I’m going to address three major defects that have spread and propagated as a direct result of the show ring: HYPP, HERDA and OLWS.
There is no doubt that HYPP (HYPERKALEMIC PERIODIC PARALYSIS) is the one defect that comes to mind when you mention the AQHA show ring. HYPP is a disease that would have come and gone in a few generations if the halter industry had not existed. It was compounded by halter breeders and has endured long past the time the defect would have existed in the wild because of the human interference of selective breeding. All HYPP horse trace back to on AQHA stallion, Impressive. He was the point mutation for the gene.
HYPP serves no legitimate purpose. It does increase muscle bulk, but the muscles are useless. They aren’t geared toward heavy hauling, speed or endurance.
Impressive AQHA stallion
For a long time HYPP horses dominated the halter industry. World and National champions in AQHA, APHA and ApHC were crowned with the judges knowing they were placing a horse with a genetic defect. It is proof of the absolute corruption and back scratching among stock breed judges.
The most horrific thing about HYPP is that people excuse the breeding of the defect with such lame excuses:
He’s such a wonderful horse; he deserves to pass on his good traits.
No dipshit, he doesn’t deserve to pass anything on. He’s a horse; the only thing he deserves is good care. Love him, treat him kind and make sure he’s gelded so that he never reproduces another horse that has to go through an HYPP attack.
HYPP can be managed; it doesn’t hurt the horse if you treat it correctly.
You can’t cure HYPP. A horse may never have any symptoms and then one day fall over and die. You can try to treat the symptoms, but in times of extreme stress, like showing, then the horse can have an attack. Proof of this is that all three stock breeds allow the use of Acetazolimide, a diuretic and drug masker, to be used for HYPP horses. Isn’t that grand? Catering to the defect by allowing drugs that are banned by FEI to be used in the show ring.
This is the fact sheet that AQHA has on their website about HYPP.
Seems pretty bland when you consider the damage that HYPP breeders have done to the halter industry.
I will give AQHA credit for requiring the testing of Impressive descendants and the results marked on their papers. APHA and ApHC have not taken this step because of the political roadblocks.
AQHA has also banned the registration of HYPP H/H horses, but they still allow HYPP N/H horses and do not restrict the breeding of N/H horses to N/H horses. So basically they make it okay to produced more H/H horses that end up being dumped. If they really wanted to stop H/H they would make it so it is illegal to breed two N/H horses, simple solution to a problem.
What AQHA has not done is ban the showing of N/H and H/H horses in halter. They jumped really quick to ban excessive white horses from showing in halter, but it's perfectly okay to show a defect that is far worse then being a little "painty" in the ring. You can have a World Champion H/H halter horse, but you can't have a World Champion excessive white halter horse. Talk about your screwed up priorities!
ApHC and APHA do not ban HYPP breeding in any capacity and APHA does not require the papers to be marked with the horse’s HYPP status. ApHC did finally require the ApHC foals from an AQHA parent, that is HYPP positive, to be tested and have the results printed on the papers, however, non-AQHA foals do not have to have the results listed. So you can breed Appaloosa N/H or H/H to Appaloosa N/H or H/H with impunity and never have a problem registering the foal. And even better, you can breed an Appaloosa to a grandfathered in H/H QH, even if the Appaloosa is H/H.
No one can accuse the ApHC of being proactive toward HYPP. They’ve only had 15 freaking years to get their shit together about it.
UC Davis has been the most proactive in the fight against HYPP breeding. Dr. Sharon Spier is the one that “outed” the disease and its famous progenitor, Impressive.
Tufts Veterinary School also has a good page about HYPP.
I like their use of the word “plague” to describe how HYPP affects the industry. HYPP is a plague, but the fact the plague has not been eradicated is 100% the responsibility of unscrupulous breeders. Yes, I mean all breeders that breed HYPP horses. You are all pieces of shit and should be jailed. You are deliberately breeding for a defect that makes the life of the horse miserable. You are doing it for greed and vanity. You are worse than the Tennessee Walking Horse abusers. I can rescue a horse from the TWH show ring and make his life better. You cannot rescue a horse from HYPP. He’s born with it, and he’ll keep it until he dies. Of course the mortality rate of HYPP horse is high, particularly the H/H horses. Nothing like breeding a disposable product that you can replace every few years. What better way to get rid of HYPP positive halter geldings, which have no future once their show career is over, than letting them die an early death. Poetic.
This article talks about foal deaths from paralyzed airways, which occurred during HYPP attacks. Nothing like watching a foal die gasping for breath to make the value of this blue ribbons seem pretty shoddy.
HYPP attack on video:
I really hate this video because the poor foal is so confused as to why his mother won’t get up.
HYPP variant (Yes, variants exist)
Oh look, all kinds of N/H stallions just waiting to pass on their defective genes for their scum money-grubbing owners.
Here’s a veritable Who’s Who in the halter industry, all H/H and ready to produce N/H foals for whichever POS breeder wants them.
