Breeding protocols : LUSENET : ASD : One Thread

I have Paula's permission to post this message to me:

I am having a hard time understanding your position on breeding ASD stallions, Annette, in terms of your stated reasons. The main argument you have made has to do with your concern that the Cothran model will eliminate the silver dapple gene, although that is not my understanding of it. Then you say it has to be OK anyway because you would limit the stud to breeding to normal eyed mares and producing Aa is OK and these will be the chocolate colts everyone wants.

There are an awful lot of AA mares around to continue the breeding of AA to aa if that is what you want to do. And breeding a chocolate Aa to a normal aa will still produce chocolate horses a fair amount of the time. The problem the breed has, and I include all three registries, is having enough normal horses for the breeding protocols, whether we are talking about the genetic's committee's recommendation or yours. All those Aa offspring who end up being produced need to be bred to normal horses. If we do not increase the number of them in the population we are just going to end up with anoher genetics problem due to too few normal stallions servicing all the AA and Aa mares. So while there is nothing wrong with producing an Aa horse from the point of view of the horse's health, we do need to be concerned from the point of view of the proportion of AA, Aa and aa horses in the population.

Also I do not think we can analogize too closely from the canine model. Their numbers and proportions are different - there are more labs and poodles than we have horses, and they produce more with each litter, and at least at this point in our breed's evolution, probably a lesser percentage end up being bred with dogs than with our horses. Also,although chocolates are popular in dogs, they are not nearly as overwhelmingly popular compared to other colors as is the case with Rockies, and there are less of them in the population as a whole. I think all of these factors argue for the horse model to be much more conservative in the breeding of AA stock. The problem with breeding AA to aa is not what it does produce, it is what it dosen't produce.

Yes it would be wonderful to help this problem of genetics by opening up the books - for my part I would love to see the three registries combined. But as Annette points out, this will not actually add that many horses. And neither opening up the books nor Annette's breeding proposal fully take into account the effect of human preferences and behavior, and the difficulty of controlling who stallions breed to.

My opinion is there are enough Aa horses and AA mares to garantee the availability of chocolate in our breed. I am not sure there are enough normal horses, particularly in the latest foal crops, for us to preserve necessary genetic diversity, if we do not do something to encourage greater production of aa horses. I also have a problem as a breeder taking the position that this is someone's else's problem while I am producing mostly Aa horses.

Finally I do not know how we can pretend to be serious about this problem and impart this seriousness to members and buyers if we continue to allow AA stallions to breed. As for the Berlin Wall, you have a point Rob. I always laugh at the difference between my husband and me - I go around trying to accurately perceive reality while he goes about creating his own. I do hope we can change things but we need new people to run for the Board! Would any of you do this?


-- Annette L. Gerhardt (, January 03, 1998

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