|How to Read a Pedigree
|Think a 20-Year-Old
Horse is Old?
That is how old the above horse
was when this photo was taken.
You can click on it to enlarge.
This is a horse that M-Bar-K Farms
used as a lesson horse for ten
years. With quality diet, exercise,
dental and veterinary care, horses
remain useful and stay healthy and
younger looking for many years.
Horses are now living to age 50!
They are being ridden into their
30's and shown professionally into
their late 20's. If you can find a
horse that has been well taken
care of and has not been left out in
the pasture to deteriorate. These
older horses can be worth their
weight in gold to first time horse
buyers. Or for someone just
looking for a very safe,
Did you know that
Palomino's are not a
breed? They are a color.
Most horse breeds can
have a palomino color. You
can have a palomino paint,
palomino quarter horse or
a palomino appaloosa. If
you breed two palomino's
together will you get a
palomino? Not always.
You could get a palomino,
a sorrel or a cremello (a
cream colored horse).
How do you have a 100%
chance of getting a
palomino? Actually if you
breed a sorrel horse which
has a red gene, with a
cremello horse which has
the cream gene you will
have a 100% chance of
getting a palomino. A
palomino is just a sorrel
(red) horse with a cream
gene. It is like adding
cream to coffee. The more
you add, the lighter it
becomes. That is a
Look at Wrangler's (Pictured above) Sire Stars Rollickin Fire
(pictured below) and his Dam Hot Digity Wrangler (also
pictued below). Stars Rollickin Fire is a buckskin. What does
a palomino and a buckskin have in common? If you take a
bay horse, like Hot Digity Wrangler and add the cream gene,
that is how you get a buckskin. (Yes, that means that
buckskins aren't a breed either, they are just a color too)
See the wonderful
Forward to a limited
book that we published on
our website by special
permission by the author.
His teachings follow along
with the philosophies of
An Analysis of
|What are some of the things I need to think about
before I breed my mare?
Allthat N Abagachips is a Perlino Quarter Horse Stallion (see photo
below). The nice thing about knowing about genetics BEFORE you start
breeding horses is that you can really have a big hand in what you will get
down the road. Beginners think that you just put a male and female
horse together and that is all there is to it. We wish it were that easy.
What we strive for is A. Conformation - bad conformation means BIG
problems down the road for that new foal. Straight legs means even wear
and tear on their joints and tendons. B. Temperment - Nasty, ill
tempered or flighty horses are harder to train and harder to find good
homes for. C. Suitability- Cross the wrong lines, ie: A slow western
pleasure horse with a Fast Barrel horse and you will end up with a young
horse that is too fast to do western pleasure and to slow to do barrels.
Know your bloodlines before choosing a stallion to go with
|your mare. D. Genetic problems-Make sure that you know what genetic
problems are floating around in the mare and stallion's background. This
simple research can save you a wasted year. E. Color- By choosing this
Perlino which has two cream genes and the dilute buckskin genes with
Sadie's two recessive red genes we will either get a buckskin or a
palomino. There is also a slim chance of a smoky black. Anything else is
genetically impossible. Perlino's used to be called albino's until
geneticians figured out their potential for throwing 100% color. Definately
makes it nice knowing we will get color as well as quality since our mare
does not carry a dilute gene, it is impossible for her to have a perlino foal.
F. Markings. Of course we don't have to worry about this because we
are not breeding Paint horses, but if we were, it would be just one more
thing to worry about. So if you are thinking about breeding, remember
that foal has to live with your decisions for the next 25+ years. With all
the unwanted horses out there it is nice for your foal to have a better then
average chance of being wanted by a good home.
(Whoops! - Our mare had a beautiful blue roan colt! (See above photo
right) Turns out dad was not a Perlino after all, when the breeder had
him genetically tested she found out he was a Smoky Cream Roan! Still,
you can't complain, he is gorgeous! (We know he came out nice when our
breeder offered to buy him!)
|Thinking About Breeding?
