Member Report from France
REPORT MADE AT THE 2019 WAHO CONFERENCE:
Xavier Guibert: (PowerPoint presentation with explanatory slides).
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t change my name, but I change my hat for five minutes, I am the French delegate. I want to very warmly thank the Arabian Horse Society of Australia for their friendly and wonderful hospitality. I will speak on behalf of the French Arabian Breeding Association, Association Nationale Française du Cheval Arabe (ACA), the official breeding Society in charge of the stud book which remains managed by SIRE. This presentation was done by the Association so it is not mine, I will try to present it.
The database has now been online for 35 years and it is free and open to everybody on the internet, on this website you can access all of the 52 French stud books in the same place. We have approximately 700 stallions and approximately 2,007 mares covered. The current trend is a bit flat, it was increasing in 2013 and now it increased to 1,800 foals in the last years. The stud book is online where you have all the database, if you want the stud book as pdf you can ask for it and they will send it to you by email. They issue a pdf every two years and they will issue a pdf every year in the future. We also register Anglo-Arabs and we have a new stud book for all horses which have 50% pure Arab blood. The new regulation of the French Stud Book is mainly about genetic disease, now testing is compulsory and the results are published on the website.
ACA are trying to improve the ability of the purebred Arab in several disciplines, now they work on three; shows, race and endurance. Leisure is not an axis of selection, but they work in order to promote the good behaviour and easy using of the horses for leisure. In show they have a decrease in the participation, I feel it is generally the same as elsewhere. In France they have now 5 international ECAHO shows, the main ones are Menton where a lot of horses from the Arab countries are competing and we have the World Championship in Paris in December, but the French-bred horses are rarely in the best placings in this World Championship. They have two shows of AHO in Chantilly, it is a very nice place and they have the AHO World Cup and the AHO European Breeders Cup in Chantilly. The French National Championship show is held at Pompadour, the former National Stud, and ACA is trying to improve and develop the show and, the participation in the show, but it seems to be a bit difficult. Thanks to some donors, during the French National Championship they distribute 20 breedings of good stallions.
For racing, this sector is managed by AFAC not by ACA, it is branch of it, it is the French Federation for Purebred Arab Racing. It organizes the races under the umbrella of France Galop, which is the French authority for all racing. They have at present 81 races for Arabians, including 26 Group races and 2 Listed races. It is a big programme which is richly sponsored. Nearly 290 horses are trained in France, many owners from the Middle East have a farm in France and own the majority of the horses in training. The most prestigious race in France is the Qatar Arabian World Cup during the Arc De Triomphe meeting, which has prize money of one million euros. The winner in 2018 was Fazza Al Khalediah born in France, and the best French horses in 2018 are Al Shamoos by No Risk Al Maury and Rodess du Loup by Dahess. It is a big activity, the racing, in France.
Endurance is very, very important in France and we have a lot of endurance riding events under the umbrella of the French Federation and FEI. We have also a specific tool which is the SHF (Society Hippique Française) Young Horses Circuit, it is a society created to improve the young horses, so they were involved in show jumping, eventing and dressage and now we have an SHF circuit for endurance. The final of this circuit is in Uzes in October and we have more than 600 horses of 4, 5 and 6 years old. It is open to other breeds but more than 75% of the horses competing in this final are Arabians or Part-bred Arabs. The French team for the World Equestrian Games was composed of four Arabians and one Shagya and the last World Endurance Champion, Twyst du Colombier, was born and bred in France. At present the French are trying to develop a scientific programme of selection for endurance and they are working on an endurance genetic index. There are two different indexes, one is an individual index which measures the sporting ability of one horse which is a competitor and they have nearly 12,000 horses registered with such an index. The second is a genetical index which measures the genetic value of endurance reproducers. These indexes were calculated only with French performance records until this year but now it will be calculated with the performance of French horses but all around Europe. It is a big job, this system is used by sport horses in a lot of European countries for show jumping mainly, and dressage, and it will be used for endurance and you can see in the French stud book in .pdf you can have this index, and on the internet too.
