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A BEGINNER’S <strong>GUIDE</strong> <strong>TO</strong> <strong>FRIESIAN</strong> <strong>HORSE</strong> <strong>BREED</strong> <strong>STANDARDS</strong> AND GRADINGS<br />

Friesian horses are graded, at events called ‘keurings’, by a team of qualified inspectors from<br />

the Koninklijke Vereniging “Het Friesch Paarden -Stamboek (KFPS) (The Royal Friesian Horse<br />

Studbook). In the Netherlands this can be either at Breeders’ Days organised throughout the<br />

summer by the regional Breeders’ Clubs (such as the prestigious Blauwhuis keuring), at<br />

Studbook organised keurings, or in some cases at private foal inspections held at the larger<br />

stud farms. Overseas Organisations may organise regional Breeders’ Days or annual central<br />

inspections. FHAGBI is responsible for organising the annual Inspections in the UK / Republic<br />

of Ireland, usually held in early September.<br />

FOALS:<br />

Colt and filly foals are entered into the foalbook (Veulenboek, vb) and graded at the side of their<br />

dam, aged between 6 weeks and 6 months (or weaning). They can receive a 1 st , 2 nd , or 3 rd<br />

premium (known as a ‘premie), or no premium, following assessment by the inspectors on<br />

quality of movement, racial type, conformation and development..<br />


Yearling and 2 year old fillies may be presented for premium grading and are judged along the<br />

same lines as the foals. Those gaining a 1 st Premium and Youngstock Championship Titles at<br />

Breeders’ Days are entitled to enter the Central Mare Show, held each October in the<br />

Netherlands.<br />


KFPS Inspectors will “watch” yearling and 2 year old colts and comment on their racial type,<br />

conformation, development and movement. However, colts are not graded at this age.<br />



Having been inspected as foals and entered into the Foalbook, mares of sufficient quality can<br />

be judged a second time, for entry into the main studbook, at three years and older provided<br />

they have attained a minimum height at the withers of 154cm. A Linear score form will be<br />

completed by the inspectors, taking into account various racial, conformation and movement<br />

characteristics which form the basis of the grade given as shown in the table below. Mares<br />

gaining a 1 st or 2 nd Premium, with a height at the withers of at least 156 cm are eligible for the<br />

STER Predicate. Mares attaining a 3 rd Premium will be entered into the studbook, but do not<br />

get the prestigious STER Predicate, and are often referred to as ‘Studbook mares’.<br />

In addition to the linear scoring system, inspection gradings consider the following points with a<br />

mark out of 10 for each:<br />

• Racial Type

• Frame<br />

A jet black colour with no white markings (only a small star is permitted), a noble head<br />

with small attentive ears slightly inclining towards one another, a vertical swan neck, a<br />

luxurious long flowing mane and tail, and a proud bearing.<br />

Harmoniously built and well proportioned. A strong back joining a croup of good length<br />

which should not slope too much. A sloping shoulder and good depth of girth with well<br />

sprung ribs. An ‘uphill’ built horse with an ideal height at the withers of 160 cm at 3 years<br />

old.<br />

• Legs and Feet<br />

• Walk<br />

• Trot<br />

Strong, clean, correct legs and feet with a well developed forearm.<br />

Straight, with sufficient length and power, elegant and smooth<br />

Characterised by a high knee action, powerful, long, balanced and supple.<br />

The average scores reflect the premium (Premie) given.<br />

Ave. score Rosette Premium<br />

7 Orange Ster 1 st Premie<br />

However, horses with one or more characteristics rated as 4 or less may well be rejected<br />

regardless of their other scores, and if a horse receives a score of 5 in a series of scores, it will<br />

not receive the title of STER, even if the average score is over 7.<br />


CROWN (Kroon)<br />

A Crown predicate may be awarded to mares 3 years and older of exceptional quality. The<br />

mare must achieve a first premium at both a Breeders’ Day and a central inspection within the<br />

same year, be at least 3 years old and have a height at the withers of at least 158cm to be<br />

considered for provisional Crown status. The definite Crown status is given once the mare<br />

completes an AFBP test (intended to establish the horse’s aptitude as a dressage and/ or<br />

harness and/ or show driving horse, primarily aimed at horses from 3 through to 5 years, and<br />

also assessing willingness to work and stable manners over a period of 33 days, or for an<br />

abbreviated version of the test, of 15 days) or an IBOP test (a performance test intended to<br />

establish the suitability of a horse for a certain use be that dressage, harness or show driving,for<br />

horses aged 4 years or older. ), before the end of the next calendar year with a minimum score<br />

of 77 points and an average of 7.0 for the walk and trot, or to have acquired the Sport title in the<br />

same period of time.

