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Horse Breeding is not easily predictable within breeds.

Genetics and traits passed down within horses isn't well enough understood at this time to accurately predict the outcomes of horse breeding.

The traits that are commonly looked at as valuable in horse breeding are often evaluated and determined in show ring events. The assets of the winning horse are not only the inherent traits of the horse, but can also be attributed to the skills of the horse's trainer.

A Look into Horse Breeding Myths

Individuals who are new in the world of horse breeding tend to place their hopes on finding pedigree formulas or using related stock of a particularly successful breeder's program. The truth however, is that a majority of success in breeding horses comes from intuition and luck. The formulas for horse breeding aren't always as easy as the formulas used in breeding for other benefits, such as breeding for meat.

It is possible for some breeders to over time develop the ability to predict an approximate phenotype to result from their horse breeding, but this ability is attributed to many years of studying horses and evaluating the outcomes of previous horse breeding. Not all breeders can do this, and some can undoubtedly do it better than others.

Patterns in Horse Breeding

The patterns of pedigree elements seen in horses of excellent quality are obviously what horse breeders try to emulate and define in an attempt to repeatedly breed horses of high quality. But breeding horses is by no means as simple as following a formula or recipe. Before contemplating any sort of breeding formula, any horse breeder needs to first understand the most basic aspects of genetics: each time 2 horses are mated, they will produce a genetically different horse possessing a different combination of genes.

A certain nick is often articulated as crossing stallion A with stallion B, which is obviously simply not possible. Most likely, one reason for this principle belief lies in the fact that it is easier to identify the differences in characteristics of the offspring of stallions, since they generally will have more foals than a mare. Another reason may be the supposed need to turn complex pedigrees into a simple to describe synopsis. An accurate genetic description of a nick would be breeding stallion A to the daughters of stallion B. This may result in the production of horses that result in a somewhat consistent type in comparison to the rest of the breed.

Basing a Breeding Program on Champions

In many instances, beginner breeders are advised to "start with a good mare." Though this may seem like practical advice, it doesn't explain that the most crucial part is to learn how to recognize a good mare.

The qualities of a good mare are not necessarily the most obvious qualities, such as a champion mare. An offspring of a champion doesn't necessarily mean that it will too become a champion. The pattern in traits inherited from horse generation to horse generation isn't well known. If the ideal trait type is generated by heterozygosity (for example, the popular example of palomino), the only foolproof way to breed foals that meet this criterion of excellence (palomino color) is to use parents of with less desirable traits (chestnuts bred to cremellos). This example shouldn't be taken as a free license to use less superior horses, but to simply provoke significant question about the sufficiency of the general breeding formulas in an attempt to guide specific programs.

Some breeders pride their breeding on their programs that use only outstanding stallions. However, other breeders should be aware of the myth a strategy of this sort can hold. Regardless of how well thought out any plan for breeding may be, there is always the risk that along with the passing down of prize-winning genes, the possibility of not so good genes being passed down as well is always present.

Some breeders pride their breeding on their programs that use only outstanding stallions. However, other breeders should be aware of the myth a strategy of this sort can hold. Regardless of how well thought out any plan for breeding may be, there is always the risk that along with the passing down of prize-winning genes, the possibility of not so good genes being passed down as well is always present.

A professional breeder knows that they need several generations of horses to create a genetic pool that contains the genetics of excellence considered a necessity in breeding foals of award winning standing. Learning these important and essential characteristics takes time and hands on knowledge of horses and their individual pedigrees. After time, a breeder will become familiar with these particular elements and allow them to make educated assumptions when it comes to making breeding decisions.

Breeding Programs using Genetics as a Guide

The more experience and documented breeding results of genes important for program goals, the probability of breeding foals with specific, selected traits from particular breeding pairs will become more easily predictable. The ability to predict the coat color of offspring by breeding using a certain program is already quite feasible. However, the traits responsible for performance still are not defined enough to be useful in the prediction of breeding outcomes. Since there still is only a tiny portion known about the genetics of desirable traits, it is too early to presume that there is a particular technique of structuring pedigrees in order to again and again produce either superior or inferior stock.

The lessons to be learned from genetics in order to predict the breeding outcomes in horses may seem too inconclusive for breeders who are looking for an easy solution to figuring out the secrets of breeding prize winning horses. Regardless, studying how genes are inherited, the amount of genes concerned in the structure of a horses genetics, their inconsistency within breeds, and the unavoidability of genetic trait redistribution with every individual horse among every generation will allow the breeder to further their knowledge in offering the foundation for legitimate breeding decisions.

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