You may want to think again. We had experience with horses for 23
years and had been training for 14 years before we decided we were
ready to start breeding in 2004. There is so much research involved just
to choose the right stallion. (see above article for info on this).
Horses are not born trained and you can't read a book or watch a video
on training and expect that to work, just like you can't read a book on
cutting hair and then go out and open a salon. (Being able to sit on a
horse's back is not considered "trained" by any standard) a lot of people
get seriously injured trying to train a horse by themselves.
Training costs average between $400 to $1,500 per month and you have
to wait until the horse is 2 1/2 to 3 years old before you can send them to
a trainer. A young horse needs a minimum of 3 - 6 months of training
and seasoning to produce a very quiet, gentle,
|well-behaved horse. And that doesn't even include any special training
so that the horse can be shown. On top of that, there are 80,000
unwanted horses sent to slaughter every year in the United States alone.
A lot of these horses are old or crippled, but a lot of them are young
horses that come from the "backyard breeder" that decided to breed a
mare before they had the experience needed to deal with a young horse.
Go to a weekly horse sale/auction and you will see plenty of these poor,
ruined horses. M-Bar-K Farms tries to rehabilitate one to two of these
types of horses per year.
This is definitely not the way to save money. Statistics show that 80% of
people who get into horses get out within one year. And out of the 20%
that is left, 2/3 will get out within the next five years. This is why M-Bar-K
Farms specializes in helping the beginner and non-beginner get started
in horses the correct way. This way has been proven to be successful
again and again.
This chart can be used to review or learn some body parts of the horse.
1) Poll; The poll is the bony prominence lying between the ears. Except for the ears, it is the highest
point on the horses body when it is standing with its head up.
2) Crest; Moderately lean in mares but inclined to be more full in stallions. Curved top line of the neck.
3) Forehead; The forehead should be broad, full and flat.
4) Nostrils ; The nostrils should be capable of wide dilation to permit the maximum inhalation of air, yet be
5) Muzzle; The head should taper to a small muzzle, the lips should be firm and the lower lip should not
have the tendency to sag.
6) Point of Shoulder ; The point of shoulder is a hard, bony prominence surrounded by heavy muscle
7) Breast; The Breast is a muscle mass between the forelegs, covering the front of the chest.
Back to Top
8) Chest; An ideal chest is deep and contains the space necessary for vital organs. A narrow chest can
lead to interference with the front legs. Chest muscles should be well developed and form an inverted
"V". The prominence of chest muscling depends on the breed.
9) Forearm; The forearm should be well muscled, it extends from the elbow to the knee.
10) Knee; The knee is the joint between the forearm and the cannon bone.
11) Coronet; The coronet is the band around the top of the hoof from which the hoof wall grows.
12) Hoof; The hoof refers to the horny wall and the sole of the foot. The foot includes the horny structure
and the pedal bones and navacular bones, as well as other connective tissue.
13) Pastern; The pastern extends from the fetlock to the top of the hoof.
15) Flexor Tendons; The flexor tendons run from the knee to the fetlock and can be seen prominently
lying behind the cannon bone, when it runs parallel to the cannon bone it constitutes the desired "flat
16) Fetlock; The fetlock is the joint between the cannon bone and the pastern. The fetlock joint should
be large and clean.
17) Cannon; The cannon bone lies between the knee and fetlock joint, and is visible from the front of
the leg. It should be straight.
19) Hock; The hock is the joint between the gaskin and the cannon bone, in the rear leg. The bony
protuberance at the back of the hock is called the point of hock.
20) Gaskin; The gaskin is the region between the stifle and the hock.
21) Stifle; The stifle is the joint at the end of the thigh corresponding to the human knee.
22) Flank; The flank is the area below the loin, between the last rib and the massive muscles of the thigh.
23) Croup; The croup (rump) lies between the loin and the tail. When one is looking from the side or
back, it is the highest point of the hindquarters.
