Inspection Guide

Friesian horses are graded at events called keurings, also known as inspections, by a team of qualified inspectors from the Koninklijke Vereniging “Het Friesch Paarden -Stamboek (KFPS) (The Royal Friesian Horse Studbook). In the Netherlands, this can be either at Breeders’ Days organised throughout the summer by the regional Breeders’ Clubs (such as the prestigious Blauwhuis keuring), at Studbook organised keurings, or in some cases at private foal inspections held at the larger stud farms. Overseas organisations may also organise regional Breeders’ Days or annual central inspections for their population of Friesian's.

FHAGBI is responsible for organising the annual KFPS Inspections in the UK /Republic of Ireland, which are usually held at the end of August. Inspections are open to all KFPS Registered Friesian horses, however in order to have your horse graded, you must be listed as the current owner on its registration paper and be a Gold FHAGBI member, which also gives you membership to the KFPS. Having found their horse, members may still need help in showing their horse for grading, and help is available in all aspects of this. Click here to find out more information about joining FHAGBI.


The KFPS grade Friesian's in categories that reflect the different KFPS registries they may be eligible for entry into. Only those horses entered for a certain class will be inspected in that class. The main classes include;


Colt and filly foals are entered into the Foalbook (Veulenboek, Vb) and graded at the side of their dam, aged between 6 weeks and 6 months (or weaning). They can receive a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd premium (known as a ‘premie), or no premium, following assessment by the inspectors on quality of movement, racial type, conformation and development.


Yearling and 2-year-old fillies may be presented for premium grading and are judged along the same lines as the foals. Those gaining a 1st Premium and Youngstock Championship Titles at Breeders’ Days are entitled to enter the Central Mare Show, held each October in the Netherlands.


KFPS Inspectors will “watch” yearling and 2-year-old colts and comment on their racial type, conformation, development and movement. However, colts are not graded at this age.


Foalbook geldings from 3 years of age can be judged for entry into the Gelding book (Ruinboek Rb) and for premium grades provided they have attained a minimum height at the withers of 156cm. Those achieving 1st or 2nd Premiums, with a minimum height of 158cm can also be awarded the STER predicate. A Foalbook STER stallion that has been castrated retains his STER predicate.


Having been inspected as foals and entered into the Foalbook (Veulenboek, vb), mares of sufficient quality can be judged a second time for entry into the main Studbook (Stamboek, Stb) provided they have attained a minimum height at the withers of 154cm at 3 years old. Mares gaining a 1st or 2nd Premium, with a height at the withers of at least 156 cm are eligible for the STER Predicate. Mares attaining a 3rd Premium will be entered into the main Studbook (Stamboek, Stb), but do not get the prestigious STER predicate and are often referred to as ‘Studbook mares’.


Stallions are graded from 2 ½ years of age for STER status, provided they have reached a minimum height of 158cm, although they remain in the Foalbook (Veulenboek vb). The best, young stallions are referred to the Central Keuring in the Netherlands. A handful of stallions are selected for a ridden and driven performance test and only those scoring highly enough will be approved for breeding and entered in the main Studbook (Stamboek, Stb). Approved stallions must be at least 158cm at the withers at 3 years of age and at least 160cm at the withers by 4 years of age. The approved stallions must be active in dressage or driving competition, and their offspring are monitored for quality and performance. Young approved stallions up to the age of 13 attend the Hengsten Keuring (Stallion Inspection), held each January in Leeuwarden, where they compete against their contemporaries for 1st Premium status and entry to the Championship. Approved Studbook stallions aged 13 years and older, and approved on offspring also attend the Hengsten Keuring, and are paraded on long lines, but not graded nor entered for the Championship, as they are deemed by this point to have lifetime approval.


1. Presenters

Horses are to be presented in hand by a presenter and an assistant. No other persons are allowed in the inspection ring.

2. Attire

The person presenting the horse should be dressed in white and wearing white running shoes. The assistant should be attired in this way as well.

3. Presenting

The horses must be presented in the most natural way possible. The jury will terminate their assessment in the event of excessive use of the whip.

4. Grooming

The black color and the long hair on fetlocks, mane and tail are characteristics of the breed. Dyeing or the use of other methods to make the coat, fetlock hair, mane or tail look blacker is not permitted. For this reason, adding hair or other materials to the tail or mane (extensions) and trimming parts of the mane (except up to a width of 2 cm. at the location of the bridle’s headband) or trimming hair at the base of the tail is not permitted. The use of glitter material, etc. is objectionable.

4. Shoeing

Shoeing of horses is allowed in all judging classes as long as the shoeing is in line with the criteria: standard shoes, maximum thickness 8mm and maximum width 25mm. Shoeing may not be fitted with wedges, soles or other appliances. If a horse is shown to wear shoeing which is not in line with the criteria then the jury is authorised to exclude the horse from judging or to declare the result invalid. Yearlings are judged without shoeing, at breeding days as well as at the Centrale Keuring (Central mare show).

5. Tack

Horses are to be presented wearing a white bridle with their inspection number clearly displayed. All horses must have bridle numbers which have been issued by the organisation of the inspection. For each set of bridle numbers a deposit of €10,- must be paid. After the bridle numbers have been returned undamaged to the KFPS administrative office the €10.- deposit will be refunded. Horses and foals which are presented with non-KFPS bridle numbers will not be judged.


All horses being presented for inclusion in the Studbook and all foalbook stallions being presented for inspection will be assessed by means of a linear scoring procedure that considers various racial, conformation and movement characteristics. The linear scoring form consists of 25 linear characteristics and 5 evaluative characteristics, which form the basis of the Premium grade awarded as shown in the table below. In addition to the linear scoring system, inspection gradings consider the following breed standard and mark each area out of 10. After the inspection, each owner of a horse that has been scored will receive the score form.


  • Racial Type
    A jet-black colour with no white markings (only a small star is permitted), a noble head with small attentive ears slightly inclining towards one another, a vertical swan neck, a luxurious long flowing mane and tail and a proud bearing.
  • Frame
    Harmoniously built and well proportioned. A strong back joining a croup of good length which should not slope too much. A sloping shoulder and good depth of girth with well sprung ribs. An ‘uphill’ built horse with an ideal height at the withers of 160 cm at 3 years old.
  • Legs and Feet
    Strong, clean, correct legs and feet with a well developed forearm.
  • Walk
    Straight, with sufficient length and power, elegant and smooth.
  • Trot
    Characterised by a high knee action with a powerful, long, balanced and supple action.

PREMIUMS (premie)

Once the inspectors have judged the horse, its scores are drawn up which reflects the premium (Premie) awarded, if any.

Average ScorePremiumRosette
>7Ster / 1st Premie Orange
~7 Ster / 2nd Premie Red
~6-7 3rd Premie White
~6 Studbook – no Premie Yellow
6Not entered into Studbook-

Horses with one or more characteristics rated as 4 or less may well be rejected regardless of their other scores, and if a horse receives a score of 5 in a series of scores, it will not receive the title of STER, even if the average score is over 7. If the horse fails to be awarded a premie, it will show on as ‘niet geprimeerd’ on their registration paper.


Friesians of a certain quality can also be inspected for and awarded predicates (titles) at inspections. Click here to read the full list of KFPS predicates that are available.

Click here to read the FULL details on Inpsection Regulations on the KFPS website.