Minutes International Meeting New Forest Pony Studbooks


Date: 16 November 2007

Time: 13.30h-17.00h

Present: all representatives from the studbooks of UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands

Chairman: Mr. Alexandre Meybeck


1.      Opening & welcoming by the Dutch Chairman, Mr Harry Groot-Kormelink


Mr Harry Groot-Kormelink welcomes the delegation emphasizing the importance of these meetings, especially to develop comprehension and communication between the various studbooks.


Additional opening remark from Mr. Meybeck> we should bear in mind the value of our new communication channel: the forum. Today’s agenda includes quite a few old topics; the difficulty is that we meet only every 2 years, which makes it hard to arrive at final decisions. Most topics do not even involve actual decision-taking, but require discussion on exchange of information. Today, we must keep in mind that now we have the possibility to continue discussing and communicating through the forum during the coming 2 years until next meeting.


2.      Adoption of the minutes of the meeting in Belgium in 2005


Two remarks came in concerning the minutes from the last international meeting.

1. France > used the minutes just to say it is necessary that all new decisions made by a country must be communicated to all other studbooks.


2. Netherlands > added a decision which was made in 2005, which was not included in the minutes at the time: sperm from deceased, approved (and DNA-typed) stallions should be allowed without any limit in time.



3.      DNA profiles (input: The Netherlands / France)


Not all breeding stallions in EU are DNA-typed. All approved stallions nowadays are DNA-typed, but although all old stallions previously approved and still used for breeding should also be DNA-typed, this is not yet the case. Therefore, we should keep in mind that all stallions used for artificial insemination, whatever their age, must be DNA typed and a roundtable of the studbooks present confirmed that all the stallions used for AI are DNA-typed. 


Few questions concerning DNA typing, but first: introductory presentation by Mr. W. van Haeringen of the Van Haeringen Laboratory.


Note: the presentation slides used by Mr. van Haeringen can be found as an appendix to these minutes.


There is no difference in test results between different sample materials! Everything (blood, hair, sperm, etc.) coming from one body has the same DNA profile and is therefore useful.

Parenting verification > when you exclude parents, there is a 100% liability. When the parentage is confirmed, when it concerns both parents, statistical reliability is 99.97%, less when you only have the sire.

As testing is done on sample received and mistakes can always be made, a recollect sample is always required to check the procedure before final exclusion of a sire.


The lab usually needs about 17 markers. Exception: inbreeding; more markers are needed then.


In general, international exchange of lab results is possible in a majority of cases. However, guidelines should be stricter and discussion is needed, as there are problematic labs as well. Now we have no official lab system, so guideline must be set up.

Example: for blood-typing of thoroughbreds, an international group of labs was set up, which were all approved.

Also for DNA-testing, we should stick to official lists of labs, which can work together and exchange results easily. Each studbook should have just 1 or 2 labs, depending on country or legal organization. Procedures (also outside of labs!) should be well-established.

We should establish and circulate a list of labs used by all studbooks and be aware of difficulties that may occur.


DNA-information is only to be given out to official labs or the studbook involved. Information is not to be shared with any other persons or organizational bodies.


Who executes parentage checks:

-         UK: when there is a worry, at random (0.5%) and in case of AI.

-         France: AI

-         Denmark: no

-         Sweden: AI

-         Belgium: AI

-         Netherlands: at random

-         Germany: at random

-         Norway: no AI yet


In Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands there is a parentage control at the moment of the approval of stallions.


Average costs for DNA tests vary greatly: from €25 in Germany to €33 in The Netherlands to €60 in UK.



4.      Update of stable prefixes (input: Netherlands)


UK keeps a central prefix register for all horses, which includes all breeds in Wales, Scotland, etc. Moreover, it is not allowed to use two prefixes.


This type of register does exist also in France, but not in the rest of Europe. In other countries, such as The Netherlands, problems occur with double prefixes.


It is wished to have stable prefixes protected on a European level.


Proposition from UK: manage a European database. UK could keep a prefixes list and make this available to all daughter studbooks. It should be noted that we can only have an agreement between NF studbooks under the supervision of the mother studbook, but that we cannot include Welsh ponies or trotting ponies.


