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Regarding the current debate over breeding AA to Aa, etc.:
My main concern in this is that we are producing guaranteed Aa horses with no hope of aa. My question is that if this policy is allowed, what do we eventually do with all the Aa horses that result? We are faced with the larger problem of producing more and more Aa horses which then have what breeding future, if Aa to Aa is frightening? It seems merely to be postponing the problem a generation.
The questions to be answered are: 1. Is it better to try for aa with the possibility of AA with the hopes of producing at least some "clear-eyed horses" versus a guarantee of Aa horses? 2. Does anyone have any real idea how many "clear" ( visually) studs or mares are in the Rocky Horse Registry? 3. Should we attempt to find out before making policy regarding breeding? 4. Is the Genetics Committee doing this (estimating how many clear-eyed horses are there--simply counting blacks would be a start). 5. Should we make a concerted effort to get the books open if the gene pool is indeed too small? 6. Is the Genetics Committee studying whether or not the gene pool is too small--do we know for certain?
I personally would like to see the books reopened to Mountain Pleasure and Kentucky Mountain horses if possible for a start. I have some real problems with the breeding of AA mares or stallions because we are then knowingly carrying on the gene to future generations and we have the same problem with the incomplete factor and have absolutely no chance of producing aa. I do understand the reasoning behind it, that being to dilute the gene and then breeding Aa to aa. This assumes there are large numbers of aa horses out there. My last question is: 7. Does anyone really know if there are enough horses (aa) to breed to that carry the other characteristics (gait and disposition) to ensure the survival of the breed? My other concern is the appearance of financial hardship being the reason to allow breeding of AA horses. All this is moot if the genetic test becomes available as we can all avoid "bad" breeding practices with little effort. It would appear that we are trying to do something as a stop gap measure until the test is developed, but are uncertain what the best answer is. It would also seem that there is no question that the genetics test is an absolute necessity and the association should throw itself behind the funding 100%.
-- Mary Jorgensen (TMJorgens2@aol.com), January 02, 1998