March 16, 2007

When to breed?

The question of whether to breed or not to is especially hard to me. I grew up on a breeding farm. We bred the best Crabbet and Egyptian Arabians (later only straight Egyptians) we could afford and always made sure they found homes. My primary mare, Isis, is a product of the Crabbet/Egyptian breeding. She is the granddaughter of our first Arabian mare. I have had the honor of meeting the majority of her grandparents and even great-grandparents.

I’ve thought about breeding Isis to have her daughter as a replacement. She is an exquisite mare with a lot of jumping and dressage potential. Isis is insulin resistant (see safergrass.org for info on this condition). She is carefully managed now. Prior to her diagnosis, she has had laminitis twice (luckily with little to no rotation) as a result of her body’s inability to properly process fructans. She has also had skin-related issues (rain rot goes systemic, for example) due to immune system problems caused by IR. There is a chance that she could pass this condition on to her foal.

My Mom has a stallion who would cross beautifully with Isis. The foal would have an amazing pedigree and considering the two phenotypes–potentially gorgeous and athletic.

So here is my question… Would you breed a mare with insulin resistance to preserve a much-loved bloodline? How do you weigh the love of the horse and wanting to have her or her daughter around with the potential repercussions on a foal?

(As a side note on a long post After two years of recovery, chiropractic/accupuncture sessions, specialized shoeing, and close work with a trainer, Isis went to her first show July 8, 2006. Four classes, three over fences (18″ walk-trot 😉 and one equitation. She pinned 6th in all of the over fences and 5th on the flat out of 9. I was so proud of her. Six weeks later, she colicked from two lipomas (fatty tumors suspended from stalks) that had wrapped around 70% of her small intestines. I do not know if the lipomas were related to the insulin resistance or not. One of her vets (who specializes in IR) said he has seen lipomas frequently in IR horses, but doesn’t have any evidence to show a connection.

Surgery, one week in intensive care, and a lot of careful management…She is (mostly) recovered. I rode her for the first time in the saddle last Friday.)

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