Conclusion: all daughter studbooks should send in a list of prefixes, including information concerning to whom the prefix is registered (list of persons allowed to use it, address, etc.). The mother studbook in UK will produce an alphabetical list and place this on the forum, so it can later be checked if a prefix name is available to use. This list must always be checked by all studbooks whenever a new prefix is requested for. Checking must be done on a regular basis, as the list will change continuously.


Countries using prefix control when foals are registered:

·        UK (for all breeds)

·        Norway (for all pony breeds)

·        Sweden (a pony society controls this list, which is connected to other pony breeds, similar system to that of Norway and UK)

·        France (for all breeds)

·        Belgium

·        Germany (in cooperation with UK: when a prefix is registered in Warendorf, the UK central register is consulted)

·        Netherlands


Denmark does not utilize prefix control when foals are registered, as no registering is available anymore.


5.      Change of name - specific difficulties with German ponies (input: Denmark)


It is forbidden by EU law to change the name of a NF pony. By change of name we mean whatever change of name throughout the life of the pony. One slight possible exception: a name can be changed with the approval of the original studbook, which registered the pony at birth, which most of the time asks for the approval of the breeder. In the case of such an exception, the previous name should always be put between brackets behind the new name.


However, in general there is no valuable reason to change a name. The breeder must always be able to know of the development and performances of his ponies!


Note: for sport and racing horses, for commercial reasons, the rules have changed in France, now you can include a commercial prefix for sport purposes.


The change of names is never allowed in the majority of participating countries.



Sweden: the actual pony name is never changed, but if a breeder applies for a prefix name later on, it is possible to add the (breeder’s) prefix. Condition: the breeder and (new) owner are in agreement about it. Remark UK: adding prefix is in fact a change of name and should not be allowed. It is confusing and both UK and Denmark explicitly consider it bad policy.


Germany: sometimes a name was changed at the moment of the registration as a brood mare or stallion, but Germany claims this is old policy (Denmark did however find some recent German cases where names were changed). At times, ponies are only named with the prefix. The pony name is then added later, when the pony is registered as a stallion or brood mare. Of course this can also be considered change of name!


Final reminder: it is forbidden to change name under EU law and if for major reasons someone wants to change name he/she has to ask the studbook of origin and remain the old name within brackets. However, UK remarks that in a time of computers and databases, keeping old names between brackets is confusing.



6.      Participation stallion’s inspections in more than one country


Point of discussion mainly between Belgium and the Netherlands. A stallion last year was presented in Belgium and then half way through the process, it was also presented in the Netherlands. This is considered not advisable. The Netherlands state this situation was also due to lack of communication, and this aspect has already improved since then.


The solution to such a problem lies in better communication in advance and exchange of information on who is participating in tests.


Also: a full test should be completed in one country, before an animal can enter in another one. If a pony is moved from one country to another in the middle of its tests, testing should be done all over again in the new country.


No specific new rule is needed for this issue, as there currently is no existing rule stating that any testing in other countries will be taken into account when a pony is imported. So just stick firmly to old rules to prevent problems in the future.


Note from the Netherlands: it should simply be clear that taking two tests at same time is not allowed. We will try to prevent this in the future by improving the exchange of information, informing the owners it is not allowed to do double testing and handling this issue pragmatically, without constructing a formal rule.



7.      Torded testikel


General rule: any NF pony diagnosed with torded testikel, cannot become a stallion.


For diagnosis, UK has an exception for certain 2 years old stallions: when it is very much desired as a stallion, a partial twist may be re-examined after 6 months, and if at the second check it has disappeared, a provisional license is provided. After that, the pony is again checked after a year, and then again at the age of 5.


Proposal Netherlands: when a pony is diagnosed with a torded testikel, a second opinion should take place within a few weeks in our university. If the torded testikel is not diagnosed then, the pony will get a second chance for a temporary license.


UK: Agree, but only if the twist is partially, and it concerns a special animal. If either of these conditions cannot be met, the pony is out immediately after the first diagnose.


Note: procedures and decisions should be made per country, as not all vets approach the problem similarly. Again, exchange of information is an important factor here. If the pony’s papers clearly state that a pony has a provisional license, it is up to the buyer to check before buying.


