The performance test is not compulsory for mares (as it is for stallions) for them to be eligible for breeding. However, the opportunity is there for a mare to become an Elite mare candidate if she has undergone and passed the mare performance test with an overall score of not less than 7.0.

The mare performance test takes place in three parts

  1. Evaluation of gaits under saddle
  2. Evaluation of rideability, (which includes a score given by an experienced, independent rider)
  3. free-jumping technique and scope.

The mare will be required to perform a simple dressage test both with her own rider and with an independent rider.

The Mare Performance Test is designed to be taken when the mare is young so that her innate qualities are observed, un-influenced by years of training. In this way, her strengths and weaknesses can be assessed. If she is used for breeding, her MPT results will be a tool to help the breeder in the choice of a suitable stallion for her.

In Germany, the Mare Performance Test results of a stallion’s daughters are one of the factors used in assessing the stallion’s breeding value.



In the Mare Performance Test the basic gaits, jumping talent in free jumping as well as the mare’s rideability  (assessed by a test rider) are judged. In New Zealand, we undertake this in a Field Test situation – held over one day.


For the assessment, individual criteria scores are given covering the marks 0 (not performed) to 10 (excellent). The final certificate contains an overall score as well as the subscores – which result from the individual scores for the basic gaits, rideability and jumping talent.


The Judge’s commission consists of 3 representatives of the New Zealand classification panel OR  a representative of the Verband assisted by members of the New Zealand classification panel.

The test rider will be appointed by the Executive Committee. He or she will have had reasonable experience at FEI level competition at least and ideally should also be an NZEF qualified trainer.


The following criteria have been established for the jumping lane set up….as per overseas testing guidelines.

This  MAY be altered between elements 2 and 3 to suit shorter striding mares to encourage the best possible result for all participants.

There will be THREE jumping efforts, the first being a small upright approx. 50cm. Followed by an upright of approx 90cm. after TWO strides  (6.90m) and TWO strides (7.20m) to an oxer which will vary in height upwards to test technique and scope.

This final oxer has no limits in height but will start at around 1.10m high and 1.00m wide.

There will be TWO marks given – one for technique and one for scope.


– The dates and times will be notified in the Newsletter – prior to the event

– The mare owner will notify the Studbook keeper of their intent to participate

– The cost will be $40

– The Mare has to be already entered into the Studbook (or the mare owner has to present the mare prior to the Performance Test for inspection). There will be an opportunity prior to the Performance test proper for mares to be inspected.

– The mare must be presented plaited, in good condition (not too thin nor too fat) with a shiny coat and well-trimmed hooves. The mare should also be well accustomed to riding and handling in all three paces ridden and in hand.

– The mares will be presented in groups of three (if there are sufficient numbers) and marks are given by the Commission and recorded on the score sheets.

– The Test rider will assess each mare rideability/trainability and will give a comment then a mark after each mare. This mark is recorded on the score sheet.

– The Pink Papers PAPERS must be presented at the Performance Test for verification and later endorsement by the Studbook keeper.

– It is advisable to set up a training venue before the Performance Test in order to give participants the best chance of passing.


The Riding Test

Enter at walk – right hand on long reins
Take the reins – working trot rising one lap of arena
Change rein across short diagonal
Show lengthened trot down both longs sides of arena (Working trot before and after)
Change rein across short diagonal
Show lengthened trot down both longs sides of arena (Working trot before and after)
Circle 20 meters
Working canter  – around arena
Show lengthened canter down both longs sides of arena
Working trot – and change rein on short diagonal
Circle 20 meters
Working canter around arena
Show lengthened canter down both long sides of the arena
Working canter then transition to working trot
Serpentine 3 loops of arena
Circle 20 meters rising trot – allow horse to stretch completely
Take up the reins and trot around arena
Transition to walk
Medium walk both long sides of arena
Change rein across diagonal
Medium walk both long sides of arena.
Walk again and allow horse to stretch completely