In 2001, the AHS Board of Directors has accepted a proposal for a new year-end award honoring the "Best North American-Bred Young Mare". This award is to reward the young mare that has the best combined scores from her Studbook Inspection and her Mare Performance Test.
This award is restricted to mares that are three and four years old in a calendar year. This stipulation is to reward those mares that are performance tested when they are young, and show good innate athletic ability and talent, in contrast to a mare who has had years of dressage or jumper training.
The eligibility requirements for the Hartwig Prize are as follows:
The mare must have been foaled on the North American continent. The mare must have been issued AHS foal registration papers; and The breeder must have been an active member of the AHS at the time the mare was bred and continues to be an active member up through the time the mare is tested. The award is designed to encourage more mare owners/breeders to have their young mares performance tested during their eligible years.
The primary recipient of the award will be the breeder of the mare. However, in instances where an individual other than the breeder owns the winning mare, the owner at the time of the Mare Performance Test will also be recognized.
The scores that these young mares achieve in their studbook inspection and the Mare Performance Test will be added together and the highest combined score will determine the winner. To recognize that a three-year-old mare is less mature and developed, in computing the annual winner, the Society will factor in a small positive value to the MPT scores of all mares that take the test when they are three years of age. Some mares may be inspected for studbook entry when they are three years old but not Mare Performance tested until the following year as four-year-olds. Also, some mares may not be presented for either studbook inspection or the MPT until they are four years old. That is perfectly acceptable and their scores will count in the year they do the MPT, but only the mares that take the MPT (as well as having been inspected) as three-year-olds will get the "handicap" factor added to their overall MPT score.