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☛ Are bad breeding practices animal abuse? 5-26-17

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE HEALTH, HORSE LAWSUITS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, MAJOR EVENTS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 11 comments

BAD BREEDING PRACTICES

 

IS THIS ANIMAL ABUSE?

 

By Rick Dennis
May 26, 2017

As an AQHA breeder, my requirements are to breed an animal that is genetically correct with excellent conformation, the right temperament, enough athleticism to perform multiple events, enough cow instinct to perform in cow horse or cutting, free of genetic defects and with enough bone and stamina to withstand the rigors of the show pen for many years.

 

My article entitled, “AQHA Genetic Pool Shrinks,” dated Jan. 10, 2015, delineated an ongoing problem within the Quarter Horse industry in that the genetic pool is shrinking. Undesirable genetic traits and diseases are being passed from generation to generation. The following articles were the proto types of my article that would later play out in a courtroom in Texas in 2017 involving HERDA.

 

ARTICLE EXCERPTS:
Recent articles in the American Quarter Horse Journal entitled “The Changing Landscape of Quarter Horse Genetics, Part 1 and Part 2,” really caught my eye because of two reasons: 1) I’m an American Quarter Horse breeder specializing in multiple-event reined cow horses and 2) I’m a Life Member of AQHA.

Part 1’s first paragraph essentially sets the stage for the present state of the breed in that it’s becoming more and more inbred, stating, “Talk to an equine geneticist long enough and you are bound to hear two assertions made about the American Quarter Horse breed that sound like opposites: First, it is one of the most genetically diverse equine breeds in the world and second, it’s becoming increasingly inbred.

 

The second and third paragraphs of Part 1 outline the history of the breed and a factor causing this shrinking of genetics, stating, “Beginning in colonial America, the breed began from a diverse genetic base of largely Thoroughbred and Spanish blood that was added to and developed for roughly 200 years, focusing on producing quickness and durability.

 

But fast-forward to the modern era of specialized American Quarter Horse performers, especially at the highest levels, and you find specialization in the horse-breeding herd too: specific groups of individual classes of horses used to produce those top performers. If you’re breeding for a specific category of horse (i.e.) reining, cutting, cow horse, etc., the gene pool is further narrowed within this subgroup.

 

That suggests there are narrowed gene pools in those subgroups and now a genetic study clearly shows it. A research team from the University of Minnesota has published its findings in an issue of the Journal of Heredity, “The American Quarter Horse: Population structure and relationship to the Thoroughbred.” The 2012-2013 study was partially funded by the American Quarter Horse Foundation.

 

“In the pedigree analysis, some groups shared no common sires, such as halter and racing, but other groups did, such as reining and working cow horse. Although popular sires within one group were rarely shared with another group, all the pedigrees reflected the common roots of the Quarter Horse.

“Additionally, pedigree analysis showed that the most common 15 sires across the groups were all direct tail-male descendants of Three Bars (TB), with several of those stallions showing more than one cross to the Thoroughbred in the first four generations.

“Inbreeding” refers to the mating of relatives and results in an “inbred” individual horse. The amount an individual horse is “inbred” can be estimated from its pedigree or genetic data. In a pedigree analysis, determining an individual’s “co-ancestry coefficient” gives an idea of how closely related individuals are on a pedigree page. Two individuals can be highly related without either of them being inbred, but if you breed two individuals with a high co-ancestry coefficient, their offspring will be inbred.

“Diversity quantifies the amount of genetic variation there is in a population. Typically, a highly inbred population has low genetic diversity. In this study the lowest genetic diversity within a sub-population was in the cutting and racing groups. The highest average inbreeding was found in cutting.”

 

Also, a recent statement from Nena J. Winand, DVM, PhD and a specialist on HERDA that was a witness for the Plaintiffs in a recent lawsuit regarding HERDA mentioned later in this article, said, “I’d point out from a medical perspective, ANY shared ancestry, no matter how remote (far back) is considered inbreeding, because it provides a chance for an individual to inherit the same gene derived from the common ancestor from both parents.”

 

ANALYZING QUARTER HORSE BREEDING RULES:
From this study, it’s clear that the present American Quarter Horse breeding rules require scrutiny to determine: 1) their contribution to this shrinking genetic pool and 2) the adverse affect each adopted breeding rule may or may not have on the breed itself. I wonder if the executives paid six figures at the AQHA and the Executive Committee members, especially the Stud Book and Registration Committee, had any forethought in the ramifications their expansive breeding rule adoptions would have on the Quarter Horse breed and industry over time?

As a private sector Risk Analyst, I’m commonly faced with the task of analyzing practices and concepts to determine either the detriment or usefulness an existing concept or practice has on an organization. In order to shed light on the topic, I examined two specific breeding rules adopted by AQHA: Multiple Embryo Transfer and Frozen Semen. I also examined the impact each adopted breeding rule may have on the breeding populous as well as a correlation of each one’s compliance with AQHA’s Mission Statement.

 

BAD BREEDING PRACTICES:
A horse’s conformation affects his ability to perform certain tasks. Read more about this interesting concept in AQHA’s Form to Function report.
Click for “Form To Function” report>>

“Longstanding breeding practices likely contribute to that. Habits such as “popular sire syndrome,” which is the tendency for many breeders to breed to a top-performing stallion, or the use of assisted reproductive techniques such as frozen semen and embryo transfers can greatly amplify one horse’s genetic impact. Even the practice of always breeding the ‘best to the best’ can contribute to increased inbreeding in a sub-population.

