THE YOUNG SPORT HORSE SELECTION Since 1865, the SHF [French Horse Society] has been in charge of developing the young sport horse selection circuit and works closely and permanently with the National stud department. The SHF organizes events for 4, 5 and 6 yearsold horses, and the SHF assists in this crucial transformation stage of young horses. Actually, these events allow 3 year old horses (gross agricultural products) to be transformed into sport horses ready to be used in competitions (finished products). The breeding events' regulations are established by the SHF Committee jointly and equally with co-opted members (judges) and professionals in this field (breeders, owners and riders). This regulation strives to maintain the balance between training and selection of young horses in order to avoid premature injury or stress to them. 105,000 entries in 1996 At the outset, the purpose of these events was the training of young jumpers (they currently represent 93% of the entries) but gradually, these events have opened to eventing (3.7 %), dressage (2.6 %), endurance trial (0.6 %), and since 1997 to hunter events Each year about 90 shows are specifically organized for young horses in all disciplines and nearly 550 shows "combine " both breeding and show jumping events. In each discipline two types of Breeding events are organized : the CYCLE CLASSIQUE and the CYCLE LIBRE. The CYCLE CLASSIQUE, classic young horse cycle, aims at selecting sport horse prospects. It offers a progressive program where young horses tackle courses of obstacles adapted to their age and experience. Thus, obstacle or cross country courses for four years old are built with inviting fences and not with "tricky" ones. Movements of dressage tests are also adapted for novice horses (e.g. more space between two movements). In endurance trials, distances and speed are strictly controlled. The preservation of the young horse is a permanent concern which keeps them from being tested on too trying courses. To complete the means of selection, young horses are also subject to conformation, gaits and style " tests ". The combination of the results of the four, five and six year old breeding events and conformation, gaits and style tests, enables rating of the horses in three categories : Elite, Excellent and Very good, for each age class. At 4 years old, only 400 horses are qualified for the final competition at Fontainebleau Selection competitions begin in April in special offspring-colt-filly circuits with 12 rounds (maximum). A semi-final is held at a regional competition in July The national final is at Fontainebleau in early September: 2 rounds and a conformation and gaits class At 5 years old, only 250 horses are qualified for the final competition at Fontainebleau Selection competitions begin in April in special circuits with 20 rounds (maximum).offspring-colt-filly A semi-final is held at a regional competition in July At the national final at Fontainebleau, there are 2 rounds that themselves are qualification rounds for the "Critérium des 5 ans" At 6 years old, only 120 horses are qualified for the final competition at Fontainebleau Selection competitions of 30 rounds (maximum) in special circuits with a semi-final at a regional competition At the national final at Fontainebleau, there are 2 rounds that themselves are qualification rounds for the "Critérium des 6 ans" Each year only 40 horses are qualified to the "Critérium des 6 ans", with only 5 horses "Elite" and 15 horses "Excellent". The CYCLE LIBRE : this second young horse cycle's main purpose is the training of young horses (that have the same level of experience in a chosen discipline, e.g., a five-year-old horse will compete with a four year old. The events of this cycle are more open and accessible : amateur riders can participate because they usually take place on weekends; horses, that are not allowed to participate in CYCLE CLASSIQUE (classic young horse cycle) events are allowed to compete in CYCLE LIBRE events; horses that have competed in other shows than those of the breeding circuit can resume competing in CYCLE LIBRE events; the number of courses that can be ridden during the season is unlimited etc. The National Stud and the Warmbood associations also organize some other competitions : - A national show for the foals with a final at Le Pin (Normandy) - A special meeting for three year old males for stallion agreement in St Lô - Conformation and gaits shows for 2 years old and for mares with foal - A national Conformation and gaits show for 3 year old fillies and geldings, with local then regional selection and a final at Fontainebleau during the competition of the CIRCUIT CLASSIQUE. This show is the first "great meeting" for young horses, only 60 horses are selected in France and are classified by size (small : under 1.64, medium : still from 1.65 to 1.67, large : upper 1.68) and a classification for all categories: "Championnat" SELLE FRANÇAIS, (abrev.SF) 1. Origin The Selle Français (the Selle Francais sport horse) is a breed which was officially named in 1958. The breed originated by cross breeding Norman mares with English Thoroughbreds from which stem the old names such as Anglo-normand or " demi-sang " (half bred). This breed groups together, from 1958 to 1994, all local French breeds bred as saddle horses (Vendéen, Charolais, Corlais, Angevin, etc...) as well as their cross breeds and those of Trotters, with other blood breeds. Since 1995 a Selle Français has to have at least one Selle Français parent. 2. Conformation Due to its diverse origins, the conformation of the Selle Français can vary,offspring-colt-filly but selection tends towards large sizes and attractive conformation. Generally, it is a horse with a strong build, good blood, good muscle structure and strong jointed limbs. The neck is often long and carries a slightly heavy although elegant head. The coat is usually chestnut or bay and more rarely red roan, roan or grey. Of a naturally calm nature, generally it has a good temperament. 3. Breeding Areas The source of this breed is situated in the Manche around the Saint-Lô national stud and more generally in Lower Normandy. One can also find many stud farms in the Central area around Cluny, Blois, Les Bréviaires, etc. The Selle Français sires are now represented in every region. In the whole of France, private sires (as opposed to the French National Stud-owned stallions) represent more than half of all sires. For more than half a century in the Centre of France a specific branch of the breed is actively selected for race jumping. The use of artificial insemination using frozen semen allows the development of this breed in new geographic regions far from Normandy. 4. Aptitudes and use Selection being very much oriented towards its jumping ability, the Selle Français is a much sought after show jumping horse, in France as well as in foreign countries. Many products are exported and have joined foreign international show jumping and eventing teams. Its performances in these two disciplines enable it to be best placed for the selection indexes (Individual index and BLUP). 5. Figures (2002) Registered births SF in 2002 : 7 905 o Approved sires SF in 1999 : 573 o Mares SF covered in 2002, 14 576 o within the breed SF : 92 % o within the breed AA : 4 % o within the other breeds : 3 % GLOSSARY BSO or BLUP is a genetic index that links with the analysis of sire line and mare line. Notation of 10 is a medium level, after 15 we are in high level. ISO is a competition index in jumping that links with the analysis of the result in competition of one horse compared to the other during one year . Notation of 100 is a medium level, after 120 we are in high level, upper 150- 160 we are in international level. The index changes every year, also we indicate the year, for example ISO 131 (1998). Year is important because by this method we know how old the horse is: ISO 130 does not mean the same for a 4 year old as for a 12 year old. We have the same indices in three-day event (CCE) and in dressage (DR). PACE Point A mare can receive PACE points. Using this method she is evaluated by - Her own sport result, - Sport results of sisters, brothers, etc. - Result of her offspring 2 points are a medium level,offspring-colt-filly 4 are a high level, 7 - 9 are exceptional Pace points are used in quota of service of each stallion. In France a stallion is limited at 100 services, only 25 have an authorization for 150 services, they are the top stallions Rosire, Rox de la Touche, Quidam de Revel, etc. When we have more requires than authorizations we use Pace point for the selection. CONFORMATION point A mare has these points when she gets a high level notation (17/20) in conformation and gaits shows.
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