Selection Program


Programme d'élevage SF


The Selle Français breed is famous worldwide for its qualities: JUMPING ABILITIES, MENTAL STATE, TEMPERAMENT (will of doing well for its rider), DISTINCTION, RESPECT, JUMPING SENSE, STRENGTH.

The Selle Français is the ultimate modern sport horse.

It is adapted for high-level sports (2 gold medals at the London Olympics, in Show Jumping and Eventing; 2013 European Champion in Show-Jumping), as well as for any rider, whatever their sports aim or level might be.

The main objective of the SF Stud-Book Selection programme consists in developing and enhancing these qualities, so as to produce a modern sport horse adapted to any rider.


Here is an overview of the Selle Français Selection and Breeding Programme. It is structured around 3 main sections :


About 1 to 2% of males per generation are licensed as stallions to produce in the SELLE FRANÇAIS breed.

This selection operates on 3 levels:

  • Selection and licensing of young 2 and 3 year-old males,

  • Selection and licensing of young 4 to 7 year-old performers,

  • Selection and licensing of stallion performers based on international performances and/or the quality of the offspring.

At every age, there is a specific selection process for Jumping and Eventing stallion candidates on one hand, and Dressage stallion candidates on the other.

All stallions are temporarily licensed for 7 years (except for 2 year-olds); their licensing becomes permanent after their sports performances and the quality of their offspring are examined.

 Selection du stud-book SF



  • 2 year-OLD MALES ARE assessed

- on 3 tests : Conformation – Gaits – Free jumping abilities for Show-Jumping and Eventing horses
- on 2 tests : Conformation – Gaits for Dressage horses

Around 300 young 2 year-old males are assessed each year during the Spring qualifiers; around 80 are selected for the Stallion Licensing Show which takes place every Autumn in Saint-Lô (Normandy); 10 to 20% are licensed at the end of these finals. Their licensing is confirmed the following year if they are amongst the winners of the Stallion Show at 3 year-old.

 Sélection des mâles et futurs étalons

  •   3 year-old males are assessed

- on 4 tests : Model – Paces – Free jumping abilities – Under-saddle abilities for Show Jumping and Eventing horses. This last test is a French specificity which allows to assess the horse’s balance, its capacity to carry the rider and its availability.

-on 3 tests : Model – Gaits (free) – Gaits (under saddle) for Dressage horses.

About 500 young 3 year-old males are assessed every year during the Spring qualifiers; 80 to 100 are selected for the Final taking place during the Selle Français Days in Saint-Lô in the fall; 25 to 40% are licensed during this final.

The selection is completed by a 10 day Testing session which aims to assess in more details and in identical conditions the quality of all licensed stallions.

In addition to sports aptitudes, the value of the maternal lineage is taken into account, i.e. sports performances of the dams and their offspring, going back to 5th generation. This counts as a bonus.

Sélection SF

selection and LICENSING of young 4 to 7 year-old performers

From 4 years old, the licensing of Selle Français males takes place on the sports field. The licensing committees for 4, 5, 6 and 7 year-old males meet during the Young Horses Championships Final.

Horses are assessed according to conformation, gaits and sports aptitudes. A specific assessment is done for each of the 3 Olympic disciplines: Show-Jumping, Eventing, Dressage.

The more the horses evolve in age, the higher the importance of the sports performance criterion.

selection and LICENSING of stallion performers established on international performances and/or offspring

Older males can be candidates to licensing if they can provide proof of high-level international or national performances. For stallion candidates competing in France, the minimum performance index applying for licensing is 140. Stallions competing in other countries must provide proof for at least 3 rankings in the first 8 of a CSI3* Grand Prix and more.

They are then assessed by the Committee.

The licensing can be requested for older stallions which proved their reproductive value (mostly stallions registered in other stud-books); especially if they have at least 2 offspring ranked in the first 2 000 of the world ranking.

In any case, the Selle Français Stud-Book Committee is the one deciding on the licensing of a stallion following the assessment done by the Licensing Committee. This committee is made up of the stud-book’s national judges with the help of a few experts according to the discipline.


female selection : THE SELLE FRANCAIS broodmares

The selection of Selle Français broodmares is characterized by an incentivizing approach, i.e. all SF and “SF factor” mares are allowed to produce in the breed if they are crossbred with an SF-licensed stallion. Selection is done by promoting and encouraging the best mares.
Those past few years, the SF breeding programme has been targeted at promoting the young genetics for an early reproduction.




Young 2 and 3 year-old females circuit

 Selection jeunes femelles

This explains why 3 years ago, the SF Stud-Book set up a detection and evaluation circuit specifically for 2 and 3 year-old fillies. The latter are assessed in all regions of France on their conformation, gaits and free jumping abilities. The best of them are invited to take part in the National Championships during the summer.

The aim of this specific circuit is to incite the breeders to put the best young females to reproduction so they can produce one to two foals before they begin their sports career.
This allows on the one hand to speed up genetic progress by shortening the generational gap and on the other hand to keep their offspring in case the dam is sold.



broodmares circuit


Foal competitions and the characterization of broodmares take place throughout France. This circuit is divided in 3 levels: local, regional and national, and highlights the best broodmares in the stud-book. It culminates with the Foal National Championships in Saint-Lô (Normandy), the cradle of the breed.

  • Supporting programme

. A supporting budget rewards the broodmares that produced the best foals of the year.

. A specific programme named Prime d’Aptitude à la Compétition Equestre (PACE) brings support to broodmares that are themselves good performers, that produce performers and that come from a pedigree boasting numerous performers. Since 2012, young broodmares from 3 to 7 years old from confirmed pedigrees can beneficiate from this supporting programme.

  • creation of labels

The best broodmares will be enhanced by a quality-label programme which is currently  under construction. Its objective is to allow a better visualization of the mares’ qualities. Broodmares will be  able to benefit from 4 labels :






  • Young performers selection

Young 3 year-old horses (fillies and geldings) that are destined to sports are selected and evaluated according to specific criteria : Conformation – Gaits – Jumping Abilities (free and under saddle).

The national circuit is organized based on 3 levels:

- the local competition, which aims to characterize and classify as many horses as possible

- the regional competition, which qualifies the best 3 year-olds for the final

- the National Championship, which gathers the best 100  of their generation in jumping/eventing and dressage

2 000 horses are assessed each year, which allows us to create a database offering a wealth of information on characterization of the SF production of a generation.

These competitions also serve as commercial gatherings.

The breeding programme makes up a coherent set strongly focused on the search for performance. Its objective consists in producing a horse with which each rider will take delight in riding and reach their own goals.