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POINT OF VIEW The other distinguishing factor with the European


Warmbloods is the amount of state intervention and con- trol that can be found in the development and expansion of some of the studbooks. This is not just a matter of gov- ernmental research and support but actual state sponsored studs and stallions to support breeding programs. Both of these factors have resulted in an abso- lute wealth of information about bloodlines and pedigrees which coupled with the inspection and testing, explains why the warm- blood horse has become so successful as a sports horse.” Additionally, the various European studbooks had ac-


in the movement, but it also has to be considered health- wise. If it is too much or too often, they have a lot of health problems with the big movements. Conformation is impor- tant for the horses. Trainers are now looking for a not exag- gerated trot.”


...the 'right' kind of Thoroughbred for successful crossing into the


Warmblood gene pool has become increasingly difficult to find.”


cess to refining influences that became very influential, primarily in the form of Thoroughbreds and Anglo-Arabs. Although the Selle Français (with a fair amount of Anglo- Arab heritage) and the Trakehner (an actual breed with Thoroughbred and Arabian blood allowed) have filled the gap to some extent, the ‘right’ kind of Thoroughbred for successful crossing into the Warmblood gene pool has be- come increasingly difficult to find. In part, that is due to the fact that while the Warmblood was evolving towards the lighter, more agile horse required in order to excel in the Olympic disciplines, the Thoroughbred was evolving away from the distance horses that had the scope for jumping and eventing to the racehorse that excels at sprint distanc- es and tends not to stay sound through numerous seasons of racing. The majority of Thoroughbreds today would not work nearly as well in the Warmblood gene pool as the Thoroughbreds that became foundation stock years ago.


Recent Trends As the sports in which Warmbloods excel have changed, the market has sought not only a horse that is of consistent type, temperament and athleticism, it has demanded more agility and speed in jumpers, more dressage traits without losing scope in eventers and more dramatic movement in dressage mounts. Unfortunately, soundness and longevity can easily be com- promised when not closely guard- ed in the gene pool, and selecting for performance traits without considering the longevity of the horses produced is compromising. Monica Theodorescu, Olympic rider and coach of the


German dressage team, says, “The modern type is not the same as we had before. There are more horses of the qual- ity we like to have for dressage now. The conformation has positively changed so that horses are a lot lighter, more Thoroughbred-like and elegant. There is more expression


50 September/October 2018 Nelson Pessoa, former rider


and coach as well as the father of Rodrigo, says the modern jumper needs to be “sensitive, have scope, be careful and intelligent,” adding that Baloubet du Rouet was that type of horse and that he had “the


strongest hindquarters possible, an unbelievable haunch.” Of modern jumpers, Ludger Beerbaum, German Olym-


pian and top show jumper, says, “Physical strength is im- portant and they must carry themselves in balance and be light. They also have to be willing to compete and work. With the right mind—I also mean the communication— you can do a lot, especially if they have elasticity and are careful.”


Long Term Genetics DNA testing as a form of parentage verification was intro- duced and quickly became the norm among the Warm- blood registries. Now an ever-increasing number of ge- netic tests are available. And, as the horse genome was mapped, tests became available for more and more genet- ic disorders that affect horses, including some that affect Warmbloods specifically, such as WFFS. The question is not whether to test or not, but rather what one does with the information provided. As Ernie Bailey, PhD, of MH Gluck Equine Research Cen-


“ The question is not whether to test or not, but rather what one does with the information provided.”


ter at the University of Kentucky and former chair of the Horse Genome Project, observes, “Every month some new test is developed or proposed. Which ones make it to com- mercial application? Hard to say.” Does that mean there are actually more genetic disor- ders now? “I think that we are just more aware of them,” responds Dr. Bailey. “In the past it was a cost of doing business. Today we can use the information and there-


fore talking about it is useful. The impact of testing is to reduce the number of affected individuals. If there is a test for a gene causing a disease, then one could eliminate that gene from the population in a single generation. Just require testing and refuse registration to carriers. How- ever, that practice would eliminate a lot of good genes to get rid of one bad one. Breeders have selected horses for generations to increase performance genes in the popu- lation. We need to keep these genes in the population. If


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