One of the main objectives of the Haflinger Society of Great Britain is to preserve and improve the standard of the Haflinger breed. The inspection process is central to this objective.

The Society’s Articles of Association specify that inspectors should work as a team under the direction of the Committee. The duties of the team are to:-

Maintain inspection standards laid down by the World Haflinger Federation
Be responsible for carrying out inspections as required by the Stud Book Rules
Make recommendations to the committee for the structure of the training programme for potential inspectors and judges
Be responsible for conducting the training programme for potential inspectors and judges
Make recommendations to the Committee as and when necessary in relation to each of the duties referred to above.

Over the years the inspection process has been discussed and refined in order to comply with these aims. In the early years animals were generally inspected at home by one or two inspectors. During the 1990s inspections moved to a central location and owners and breeders brought their horses forward for assessment and inspection. There are many advantages to this system including:-

Facilities – ideally inspections should take place in an appropriately sized arena with a suitable surface with the possibility of an undercover/indoor area in case of bad weather. A hard area for measuring is also needed.

Health and safety – associated with this the Society has a duty to ensure the safety of the horses and members of the public. If horses are to be branded this needs to be done in a safe area. The Society has an insurance policy which covers a certain number of inspection events, but this would not include activities at owners’ premises.

Number of inspectors available – the ideal is to have a team of inspectors working together and also to involve trainees.
Other personnel involved – apart from inspectors there is the back up team measuring, scanning, DNA testing, photographing and issuing passports.

Fairness – it is vital to ensure that an inspector does not inspect an animal he or she owns, has bred, has produced or sold. It should also be recognised that horses being inspected in their own home might be at an unfair advantage. Finally it might also be difficult for an inspector to be truly impartial when he/she is at someone’s house.

Number of horses being seen together – this is invaluable for both inspectors and breeders to see and compare horses.
Training of inspectors – one clear message from our recent survey is that members wish to be assured that our inspectors are well trained, updated and consistent in their assessments. They also wanted new trainees to be encouraged and mentored. This sort of training is most easily achieved by a group of inspectors working as a team in a centrally based location.

We are very aware of that some members will have to travel a considerable distance to attend our inspections. When the inspections are planned the Registrar takes account of the location of horses due to be inspected and tries to organise a venue which is centrally placed for the majority of owners. In 2011 the inspections were held over two days in different locations to take account of this. Horses only have to inspected once in their life and it is important that this day is organised as professionally as possible. Most other breed societies have one inspection per year so the Society is operating within perfectly acceptable conditions. The welfare of horses is very important to the Society and a suitable venue, with the possibility of overnight stabling, is an important consideration.

The cost of running inspections currently far outweighs the charge made to owners. The Society believes this is fair and takes account of the fact that some owners will have travel and accommodation expenses. If inspectors were to travel to private premises the cost to the owner might be considerable.

In order for the inspection system to work properly it is vitally important that it is centrally organised by our Registrar who maintains the Stud Book and Registers. Horses inspected outside the auspices of the Society cannot be properly registered with the HSGB and this will impact in the future if the owner wishes to breed or take part in the Breed Show.

The Inspection process will continue to be assessed and appraised, and the Committee welcomes constructive comments and criticism through the appropriate channels.

Colt and Filly Gradings

Inspection only takes one day of your Haflinger’s future but that day is one of the most important days and well worth the effort it takes to get there.

A letter inviting you to bring your animal for inspection will be sent out in good time before the inspection date. This letter will also give details of the venue and the facilities available for our use. Venues are normally in a central location with good access and links to the motorways for ease of travel. The venue for inspections is reviewed on an annual basis depending on numbers, location and feedback received through the appropriate Society channels.

If you are unable to attend on the scheduled date, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can make alternative arrangements.

Pre-inspection and inspection times will be sent out approx 2/3 weeks before inspection day so you will know exactly what time your horse will be inspected.

Before the day the Registrar will help and advise on issues or questions that you may have. If you do not receive your paperwork or want to check on any of the arrangements you should contact Hazel Davies on 07702 964793 or contactus@haflingersgb.com.

