

Both studbooks and associations can host inspections, which are where stallions and mares are assessed for their quality to be entered into the studbook. Geldings are not permitted into inspections or riding tests.

There are two types of inspections:

Mare, Foal or Stallion/Gelding Inspection
These are general inspections offered to allow horses to enter the General book. Every horse will be accepted into the General book as long as it meets the pedigree requirements. This registration allows your horse to compete and get the breed name out there!

Riding Tests
Riding tests are where stallions and mares are assessed for entry into one of the breeding books. Not all stallions will pass, and they will keep their G book designation. All mares should pass, however they may end up in a lower book than you expected! See the list of books and their requirements here.

Horses can only be riding tested by three registries for entry into their studbooks. However they will maintain the prefix of their original registry (i.e. the one they entered the General Book of).

Assessment Categories

Score cards will show the above categories with your horse's score, based on a 5 point scale of Poor, Satisfactory, Good, Very Good, Excellent.

Overall Conformation: How well built is your horse for sport? This looks at all 24 genes that make up your horse's conformation, and gives you a "global" score. For an Inspection score card, after interpreting the Conformation Breakdown, you can look back at this score to get an idea of what your horse's other conformation genes might be. For example, if your conformation shows very high Dressage genes, but your Overall Conformation is in the middle or low, you know that the jumping genes your horse has that were not assessed during the inspection are likely low.

Correctness of Gaits: Does your horse show good potential for dressage? This gives you an idea of what your horse's Dressage stat maxes are going to be. Horses that score highly in this category are more likely to have what it takes in the dressage ring! Even on a jumping horse, inspectors want to see good quality gaits. While they won't have to dance like a dressage horse, good movement will help your horse get approved!

Jumping Technique: Does your horse show good potential for jumping? This gives you an idea of what your horse's Jumping stat maxes are going to be. Again, scoring highly here means your horse is more likely to go further in a jumping sport. Inspectors want to see a quality jump, even if your horse is more dressage-focused. A poor jump won't prevent your dressage horse from getting approved, but it will certainly help!

Conformation Breakdown: This assessment will depend on whether or not you are looking at a Riding Test or Inspection. More below.

Conformation Breakdown - Inspection

Your inspection score card will have a word description of the score, followed by an image of either a jumping horse, a dressage horse or the combination graphic that indicates either jumping or dressage.

To interpret these, first look at the image. This will tell you what gene were assessed when assigning a score. For example, if the image is the jumping horse, then you know that the genes assessed were the two jumping genes for that conformation area. If the symbol indicating either dressage or jumping appears, then you know that your horse has the same genetic pairing between the 2 jumping genes and the 2 dressage genes. Lets use this horse as an example:

Going through his score card step by step:

Head
The dressage icon is showing, so we know that the Excellent shown refers to his Dressage Head gene pair. Therefore, we can interpret his Dressage Head genes to be DD DD. We do not really get an indication of what his Jumping Head genes might be, but we know that it is less than Excellent (otherwise the combination icon would appear).

Neck
The jumping icon is showing, so we know that the Satisfactory shown refers to his Jumping Neck gene pair. Therefore, we can interpret his Jumping Neck genes to be Jj jj. Because we know that his Dressage Neck genes must be less than his Jumping Neck genes, we know that his Dressage Neck genes must be dd dd, or a Poor.

Frame
The jumping icon is showing, so we know that the Very Good shown refers to his Jumping Frame gene pair. Therefore, we can interpret his Jumping Frame genes to be JJ Jj. We know that his Dressage Frame genes must be less than an Very Good, however we do not know exactly what they are.

Hindlegs
Same as Frame, only with a dressage icon showing rather than a jumping icon.

Forelegs
Same as Frame, only the Dressage Forelegs genes must be less than a Good.

Shoulder
Here the combination icon appears, so we know that both the Dressage Shoulder genes and Jumping Shoulder genes must be Satisfactory. Therefore we can interpret this as Dd dd Jj jj.

To summarize his scorecard, with x indicating an unknown gene allele:

Conformation Breakdown - Riding Test

Riding tests break down the conformation even further, to show you exactly what each gene pair is doing for your horse's top discipline. Here is the riding test result from the same horse as the above example:

As you can see, we have now filled in some of the gaps above. New information is shown in bold.

To summarize his scorecard:

From this, we also know that this horse has a stronger Dressage conformation, since only its Dressage suitability is shown on the table. We probably couldn't have guessed that from his original Inspection score card!

One Step Further

If we really want to get a better idea of what those missing Jumping genes might be, we can either use the horse's Breeders Show scores (more accurate) or the Overall Conformation reading (less accurate).

If we assign all of his known allele pairs (shown above) a value between 1 and 3, where 1 is aa (double recessive) and 3 is AA (double dominant), we can get an approximate allele total for what we know about him currently. In this case:

Total of 37 + unknowns.

Now we can choose which route to go down.

Breeders Show

Breeders Show scores have a variation of 6%, so if you are able to enter enough shows to figure out what a horse's maximum percentage is, you are able to use this method. Say the above horse entered enough shows and we discovered that his highest score was 62.5%.

Knowing that the maximum total allele value is 72 (using 3 to indicate AA x 4 allele pairs per stat x 6 stats), we can calculate that this horse's total allele value is 45 by multiplying 72 by 62.5%. We know from above that the horse's currently known allele value is 37 points + unknowns, which means that the value of the "unknowns" must equal 8. Since we have 4 unknown allele pairs, there a few possibilities that would total to 8:

So you don't know exactly, but you can get a pretty good idea!

Overall Conformation

If you don't have an exact breeders score percentage, you can try and interpret it using the Overall Conformation. The boundaries for the Overall Conformation words are:

If you have calculated your approximate allele total above, you can then compare to the Overall Conformation word boundaries. In the case of the above horse, we calculated his approximate allele total to be 37+unknowns. He shows a Good under Overall Conformation. Therefore, we know that the unknowns must have a value of at least 6 (43 points - 37 points), but could be up to 15 (52 points - 37 points).

Now, obviously it can't be as high as 15 considering we only have 4 unknown allele pairs to work with. The maximum it could be is 12 (4 allele pairs x 3 to indicate double dominant). So now we have a range of 6-12 points. There are tons of options for this range, but you know that the minimum value of the 4 allele pairs is 2 (since the lowest value 4 allele pairs together can have is 4, and our range begins at 6). So the minimum genes this horse could have are:

Using Score Card Information

It's all fine and dandy to have this information about your horse, but what does it really mean? Here are some ways you can use this newfound information.

Selecting A Discipline
If your horse is showing strong genes in Dressage or Jumping, you know that your horse would be best suited to that discipline. If the genes are roughly the same between dressage and jumping, you might want to give Eventing a try!

Selecting Breeding Horses
Maybe you want to be a Dressage only breeder, or you're trying to breed the next great Eventing horse. Knowing what genes your horse has helps you make informed decisions about whether you want to keep it in your breeding program. If you're a Dressage breeder and your horse has terrible Dressage conformation, you may want to find a better suited home for it.

Picking Breeding Matches
Since you roughly know what the alleles for each of your horse's genes look like, you can use that information to find the best possible match for your horse! In the ideal world, you'd want to match dominant alleles with recessive alleles to help maximize the quality of your new foal. See more on that on the Genetics page.