The ACA have developed a stallion catalogue in order to recommend 50 stallions, because they were worried as now it is forbidden in Europe and by WAHO rules to select the stallions, which was a tradition a long time ago to select the best stallions but now you can accept all the stallions for breeding. The ACA could see that a lot of breeders don’t choose their stallion very well, and a lot of breeders are not able to tell the difference between a very good and a bad stallion. So they were worried and they are trying to promote the best stallions in order to improve the breed. This year they are also working on morphological indexes, for both stallions and mares, in order to try to characterize scientifically the morphology of horses in order to study the heritable characteristics, so they try to find some scientific tools to improve the horse for the different activities. Thank you so much.
REPORT AT 2017 WAHO CONFERENCE:
Caroline Teyssier, France: Mr. President, Members of the Executive Committee, dear Delegates, ladies and gentlemen. First of all I wish to thank our host His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, High Highness Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa and the great people of the Organizing Committee that have done such a great job. I am Caroline Teyssier, the Registrar for France, and I will make the report for France on behalf of the French Arabian Association, A.C.A.
In France in 2016 we had 688 breeding stallions and 2,628 mares covered. After several years of decrease, the registration figures are increasing again since 2013 and we had 1,525 births registered in 2015. Trends are even getting better for 2016 with an increase of 5% of births and also for the breedings. Our last stud book was published last summer and sent by email, we have updated information online with free access.
The main change in the regulation of the studbook for 2017 is that the detection of the two genetic diseases; CA and SCID becomes compulsory for all the Arabian stallions. The breeding programme of the Association includes special funds dedicated to supporting the breeders who have a production target and a contract with the French Association, to give more commercial value to their horses in endurance, show or the “Good and Beautiful” contest.
Selection tools are being developed to help the breeders such as endurance indexes and some performance indexes and genetic indexes. There is also a research project called GenEndurance to determine the genes associated with aptitude to the endurance effort and highlight morphology characteristics associated with good endurance performances. A.C.A. has chosen to recommend about 50 endurance stallions, selected by a panel of experts on the basis of indexes and after an examination of conformation and gaits and recommended to the breeders, who receive the catalogue for free.
The “Good and Beautiful” Arabian horse contest aims to highlight the Arabian horses which associate sporting qualifications (endurance, show jumping, dressage) with type and conformation qualities appreciated by a pool of specialised judges, including ECAHO judges.
French Arabian horses are present each year on the International podiums in endurance, ridden by riders of all nationalities. On the screen you can see Twyst Maison Blanche who was World Champion 2016 and also a picture of the French team which won the silver medal in the World Championship in 2016. There are also many races in France and more than 300 horses in training and 84 races with allocation amount of more than 3 million Euros. On the screen you can see the great winner Al Mourtajez. As for shows, France has a circuit of International events in Menton, Vichy, Bordeaux, Lyon, and Deauville but also the World Championship in Paris and you can also see the picture of IM Bayard Cathare on the screen. So that is all, thank you for your attention.
REPORT AT 2014 WAHO CONFERENCE:
Caroline Teyssier, France: (The report was made with a detailed Power Point presentation. Additions to the verbal report below are taken from this presentation). Good afternoon. My name is Caroline Teyssier, I work for IFCE, the French Institute for Horses and Equitation, I am in charge of the central French central database called SIRE and I am the Registrar for France. I also represent here the ACA, the French Arabian Horse Association. It is their presentation which I am going to show you.
I will start with a few figures. In the year 2013 there were 716 purebred Arabian stallions used for breeding in France, and 2,250 Arabian mares were covered. Our foal registration figures have changed slightly in recent years, in 2011 we registered 1,697 foals; in 2012 we registered 1,594 foals; and this dropped to 1,377 in the year 2013. However, for the year 2014 the figures look better, we note a slight increase in the number of foals registered to date, at 1,424 which is an increase of 2.4%. This is a very good result because we know the numbers for many other breeds are still decreasing, due to the economic situation. Our current stud book is volume 16, it was edited this summer and includes foals born from 2011 to 2013, it is available online or as a .pdf which we can send out by email.
