NZWA Mare Classification

The New Zealand Warmblood Horse Association (NZWA) has an inspection process in place to classify mares over three years old.

For eligible mares, passing inspection will award them a Classification Certificate permitting them to be elevated into the Warmblood Studbook.  

Inspection by an overseas expert is a valuable tool for mare owners in assessing the breeding value of the mare and the effectiveness of their breeding programs. Inspection marks are also a helpful guide to buyers considering the purchase of your mare, particularly if the evaluating panel awards a horse with the honor of elite or premium status.

 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!

NZWA Mare Classification Guidelines

Acceptance for Selection


Any mare currently in the NZWA Foundation or NZWA Warmblood Registers may apply for classification and elevation into the Warmblood Studbook.

Derivative Register mares with only warmblood, arab or thoroughbred evidenced in their pedigrees can apply for classification but must pass with a higher overall mark. (note: Until 2020 NZWA Amnesty Rules will be in effect). 

Derivative mares that have other than warmblood, arab or thoroughbred may be inspected but will remain in the Derivative Studbook. They cannot be elevated to the Warmblood Studbook or Warmblood Register.


All owners of mares must be financial members of the NZWA and the horses 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 classification day. The fee for the classification procedure is as determined by the NZWA Committee from time to time (currently $100 for the Classification and $40 for membership fees if not a current member) The full fee is to be paid in advance and is not refundable.  Late applications may be accepted upon the approval of the NZWA Committee.

4. AGE

Mares must be aged three years and over. Mares that do not pass inspection may be represented a second time, i.e. at no more than two separate classification days. Age is as calculated from 1 August, not from the actual date of birth.


Mares may have been branded with the NZWA brand or a stud brand as per their Registration Papers.  If no brands are present the mare must be microchipped.  DNA typing is required for classification and may be collected on the day if not submitted as part of the mare's original regsitration.


The owner / lesee is required to bring the mare's registration certificate / passport to the Classification.  Please arrive at least 30 minutes proior to your scheduled time to allow for your mare to have her markings, brand and/or microchip checked.


The owners/lessees warrant that mares are presented for assessment free of prohibited substances including but not limited to anabolic steroids, pain killers, stimulants and tranquillisers. Random drug testing may be conducted at the classification.
The NZWA reserves the right to have blood and/or urine samples taken for testing of foreign substances from any mare whose drug-free status may be in doubt.  This could be at any time during the selection process at the owner’s expense.


Applicants will be notified of a date, location and time of a classification by the Registrar. Failure to present a nominated mare 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.


Mares 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 the Classification the mare should be trained in-hand so that she will present well at halt, walk, and trot in hand.  She should be accustomed to standing still while people move around her and pick up her feet. The mare should also be familiarised with the free movement phases and should be sufficiency fit to complete this part of the classification.

Mares should be presented in the best body condition possible, neither fat nor thin, with healthy coats and well cared for hooves. Tidy pulled and plaited tails and plaited manes are customary and enhance the general impression.

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. No other means of assistance, restraint or control will be allowed, except that during the inhand and free movement sections a second person and a whip are permissible.


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


The scheduled order of appearance / time of presentation will be advised prior to the day of Classification.  Please note that on occasion circumstances beyond control may cause delays to planned times.


The following marks must be achieved in order for eligible horses to be elevated into the Warmblood Studbook:
(note:  Until 2020 NZWA Amnesty Rules will be in effect).  

  • Warmblood Register mares must gain a minimum average score of 65% as per the classification score sheets with no mark less than 5 to pass classification.
  • Derivative Mares with only WB, XX and OX only in their pedigrees must gain a minimum average score of 75% as per the classification score sheets with no mark less than 6 to pass classification.    


In the event of unnecessary risk to the horse, hander or those around, the classification can be terminated at any time by the classification panel, owner, leasee or hander.


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 classification process implies the permission of owners/lessees for the results of their mare to be released.

All score sheets are the property of the NZWA. No unauthorised 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.


Failed mares may be re-presented for a second classification at the next available mare classification but within 36 months of the first classification. If the mare fails for a second time any further representation for classification will be approved only on a case-by-case basis by the NZWA Committee.


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.



19. 1  Static Assessment
The first phase of the individual assessment requires the presentation of the horse 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 classifiers and present her so that all four legs can be seen from both sides. The classifiers will move around the horse as necessary.

19.2  Movement in Hand
The first movement phase involves the horse being led 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 horse 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.

19.3  Free Movement
The horse 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%
  • Led 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 classifiers 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 mares that achieve high scores will be awarded an Excellence or Merit rating.  (Excellence 80% + and Merit 78-79.9%.) These are superlitive examples of the breed.

Further Information

Mares classified with another association

Mares already classified by another Warmblood Association (e.g. Hanoverian) and that have been accepted into the NZWA Warmblood Register do not need to be reclassified. Once the mare owner has provided evidence of the mare's successful classification she is eligible to be elevated into the main Warmblood Studbook.