24) Loin; The loin or coupling is the short area joining the back to the powerful muscular croup ( rump).
25) Back; The back extends from the base of the withers to where the last rib is attached.
26) Withers; The withers is the prominent ridge where the neck and the back join. At the withers,
powerful muscles of the neck and shoulders attach to the elongated spines of the second to sixth
thoracic vertebrae. The height of a horse is measured vertically from the withers to the ground, because
the withers is the horse's highest constant point.
27) Throat Latch; The neck should be fine at the throat latch to allow the horse ease of flexing.
28) Neck; Lightweight horses should have reasonably long necks for good appearance and proper
balance. It should blend smoothly into the withers and the shoulders and not appear to emerge between
the front legs.
29) Shoulder; Shoulders should be overlain with lean, flat muscle and blend well into the withers.
30) Barrel; The barrel should be narrower at the shoulders and widen at the point of coupling (loins).
31) Girth; This is the point that a horses should be measured to determine the heart girth which can be
used to determine the horses weight.
32) Elbow; The elbow is a bony prominence lying against the chest at the beginning of the forearm.
33) Hindquarters; The hindquarters give power to the horse. They should be well muscled when viewed
from the side and rear.
|What is Floating?
Because most horses don't
eat with their heads down
completely at all times, their
teeth have a tendency to wear
to a jagged edge, causing
uneven wear and tear, loss of
food digestibility and eventually
loss of the horses' teeth.
Floating is when a veterinarian
files down the horses' molars
in order for there to be even
contact between the teeth.
There is a lot of misinformation
about floating which is
unfortunate since it is now
attributed to the new longevity
in a horses' life.
Floating needs to start at
weaning, and continue every
six months until age 4. A
Veterinarian can take off caps
and pull wolf teeth to help the
horse maintain comfort during
it's early learning years. After
age 4 then a horse should be
floated at least once per year.
Horse retirement homes say
that horses that were not
floated on a regular basis
usually have no teeth by age
Because proper dental care is
vital to a horse's overall health,
the American Association of
Equine Practitioners says your
horses need a thorough oral
exam at least once a year.
Left undiagnosed and
untreated, a dental problem
can develop into a much more
significant health concern. In a
2006 study of horses suffering
from chronic weight loss, 20
percent of the horses
experienced weight loss due to
dental disorders. In addition to
weight loss, the inability to
chew feed into small particles
can lead to colic, and the
bacteria associated with gum
disease in the horse's mouth
can migrate to other areas of
the body, similar to what
occurs with gum disease in
In addition, a variety of
educational articles and
resources about equine
dentistry are available on the
AAEP Web site. Click here to
What is HYPP? Probably a lot
of you have seen this before.
It is caused from a mutated
gene and it stands for
PARALYSIS. This condition is
characterized by intermittent
episodes of muscle tremors
(shaking or trembling,
weaknesses and/or collapse).
To date, HYPP only has been
traced to descendants of
IMPRESSIVE, AQHA #0767246
Luckily there is a test for this
today. Possible results of
HYPP testing are N/N
(Normal), N/H (Carrier) and
H/H (Positive for HYPP). If
you tested any horse in the
world, they would come out
HYPP N/N if they did not carry
the HYPP gene.
Unfortunately a lot of people
avoid buying these very fine
horses because they don't
understand that HYPP N/N
means that the horse is as
normal as any horse
unrelated to Impressive.
HYPP is inherited as a
dominant trait, which means a
carrier (N/H) stallion or mare
bred to a normal (N/N) horse
will result in approximately half
of the offspring being affected
and half being normal. The
rare (H/H) usually is severely
affected with the disease and
will pass the gene to its
offspring 100 percent of the
It is very important when
looking to buy or breed a
horse with Impressive lineage
that it is N/N. That means that
the horse is normal and does
not carry this mutated gene at
all, nor can they ever pass it
to their offspring. However, it
is OK to purchase a gelding
or spayed mare that is HYPP
N/H. This horse would not be
effected by the gene because
they are only a carrier, and
you would not be taking a
chance of passing it on to
What is rain rot?