The French Association, ACA, has a breeding programme in which special funds are dedicated to support breeders who have a production target and contract with ACA to give more commercial value to their horses in endurance or shows. In 2014, these funds amounted to 120,000 Euros, of which 80,000 euros was used to give direct allowances or rewards to help breeders, including assistance for participation in the special young endurance horses tour (SHF circuit for 4 to 6 year old horses); rewards for the best ‘excellent’ and ‘elite’ young horses in those finals, rewards for the best foals at the French National Championships Show and rewards for the best 2 and 3 year old horses of the endurance breeding classes. The ACA also works in collaboration with IFCE and the National Institute for Agronomical Research and granted 20,000 Euros to develop useful new selection tools, such as a performance indicator tool for endurance, summarising the sporting ability of the horses, and a genetic index calculated for endurance horses in which so far there are nearly 61,000 horses included in the data. There is also the GenEndurance Project in association with Alfort Veterinary School linked to endurance performance, which is a genetic endurance project in which the goal is to determine the genes associated with endurance effort and to highlight the morphology characteristics associated with good, or bad, endurance performances. The ACA also granted 20,000 Euros towards organizing promotion events and shows, and to realize communication supports such as interactive online catalogues for breeding stallions and horses for sale.
The Association also organized a special new show circuit in 2014 created entirely for amateur handlers. 4 qualifying events were held leading up to the finals at the French National Championships. The purpose is to allow owners to enjoy and test their show horses without investing in training costs, meanwhile training courses were organized for them by professional handlers. About 80 horses were presented at these classes with 20 qualifying for the Championship, all done with a budget of 7,000 euros. Next year in 2015, a new series is planned to be called the ‘Good and Beautiful Arabian Horse Tour’. This is aiming to highlight both athletic capability with sporting qualifications achieved in official endurance, showjumping or dressage competitions, associated with excellent Arabian type and conformation which will be assessed by a panel of experienced and specialized judges, including ECAHO judges.
French bred Arabians are seen every year in the winner’s circle at endurance events, both national and international, with riders of many nationalities. Last year, there were 2,745 Arabians competing nationally in endurance, with between them a total of 8,175 ‘starts’ in endurance competitions. So it is really a very popular activity in France.
French bred Arabians are also renowned worldwide for their abilities in racing. Last year, 18 out of 25 Group 1 races at home and abroad were won by horses bred in France, showcasing the quality of our racing and breeding programmes. As regards showing, France plays host to a renowned circuit of international events, including such shows as Menton, Vichy, and Bordeaux, as well as the famous annual World Championships held at the Salon Du Cheval in Paris.
Finally, the French Association ACA campaigns actively against the use of illegal drugs and doping in endurance, and has previously initiated several procedures and actions aimed at alerting ministries and sports federations with a view to finding solutions to the problems of doping and cheating in this sport. They feel it is crucial to avoid discrediting a discipline that should teach riders to be horsemen and to know the limits they must not exceed in the use of their horses. In 2014 the ACA launched their “To Dope is To Kill” campaign, urging its members as well as endurance breeders and riders to openly express their support for the campaign by wearing the badge or displaying the campaign stickers on their vehicles. The 5 tenets of the campaign are – Doping can kill horses; doping interferes with veterinary diagnosis; doping tampers with performance and causes a bias in the selective breeding process; doping tarnishes the image of the discipline; and doping turns its back on the key values of competitive endurance, which should be the care and attention to the horse.
I would like to finish with my thanks to our generous hosts, the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, and all the organizing team, for this great conference. Thank you for your attention.
REPORT AT 2011 WAHO CONFERENCE:
Mr. Robert Luchez, France: (The report was read out in conjunction with the visual Power Point presentation with the same text, illustrated as relevant). Mr. President, distinguished members of the Committees, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Robert Luchez, I am the representing here the French Arabian Horse Breeders Association, called ACA. Best greetings for the WAHO Conference organized in Qatar in such a splendid manner.