The Netherlands: there was a problem with a Dutch stallion, rejected in Holland because of torded testikel, but approved in Germany, as the problem was probably not noticed. What to do if Dutch studbook gets foals back?


As the stallion has been approved in Germany by an approved studbook, the Netherlands will have to register the foals.


Belgium: it is advisable to mention the defect in the passport > English passports already mention any temporary license. The reason is never included on the passport, but further information can easily be retrieved from the studbook.


Conclusion: every studbook has to make sure it is checked, and it is the responsibility of the vet to see it and register the problem. Animals diagnosed with torded testikels should never be accepted. Agreement on a possible second opinion, but only if the conditions mentioned earlier are taken into account.



8.      Handling of pure NF ponies registered by societies (EU accepted) which are daughter societies of the mother studbook (input: Sweden) 


Question from Sweden: ponies with a NF pedigree, with passports issued by a (Belgian) Sport Pony Society. So at birth they were not registered as NF pony, but as sports pony. Should these be ponies considered NF ponies or should they be included in the X-register? Are the rules on this matter similar everywhere in EU?


To prevent such problems, France and Sweden apply a rule which states that when a pony can be registered as a pure breed, it must be registered as such and cannot be registered as a sports pony. In other countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, this rule does not exist. This problem cannot be solved without implying the sport pony studbook, but something should be done about this.


Pure NF ponies should be registered as such, it is a shame to lose them because they are registered as sports ponies. Sport animals should have the correct breed flag.


Unfortunately, we must maintain the registration at birth. So these Belgian ponies in Sweden may not be registered as NF ponies.


Note - post meeting remark from Belgium: concerning the problems some of us encounter about registering NF x NF products with a passport edited by SBS or BWP > the possibility exists that the editing organisation kept the original paper(s) (of a true and pure NF-pony) and produced a replacing passport. So if you are doubting about a NF x NF product, the best thing to do is to send us a fax with the pedigree of the concerned animal (fax: 00 32 11 72 00 48). As we are directly connected to the Belgian federal database, we will normally be able to respond rapidly.


9.      Acceptation of New Forest ponies bred and registered in the new EU countries (input: Denmark)


Recently, the first pony from Lithuania was imported into Denmark > can only be accepted if the parents were registered in a recognized studbook. The national studbook in Lithuania  has the liberty to register the pony with the mother studbook, but verification and check up is needed and procedures followed must be checked. If a pony has not been sired by a pony properly registered, it cannot be accepted. But to avoid confusion, always consult the mother studbook.


Denmark should thus turn to the mother studbook and let them examine how this pony should be treated exactly. At the moment the pony cannot be accepted.



10.  Multiple New Forest Registrations in Germany > ‘Das Pferdestammbuch’ and ZFDP? (input: Denmark)


Germany has multiple New Forest approved registers.


Summary of situation in Germany:

Situation is similar to Austria, due to historical developments. After WW II, a federal system was introduced, including various counties, each founding their own association, including more than one pony race. No association was allowed to work passed its county’s borders. Nowadays the situation has changed and breeding associations teamed up, but still there are 13 associations in Germany.


Around 1990 it was decided to generalize the rules for all German associations. Thus, Das Pferdestammbuch and ZFDP have the same registration, legislation, procedures, rules, etc. But Germany still has no national register.


Note: central communication point in Germany is Warendorf. So whenever a studbook has a problem with a German NF pony, they should contact Warendorf. Contact e-mail addresses for Germany:

Elisabeth Jensen: Jensen@lkv-sh.de

Klaus Miesner: kmiesner@fn-dokr.de

Teresa Dohms: TDohms@fn-dokr.de


Suggestion: draw up a list of all approved EU studbooks, including the 13 German studbooks. To be updated every 2 years, to always have a complete, accurate list with names of studbooks, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, etc. To be checked by the mother studbook and to be distributed among all studbooks.


Thea (Netherlands) will construct this list, place it on the forum and keep it updated during the next 2 years. Note: please let Thea know as soon as possible if recently anything changed in your address, contact persons, etc.