“Any time we take a single individual and increase its ability to generate offspring, that is going to decrease the genetic pool that is reproducing.

“Additionally, when you increase inbreeding and reduce diversity, you increase the incidence of undesirable genes making an appearance.

“A good example is the incidence of HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia) in cutting horses. It’s very frequent within this sub-population, which might be the result of decreasing diversity and/or the ‘popular-sire’ effect. A previous study revealed that 28.3 percent of cutting-bred individuals carried the recessive gene for HERDA.”

Click following for AQHAGenetic Pool Shrinks>>

 

FIRST LAWSUIT ENTERS COURT OVER HERDA:
In a lawsuit entitled, “Minshall Vs Hartman Equine, Dos Cat Partners, Shauna and Ed Dufurrena” was tried in a Texas courtroom in 2017. The basis of the lawsuit encompassed fraud with the AQHA stallion Auspicious Cat. The owners of the horse advertised the stallion as being HERDA Negative when in fact the horse was designated N/Hr (a carrier of the HERDA gene) by the American Quarter Horse Association.

 

Prior to this lawsuit, the AQHA required genetic testing of breeding stallions on a graduated scale based on the number of mares bred until Jan. 1, 2016. After this date, each breeding stallion was required to have genetic testing which included a 5-Panel group of designated tests that were designed by AQHA and performed by UC Davis.

 

Up until the filing of this lawsuit, AQHA reserved the right NOT TO RELEASE the 5-Panel test results, except to the owners of the specific horse. This nondisclosure prevented anyone breeding to a specific stallion from obtaining the 5-Panel status of the stallion; therefore, running the risk of passing on a defect to the impending foal.

 

After the filing of the above-captioned lawsuit, AQHA has changed its posture to include releasing the 5-Panel test results to anyone who contacts them and asks for it. It’s also planned that the test results will be on the horse’s pedigree when their new computer database is online. Further, AQHA intends to embed the horses’ 5-Panel test results directly onto the stallions’ registration papers as a permanent record.

 

However, the curious nature of AQHA’s testing requirements does not include breeding mares, which, in my opinion should be a requirement as well. After all, mares carry the same number of genetic chromosomes as stallions do, which includes the mares’ lineage as well.

 

This is exactly what happened in this case as two N/Hr (HERDA carrier) horses were bred together, producing a HERDA affected foal. The Plaintiff’s had simply relied on the honesty and integrity of the stallion owner. Does AQHA have any culpable liability in the matter from their previous posture of not releasing stallion specific genetic testing results?

 

The other curious nature of this saga is that my article AQHA Genetic Pool Shrinks, along with its predetermined scientific facts and warnings about inbreeding, ended up in this courtroom drama two years later.

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FOALS OF THESE MISGUIDED BREEDINGS?
Just about every cutter I’ve talked to wants a High Brow Cat-bred horse because of their winning nature. In fact, some even breed for horses carrying the HERDA gene due to this phenomenon, which is exactly what happened in this lawsuit. The Plaintiffs desired to breed to a High Brow Cat stallion that carried the AQHA N/N designation and ended up breeding to an N/Hr horse. Since their mare carried the N/Hr designation, two N/Hr horses produced a HERDA-affected foal that required an enormous amount of money to maintain.

 

So at the end of the day, what happens to the foals that wash out due to genetic deficiencies: euthanasia, the horse slaughter pipeline, retired and crippled at two or three years of age perhaps? Has our industry become so callous and money hungry that they throw caution to the wind when breeding? What about the poor horse that suffers due to this selfish act? This is an arduous fact to quantify simply due to non-reported statistical data. In my opinion just breeding to a particular line of horses just because they’re winning is a very poor excuse, especially in lieu of the fact that a known line is capable of producing undesirable genetic traits in the American Quarter Horse. We experienced this in the HYPP line of horses!

Also, it’s my opinion that AQHA being the breed registry for the American Quarter Horse should live up to its own Mission Statement and step in to prevent this well-known and established HERDA gene from permeating the American Quarter Horse breed. After all, they are the rule makers and some of their established and unorthodox   breeding rules have and continue to contribute to the shrinking genetic pool of the American Quarter Horse, thus causing direct harm to the breed. Only AQHA can stop or control the insertion of bad genetics into the American Quarter Horse Gene Pool!

 

BREEDING PREREQUISITES 101:

1)         Mare owners should have their horses genetically tested by the AQHA 5-panel prior to breeding.

2)         Mare owners should perform due-diligent research into the genetic test results of the impending desired stallion prior to breeding.

3)         Prior to breeding, consult with a geneticist to determine whether the match up would produce any undesirable traits in the produced foal, especially if a shared lineage or line of horses is in the background of both horses.

 

GENETIC DEFICIENCIES IN THE THOROUGHBRED LINE:
Unfortunately, bad breeding practices and catastrophic results aren’t limited to the American Quarter Horse Industry. In a later article I’ll discuss and delineate the bad breeding practices in the Thoroughbred Industry.

 

“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle”

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC
Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Email: windrivercompany@gmail.com
Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com

 

 

 

 

 

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☛ Has AQHA done enough to reveal horses’ genetics? 3-31-17

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, EQUI-VOICE, FROM THE EDITOR, HORSE HEALTH, HORSE LAWSUITS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 3 comments

FROM THE EDITOR:

HAS THE AQHA DONE ENOUGH TO REVEAL HORSES’ GENETICS?

