Certificate of Pedigree: Eligibility and Benefits

Did you know that your unregistered horse may be eligible for a American Hanoverian Society (AHS) or American Rhineland Studbook (ARS) Certificate of Pedigree? 

A Certificate of Pedigree is an important document that provides many valuable benefits, including official age verification as required by the USEF for participation in certain hunter/jumper divisions and the opportunity to earn AHS and ARS year-end awards.


What is a Certificate of Pedigree? 

A Certificate of Pedigree (often referred to as a CP) is a white-papered document that is issued to an eligible horse that is considered crossbred.  Both the Hanoverian (AHS) and the Rhineland (ARS) studbooks offer CPs to horses meeting certain qualifications. 


What qualifies a horse for a Certificate of Pedigree? 

A horse may qualify for an AHS Certificate of Pedigree if it meets one of the following criteria: 1) the horse is sired by a Hanoverian-papered stallion that is approved for the Hanoverian breeding program; or 2) the horse is out of a Hanoverian-papered Main Studbook mare.  The eligibility criteria for a horse to obtain a Rhineland CP are identical to those of the AHS:  The horse either must be sired by a Rhineland-papered stallion that is approved for the Rhineland breeding program or the horse must be out of a Rhineland-papered Main Studbook mare.


Certificates of Pedigree may be issued to a horse at any age, provided the horse has not been issued papers by any other breed society or registry. 


What are the advantages to obtaining a Certificate of Pedigree?  

There are multiple significant benefits to obtaining a CP for your horse:


  • A Hanoverian or Rhineland CP imparts significant worth to the horse to which it is issued since it is an official document issued by a reputable registry that readily identifies the horse and attests to the horse’s lineage, date of foaling, breeder, and owner.  An authorized record of a horse’s identity, including specifics such as pedigree and foaling date, can prove a valuable asset to both the horse’s owner and the prospective buyer in any future sale of the animal.


  • Of further importance to owners of competition horses is the fact that a CP is accepted as legitimate “proof of age” by the USEF.  As an official document verifying a horse’s age, an AHS or ARS CP makes a horse eligible for USEF age-specific classes in the hunter and jumper divisions.


  • Additionally, horses issued an AHS or ARS CP are eligible to participate in the performance divisions of their respective Hanoverian or Rhineland Year-End Awards Program.  The American Hanoverian Society, Inc. offers comprehensive, separate awards programs for each of the two Studbooks (Hanoverian and Rhineland) administered by the Society.  Obtaining an AHS or ARS CP enables an eligible horse to compete for and earn year-end awards in Dressage, Eventing, Hunters, and Jumpers. CP horses compete within the AHS/ARS Year-End Awards Programs as equals with their Hanoverian- and Rhineland-registered counterparts and  are subject to the same rules and regulations regarding eligibility for awards, including the requirement that horses be properly recorded with the American Hanoverian Society, Inc. and under the ownership of a current-year AHS member.   For complete details on the AHS and ARS Year-End Awards Programs, owners can refer to the Awards Program Eligibility Criteria charts posted on the AHS and ARS websites under the Awards Program tab. 


  • CP horses are eligible to be advertised in AHS/ARS publications, as well as on the AHS and ARS websites and related social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).


Are there any restrictions on Certificate of Pedigree horses

Horses holding an AHS or ARS CP are not eligible to participate in the Hanoverian or Rhineland breeding programs. 


Further, CP horses are not eligible to compete for AHS/ARS-sponsored awards in the in-hand divisions of Sport Horse Breed Shows.  They are ineligible to compete for AHS- or ARS-sponsored year-end awards in Sport Horse Breed Show divisions, or in AHS/ARS-sponsored classes such as the AHS or ARS Individual Breed Classes (IBCs).

How is a Certificate of Pedigree obtained? 

The AHS office requires the following documentation to issue a Certificate of Pedigree:  1) completed Certificate of Pedigree application; 2) stallion certificate or breeding report; 3) a clear set of photos of the horse for which the CP is being issued; and 4) payment of appropriate fees.  In certain cases, DNA confirmation may be required.  Beginning in 2017, all horses regardless of age that are issued a CP will be required to be microchipped.  The microchip may be purchased through the AHS office at the time of application.


For a Certificate of Pedigree application and additional information, please contact the AHS office at ahsoffice@hanoverian.org  or call (859) 255-4141.  The AHS staff will be happy to assist you!