As my English is rather schoolish, you may follow on the screen. So, who are we and how do we work? The numbers of foals born each year is roughly speaking 1,500 and it is still increasing. The breeding programmes have got a special fund of about 120,000 euros dedicated to support the breeders who contract to valorize, or give more commercial value to, their horses in endurance, sport or show. For the Endurance Breeding Programme, the fund is 90,000 euros, for the Arabian Horse Breeding Programme, it is 30,000 euros. In these two programmes, for instance in the Endurance Breeding Programme which started in 2005, there are today 2,728 registered horses. In the newer Arabian Horse Breeding programme, which started in May 2010, so far there are 200 registered horses. The measures of the Endurance Breeding Programme are first, for selection. This has performance indices dating back to 2003, with 6,674 horses registered; also a special incentive for the best mares when they leave racing to return to breeding, with a fund of 30,000 euros yearly; and breeding shows at which 2 and 3 year old horses and mares with foals are seen by a group of judges to give advice and financial support to the breeders. Second, for enhancing value, a large amount is provided to help breeders to participate at the endurance breeding shows and the special endurance races for young horses; and there is a financial reward for the best French horses during the World Young Horse Endurance Championships for 7 year olds and 8 year olds.
The success of the French endurance horses include 6 French horses in the top ten at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington in 2010; 7 French horses in the top ten at the European Open Championship in Kreuth in 2010, and the Gold Medal for the French team at the European Open Championship in Florac in 2011. The success of the French endurance horses can be attributed first of all to our unique “Young Horse circuit”, which is designed to prepare the future champions from the age of 4, 5 and 6 years old, taking time and dedication, they are built up until they reach maturity for the international level. It takes a long time to become an athlete. The season culminates with the French Horse Society National Final in Uzès at which only the 5 and 6 year olds take part. In 2011, this year, there were 247 five-year olds and 254 six-year olds competing at this event. Secondly, our very high level of competition: one out of every ten FEI races in the world is organized in France, so in France, a horse never wins by coincidence. Also, we have a tradition of 200 years of breeding sport horses, enhanced by unique modern selection tools. No other nation ever bred so many champions at the FEI level.
Now, about the measures of the Purebred Arabian Horse Breeding Programme. For shows, an amount of 15,000 euros is allocated annually to help the organizers of local shows. Prize money is given to the breeders of the best mare and best foal during the National Championships, amounting to a total of 3,500 euros. For sport, an amount of 20,000 euros is allocated annually to help the organizers of local, regional and national events. In August 2011 we saw the establishment of the first Sport Championship for Arabian horses, in which 60 horses took part.
How many shows under ECAHO rules with how many horses? Last year in 2010, there were 17 shows: 9 local shows, 2 National C shows, 1 International B Show, 1 National Championship Show and 1 International A show at Menton. It was the same in 2011 except for the cancellation of one National C Show. The number of entries at the local shows averages between 160 and 220, since 2010 it increased in 2011 at the International C Shows from 91 to 131, at the International B shows from 70 to 91, at the National Championship from 99 to 102, and there was a slight drop at Menton from 115 to 109. I do not forget the World Championships in Paris in December.
At our Sport Events, the disciplines offered are ridden classes, showjumping, dressage and western riding. The first French Championship was held at Vichy this year. At the Endurance breeding shows, these shows are open to the 2 and 3 year old horses and to mares. In 2010 there were 26 shows with 482 entries, in 2011 there were 22 shows with 429 entries. The National Endurance Breeding Event in 2011 took place in Florac, with horses coming from every region in France.
Racing is of course also organized in France, by a specific organization. Many races are organized and the French bred horses are well-known and famous in many countries, maybe in all the world. All races are organized with the rules and under the umbrella of the French Racing Authority, France Galop. The main event takes place in October called the Qatar Arc De Triomphe. France is a member of IFAHR.
