A rigorous selection system and continuous evaluation of breeding stock, as well as a
high-tech research, statistical, and records department bring the latest developments in
science and technology to bear on the improvement of the Dutch horses. In addition, the
long horse-breeding history and agricultural heritage of the Dutch, bring generations of
nearly in-born expertise to the production of top quality Dutch horses.
The main tools in the ongoing evolution and improvement of the Dutch horse are the
Keurings, or inspections which are held in the Netherlands and in North America every
year, at which horses are evaluated and rewarded according to their quality and
fulfillment of the Breeding Goal. This system includes a very rigorous selection and
testing system for breeding stallions - one of the most selective and rigorous in the
Unlike some warmblood registries, Dutch horses are not branded as foals based on the fact
that they are "registered". Instead, in order to be branded, they must be
presented for Studbook Inspection at the age of three or older. If they are of sufficient
quality they are inscribed in the Studbook, and can be branded. Studbook horses are then
eligible for awards or predicates assigned according to the quality of the individual, and
the quality and success of the offspring.
The special predicates include "star" for horses of especially good quality,
"keur" for star mares who perform a good performance test and show a good
offspring, "preferent" for mares who have produced particularly good offspring,
and "prestatie" for mares who have produced offspring that have been especially
successful in sport.