Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GOV, ISR, OHBS, WTF? (Pardon my french) Part II

Disclaimer: this is mostly stuff I read on COTH, and I'm presenting the information that there seems to be general agreement on among posters. Corrections, additions, severe scoldings for imparting misinformation should be directed to Comments. Thanks.

The registries redux

  • The GOV is the German Oldenburg Verband, the old prestigious organization.
  • The ONA/ISR (Oldenburg North America/International Sporthorse Registry) was once a division of the GOV, but no more!
  • The OHBS (Oldenburg Horse Breeder's Society) is presently the recognized American division of the GOV.
From the late 80's to the late nineties, the Oldenburg Registry of North America(ONA/ISR) was a division of the German Oldenburg Verband (GOV). There was no Oldenburg Breeder Society of North America. The GOV appointed a breeding director for the ONA/ISR, but by all accounts they didn't show much interest in how the ONA/ISR was run.

So what happened, anyway?
The "scuttlebutt" on COTH is that the ONA/ISR began to depart from the GOV's approval standards and practices, and there was a scandal when the ONA/ISR allowed a quarter horse mare into their main mare book. Some are saying that the mare was placed in the lower mare books, others disagree. At any rate there were allegations. Other things were happening too, accusations about corruption and wheeling/dealing (not proved). The GOV broke/separated from the ONA/ISR, and amidst the bitterness of the split, the ONA/ISR revealed that it had trademarked the traditional Oldenburg name and brand. Oldenburg name and brand even though the original organization had severed ties with them.

Imagine how odd this is. One COTH poster (tri) drew this analogy. It is as if...
  1. Mercedes contracted with a U.S. company to make its cars.
  2. Then the U.S. company began producing cars that Mercedes found to be of poor quality.
  3. Mercedes severed its ties with the company.
  4. The company continues to manufacture cars under the Mercedes name, using the Mercedes logo/trademark.
  5. U.S. courts rule that this is okay. If this is really the way it went down, it's insane. Disclaimer: In this analogy I don't mean to suggest that the ONA/ISR really degraded the quality of the Oldenburg registry. But if that is the perception of the sponsoring body (GOV), shouldn't the GOV retain control of their own name and emblem?

In the end, the GOV broke off from the ONA/ISR and started the Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society (OHBS). Breeders who were active through this transition were confused and some of them got burned as paperwork on their horses got lost in the transition (or failed to be returned to the GOV). The OHBS no longer brands its horses.

What it's like now...
Thank goodness all this seems to be history, and both registries have gotten past this rather lively history. The ONA/ISR continues to operate independently, and the OBHS operates as part of the GOV. Each registry has its own strengths. The ISR has a reputation for being very easy to work with, customer oriented, and focused on the needs of American breeders. The OHBS has the prestige that comes from being a part of hundreds of years of European breeding, and from adhering to the Oldenburg Verband standards and practices.

Still, it's a shame that the organizational politics of the late nineties resulted in confusion over the name "Oldenburg."In my opinion the ONA/ISR registry probably didn't need the Oldenburg name or brand to legitimize it (if that is why the name was co-opted), and in the end I wonder if we've missed an opportunity to have a unique identity and legitimacy in our own right. Oh well.


The Beautiful Kranich: Count Anton G√ľnther’s Favorite Oldenburg

Chronicle Postings....
Help me understand both Oldenburg registries

Oldenburg Verband inspections - questions from a newbie

Can someone tell me about the Oldenburg NA?

American Registries and Discipline Influences...

Disappointment @ inspection ISR/OLD.... MUST READ


  1. Interesting, although I had to read slowly to disect all the initials. And the horses have no idea about all the fuss that is made over them.

  2. I would like to present an alternative view of the situation, so that your blog will be "fair and balanced".

    The ISR/Old split with the GOV was precipitated by the then GOV appointed breeding director's horse importation business. He was importing stallions and promising the buyers they would be approved because after all he was the breeding director. This was a highly questionable and perhaps even illegal activity for a non-profit organization. The ISR/Old registry gave him an ultimatum, either be the breeding director or import horses, not both. The director then promptly said fine, I'll start my own Oldenburg registry with the GOV backing and continue to do both.

    However, being mostly interested in selling GOV horses and just plain making money, he approved quarterhorses, draft horses, andalusions, etc. This cased a big stir when it got back to Germany and a major Germany horse publication published an article on the "quarterbrugers" that were being bred. The breeding director was replaced.

    There have been some non-riding horse pedigrees in the ISR lower books, but not in the Main Mare book.The standards are not lower than the GOV, as a matter of fact more of the opposite was true, at least in the beginning. At this point the OBHS is the registry that supports the German Oldenburg breeders, with the goal to increase importation sales from Germany and the ISR/OLD is the registry whose sole goal is to support the North American breeders of Oldenburg horses. They are managing to peacefully co-exist after an initial burst of nastiness.

    Can't believe everything you read on the Chornicle bulletin boards:-)

  3. Very true re: COTH. Thanks for taking the time to write...

  4. I just came back to search for these posts because I remembered reading about the split, but didn't remember details. Yesterday I was at an ONA/ISR inspection, and was surprised to find out they import the judge for the inspections. My friend took two of the three (I think) mares who were not main mare book eligible due to unapproved bloodlines. One is 1/2 saddlebred and the other has unknown breeding. She came from a background and has suspected breeding (definitely warmblood) but no proof. Both mares were eligible for the Pre-Mare book only, but the mystery warmblood mare scored high enough for premium, and the other scored easily high enough for main mare book. This means their babies can also be inspected, though I don't believe they are eligible for full regular registration. I don't fully understand the details, but in essence the registry wants to see several generations, as it then helps ensure some strange trait doesn't creep in to warmblood breeding programs.
    I appreciated the attention to quality rather than emphasis on bloodlines, but the emphasis that bloodlines and quality must be passed on. It was my first inspection, and very interesting to attend.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.