 

WHAT IS AQHA DOING TO AVOID LAWSUITS? 

 

An opinion piece by Glory Ann Kurtz
Editor and owner of AllAboutCutting.com
March 31, 2017 – Updated 4-1-17

HERDA is a genetic skin disease.

Earlier this month, I spent seven days at a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division in Sherman, Texas, to settle a lawsuit brought by Shawn, Lisa and Lauren Minshall, Hillsburg, Ontario, Canada, against David Hartman DVM, owner of Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A. (HERC), Gainesville, Texas. It is interesting to note that I was the only member of the news industry and the only interested bystander at this trial, which I felt, and many others thought, would be very important to the Quarter Horse industry.

Click for article on original lawsuit>>

Following the trial, an eight-member jury decided that the responsibility for the HERDA-infected foal, sired by Auspicious Cat,  was placed 60 percent on the shoulders of Edward and Shona Dufurrena (30 percent to each), who headed up Dos Cats Partners, Gainesville, Texas, the owners of the stallion –  even though they were not named in the lawsuit nor were they present at the trial as Dos Cats Partners and Edward and Shona Dufurrena had settled with the Minshalls prior to the trial.

Dr. Hartman, who collected the semen of Auspicious Cat, a stallion who was later discovered to be a HERDA (Heredity Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia)  carrier, and sent it to the Minshalls to breed their mare Miss Tassa Lena was the last one on the list who they felt had a hand in this disaster, as the result of this breeding was a HERDA-affected offspring nicknamed “Otto.” Otto was born with full-blown HERDA, a genetic skin disease that was discovered when the colt was a 2-year-old and lesions appeared on its body while in training.

The jury was given questions of responsibility, rather than guilt, with all six Defendants being found responsible for “Negligence incurring damage.” All other questions regarding Hartman’s responsibility were answered by a “No” and the jury gave him the smallest amount (10 percent) of the responsibility. The Dufurrenas had also been found responsible for committing fraud and received 30 percent each, for a total of 60 percent (the most), even though they were not present at the trial. Also, 30 percent of the responsibility was laid at the feet of the three Plaintiffs, the Minshall family, at 10 percent each.

The most interesting aspect of the trial was that it focused on FRAUD – mainly false advertising committed by the Dufurrenas concerning Auspicious Cat’s Positive HERDA status and the long-term care of a HERDA-Positive foal resulting from the breeding of Auspicious Cat and Miss Tassa Lena.

It came out in the trial that Ed Dufurrena had previously told both the Minshalls and Dr. Hartman that Auspicious Cat was HERDA-Negative and the Dufurrena’s had placed ads in horse publications advertising that fact with written confirmation. It came out in court testimony that the Dufurrenas had the stallion tested in 2009 and had received a certificate from the AQHA saying that the stallion was HERDA N/H, meaning he could pass on the genetic disease to an offspring, especially if he was bred to another HERDA N/H mare and Miss Tassa Lena was such a mare. The Minshalls had told the the Dufurrenas the reason why the stallion had to be HERDA Negative was because their mare was HERDA H/N and had already had a High Brow Cat foal born with HERDA.

Auspicious Cat is a son of High Brow Cat out of Lena O Lady by Peppy San Badger. Lena O Lady’s dam was Doc O Lady by Doc O’Lena. This puts Doc O’Lena in the third generation of both the sire and dam side of Auspicious Cat’s pedigree, which on paper meant there was a high probability of the stallion being a HERDA carrier. In fact, during the trial David Hartman exposed a stark reality, relating a conversation with Dufurrena regarding Auspicious Cat’s HERDA designation, Dufurrena had assured Hartman that Auspicious Cat was HERDA Negative, and Hartman responded, “Most good sons of High Brow Cat are HERDA carriers.”

Dufurrena’s response was, “Not Aussie,” which was his nickname for Auspicious Cat.

Click for Auspicious Cat pedigree>>

The jury’s decision, including compensatory damages, included: 1) The difference in the value of Otto now and what it would have been if not HERDA affected – $30,000; 2) Reasonable expenses related to foaling, raising, boarding and training Otto in the past – $28,408; 3) Reasonable vet expenses – $0; 4) Reasonable expenses incurred for caring for Otto in the future – $75,000 and 5) Plaintiffs’ lost profits: $30,000 – for a total of $163,408. (To date, the division of financial responsibility by the jury’s decision have not been available to the press.)

Click for verdict>>

I checked with the AQHA, asking “if  a stallion owner is found guilty of fraud, is there a rule infraction and if so, what is the penalty?”. The response from Sarah Davisson, AQHA Manager of Publicity and Special Events, was, “While it is possible that a judgment against an AQHA member for fraud may correspond to an AQHA rule infraction and hence possible disciplinary action, such would depend on the facts of the case and whether a final non-appealable judgment has been entered. With respect to the Minshall lawsuit, AQHA to date is unaware of a final judgment being entered in which a party was found guilty of fraud. While AQHA is aware of the Verdict Form in the lawsuit, Davisson said, “It does not constitute a final non-appealable judgment.”

AQHA GENETIC POOL SHRINKS:

If there was ever a circumstance to prove an article’s legitimacy, this trial certainly was a proving ground for an article AQHA Genetic Pool Shrinks, previously published on Jan. 15, 2015 on allAboutCutting.com and written by my contributor and freelance writer Rick Dennis.