"Rain rot" and "rain scald" are common names for a
dermatitis in horses due to the invasion of bacteria called
Dermatophilus Congolensis in the outer skin layers. This
bacterium can be part of the normal flora of bacteria that
reside on the skin surface. It can proliferate rapidly when
the skin becomes wet due to rain or high humidity. When
this happens, the bacteria aggressively attack the skin,
leading to ulceration and crater formation. Scales form as
serum oozes from the lesions and mats the hair.
However, being out in the rain is essential to building
immunity. Although frequently seen in neglected horses,
rain rot also occurs in very well-groomed, well-fed horses
that simply have infrequent exposure to rain and low
immunity. This is very frustrating to show horse owners
whose horses are accidentally exposed to rain. Horses
that are kept out regularly are more likely to develop an
immunity after one or two bouts of rain rot than those who
rarely get wet. This is why they have healthy skin despite
frequent exposure to rain. Horses that are on a poor diet
or are heavily parasitized often develop chronic
conditions or have recurring bouts of rain rot.
Regular grooming helps prevent many skin disorders. A
dirty coat can collect bacteria and hold it next to the skin.
Good nutrition, including vitamins and fatty acids, is
essential for healthy skin and hair. In mild cases of rain
rot, anti-bacterial shampoos such as Weladol, and rinses
such as Betadine, may be all that is needed to clear up
the condition. These are usually applied every two days
for three to four treatments. In winter, when it’s too cold to
bathe horses, you can apply topical preparations to only
the affected sections of your horse, drying each quickly,
or use an antibacterial powder.
Rain rot, which is bacterial, is often confused with
ringworm, which is caused by a fungus, and with allergic
weals resulting from insect bites. Insect bites are often
isolated, whereas fungal and bacterial conditions tend to
spread. With any skin condition, especially one that
makes riding uncomfortable for your horse, consult your
veterinarian for an accurate, differential diagnosis. He or
she will closely examine the skin lesions, and, if
necessary, perform fungal/bacterial cultures to confirm
What do the two horses
above have in common?
The one in the top picture is a dun paint,
the one on the bottom is a roan. What
both of these horses have in common is
that they are marked horses. Most people
think that a dun, a paint or pinto and a
roan are a breed. Guess again. They are
markings. A dun is any color or breed of
horse with the dun marked gene. There is
actually a breed of dun horse, but that is
usually not the duns that you see in the
United States. They are usually quarter
horses or some other breed. Usually dun
marking are a line down the back and
stripes on the legs. Some duns also are
marked with black points. Duns can come
in any color, gray, sorrel, bay etc. On
dark horses it may be hard to detect that
the horse has dun markings. People think
Buckskins are duns. You can have a
buckskin dun, but the buckskin is just
another color variance. (see above
article). Paints and pintos are also
markings, not a breed. A paint is a
quarter horse or thoroughbred with the
spotting gene. A pinto is any other breed
with the spotting gene. Many breeders
make a lot of mistakes getting into paints
and thinking they are breeding "purebred"
paints. That is like trying to cross a
dalmatian and a Brittany spaniel to get
"purebred" spotted dogs. Both dogs have
spots, but they are different breeds.
Roans are also a marking. Roaning just
means that white hairs are evenly
interspersed with the regular colored
hairs. Roans can also come in many
colors as well and you can have roan
markings on many different breeds of
Unfortunately the United States is the only
country that has horse breed
organizations organized by color. That is
extremely confusing for people trying to
breed (see breeding article above) You
don't see this in other breed organizations.
You don't have the Yellow dog breeders
association or the White rabbit breeders
association. And European horse
organizations also go by breed and not
color. U.S. Organizations are trying to
change as people get more educated
about genetics and how it effects
breeding, hopefully they will keep going in