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Wrangling on the Range #102

Blurring of Horses

                        
WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #102

BLURRED BREEDS

BY JULI S. THORSON

Huh. I just learned that as far as the giant Internet search
engine Google is concerned, the term "breed blurring" hardly
exists. It didn't even come up as a result until I uploaded a
blog post on the subject in October.
This surprises me, because evidence of blurred lines between
breeds is as clear as the case of the stallion appearing on this
issue's cover. Most would be hard-pressed to name the horse's
breed just by looking at him, even in a fullbody shot, and no
wonder: He's a solid sorrel, registered as a member of two
breeds, Quarter Horse and Paint, with a different name in each.
To enhance confusion, each breed happily claims him as reining's
individual gold-medal winner at the 2010 Alltech FEI World
Equestrian Games'". (See our coverage of WEG's Western side
starting on page 50.) Given this dual identity, we puzzled over
how to write the stallion's cover-line ID and make it fit in
seven words or less.

Solution: We credited the horse not by breed(s) but by his
accomplishment, and flipped a coin over which of his names to use
(winner: Gunners Special Nite, American Quarter Horse
Association; he's Colonels Nite Special with the Paint
counterpart).

Too bad all the puzzlements with breed blurring aren't that easy
to resolve.

SCRATCH YOUR HEAD

Once upon a time, the average horse person could look at three
stock-type horses standing in a field and be able to state, with
confidence, which was the Appaloosa, the Paint, or the Quarter
Horse. The Appaloosa had one kind of spotting, the Paint had
another, and the Quarter Horse was the one with no spotting at
all.

These visual traits, perpetuated by rules that required breeders
to select for or against them, helped brand each breed distinctly
in the public eye. But over time, changes to registration rules
have come to mean that you could easily be wrong about those
three horses out in the field.
It's now possible, for instance, for a horse with vivid Appaloosa
blanket and spots to hold papers as a registered Quarter Horse.
(If you don't believe this, search Google images for the AQHA
stallion Reminic In Spots.)

Evidence is as clear as the case of the horse on this month's
cover.
This year's national champion weanling Appaloosa colt is a solid
palomino with stockings and a blaze. In earlier times, you might
have pegged him as the Quarter Horse in my hypothetical field,
for he has no Appaloosa coloration. What he does have, though, is
a sire that's registered in three other breedsQuarter Horse,
Palomino, and Paint.

That loud overo in the field? If his parents are both registered
Quarter Horses, he now gets to be one, too. But with two AQHA
parents, he'd violate APHA's revamped rules on parentage, and
thus could not become a registered Paint-even though he might
look Paint enough to be on APHAs stationery.

UNIQUE NO MORE

The reasons for blurring of America's stock-horse breeds are
many, and complex enough to be the subject of someone's
grad-school thesis. The same could be said of the human emotions
and arguments, leading to rule changes, that ignited breed
blurring in the first place. So I won't even attempt to give you
that history lesson here.

But I will ask you to ponder whether it's possible to blur the
lines so much that all the colors eventually will just run
together.
..........

HORSE AND RIDER DECEMBER 2010

You can reach Juli, H&R's editor and associate publisher, via
e-mail at jthorson@aim media .com. Visit HorseandRider.com to
read and comment on her bloq, Juli Thorson's Horse Talk.
..........

YOU TALK ABOUT THE SILLY HORSE WORLD AT TIMES - THIS YOU HAVE
READ HAS TO TAKE THE FIRST PRIZE FOR SILLINESS!!!
YA WHEN I BOUGHT MY REGISTERED HORSE ("FINAL TOUCH" - BUT I CALL
HAER "GOLDIE") 7 YEARS AGO SHE IS A QUARTER HORSE PALOMINO, BUT
HAD TO BE REGISTERED UNDER THE "PAINT" REGISTRATION AS THE
QUARTER HORSE REGISTRATION (AT LEAST 7 YEARS AGO) DID NOT ACCEPT
PALOMINO HORSES - GIVE ME A BREAK - TALK ABOUT DUMB RULES!!!

To be continued from time to time



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