Dennis addressed HERDA and the shrinking genetic pool of the American Quarter Horse, the hazards of inbreeding, various AQHA breeding rules directly affecting the genetic pool shrinkage, the types of performance horses with the most inbreeding (cutting), as well as the HERDA disease itself. In a mere two years, this article’s ominous projection was being fulfilled and played out in a high-stakes Federal courtroom.

Click for article on how Genetic Pool Shrinks>>

During court testimony, it was surprisingly said by Dr. David Hartman that some owners and trainers breed for HERDA-affected foals as they are winning the most money. This could be due to the fact, which was explained by Nena Winand, a veterinarian and Senior Research Associate at Cornell University regarding HERDA, who testified and had done years of genetic research on HERDA. She said that “In HERDA-affected horses, the collagen is not produced and assembled into fibers that are as strong as those of normal horses. People have extrapolated that observation to HERDA carriers and speculated that subtle changes in their collagen may make them more supple and acrobatic.

However, she cautioned, saying, “There is at present no published peer reviewed science to support this idea and that it is likely that carriers would also be more susceptible to injury (particularly orthopedic injury) if that were the case.”

Also, it came out in court that some individuals are breeding affected mares on purpose. Winand feels that one should not be able to register foals with the AQHA out of affected mares and those affected mares should also be ineligible for breeding leases.

Winand also said that the Australian Quarter Horse Association has made genetic results available on their website, which could be an example of what the AQHA could do. Click below is an example of their searchable online database:

Access page:

http://www.aqha.com.au/horse/online_services/horse_enquiries.asp

She entered TR Dual Rey, who shuttles for breeding from the US:

http://abri.une.edu.au/online/cgi-bin/i4.dll?1=2231292F&2=2428&3=56&5=2B3C2B3C3A

Click for the result;

http://abri.une.edu.au/online/cgi-bin/i4.dll?1=2231292F&2=2420&3=56&5=2B3C2B3C3A&6=5D5D5C5B5827262621&9=5C505A5C

“Anyone, not members only, can access this information on the Australian Quarter Horse Association Studbook Website,” said Winand. “It’s public access at no cost. This system has been in place since 2007 or 2008. It was set up for HYPP historically (from my memory) and they handled HERDA results with the same level of transparency. At that time Cornell was their testing laboratory but once a patent was issued in Australia, we licensed to the University of Queensland, which is an excellent and well-established provider of equine genetic testing.

“I am not suggesting AQHA would find this format palatable, but they most certainly do have the capacity to track HERDA and any other test result and make it available to members just as they do for pedigree, horse ownership, performance results, etc.  Ideally all horses should be DNA typed (PV’d if necessary) and 5-Panel tested for registration. That is what we should be doing in this day and age.”

 

DOES AQHA HAVE RESPONSIBILITY?

Over the past few years, AQHA has required a 5-Panel test for breeding stallions (at a cost to the stallion owner of $85 or $105, including DNA testing), which reveals genetic diseases in stallions, including HERDA. It started out being only for stallions with a high number of mares being bred; however, effective with the 2015 year, every AQHA-registered breeding stallion had to have this 5-panel genetic test prior to the registration of foals. The test also genetic types horses for GBED (glycogen branching enzyme deficiency), HYPP (hyperkalemic periodic paralysis), MH (malignant hyperthermia) and PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy).

According to Davisson in her response from the AQHA, they were the first equine breed association to offer the genetic panel testing to inform the AQHA’s breeders of those animals that are carriers of genetic abnormalities. HERDA test results are reported by UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory to AQHA as follows:

NN = Normal – horse does not have the HERDA gene.

N/HRD = Carrier – horse caries one copy of the HERDA gene.

HRD/HRD = Affected – horse has two copies of the HERDA gene.

 

See the following AQHA link for genetic disease results and descriptions: https://www.aqha.com/media/13951/genetic-disease-descriptions-1.pdf

 

See the following AQHA link regarding genetic testing: www.aqha.com/genetictesting

 

Also, when individuals contact AQHA pertaining to results of the genetic panel tests, they can request a copy of the UC Davis lab results from AQHA.

 

“AQHA constantly continues to research these genetic diseases and potential new threats to the breed through various research projects,” said Davisson. “The AQHA Foundation has awarded a total of more than $11 million to research programs, some of which are specifically dedicated to genetic diseases. Specifically, the breakdown of the amount funded to each of the diseases is as follows (as of Feb. 27, 2017): GBED – $228,132; HERDA – $277,553, HYPP – $277,651, MH – $232,274, PSSM1 – $268,983.50 and Other – $515,243. Other includes genetic research that has been performed on other disorders, such as immunes-mediated and inflammatory myopathies, anhidrosis and equine metabolic syndrome.”

However, according to Davisson, although there are no current rules passed by AQHA members and the AQHA Board of Directors to require genetic testing of breeding mares, the Association strongly recommends that breeders test their mares. “Since Jan. 1, 2012, 41,740 American Quarter Horses have had the five-panel test done. Of those horses, 25,853 were stallions, 15,387 were mares and 500 were geldings,” said Davisson.

However, for a genetic test that costs the members $85 each – that equals close to $3.6 million for the AQHA for the 41,740 horses they say have been done. If you dump in the reported $3 million they made on drug testing, that is a total of $6.6 million – which should be enough to finish the computer program and get them on the AQHA website.