11.  Performance test esp. for stallions > comparability of tests from different countries (input: Denmark)


Denmark: 30-day test, including stable behaviour, dressage and jumping, stallion to station. Final test after 30 days, by own rider and guest rider. Age: 4,5 yrs.


Norway: choice between riding or driving test, takes 10-15 minutes. Age: 5 yrs. Also: a test for 3 year olds in long reining and loose jumping.


UK: voluntary test, will never become mandatory. Historically it is difficult for us to impose rules when there have never been any > different mind set. Performance in dressage and jumping at a certain level are expected. Test can be done at all times.


Belgium: testing takes up to 2 years. Lately: problems have occurred with maximum height. Ponies have to do test under saddle, jumping and cross country. Also judge stable behaviour. Start age: 3 yrs.


France: an important part of the testing is competition results, especially the special classes for young ponies of 4, 5 and 6 years old. Beginning in 2008, there will be a possibility for provisional approval at 2-3 years old and then an approval at 4, 5 or 6 years old. The ponies are seen in hand, under the saddle and jumping and assessed on all these abilities.


The Netherlands: during 3 months, 3 test moments (cross country, dressage test and jumping with own rider and guest rider). 3 days in Ermelo: tested by judges for character and how they work, and tested on movement and jumping abilities by own rider and guest rider. After testing and approval they still have to yearly show their jumping and dressage abilities at sporting events. Starting age: 3,5 yrs.


Sweden: 2 day test, when a stallion is 5 years old. Riding test with own rider and guest rider, free jumping.


Germany: : for stallions, 30 days away from home. Tests on jumping ability, dressage and cross-country with guest rider. Similar to Danish system. Age: stallions 4,5 yrs.  For mares, tests are voluntarily and organized differently in the studbooks (station 14 days, three weeks, 30 days). Age: three years and older. For stallions and mares there is an alternative in sports (certain successes in jumping, dressage or cross country can be accepted).


Request to all studbooks: submit a few page document (if possible in English), including only headlines of your tests and rules, so an inventory can be made and submitted on the forum. This makes all information available to all studbooks and can be updated regularly.


12.  Acceptance of brood mares with more than 6.25% Golden Wonder when both parents are in the main part of the studbook (input: Denmark)


General rule: a foal which is more than 6.25% GW cannot be accepted. This rule applies to the foal, not to the mother.


In Denmark, some mares of 7% GW were accepted as NF foals. Can they be registered as NF brood mares?


UK: these mares will not be allowed to breed NF ponies after 2012. They should therefore not have been placed in the main section of the studbook, but included in a separate section.


The allowed breeding period for these mares has been extended to the end of 2012. This year is the definite cut-off, so no more covering should be done in that year. Until the end of 2012, the foals may be registered as NF when they are under 6.25%, but are marked as GW (the mother studbook considers them cross bred). After that date, ponies of more than 6.25% will no longer be accepted as breeding stock and these mares will stop to breed NF ponies.


Note: a detailed explanation (official statement) regarding this issue will appear in the annual report of the mother studbook.


13.  Selection-system in UK vs. other countries (input: Denmark)


Already discussed. Detailed description on website on selection system of stallions in UK. In short: three judges look at colts coming up for passing, minimum score must be 65%. Animals are marked individually. When a pony scores 65% or higher, it is allowed for vetting. This standard is reasonable, but not really high > only to knock out any serious problems. UK is gradually trying to ease up the standard, to 70%.


A voluntary selection system (grading system) for mares exists as well. Mares do not have to go through this selection to breed, however, if they did, it is marked in pony’s passport its mother is a graded mare. The selection system includes a 3-judges system.


Note: the real English forest itself functions as a good natural selection for temperament, energy, teeth, action, etc.


No special studbook registration paper is used in the UK, all information is stated in the pony’s passport. The Netherlands state that they do use registration paper, which is to accompany the passport. This system may however be confusing, so should perhaps be changed. Further discussion is needed on this matter.


14.  Meeting tomorrow 17-11  


·        Evaluation of the discussion > yesterday’s meeting minutes

·        Round table discussion

·        Determining and brainstorming on subjects for next meeting

·        Possible use of Forum as a tool for ongoing discussion

·        Determining country for next meeting

·        Conclusion