MODEL<br />

A Model predicate may be awarded to mares 7 years and older of really exceptional quality<br />

(being of an even higher standard than Crown). The mare must achieve a first premium at a<br />

Breeders’ Day and at the Central Inspection within the same year, have a height at the withers<br />

of at least 160cm and must have suckled or be suckling a foal to be considered for provisional<br />

Model status. For definite Model status, the provisional model mare must complete an AFBP or<br />

IBOP test, before the end of the next calendar year, with a minimum score of 77 points and an<br />

average of 7.0 for the walk and trot, or to have attained the Sport title in the same period of<br />

time.<br />


(Model Mare – Femma L)<br />

Foalbook geldings from 3 years of age can be judged for entry into the Gelding book (ruinboek<br />

Rb) and for premium grades provided they have attained a minimum height at the withers of<br />

156cm. Those achieving 1 st or 2 nd Premiums, with a minimum height of 158cm can also be<br />

awarded the STER predicate. A foalbook STER stallion which has been castrated retains his<br />

STER predicate.<br />


Stallions are graded from 2 ½ years of age for STER status, provided they have reached a<br />

minimum height of 158cm, although they remain in the foal book (veulenboek vb). The best<br />

young stallions are referred to the Central Keuring in the Netherlands. A handful of stallions are<br />

selected for a ridden and driven performance test and only those scoring highly enough will be<br />

approved for breeding. Approved stallions must be at least 158cm at the withers at 3 years of<br />

age and at least 160cm at the withers by 4 years of age. The approved stallions have to be<br />

active in dressage or driving competition, and their offspring are monitored for quality and<br />

performance. Young approved stallions up to the age of 13 attend the Hengsten Keuring<br />

(Stallion Inspection), held each January in Leeuwarden, where they compete against their<br />

contemporaries for 1 st Premium status and entry to the Championship. Approved studbook<br />

stallions aged 13 years and older, and approved on offspring also attend the Hengsten Keuring,<br />

and are paraded on long lines, but not graded nor entered for the championship, as they are<br />

deemed by this point to have lifetime approval.<br />


The sport title is given to mares, geldings and stallions excelling in competitive sport. The title<br />

can only be awarded on results achieved at shows registered with the KNHS (Royal Dutch<br />

Equestrian Sport Federation). The minimum requirements are

- Dressage (Z1 + 5 points),<br />

- Show Driving (cat. I &II honorary class and cat.III open class, in a single season<br />

placed 6 times as prize winner in the “green season” (15 th April – 1 October).<br />

- Dressage in harness (Z + 10 points).<br />

- Combined Driving (Class 3 + 10 points…but it must be agreed with KFPS and KNHS<br />

in advance which horse is being entered for Sports Predicate).<br />

For horses competing in sports outside of the Netherlands, comparable requirements will be<br />

applicable and will be evaluated by the KFPS Sports Committee / Inspection Jury.<br />


Preferent status may be awarded to Foalbook, Ster, Crown and Model mares if they have<br />

produced four high quality offspring, defined as Ster, Crown or Model mares, Ster geldings, Ster<br />

foalbook stallions, Approved Studbook stallions, and/or Stallions through to the second round of<br />

the Central Stallion Judging.<br />

Preferent status may be given posthumously and can be requested by either the mare owner or<br />

the owner of the offspring.<br />


Approved studbook stallions may be given Preferent status on the basis of the quality of their<br />

offspring. To gain Preferent status, Approved stallions must score in excess of 1000 points<br />

based on the following weightings<br />

Predicate weighting<br />

factor<br />

1. Ster predicate (Mares, geldings, stallions) 1<br />

2. Crowm predicate (Mares) 5<br />

3. Model predicate (Mares) 10<br />

4. Sport predicate (Mares, geldings, stallions) 15<br />

5. Preferent Mares 15<br />

6. Performance dam 20<br />

7. Approved Studbook Stallion 25<br />

8. Studbook stallion approved on offspring 50<br />

9. Dams of Studbook stallions 20<br />

However, to gain Preferent status, the character and work-willingness of the stallion and his<br />

offspring, the percentage of offspring with white markings, and the overall contribution to breed<br />

standards will be taken into account, particularly for stallions with between 700 and 1000 points,<br />

whose owners apply for the Preferent title.<br />


This is given to mares who have produced three offspring which have been awarded the Sports<br />

title.<br />


For more comprehensive information on Keuring regulations, Central Inspection regulations,<br />

IBOP and AFBP tests, please visit www.fps-studbook.com . Select KFPS from the menu on<br />

the left hand side, and then select KFPS regulations from the drop down menu, followed by the<br />

link to the information that you require (printable in PDF format).

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