 

Click for AQHA Genetic Testing>>

However, today, on the Horse Ownership Summary of each AQHA-registered stallion on AQHA’s website under “Additional Information,” it states, among other things, whether the stallion has been genetic typed, but does not give HERDA results. The only genetic disease results listed that I could find were the results of the HYPP test. (HYPP is an inherited disease of the muscle which is caused by a genetic defect. This genetic defect has been identified in descendants of the AQHA sire, Impressive, so it does not usually affect cutting horses, as Impressive was a well-known halter horse.)

Click for Auspicious Cat Horse Ownership>>

Click for Miss Tassa Cat Ownership>>

 

RULE CHANGES:

I have also heard from stallion owners regarding individuals wanting to breed their mares who have not been tested for HYYP. The stallion owners feel that if they don’t know the mare’s HYPP status, they could be continuing the breeding of HYPP-positive offspring. This gives rise to the question, “Do mares also need to be genetically tested for HYPP and HERDA?”

Even though 15,387 mares have been genetically tested by the AQHA, if stallion or mare owners want it to be a rule to have mares genetically tested, I’ve been told by the AQHA office that those individuals need to send in a rule change request. For those interested in doing that, the AQHA has provided a link to a press release that breaks down the Association’s rule-change process, starting from when an AQHA member submits a rule change to when new rules become approved.

Click for rule changing press release>>

 

A video of the rule-change process can also be found on You Tube:

Click below for YouTube video>>

 

But my question here is, “Why are the results of the HERDA test not currently being reported?” I reached out to the AQHA with that very question. Their response was, “The results of these genetic panel tests are disclosed to the public as a permanent record of the horse and are prominently exhibited on the backside of the horse’s registration paper. All genetic test results will be available on horses’ records when AQHA’s new computer system is launched. In the meantime, individuals can contact AQHA via phone or email and get the genetic panel test results on any registered American Quarter Horse. Individuals can contact the Association by calling AQHA’s customer service at 806-376-4811 or using their contact form.

As an interesting sidebar, Davisson revealed that at the 2017 AQHA Convention, there were two member requests regarding AQHA’s recording and/or dissemination of five-panel test results were on the Studbook and Registration Committee agenda. They were: 1) Display five-panel test results on the front-as opposed to the back of the registration certificate to increase public awareness and 2) Discontinue any dissemination of five panel test results to non-owners.

The first request was modified from a statement being printed on the front of the registration certificate informing individuals that identification for the horse, including genetic panel tests, are included on the back of a horse’s registration papers. AQHA members and the Board of Directors approved this modification.

The second request to discontinue disclosure of the five panel test, was summarily denied by the Studbook and Registration Committee and was not recommended to AQHA members and Board of Directors. After reviewing the requests,  the Board of Directors also denied this recommendation.

Other genetic diseases have since been brought up to me; however, the AQHA hasn’t taken it upon themselves to monitor these, saying there are not genetic tests for them. One such genetic defect is the deaf horse, which is not a genetic disease that is tested by the AQHA. The great reining stallion, Colonels Smoking Gun, nicknamed “Gunner,” was born deaf and passes that genetic defect on to his offspring. I recently heard from an owner of a deaf offspring who didn’t know Gunner was born deaf, yet was a champion in the performance arena and a great sire but passed deafness on to his offspring. Currently, Gunner has sired a deaf offspring with the owner considering a lawsuit against the owner of the stallion.

According to Davisson, “To our knowledge there is not a genetic test for deafness and therefore it is not recorded by AQHA ‘at this point in time’. Researchers from the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis reported that certain coat patterns and blue eyes appear to be at risk for deafness… There are several tests for the variations of the splash white gene which are available through a color panel test offered by AQHA. However, according to research, not all splashed white horses are deaf and a deaf horses can produce hearing horses.”

 

IN MY OPINION:

It is wonderful that the AQHA is posting some genetic-disease information in the future and that you can now e-mail or call them for that information; however, it has been problematic to the cutting horse breeder (the owner of the mare) prior to this year’s AQHA Convention held in February, as the results of the HERDA test were not released or made available to AQHA members for scrutiny prior to selecting a stallion for breeding their mare or mares until now. Since the results of the 5-panel test were not released, the HERDA test results were concealed from members and breeders and were not included on the Horse Ownership Summary at the time the Minshalls were looking for a stallion to be bred to their HERDA N/H mare Miss Tessa Lena.  In fact, it was only after the Minshalls filed a lawsuit on Oct. 30, 2015 and inquiries were later made by their lawyers to the AQHA, that the subject was put on the AQHA Convention agenda for the 2017 Convention. I feel they were afraid of culpable liability in this case. (Culpable is a term in criminal law that refers to the blameworthiness of the accused. An accused is culpable when he or she is sufficiently responsible for criminal acts or negligence to be at fault and liable for the conduct. Culpability often implies some knowledge of the wrongfulness of one’s actions.)

As this pertains to the AQHA, culpable liability means that unless the this data was released to the general public, it was impossible for the breeder or the veterinarian to determine whether the stallion was a HERDA carrier. The Dufurrenas advertised Auspicious Cat as being HERDA Negative, when in fact, his genetic test, that was in the hands of the AQHA, had concluded he was a HERDA carrier. But no one knew that and they were forced to just believe the Dufurrena’s and their advertising.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of many cutting horse breeders, if the AQHA really wants to live up to its Mission Statement of “preserving the integrity of the Quarter Horse Breed,” the association would make this vital information available as soon as possible to AQHA members and breeders since they already have it and they have been paid for by the stallion owners who paid for the tests. That money should be used to make this information public asap. As far as waiting for the upcoming new computer program, from what I’ve heard, the new computer program has already taken far too many years and has cost way too much money.

