Maybe it was a bit of a dare, asking the members for their opinion regarding the norm for the Star percentage of 3-year-old Foalbook mares, annually set at 35%. It is a bit like the Government asking the population what their thoughts are on the current level of taxes. What to do if a large majority of members suggested to raise the Star percentage?
The outcome of the discussions in the four rounds of ‘Touring the country’ was however, that over two thirds of those present are happy with the current norm. The most important argument heard was that lowering the standard for Star would reflect on the value of the Star predicate, representing an inflation both in terms of breed-technical value as well as in real money. Honesty however dictates us to tell that from the other third of those present an absolute majority is in favour of widening the norm for the Star predicate. A preference for a lower than 35% Star percentage was exceedingly small. Reasons for widening of the norm were that more breeders would go home happy, which in turn might give a boost to breeding.
This discussion probably touches upon the heart of the Long Term Policy which will be on the agenda at the regional meetings. What is in fact the extent of our ambition? Do we want to be a grade-A brand or a grade-B brand?
Rather simultaneously a similar discussion took place among the colleagues of the KWPN, however with quite a different outcome. Sharper selections are necessary in the coming years. The same could be read in various interviews with breeders and summaries of meetings. In the past few years the KWPN has favoured a more generous selection policy: higher star percentages, a wider approval policy for stallions, etc. So why now change this recent trend? Very simple, because we have started to realise that, for instance, the Belgian rivals Zangersheide and BWP are more successful. Precisely because they have a much sharper selection on performance.
Sometimes being a monopolist like the KFPS, is in a way a comfortable position to be in. But it comes with a huge inherent danger. It is so tempting to make allowances for quality in the selection process. It requires discipline to uphold grade-A goals, even without competition.
Ids Hellinga, Director KFPS