Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A New Year and a New Attitude is Emerging. YEAH!

It is really rewarding to be able to write a post which illustrates the amount of progress which has been achieved in changing the attitudes in disclosing the HWSD status of ponies at the sales.

As yet, disclosure of HWSD status is not a legal requirement so it is really great that a breeder has been open, honest and accountable for the pony entered at the sale.


Now, I can just hear people say "well who is going to buy this filly?" and "why would anyone want to buy this filly?"

My answer would be, "a savvy someone with a bit of nouse!"  If the hoof condition is not severe (and some can be very mild) AND the pony is great in every other way, has the breeding you want and you like it, then chances are you will be able to buy such a pony 'for a song', because all of those people 'out there' and who do not understand genetics will see no value in the pony.

Of course this is sad for the vendor, because they will probably not achieve the price at the sales that they would like, but potentially it is a great bargain for the thoughtful breeder.

OK, so every foal this filly produces (if given the opportunity to breed) will be what is referred to as an "obligate carrier", once again this does not constitute an issue to the thoughtful and educated breeder.

There have been many snide comments made about "what value is a carrier pony, and in particular a carrier stallion?"  Well the answer to that, is money value to the times of six figures of Euro.

There are several carrier status stallions in Europe especially, which have changed money recently for large sums.  It has been reported that an elderly  performance proven stallion and his frozen semen recently changed hands for Euro20,000.  His semen is still widely sought after because his progeny perform to a high level.  

Other reports are of carrier ponies (stallions) changing hands for prices in excess of Euro200,000.

Now the crunch (if there is one) is that these stallions are all performance bred AND out in open competition strutting their stuff.  Carrier stallions which sit at home doing nothing but eating and getting fat are not likely to be viewed in the same light.

What is becoming apparent though, as data accumulates, is that the correlation between HWSD 'lines' and performance ability is strengthening.  It is reasonable to assume that selective breeding for all round athleticism and performance ability has coincided with the inadvertent selection for HWSD!

If this assumption is correct, then 'culling' out the "HWSD lines" will also result in losing the positive traits for which the ponies have been bred, and in all likelihood, also 'live' somewhere on Chromosome 8.  Cull for HWSD and you lose ALL of the genes on Chromosome 8! (plus all the other genetics of the culled animals).

The connection between HWSD and performance lines is supposition, not absolute; poor performance characteristics can also be inherited alongside the HWSD mutation.  Because it is possible for a carrier pony to pass on the performance and not the HWSD, ultimately each pony has to be judged upon its own merits.

Because the information about this pony is already in the "public domain" then the following information is also suitable for the public domain.
The pedigree chart shows lines of descent.
Blue = N/HWSD.
Green = N/N.
Pink = suspected carriers/lines of descent
0/0 = status unknown.

Further to the above post.
I have gone through the February sales catalogue and this is what I found, errors and omissions excepted:

Of 363 lots, 34 ponies have HWSD status declared. This equates to a 10.7% reporting rate.

The breakdown of the lots is:
37 yearlings (or younger) in total, of which 24 yearlings report their status. An additional two state that their passports should be back by sales time (so they will not have known the HWSD status of their ponies when the sale entry closed).

Therefore there are 11 yearlings which either their status was unknown at entry time or if known the vendors did not consider the information relevant.

Of the of the 34 ponies which are reported, as previously stated, 24 are yearlings. This means that yearlings comprise 70% of the ponies whose status has been declared.

With 4/24 yearlings being carriers of the mutation, at 16% of the tested population, the average is running below that of the expected general population.

Ponies 2 and older make up 89.8% of the total sales catalogue with 3% having declared HWSD status.

Of the reported adults 10% express the mutation.

What does this tell us? That compulsory foal testing is throwing light into what was a dark murky corner