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.

2024 Classification Tour 

with German Assessor Matthias Werner 

2nd - 10th February 2024

The Classification Tour includes foals across all four of the NZWB Registries and also Mares for the Mare Stud Book, Foundation Stud Book and Pre Stud Book. Stallions will also be Licensed at this time 

2024 Mare Assessments For Stud Book

Mares can for the first time be assessed either:

a) in person as part of the 2024 Classification Tour

or b) via video at any stage (although not eligible for Classification Tour prizes)


The NZWA Classification Tour has for many years provided New Zealand breeders with valuable feedback from internationally based experts in sport horse breeding.The Tour provides breeders with an unbiased assessment of their mare’s movement and conformation. Knowledge gained from the international assessors can help guide future breeding directions and decisions to improve the overall quality of your breeding programme. It is also useful to see how your mare ranks against others.

The NZWA Committee are delighted to welcome back Matthias Werner from Germany who will be assessing mares for the 2024 NZWB Classification Tour.  If you are unable to get your mare to the tour venues or the timing of the tour is not suitable, you are still able to video your mare following the instructions below and present her for marking at any time.

Marks awarded to your mare will be scored using th regular NZWA score sheets with Merit and Excellence awards given to the mares that score highly. All mares will receive their score sheets with the assessor’s marks and comments as per usual.

All mares achieving Excellence or Merit will be featured on the NZWA Facebook page and all award winners will appear in the NZWA newsletter. The breeders will be expected to provide high resolution images of all Merit and Excellence mares for promotional purposes.

Conditions of entry

1.   Entry Fees are $100 plus GST for mares being assessed "Live" during the 2024 Classification Tour, or  $65 per mare plus GST (via Video) 

2.  Thoroughbred, Arab and Anglo-Arab mares may apply for inclusion into the Foundation Stud Book

3.  Warmblood mares must be registered with the NZWA or other Warmblood Association either in New Zealand or Overseas. 

4.  Derivative mares that qualify for the Pre Studbook will be inspected under the same conditions as those mares inspected into the Stud Book and Foundation Stud Book.  If you are unsure if your mare qualifies send an email with a copy of her papers to 

5.  All mares entering the studbook must be DNA profiled

6.  Mares must be aged 3 years or over.  Age is as calculated from 1 August, not from the actual date of birth.

7.  Mare owners must be current financial members of the NZWA


Video Checklist – If submitting video footage, the following will be required:

Part 1: Evaluation of conformation

1.  Static from left side on hard level surface, including side on of all four limbs of knees and hocks downwards

2.  Static from right side on hard level surface, including side on of all four limbs of knees and hocks downwards

3.  Static from in front on hard level surface, including front on of both fore limbs from the knees downwards

4.  Static from behind on hard level surface, including hind view of all four limbs of hocks and knees downwards

Part 2 : Evaluation of frame and gaits

For this part, please show one continuous video of up to 5 minutes showing:

1.  For the walk assessment, a handler will lead the mare on a triangle of approximately 30 meters. The video needs to show the mare walking away, side on and back towards the camera. This can be repeated several times for a maximum of one minute.

2.  For the trot in hand assessment, the mare shall be trotted on the triangle as above

3.  For the free trot assessment, the mare will be presented loose, please show the trot on both reins between 1-2 minutes of footage with no editing.

4.  For the canter assessment, the mare will be presented loose, please show canter on both reins between 1-2 minutes of footage with no editing.   

NB:  The aim is to show the mare’s natural gaits, with the mare as relaxed as possible, exaggerated paces with the mare’s tail up will not be marked.

The NZWA has produced an educational video to help show what footage is needed - this is also useful viewing to see how mares are normally presented "live" for the Classification Tour:

Your submitted videos do not have to be broken down into these individual elements but must contain them all in whatever order is most convenient.

The video footage then needs to be uploaded onto your own You Tube channel (for those breeders without a You Tube channel we will be able to assist with this).The link for this can be private or you may wish to make it public.  You then simply email the link to the NZWA President and it will be forwarded onto the Assessor for marking.

Basic Filming Tips

1.  Please film all shots in landscape ie. with your phone held horizontally.

2.  Fill the frame and get as close to the horse as is safe to do so, only using the zoom facility when absolutely necessary, as zooming in tends to reduce the video quality.

3.  Be aware of light and shade, especially when filming black legs and feet, as detail becomes lost in shadow.

4.  Try to capture as much footage as possible side on, going with the mare when showing her movement.

Presentation Tips for both "Live" and "Virtual / Videoed":

1.  Mares should be presented for the static assessment in a halter or bridle.  The halter or bridle should be removed for the free moving assessment.

2.  Plaiting is optional, but it will look smarter – please do not plain the tail.

3.  Hooves must be unpainted

4.  Handlers are advised to wear appropriate safety gear, ie. Helmet and gloves

5.  For side views the mare’s legs should be positioned apart so each leg can be seen. When videoing the near-side the near fore and near hind should be open, vice versa for the off- side. Please refer to the video for instructions.

6.  For hind and front views, the legs must be square and the mare’s neck straight.

7.  When walking towards and away from the camera the mare must move in a straight line.  If you can steadily and safely follow behind the mare, this will help.

General Information:

1.  PASS MARK:  Mares must gain a minimum average score of 65% as per the classification score sheets with no mark less than 5 to pass classification and be elevated into the Warmblood Studbook, Foundation Studbook, or the Pre Studbook.  

2.  SCORING:  The classification scoring is rated as follows:

  • Conformation: 40%
  • Led movement type and general impression: 60%

Each category is marked 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:

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.

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

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 superlative examples of the breed.

4.  Mares classified with another association

Mares already classified by another Warmblood Association (e.g. Hanoverian / Oldenburg / Holsteiner) and have a pedigree that meets the criterea for the NZWA Stud Books do not need to be reclassified. Once the mare owner has provided evidence of the mare's successful classification into another studbook she is eligible to be elevated into the main Warmblood Studbook after paying an administration fee.