On the day, the Inspection Team will be on hand to help with any issues or questions you may have. They will treat you and your horse with care and consideration and keep the proceedings running smoothly to ensure that you both have a positive experience. Additionally, members of the Haflinger Society Committee will be available to lend a hand should you need it.

Our inspection team is made up of a mixture of British and European judges. We are proud of our team – they have had many years experience in theUKand have a broad range of knowledge and experience in judging and inspecting Haflingers. InBritainwe have always striven to maintain our Breed Standards according to the standards laid down by the Stud Book of Origin of the Breed. This has been done since the inception of our inspections in the 1970s and we still maintain those same high standards today.

Although they will be busy during the day, all of our inspectors will be available afterwards to answer any questions or queries that you may have. Additionally, if there is sufficient interest, they will run through what they are looking for when inspecting horses.

Before the day

Horses need to be brought forward for inspection in good condition. It is better that they are not overweight; nor should they lack condition.

Some training for running out in hand at walk and trot should have been given before the inspection, as they will be expected to walk and trot out on the triangle reasonably calmly.

Your Haflinger should be taught to stand quietly whilst the following is undertaken:-

height girth and bone measured.

teeth, eyes and navel checked

markings checked against passport

scanned for I D microchip

DNA sample taken (hair from mane)

photographing head (for markings) and a side view

Horses should be presented unshod, but it is desirable that they should have been trimmed in the weeks before the inspection. If shod, a minimum of a centimetre will be deducted from the measured height.

The handler should be capable of holding the horse and presenting it in a safe and suitable manner.

If your horse has never been boxed it is a good idea to practice this sometime before the inspection day to give it some experience of travelling in a trailer.

If your horse needs a companion you may bring one with you.

Presentation of horses

As for in-hand showing class

It is preferable that they should be clean with a tidy coat, mane and tail

Bridle with snaffle bit, in-hand bridle or leather head collar with lead rein.

Every care will be taken to keep horses safe, but if you know your horse is defensive please inform the officials and keep your horse away from others.

Presentation of handlers

Handlers should wear smart riding attire, suitable shoes and gloves. A hard hat is advisable and a whip is permitted.

Inspection of horses

Anyone involved in the breeding of the horse should not be involved in the inspection process – only the handler of the horse will be allowed in the ring.

1) You will be allocated a time that your Haflinger will be measured and DNA tested and, additionally, a time when your Haflinger will be inspected.

2) You should present your horse to the inspectors reasonably square (non mane side towards inspectors) whilst they make their assessment and apportions marks.

3) When asked, walk in a straight line to the required point on triangle, turn correctly and retrace line back to the inspector.

4) Trot actively and straight to 1st point on triangle (away from inspectors)

5) Lengthen stride in trot on far side (across inspectors line of vision)

6) Trot actively and straight towards inspectors

7) Halt and stand up (as above) until asked to leave the arena by the inspectors.

Don’t worry if this all goes wrong. It is not like a show and you will be given a chance to trot the horse out again should you need it.

After Inspections

You will receive your updated passport from the Registrar. These are prepared on the day and will be available for you to take home.

Your horse will be given a grade and a Rosette denoting the grade achieved.

The inspection Team will give you some feed back on your marks and if you need to know more they will be happy to speak to you later on.

Inspection is a breeder’s tool not a competition. It enables you to understand the good points and slightly weaker points of your mare, which you can then use when choosing a stallion to breed your mare to.

We hope that you really enjoy your day at the Inspections. It is great fun to see this year’s crop of mares (and sometimes colts) coming forward and to see the improvement in the Breed year on year. Who knows – you may even fall in love with one of them and decide to go home with two! Alternatively you may spot your future stallion. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time!

Following the inspections, and when your horse is safely back in the field, questions, queries or even suggestions may spring to mind about the day or the procedures. If this happens then we will be happy to discuss these with you so please telephone either of the numbers below:-

Emily Bambridge – 01263 735565

emily.bambridge@talktalk.net

Kim Ginns – 01525 861594

kim.ginns@tesco.net