While these rules were not in effect at the time of the Minshall’s breeding Miss Tassa Lena to Auspicious Cat, they are now available for this year’s breeding program. The only problem is since they are not yet available on the Horse Ownership Summary, one must either e-mail or call the AQHA to find out the stallion’s status.

If the AQHA doesn’t list this information online and members don’t know that they have to e-mail or call the AQHA for test results on a stallion they wish to breed their mare to, what good are the 5-Panel tests, other than a way to make more money from the stallion owners, who were forced to purchase the tests which don’t help the members if they don’t know how to obtain them.

As far as I know, they have not advertised or sent out notices to breeders that this information is available by e-mailing or calling the AQHA. I am an AQHA member, I subscribe to the Quarter Horse Journal and I own a stallion but I have not heard a word about being able to e-mail or call the association for genetic-testing results. Unfortunately, to me, this resembles the drug-testing rules, which seems to be just a money-maker. Horse owners are mandated to pay a drug-testing fee on each horse entered in an AQHA event, yet only a small percentage are ever drug checked.

Furthermore, if the AQHA is interested in cleaning up and preserving the integrity of the American Quarter Horse breed, it should make these test results available on line as soon as they can, and not wait for a new computer program that could be years down the road, so not only the owners of breeding mares but all AQHA members and even veterinarians can find this information immediately. That way, any stallion owner, mare owner or vet would immediately know the genetic-disease status of the stallion and the mare they are breeding.

It has been suggested to me that being able to immediately find out the results of a 5-Panel test only could be a separate report that could be a source of income for the AQHA, with fees of $5 or more for each, rather than the $1 currently being charged for the Horse Ownership Summary.

Also, if stallion owners are found guilty of, or responsible for, fraud by a jury in Federal Court, including false advertising, I feel the AQHA should include that infraction in their AQHA Handbook, along with the penalties that go along with it. The AQHA’s statement, “While it is possible that a judgment against an AQHA member for fraud may correspond to an AQHA rule infraction and hence possible disciplinary action, such would depend on the facts of the case and whether a final non-appealable judgment has been entered. With respect to the Minshall lawsuit, AQHA to date is unaware of a final judgment being entered in which a party was found guilty of fraud. While AQHA is aware of the Verdict Form in the lawsuit, Davisson said, “It does not constitute a final non-appealable judgment.”

Dufurrena’s ad in Performance Horse Journal

I realize that all of these answers from the AQHA, did not originate with Davisson, as she is the AQHA Manager of Publicity and Special Events. She worked hard to find answers for me. However, could it be that the statement given to me as the answer to the question I asked the AQHA regarding the Dufurrena’s actions being rule infractions and penalties for such, included a hint of favoritism since the Dufurrenas are currently major advertisers in every issue of the AQHA’s new publication, Performance Horse Journal?

One must remember, it was proven at trial that the Dufferena’s advertised Auspicious Cat as HERDA N/N when in fact he was HERDA Positive, which they knew from prior genetic testing. Court documents and the jury identified this revelation as FRAUD!

If the AQHA wants to live up to their Mission Statement of “preserving the integrity of the Quarter Horse breed,” they need to do it by informing the breeding public of results from all genetic tests as quickly as possible, so mistakes like the Minshalls made won’t show up in Federal Court in the future. Also, those responsible will suffer the consequences and it won’t be a veterinarian’s responsibility if he collects a stallion and ships semen from a HERDA-carrier stallion to a HERDA-carrier mare. If the stallion owner won’t give him a copy of the stallion’s HERDA status, he can simply go to the AQHA site and get one – for both the stallion and the mare being bred.

What I got out of this lengthy and costly seven-day jury trial in a Federal Court is that if you are a stallion owner and standing your stallion to the public, that stallion and breeding mare’s genetic information should be available on the AQHA website immediately, whether or not it’s a stand-alone document or included under the Horse Ownership Summary. It would eliminate a lot of heartache, lawsuits and lawyer bills.

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☛ What about wild horses under Trump presidency? 3-19-17

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, HORSE HEALTH, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

WHAT DOES TRUMP PRESIDENCY MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF WILD HORSES?

March 19, 2017

The White House is responding to an I-Team investigation into wild horses. They are protected under federal law as “living symbols” of the nation’s pioneer spirit. But now advocates are worried what the Donald Trump presidency could mean for the future of the mustangs. Dan notes has a long history reporting on this issue and he’s back with the latest at ABC  News (KGO-TV). Click for link to article:

http://abc7news.com/news/i-team-investigates-wild-horse-program-what-does-trump-presidency-mean-for-their-future-/1749188/

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☛ Nutrition Conference Announced 2-8-17

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in EQUI-VOICE, HEALTH AND WEALTH, HORSE HEALTH, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

ANNUAL MID-ATLANTIC NUTRITION CONFERENCE ANNOUNCED

Press release
Feb. 8, 2017

The 2017 Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference, the region’s premier animal nutrition conference, will be held April 5-6, 2017 at the Hunt Valley Wyndam Grand in Hunt Valley, MD. Two days of expert speakers have been lined up with the Equine Session held on the second day featuring morning seminars devoted to the aged horse, allergies, and how to boost the equine immune system. The afternoon will be devoted to the equine gut microbiome and related supplements. Veterinarians, students, horse trainers, horse breeders, and horse owners should not miss this opportunity to learn about exciting new discoveries related to their equine health and nutrition. All attendees will receive lunch and the opportunity to ask questions of all of the experts. Pre- registrations are encouraged and can be done online at: https://ansc.umd.edu/extension/mid- atlantic-nutrition-conference/registration-information

