Key Discussions and Decisions

The following is a small selection of the many subjects which the ISBC has addressed in the past and which it continues to address now.


Definition of the Thoroughbred

This was the first major subject addressed in detail and required very careful consideration. Every member had a slightly different definition. This meant that certain horses, although accepted in their own domestic Stud Books, were not accepted in the Stud Books of other countries because of perceived pedigree flaws, often dating back well over a century. For an industry looking to international expansion this was an unacceptable barrier.

After a great deal of discussion, the Committee decided mutually to accept, without question, the pedigrees of every horse in each of its member’s Stud Books up to the beginning of 1980.

This pragmatic approach produced the very clear digestible practice now embodied in Article 12 of the International Agreement on Breeding and Racing – with the requirement that entry in a Thoroughbred Stud Book is now only dependent upon registration of antecedents of a produce in a Stud Book approved by the International Stud Book Committee. This important achievement has eradicated the old problem of one Stud Book Authority accepting a bloodline but another refusing to do so. It was a momentous decision in the history of the recording of thoroughbreds and removed considerable barriers to the movement and exchange of breeding stock.


Approved Stud Books

One of the main tasks which emerged from early discussions was the need to establish minimum standards of operation for Stud Book Authorities in order that Racing Authorities and the industry in general could be confident of the origins and identity of horses.

Not unlike the first subject mentioned this led to debate over many years and to an evolutionary approach resulting in present policy. Originally a two tier system was devised with ‘recognised’ and ‘approved’ Stud Books. Eventually this was simplified and the single status of ‘Approved’ was adopted. The ISBC therefore now maintains a list of Approved Stud Books on which the industry can rely.

ISBC bases Approval on a set of requirements which it uses both to monitor the performance of Stud Book Authorities already on the Approved List and to test the efficacy of emerging Stud Books seeking Approval.

This set of requirements, known as the Requirements and Guidelines for Gaining and Maintaining Approval as a Thoroughbred Stud Book, is continually reviewed and enhanced by ISBC, and covers procedures for registration of breeding stock, recording of breeding results, export and import movements, and publication of relevant data and issue of documentation.


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