In Germany, the first step for potential stallions occurs just before weaning, at roughly six month of age. Foals which display outstanding qualities will be reared by the stallion Rearing Stud at Hunnesrueck, which is connected to the State Stud Celle, or by private stallion rearers. At the age of two these stallions will be brought before a commission of the Verband, which makes a pre-selection for the main licensing, At this stage selection will be very rigorous and out of the 700 or so two year olds forward, only about a hundred will be chosen to go on the main stallion Körung or "Grading" at two and a half years of age. The remainder will, eventually, be gelded and sold as riding horses.
The annual Stallion Licensing is held at the Breed Society headquarters in Verden, over a four day period. When they arrive the young stallions first go to a veterinary inspection. In the afternoon their jumping skills are tested in the free-jumping. Next day, the colts are paraded before the panel of judges and are shown both on a special "walking lane" and on the "triangle", so that each can clearly be seen both approaching and going away from the judges.
They are marked for conformation, presence and masculinity as well as for correctness of paces together with a supple, ground covering stride. A total score of "seven" is required for a stallion to pass.
On the second day, after the judges have had another look at the candidates, the results are announced. This is one of the high spots of the year for breeders, and a real tension crackles round the packed ranks of spectators as the president of the judges stands up to announce the results. Each colt is brought out, separately, and the president announces the result. "Licensed" or "Not Licensed"! On these simple words hangs the result of over two years work and careful preparation by the colts' owners: no wonder that the tension is so great!
Of the hundred or so colts sent for Licensing, only about half will pass the judges scrutiny. Colts which fail the Licensing are not allowed to stand as stallions. Even so, being very high quality animals, most "failed" colts will have, when gelded, an important future as riding and competition horses.
All the stallions that take part in the licensing process are entered for a specific stallion auction in Verden on the day following the licensing.
Stallions licensed through the British Hanoverian Horse Society are automatically accepted in Germany.
At the show, the colt is presented on the triangle as described in detail under the mare stud book inspection process.