2017 Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference – Equine Session Schedule Thursday, April 6, 2017

8:00am Physiology of Aging in Horses
Dr. Karyn Malinowski, Rutgers University

8:50am Feeding Management of the Endocrine Challenged Horse Dr. Lisa Tadros, Michigan State University

10:20am Exploring Seasonal Allergies in Horses
Dr. Katherine Williamson, Purina Animal Nutrition

11:10am Can Nutrition Be Used to Boost the Immune System? Dr. Lori Warren, University of Florida

1:30pm Gut Microbiome Overview
Dr. Amy Biddle, University of Delaware

Sorting Out Common Ingredients In Equine Supplements

Dr. Melyni Worth, Foxden Equine

2:20pm Probiotics and Prebiotics in Horse Feed: What’s the Difference? Dr. Marty Adams, Southern States

Panel Discussion: Digestive Feed Supplements and the Gut Microbiome

The conference is hosted by the Maryland Feed Industry Council, University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, University of Delaware, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Rutgers University, American Feed Industry Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

For more information on the entire conference, please visit our website at https://ansc.umd.edu/extension/mid-atlantic-nutrition-conference.

For information on sponsoring this event, please contact Jennifer Reynolds at 301-405-1547.

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☛ Nominations for BLM horse-slaughter committee; new para-mutuel rules; gelding clinic 12-31-16

Posted by on Dec 31, 2016 in BREAKING NEWS, HORSE ABUSE, HORSE HEALTH, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

TODAYS INCIDENTAL NEWS:

Dec. 31, 2016

BLM SOLICITS NOMINATIONS FOR WILD HORSE AND BURRO SLAUGHTER ADVISORY BOARD

Currently there is only one member on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) advisory board for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program that is an advocate for the horses. Ginger Kathrens is the only member to vote against butchering tens of thousands of wild horses that the BLM has illegally captured and currently confines at taxpayer expense. According to those in the know, “Ginger is the only advocate; the rest are all special interest, pre-screened appointees that are interested in only horse slaughter, welfare ranching,  hunting and personal affirmation.

Recently the Department of the Interior send out a notice with the purpose being to solicit public nominations for three positions on the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board that will become vacant on April 3, 2017. The Board provides advice concerning the management, protection and control of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands administered by the Department of the Interior through the BLM.

Board members serve without compensation; however, while away from their home or regular places of business, Board and subcommittee members engaged in Board or subcommittee business, approved by the Designated Federal Official, may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem, in lieu of subsistence in the same manner as persons employed intermittently in government service.

Nominations for a term of three years are needed to represent the following categories of interest: Natural Resource Management, Wild Horse and Burrow Research, Public Interest (Equine behavior).

The Board meets one to four times annually but may call for additional meetings in connection with special needs for advice. Individuals may nominate themselves or others.

Send all mail via the U.S. Postal Service to: Division of Wild Horses and Burros, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 1849 C Street N.W., Room 2134 LM, Attn: Dorothea Boothe, WO-260, Washington, DC 20240.

Mail send by Fed Ex or UPs should be addressed to: Wild Horse and Burro Division, U. s. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 20 M Street SE, Room 2134 LM, Attn: Dorothea Both, Washington, D.C. 20003.

You may also e-mail PDF documents to Ms. Boothe at: dboothe@blm.gov.

Nominations must be postmarked or submitted to the BLM no later than Feb. 10, 2017.

BLM soliciting public nominations

 

IRS ISSUES NEWLY PROPOSED REGULATIONS RELATING TO PARI-MUTUEL WINNINGS

According to the Paulick Report, in a 31-page rule-making document, the Treasury and the IRS has issued newly proposed regulations relating to withholding and reporting with respect to pari-mutuel winnings. The document, entitled “Withholding on Payments of Certain Gambling Winnings, accomplishes the goals started and spearheaded by the NTRA more than two years ago.

The proposed regulations clarify “the amount of the wager’ to include the entire amount wagered into a specific pari-mutuel pool by an individual – not just the winning base unit as is the case today – as long as all wagers made into a specific pool by an individual are made on a single totalizator ticket if the wager is placed onsite.

The proposed regulations will impact a significant percentage of winning wagers, particularly those involving multi-horse or multi-race exotic wagers and result in tens of millions of dollars in additional pari-mutuel churn.

The proposed regulations will undergo a 90-day comment period and it is conceivable that they could be in place prior to the 2017 Triple Crown. The NTRA will soon establish a convenient and simple method for industry stakeholders to encourage enactment of the proposed regulations.

To follow this, go to http://www.paulickreport.com

 

OPERATION GELDING CLINIC GELDS 100TH STALLION

According to a press release put out by the Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC), Operation Gelding clinic organizers Lacey Edge and Kaye Garrison have gelded 100 stallions through the organization’s Operation Gelding Program.

Kaye and her daughter, Lacey,  have been organizing clinics since the program began in 2010. Lacey, 13 at the time, earned about the program after conducting research for a school project. This year, she returned from West Texas A&M University to continue the tradition.

A 2-year-old, Crash, named for crashing through several fences when he was only a few weeks old, was the 100th stallion to be gelded.

