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we outlawed horses that carry deleterious genes, pretty soon we would have a very small population and not one selected for performance. Since some disease genes are recessive and carriers are normal and healthy, the most in- telligent approach is to test and set up matings to be sure that affected foals are not produced. Breeders should select for performance, not against disease.” However, if given the


choice between two hors- es of equal genetic merit where one is a carrier of a genetic disorder or some form of unsoundness and one is not, it seems clear that using the non-carrier would help reduce the number of carriers in the gene pool over the long term. Warmbloods will continue to evolve based upon pres-


sures for superior performance and certain physical char- acteristics (phenotype). Hopefully the registries and stud- books will provide sufficient guidance and stewardship, which was easier when the number of horses was smaller, so that the Warmblood meets market needs and is noted for soundness and longevity in sport. Davis Trus, geneticist in the Animal Industry Division of


“If we outlawed horses that carry deleteri- ous genes, pretty soon we would have a very small population and not one selected for performance.”


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, notes that the respon- sibility of breeders is not just to the individual animal, but to the greater population as well. Or, as eighteenth century British cavalry officer Sir Robert Baker is remembered for saying, “A breeder is one who leaves the breed with more depth of quality than when he started. All others are but multipliers of the breed.” Breeders should be account- able, both to the individual animals they produce and to the relevant gene pools, since


many welfare problems can be prevented through respon- sible breeding. As breeders, we all have a responsibility to think of the


long term as well as the short term. After all, we are the true guardians of the gene pool as it—and we—move into the future.


About Judy: Judy has researched equine conformation for 30 years and has written three books on the subject (the most recent, an e-book). She travels world-wide giving conformation clinics for all disciplines. Judy also analyzes individual horses based on photos and gives breeding con- sultations. Learn more at www.jwequine.com.


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