Saturday, December 26, 2015

Breed Preservation Is Very Different From Breed Creation

The Most Insidious Threat

As we work to save the wild horses of Corolla both in the wild and domestically one guiding principle must prevail. We must work diligently to stave off the natural human drive to take the wildness out of wild things. We can domesticate these horses but we should never try to improve them.

We are not capable of doing so and the history of modern horse breeding bears that out. Modern horse breeding has been but the pursuit of the latest fad in conformation, over specialization, and worst of all, creation of a whole class of horses that fail to meet the ideal breeding standard.

One should cringe at hearing that horses should only be bred that will "improve the breed." Such arrogance is difficult for me to fathom. What is the peculiar hubris of man that alone among the species he seeks to fix whatever mistakes that he believes God made at creation? Indeed, where were you Job when I created the seas?

Perfectionism is the most insidious threat that rare breeds face. Efforts by breeders to struggle to improve, develop, and perfect the breed have never worked. Sure, we can produce race horses that run faster than the natural horse, but the downside is that that race horse runs very slow indeed on its broken legs which resulted from our efforts to breed the perfectly fast horse. It is a shame that we could not breed a body that could take the stress of being perfectly fast,but we are perfectly incapable of doing so.

We must never seek to breed the best of the Corollas to the best of the Corollas. We simply are incapable of seeing what is the best. Someone once asked me did I not agree that a horse as violent as Red Feather should not be kept out of our breeding pool. Unfortunately Red Feather has now been gelded. Before being gelded he produced several little ones, all of which that I know of are as gentle as kittens.

The wild strains of Colonial Spanish horse have survived for hundreds of years  in an environment and on forage that modern horses could not last a season on. That is his pedigree. That is, by itself, the reason that his bloodline is worth preserving. Instead of trying to breed the perfect horse we should only seek to breed the persevering horse.

I have ridden mustangs over forty miles in a day but I have never been able to find a saddle that fit a pedigree.


Richard M. Blaney said...

Well said! We had a women come up to us with our GaliceƱos and tell us, "If you want to improve those horses, breed with a PRE." Our response, "M'am, these ARE a pure breed and do not need 'improvement'."

DianneW said...

I submit that you cannot domesticate these horses because they are already domestic. Horses have been domestic for a very long time. The few centuries that they have been running free on the outer banks is nothing in evolutionary time.

I have also heard stories of people in the past catching horses on the banks and getting them gentled enough to ride in a few days. This is a characteristic of a domestic animal. There are probably other domestic horse breeds that would not gentle as quickly in those conditions.