reported by John Smith

Manfred Lopp was  Head of the Stallion Testing Station at Adelheidsdorf, Germany from 1965 until his retirement in 1994. He visited New Zealand in 1999.

  • Members should be more objective about their assessment of their own horses. Often we know our neighbour’s horse better than our own. We can get too emotionally involved with our own horses. An objective knowledge of our own horses is vital in allowing us to select the best match for breeding.
  • When looking for a good horse the most important thing to find is ride-ability. Correct conformation is important and is necessary, but it is not sufficient to have a well conformed horse if the horse is not ride-able or trainable. We must remember that we are trying to breed a horse that people can ride with pleasure. In this context the Mare Performance tests that we have begun this year are very important. The classification assessment identifies that the Mare is good enough in conformation, movement and type to breed from but the assessment of the Mare under a rider adds further valuable information for the breeder to understand the gaits under saddle and the ride-ability and train-ability of the Mare.
  • It is important to present the Mare well when it is being assessed. This is because the assessment is made at a single time and judgement can only be made on what the assessor sees at that time.
  • The classifier’s marks should be seen as guidelines for the selection of the most appropriate Stallion to improve the weaker features of the Mare with its own complimentary characteristics.
  • When selecting a Thoroughbred Mare for breeding take note of the fact that (because they are bred for the sole purpose of running fast) Thoroughbreds often will have necks that are set too low and which are weak in the top line. Also, while Thoroughbred Mares will often have good front legs the hind legs are often not so good. Try to select a Mare that is stronger in these areas.
  • We need to develop the correct picture in our minds of the right TYPE. The topline should be smoothly curving from the poll to the tail. Mr. Lopp suggests that Wolkenstein II (by Weltmeyer) has an excellent topline that we should look at. Many of our Mares are a little long in the back. This will make it difficult to collect the horse. Many of our Mares are not strong enough in the hind legs and are a little straight in the hocks. We should look to breed more beyond the first and second cross Hanoverians although look to lighten what we have by breeding to Stallions which are lighter in type. We should remember that it is not always the best idea to breed to the winners of the Stallion performance tests. We must look for the ride-ability scores of the Stallions and make sure that we select Stallions that score highly in this characteristic and complement our own Mares. The winner of the performance test may not necessarily be the best Stallion for our particular Mare.
  • On the matter of frozen semen, Mr. Lopp believes it is a good opportunity to improve the quality of our horses but we must remember that the chances are much lower than with fresh semen and therefore it is not for everyone to try as it can be very expensive. Mr. Lopp’s personal preference would be not to use Mares that are too old as the chances are even lower. Also, he would suggest using the Mare first to fresh semen so that the breeder can see the foal and assess it, as well as learning about the reproductive performance of the Mare, before risking money on frozen semen.
Comments from discussions with Mr Manfred Lopp
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