NZWA Foal / Youngstock / Gelding Inspection

The New Zealand Warmblood Horse Association (NZWA) has an inspection process in place to inspect geldings, foals, yearlings and two year olds.

Inspection by an overseas expert is a valuable tool in assessing effectiveness of your breeding programs, particularly in comparison to foreign breeders.  Inspection marks are also a helpful guide to buyers considering the purchase of your horse,  especially if the evaluating panel awards a horse with the honor of Excellence or Merit rating.

 Classification Tour
February 14th-29th 2020

NZWA are pleased to announce Matthias Werner from Germany will be back to be the 2020 Tour Assessor

Apply now for your classification or licensing!

Foal Inspection

Foal Inspection does not elevate your foal to the NZWA studbook, but it will be a valuable asset should you wish to sell your youngstock.  It will tell you if your breeding program is on track. Our international assessor has the ability to compare your youngstock to those being assessed in Europe. Top scoring foals will be given the award of Excellence or Merit ratings.

Fillies from the Warmblood Register, after turning three years will then be eligible to undergo classification into the Mare Studbook. Colts from the Warmblood Register may also put their names forward for Stallion Classification and Licensing after the age of three.

Acceptance for Foal Inspection

Breed Criteria to be Eligible for Classification

Any foal currently in the NZWA Warmblood, Foundation or Derivative Registers may apply for inspection.


All owners of foals must be financial members of the NZWA and the mares must be registered with the NZWA.


Applications must be made to the Registrar of the NZWA on the form supplied not later than one month prior to the scheduled inspection day. The full fees are to be paid in advance and are not refundable. To apply you will need a copy of foals NZWA registration papers. (if already issued, or at least these will need to be in process.)


Foals must be inspected in the year of their birth. Age is as calculated from 1 August, not from the actual date of birth.


Foals should be presented at the selection venue in good time to have their identity checked.  


Applicants will be notified of a date, location and time of a classification by the Registrar. Failure to present a nominated foal or failure to complete the test on the appointed day must be covered by a written explanation or veterinary certificate (where applicable). The NZWA Committee has the right to decide whether the mare may be re-presented at a later date.


Foals will be assessed by accredited classifiers appointed by the NZWA Committee.  These will either be two New Zealand assessors OR at least one overseas assessor.


Before a mare classification the mare and foal should be trained in presentation at the in-hand and halt at the walk and trot. They should be accustomed to standing still while people move around them and the foal trained to pick up it's feet.

Mares and foals should be presented in the best body condition possible, neither fat nor thin, with healthy coats and well cared for hooves. Tidy plaited tails and plaited manes are customary and enhance the general impression. Foals may have not moulted their entire foal coat by Inspection time. Body clipping the foal is not recommended. Clipping the whiskers around the nose is also discouraged.

The style of dress chosen by handlers is optional it is recommended that it be smart, neat and functional. Clothing should allow adequate freedom of movement and footwear should be sturdy and suitable for running.


Mares should be led in a simple bridle with one bit and optional nose band. Foals should be lead in a halter. During the individual led movements and free movements a second person and a whip is permissible. 


All reasonable requests made by the classification panel at any time and during any phase of the selection process must be complied with.


Individual appearances for assessment purposes will be made in random order with that order advised in good time prior to presentation.


Either the owner, lessee or handler or the classification panel may stop the classification procedure at any stage in the event of unnecessary risk of danger to the health and safety of horse or human.


Results will be available as soon as practical after the conclusion of the classification and the final score will be communicated to the owner/lessee/handler as soon as possible. The NZWA reserves the right to announce the results and to make all results and scores public. Participation in the inspection process implies the permission of owners/lessees for the results of their foal to be released.

All score sheets are the property of the NZWA. No unauthorized persons including owners/lessees/handlers may have access to the actual score sheets nor to the marks awarded or comments made by the classifier. These remain confidential. A copy of the results will be mailed to the owner/lessee with the original classification results held by the Association.


The NZWA and individuals constituting the Association accept no responsibility in respect of any claim for damages and consequence for personal injury or property damage whatsoever included but not limited to any injury, loss or damage to any horse handler, owner, lessee, groom or spectator.

Every competitor and/or exhibitor must comply with the appropriate legislation in the Health and Safety in Employment Act I 992. Each competitor and/or exhibitor must supervise and control their animals at all times and shall be liable for any hazard created, accident illness or damage caused by the action of themselves at the venue of the event



Static Assessment
The first phase of the individual assessment requires the presentation of the foal in an area specified by the classification panel for evaluation of type and conformation. The handler should place the horse at a distance of 4-5 metres from the inspection panel and present it so that all four legs can be seen from both sides. The classifiers will move around the foal as necessary.

Movement in Hand
The first movement phase involves either:

  • the mare led in hand, with the foal at foot, first at the walk and then at the trot in a large triangle A-B-C-A.
  • the mare and foal being led in hand, first at the walk and then at the trot in a large triangle A-B-C-A. 

No side of the triangle shall measure less than 40 metres or more than 60 metres in length. At the discretion of the selection panel this exercise may be repeated and modified. The foal should be allowed to walk as freely as possible. To this end the handler should be someone who can move well enough themselves to show the horse to maximum advantage.

Free Movement
The foal shall be shown in all paces in a high fenced arena at liberty to assess it's free movement.


The classification scoring is rated as follows:

  • Conformation: 40%
  • Movement, type and general impression: 60%


This is done on the basis of 1 to 10 as follows:

10 Excellent
9 Very good
8 Good
7 Fairly good
6 Satisfactory
5 Sufficient
4 Insufficient
3 Fairly bad
2 Bad
1 Very bad

Specifically the inspectors will be looking for the following traits:

1. Walk
The walk must be ground covering, relaxed and regular with strides being even and foot falls correct in sequence, not lateral or pacing. Freedom of shoulders and haunches and a supple back must be evident.

2. Trot
Cadence (suspension of movement), elasticity, hind leg action, rhythm, front shoulder

3. Canter
Three-beat regular showing cadence and balance with suppleness in the rear quarters.


Top class foals that achieve particularly high scores will be awarded an Excellence or Merit rating.  (Excellence 80% + and Merit 78-79.9%.) These are superlative examples of the breed.

What is the difference between registration, inspection and classification?


Foals should be REGISTERED in the year they are born or as yearlings. This register determines the BREED of the foal. Foals registered in the NZWA Warmblood register are New Zealand Warmbloods.

A foal can only to be registered with ONE registry. (Later it may be "approved" by other registries as in the case of some stallions)


Foals may be INSPECTED by a panel of accredited assessors in the year they are born.Yearlings or two year olds youngstock may also be inspected. They are judged to determine their quality and potential.

Foals may be awarded Merit or Excellence foal ratings if they pass classification with exceptional pass marks.


When foals reach 3 years of age they are eligible to apply for CLASSIFICATION into the Warmblood Studbook as breeding stock. To pass classification they are judged by a panel of accredited assessors. Stallions that pass the criteria for stallion classification can then be LICENSED.