And the last photo, maybe you can recognize some people, is of the French-bred mare Orette de Tanues, champion of the 7-year olds at the World Young Horse Endurance Championships in 2009 in Compiègne, her owner Al Shaqab Stud and her rider Faleh Nasser Saleh Abugnaim are of course from Qatar. She was also awarded the WAHO Trophy that year. Thank you very much.
STATISTICS FOR 2011:
Foals registered: 1,724
Horses exported: 294
Horses imported: 213
Number of Arabian shows or classes: 415
Number of races: 129
Number of endurance events: 2,278
REPORT MADE AT 2009 WAHO CONFERENCE:
I am Caroline Teyssier, the Registrar from France, I work for the national Government organization, Les Haras Nationaux, and I am in charge of the registration department for Arabians and for all other breeds. I will now give you the main figures for the Arabian horses in France.
Our current published stud book is Volume 13, covering 2006 and 2007. In 2007 we registered 1,217 purebred Arabian foals, the figure for 2008 is not definitive yet but should be a little higher as we have had an increase of 8% in the number of birth declarations for Arabian foals which would make approximately 1,300 registered foals in 2008. This is closer to the figure we had in 2005, whereas we had a slight decrease between 2005 and 2007. As for the number of broodmares used in 2007 was 2,309 and the number of breeding stallions was 771. The number of imported horses was 79 in 2008, this was an increase of 14% compared to 2007. The number of exported horses, this was 280 in 2007 and I don’t yet have the definitive figure for 2008. Concerning parent verification, this is mandatory at first registration using DNA typing. Microchipping for every horse is mandatory in France, whether born in France or imported if not already microchipped. Foals are microchipped by trained veterinarians or civil servants from the Haras Nationaux, on the left-hand side of the neck, this is done at the same time as the markings description is done and the DNA sample is taken. Our microchips follow the ISO standard and we have several suppliers, the logistic of the microchip is on the database which is managed by the registering department of SIRE and the microchip number is printed on the passport and on every document concerning the foals or the horses. Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer are allowed and multiple foals per mare per year by Embryo Transfer is authorized.
As for the activities for purebred Arabian horses in France, the most popular activity is endurance, which is run by the French Equestrian Federation. In 2008 there were 374 endurance events, with 1,682 competitive rides, which makes the number of horses starting in these rides come to a total of 19,000. France also organizes the annual World Championships for Young Horses. The other most popular activity for Arabians is racing, which is run by France Galop, who also run the thoroughbred racing. In 2008 we had 54 races. Concerning shows, this is not such a popular activity. Thank you for your attention.
REPORT MADE AT 2007 WAHO CONFERENCE: The French Arab Stud Book was founded in 1833. The current situation is as follows.
Our current stud book was published in September 2006, it covers the period of 2004 to 2005 and the next one should be published in September 2008.
In 2005 we had 1,335 purebred foals registered, and we should have approximately the same figure in 2006. Those figures are quite constant since the year 2000. We have 542 stallions and 2,131 broodmares used for breeding. We estimate the number of living registered Arabians to be around 30,000. In 2006 we had 206 imports and 254 exports of Arabian horses, and those figures are also quite constant over the past few years. As for identification, we use DNA typing, all breeding horses are DNA typed and all foals are parent verified with DNA at first registration. Microchipping is mandatory for all foals and all horses at first registration in France. We do allow the use of Artificial Insemination and Transported Semen both imported and exported. We also allow the use of embryo transfer.
The most popular activities for purebred Arabians in France are racing, endurance and also some shows. There are almost 60 Arabian races per year, and in endurance there are almost 300 events with 1,600 endurance rides a year in France. Endurance is very strong in France, the French team were World Endurance Champions in 2006. We also host the World Young Horse Endurance Championships each year at Compiègne in September, under WAHO’s patronage. We are very proud to organize this event in a discipline where the purebred Arabian horse is usually the best amongst other breeds. We are also very proud of the success of our Arabian horses in endurance and in racing.
In 2007 France registered 1,370 foals.