In & around the inspection ring

(Photo: Johanna Faber)

Policy-making by the KFPS Inspection for the next few years is in full swing. How can the Friesian horse with all its characteristics be preserved for future generations? The focus of the Inspection and Jury body lies on all goings-on at and around inspections as well as the education of Jury members.

Pool of talent and educations

The courses Judging I and II as well as the courses for foreign interested parties are a huge success. This training programme is an important pool for new Jury members. Inspector Louise Hompe: ‘Once every two years we organise a scouting day for which we invite potential Jury members on the basis of a motivation letter in writing. The bar has been raised in recent years because this function requires ever more knowhow in terms of communication, equine knowledge, digital skills, language skills and breeding.’ Every scouting session yields two to three prospective Jury members who embark on a 3-year educational programme. ‘Trainee Jury members are responsible for their own schooling and development. They have to follow a 3-year programme which is mandatory.’ Hompe explains. ‘Aspects of the course are: a learning style test, work placements with other studbooks, ABFP and IBOP, in-depth study of breeding and genetics. They have to compile a portfolio with reflections on inspections and work placements. At present, prospective Jury members from outside the KFPS follow the usual programme. In future these candidates will probably be offered a modified programme because a single-breed studbook requires a different approach to functionality than the breeding of sport horses.

New additions

Daniëlle van Vliet and Johan van der Velde have completed their education for Jury member. Their nomination was submitted to the Member Council in May. The current prospective Jury members are Peter de Meulmeester, Manuel Gasseling and Wieneke Blom. Jury members Ester Reen and Jolanda Slootjes are currently in training for the complementary education Jury member show driving. This year Popke van der Meulen, Ester Reen and Jolanda Slootjes will complete the 2-year programme for linear scoring.

Annual schooling programme

All Jury members follow the annual schooling programme. This year there were three meetings on the subject of in-hand movement inspections. One clinic was by Frenk Jespers on the relation between movement and exterior, the other two days were about linear scoring. Louise Hompe: ‘In foreign countries we often have smaller teams at inspections so if everyone is competent at linear scoring that´s a big help.’ In spring the Performance Jury organises a refresher course ‘Judging IBOP’ for the other Jury members. In the autumn Jury members are scheduled for a clinic biomechanics, the scientific perspective on equine movement. Both the Inspection and rank and file of the Jury body are also due for a communication training and refresher course regarding equine terminology in German and English.

Inspection

Within the next two years term in office of two inspectors on the Stallion Inspection Jury runs out. In terms of continuity it is key to have well-trained Jury members who are ready to take over their positions. Hompe: ‘We currently find ourselves in a transition period regarding positioning of new policy for 2020-2025. One of the options under consideration is to upgrade the function of inspector to employment with a regular salary. The entire reimbursement system will be reviewed. To facilitate further professionalization of the Jury body all members of the Jury should receive reasonable pay for their activities in the future. The age pyramid of the current group of 22 Jury members, five of them Inspectors including one prospective, is evenly distributed. The female – male ratio is also 50-50% with representatives in every ten-year category from thirty years up.’ The departure of the Manager Inspections & Education has resulted in a new vacancy for the recruitment of a suitable candidate. For the upcoming inspection season the present Inspection body has partially taken over the duties of the manager Inspections & Education.

Inspection policy

For the upcoming inspection season the Inspection has pinpointed a few focus areas. For one, suppleness in movement will receive more attention. For a good assessment the use of whips will therefore be kept in check at inspections. Louise Hompe: ‘If we choose to give functionality of movement priority over the overall picture then we must rethink the way the horses are presented. The horse must move nicely over the back and relax the muscles. This has already been discussed with training stables and it will be clearly communicated to inspection audiences.’ Still the most prominent in the assessment of legwork is dryness of the hock but stance of the hind leg and functional locomotion of the foreleg will be given more weight too.

Under-saddle or in-harness results

A lower in-hand performance of the horse can be compensated by achieved scores in IBOP- or ABFP Tests, as long as the horse demonstrates correct functional locomotion and conformation. ‘This system, which has already been in place for a few years, is more supportive for correct horses that struggle to show themselves well on a lead rope’, Louise Hompe explains. ‘It speaks for itself that for a Star- or any higher predicate the horse must also meet the requirements for exterior.’

The line-up

At last year’s Central Inspection the explanation of the line-up took place from the lowest to the highest in rank, which was done for the first time. This procedure will be continued during this inspection season. At foal inspections all foals will be appraised publicly.