Since 2010, the UHC’s Operation Gelding program has provided funding to geld 1,562 stallions at 122 clinics in 31 states. This year, 348 stallions were castrated, just 18 fewer than the last two years combined. Numbers are expected to surge again in 2017 when the program will pay $100 per horse, an increase that was approved by the UHC at its annual meeting last June. Vouchers are also available to owners with financial need.

Individuals interested in hosting a clinic should contact the UHC office at 202-737-7325 or uhc@horsecouncil.org, or visit the UHC website at www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org.

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☛ Dual Peppy receiving laser therapy on stem cells 10-28-16

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, FROM THE EDITOR, HORSE HEALTH, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

DUAL PEPPY RECEIVING LASER THERAPY ON STEM CELLS

THE STALLION’S NUTRITION IS BEING  MANAGED AS WELL AS MEDICAL ISSUES

 

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Oct. 28, 2016

Dual Peppy at the Blue Rose Ranch in Colorado. Photo was taken in July 2016.

There has been some controversy about the movement of Dual Peppy to the Babcock Ranch in Sanger, Texas. However, after talking with Patricia Woodrick, who lives close to the Babcock Ranch and visits with the stallion daily, I feel Dual Peppy is not only getting help but the latest and best help that a horse can get. Since Woodrick  has become involved in the stallion’s recovery, I felt the public needed to know who she is and what she is doing for Dual Peppy – free of charge.. She has headed several studies including the effects of laser therapy on stem cells and is currently working on a study for a new equine therapy device using lixels instead of pixels to increase the delivery of photon magnetic wave therapy.

 

According to Woodrick, the  stallion’s loss of weight and muscle is tragic and his current condition is not indicative of the pictures taken when he left Blue Rose Ranch in July. She said that Jim Babcock reached out to her to provide Dual Peppy every opportunity for recovery that is available.

 

Woodrick knows about this kind of trauma as she has experienced the same type of trauma in her own health resulting in her own body clinically eating itself, “0” fat content and a huge percentage of muscle loss. She states that because she’s human, she has her own ability to seek help  and Dual Peppy now has someone who is taking care of the same critical medial issues that end the lives of people and animals alike.

 

Woodrick also addresses nutrition, saying “His nutrition has to be managed as much as his medical issues. Adding full body class IV therapy treatment will trigger the natural component of his body to stimulate stem cell production, accelerate tissue and muscle regeneration in addition to providing pain relief.”

 

Following is the full letter from Patricia Woodrick:

Glory,

You may remember me from many years ago.  Due to some injuries, I no longer show, train or breed pleasure horses.

I have been very involved in equine therapy working first as a salesperson and educator for major therapy manufacturers of equine medical therapy devices, including modalities such as *photon, acoustic wave, sound wave, and magnetic wave therapy. Basically laser, shock wave, ultrasound and magnetic stimulation.

I also have headed several studies that have included the effects of laser therapy on stem cells and I am currently working on a study for a new equine therapy device using lixels instead of pixels to increase the delivery of photon therapy. It’s been really interesting and a growing educational experience.

I have become involved with Dual Peppy’s recovery.  I am aware of some of the controversy about his move to the Babcock ranch. I posted on the Blue Rose Ranch Horse Rescue and adoption page about Dual Peppy’s condition and treatment. There are two different posts.  I had two thoughts I wanted the public to understand.  I wish I would have combined them.

This horse has a very long way to full recovery- if that is possible. His current condition is not indicative of the pictures taken when he left Blue Rose Ranch. They should be commended for his care and I only wish he was in the same health as the pictures represent.

His care after his departure from Blue Rose Ranch and Horse rescue and before he arrived at Jim Babcock’s ranch early this month is what should be questioned by those who are so worried about the care Jim Babcock is providing for this animal!

The regression that has taken place in just his weight and muscle loss is tragic.

Jim Babcock reached out to me to provide this animal EVERY opportunity for recovery available. As I said in my second post on Blue Rose’s Facebook page, I  have experienced such trauma in my own health,  resulting in my own body clinically eating itself, a “0”  fat content, huge percentage  of muscle loss and the decrease of my T level to near non existence!

Luckily I am human and have my own ability to seek help.  Luckily, Dual Peppy has someone who is taking care of the same critical medical issues that end the lives of people and animals alike!

There are many technical aspects of the treatments Dual Peppy is receiving. The atrophy of his muscles create body pain. It’s a vicious cycle. Doctors tell you “protein, protein, protein.”

For Dual Peppy, too much is as dangerous as not enough. His nutrition has to be managed as much as his medical issues. Adding full body class IV therapy treatment will trigger the natural components of his body to stimulate stem cell production, accelerate tissue and muscle regeneration In addition to providing pain relief.

Everyone should know that this amazing animal survived because he had the will and the heart to live.  If he had not been rescued, it would not have been enough.

The intervention of all involved should be commended. Everyone should know that the story has not ended and his fight is not over yet. For those concerned, knowing if this animal will ever breed again is a question that will not and cannot be answered in the near future.

The main concern at the Babcock Ranch is the comfort, care, dignity and recovery of this unique, magnificent animal.

I have been involved in many aspects of the horse industry. I am proud that it has brought me to a place of involvement, which allows me to be a part of his recovery and life.

 

Thank you for your time and warmest regards.

It’s been a very long time.

 

 

Patricia Woodrick

940-368-1046

 

Editor’s note:

Photon therapy: A type of radiation therapy that uses x-rays or gamma rays that come from a special machine called a linear accelerator (linac). The radiation dose is delivered at the surface of the body and goes into the tumor and through the body. Photon beam radiation therapy is different from proton beam therapy.

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