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Dressage Breed Outlook: The Registration Game

Getting your warmblood foal registered may require a little homework, but it’s well worth the effort.

Instead of just gazing wistfully at all the stallion ads this year, you've decided to breed your mare. Aside from all the breeding details, an important but sometimes overlooked item to think about is the registration of your future foal. Registration papers issued by an organized breed society are documentation of the breeder and owner of a horse, as well as proof of the horse's age and pedigree. Putting off thinking about registration until your foal is born is easy to do. For a domestic purebred such as a Thoroughbred, Morgan or Quarter Horse, this may not be a problem. The usual requirement in this case is that both parents are registered with the breed organization and the appropriate paperwork and fees are filed.

Unlike domestic breeds, registering a foal in a warmblood registry can seem like a maze of rules and regulations. Because of this complexity, the ideal time to plan for registration is before the mare is bred. It is far safer to resolve potential registration issues before breeding than to wait until the foal is born and then discover that there is no way to get registration papers.

Why is registration so different for warmbloods? The difference comes from the fact that warmbloods, in general, are not pure breeds--in fact, most are open registries of horses that meet certain requirements. Historically these registries have been geographically based, i.e. in Hanover, they breed Hanoverians; in Westphalia, they breed Westphalians; and in Sweden, they breed Swedish Warmbloods. Horses are accepted into a registry if they meet the conformation, type, movement and bloodline requirements of the organization. The exception to this is the Trakehner, which is close to a pure breed; the only outside horses accepted into the studbook are Thoroughbreds, Arabs and Anglo-Arabs. Each registry has its own rules that cover which horses are eligible.

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Registering a warmblood may seem confusing at first glance, but for the most part, it boils down to one very simple rule: both the mare and stallion must be approved for breeding by the same registry. By considering information on registration possibilities ahead of time, you can select the registry and approval options that will work best for your individual situation.

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