Paint Horse Journal
There are two main methods of breeding horses, and both come equipped with inherent strengths and weaknesses.
For as long as man has attempted to selectively breed horses, there have been differing opinions on how best to accomplish the task.
With the 1998 Paint Horse breeding season in full swing and the premiums for success at an all-time high, the debate on how to breed the best horse possible is being renewed around kitchen tables and over feed store counters across the country.
Is there a single formula - one sure-fire system - that can be used to consistently produce the best halter, race, cutting or reining horses in the land, or is successful horse breeding simply a matter of trail and error? To answer these questions, let's take a look at the two main methods of breeding horses; outcrossing and linebreeding. Defining the two, and understanding the differences between them, is an easy task.
Outcrossing vs. Linebreeding
In his classic college textbook, Horses and Horsemanship, Dr. M. E. Ensminger defines outcrossing as "... the mating of animals that are members of the same breed but which show no relationships close up in the pedigree."
|SKIPPA STREAK||SKIP HI||SKIPPER'S LAD AQHA||SKIPPER W.|
|SKY HI||ADVANTAGE (TB)|
|CHEYENNE LIL||PAINT STALLION||UNKNOWN|
Linebreeding, he explains, "... is the mating of animals... usually directed toward keeping the offspring closely related to some highly admired ancestor, such as half-brother and half-sister, female and grandsire, and cousins."
|SKIP'S ARTIST||SKIPPA STREAK||SKIP HI||SKIPPER'S LAD AQHA|
|CHEYENNE LIL||PAINT STALLION|
|SKIP'S AID||SKIP'S LAD||SKIP HI|
|SKIP JOY AQHA|
|SKIP SATIN||SKIP HI|
|SATIN NICK AQHA|
Often times, the most consistent results in an outcrossing program are obtained when the outcross stallion is, himself, a strongly linebred individual.
An example of this was Leo AQHA. Sired by Joe Reed II by Joe Reed P-3, and out of Little Fanny by Joe Reed P-3, Leo was one of the most potent sires in the history of the Quarter Horse breed in terms of consistently stamping his characteristics on his foals, no matter what type of mare he was bred to.
To carry the outcrossing method one step, or generations, farther, once an outcross is made within a heterozygous band of horses, the results are a generation of horses that carry 50 percent of the same blood. If the outcross has been successful, the offspring should resemble each other to a greater degree than do their unrelated dams.
The next challenge lies in finding the best possible outcross stallion to breed the first generation fillies to. The ultimate goal would be to find a stallion that "nicks" with the fillies.
In Ensminger's words, "So called successful nicking is due, genetically speaking, to the fact that the right combinations of genes for good characters are contributed by each parent, although each of the parents within itself may be lacking in certain genes necessary for excellence. "In other words, the animals nicked well because their respective combinations of good genes were such as to complement each other." As an example, when the Paint stallion Mr. Norfleet was bred to the daughters of Sonny Dee Bar and Red Sonny Dee, it resulted in one of the most successful nicks in the history of the Paint breed.
The same can be said of Doc Bar AQHA, and the nick that was achieved when he was bred to the daughters and granddaughters of Poco Tivio AQHA. The combination literally rewrote the history of the modern-day cutting horse.
Ensminger is quick to point out, however, that all outstanding animals arising from this method of breeding should be carefully scrutinized from a breeding standpoint, because, with their heterozygous origins, it is unlikely that they will breed true.
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