Pathetic! You’d think in this age of information and enlightenment that people would be more ethical than this shit. Stop breeding HYPP positive horses. Just stop! The horse does not deserve it! He doesn’t understand why he has attacks! And if you have to drug the horse to show it then leave the damn thing at home! Seriously, it is just sick for people to keep breeding this easily avoidable defect. And shame on ApHC and APHA for not taking any steps at all to stop the breeding of HYPP positive horses. Organizations that condone HYPP are just as guilty as the breeders creating the horses. You are part of the problem, when will you become part of the solution?
Here's some asshat ads from people that promote breeding HYPP postive horses:
http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/grd/832804631.html What more can you ask for? Poor conformation, HYPP positive and covered in paw prints! Run out and buy her now!
http://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/grd/813285172.html Someone actually bought this horse knowing he's HYPP positive. This is where two fools met!
My next genetic issue is HERDA, Hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia. HERDA is a horrific disease, and like HYPP is so easily avoidable.
Why would anyone breed a horse, knowing that HERDA could be in the mix?
UC Davis does HERDA testing. Why not spend the money to make sure you don’t produce any horses with this terrible disease?
Once again the AQHA goes lightweight on the issue. They do not require testing for HERDA, they do not ban the registration of breeding of carrier horses.
Why? Because it’s all about the numbers with the AQHA. They have to have “more” horses registered every year than any other organization, even if some of those horses are carriers of genetic defects and suffer greatly because of it. Of course it goes without saying that APHA and ApHC don’t do shit about HERDA. Why should they when Big Brother AQHA doesn’t?
Poco Bueno AQHA stallion
HERDA horses can be traced to Poco Bueno. His descendants are the crème de la crème of the cutting horse industry. But HERDA is not restricted to just the cutting horse lines. Because of Poco Bueno’s progeny, that excelled in other performance events, the gene is spread throughout the reining and pleasure horse industries too. Dry Doc, Zippo Pine Bar, Doc O’lena and Great Pine are QH stallions that were all carriers and their descendants, in whichever stock breed they are registered, can also be carriers.
There is no treatment for HERDA. Horses that are carriers can live out normal lives. Horses that are symptomatic are usually euthanized by the time they are four. Crossing two carriers is like playing Russian Roulette with a living creature that has no choice in whether to play or not. Why take the risk?
Is it really worth it not to test and prevent the birth of another HERDA symptomatic horse?
The answer to the above question appears to be yes. People routinely line breed Zippo Pine Bar horses. The cutting industry is so immersed in Poco Bueno lines that he is in two out of every three pedigrees. And they still line breed, and still end up losing money on every double positive foal. To cutting horse breeders the risk is worth it. What is the pain and suffering of a horse worth against the potential to make money? Not a damn thing.
Kudos to this breeder for having a HERDA explanation page on his website so people can read about the disease. But a big thumbs down for continuing to breed a HERDA carrier stallion. There is no stallion or mare worth so much that it needs to reproduce or pass on defective genes. http://www.flyingvquarterhorses.com/
And a big thumbs down to this idiot, who should know better than to breed his HERDA N/H stallion Ducelena, scroll down to about half way: http://www.horsedeals.com.au/horses-for-sale.php?horseTypes_id=22&subType_id=32&doSrch=doSrch&horseAge2=&horsePrice2=&horseHeight2=&page=10&PHPSESSID=4055a2147822eca16c42d585a798c679
The last defect I’ll address for now (although I’m sure there will be more later) is OLWS (Overo Lethal White Syndrome)
OLWS is another genetic defect that can be easily avoided through genetic testing and wise breeding choices.
The Paint, Pinto and AQHA breeders that do not exercise due caution will find themselves with a lovely white foal one morning and shortly thereafter they will have a lovely white and very dead foal. OLWS is 100% fatal. OLWS is different from the other two diseases in that you can usually look at a horse and get a good suspicion that he’s a carrier. How? Most OLWS carriers often exhibit a pinto coat pattern known as Frame. Frame overos are usually quite pretty and visually striking. However, breeding two together can be a big risk. Not all frames carry OLWS, and not all non-Frame horses are free of it. The diseases has shown up in Thoroughbred, Quarter Horses, Paints and Pintos. It will probably make an appearance in Appaloosas, if it hasn’t already, due to the fact that AQHA removed their white restrictions and ApHC will now allow pinto marked horses to get ApHC papers, as long as they have two Appaloosa parents. Breeding excessive white to excessive white is a good way to get this disease up and running in the ApHC. Breeds that do not carry the Frame gene do not have OLWS.
OLWS is a condition that not only affects pigment cells, it effects enteric nerve cells. The colon does not work. OLWS foals are usually full term and look like normal healthy foals, all the more heartbreaking when they die within a few days.
Here is the description of OLWS from the APHA.
APHA is quite happy to tell you about the disease, but they aren’t about to demand testing or block people from breeding carriers. Who cares how many little white dead foals litter the highway to the show ring?
Why take the risk to produce that produces these foals?
Color sells! It’s that simple. In order to get color you have to roll the color dice. And if the color dice comes with a fatal genetic defect then so be it. There are people that breed mares that have produced several OLWS foals. They take the risk that at some point the genetic dice will roll in their favor. How fricking stupid can you get? It’s costs at least $1,500 to take care of a mare for a year of gestation. Add in the stud fee, vet care and loss of the foal and you can be out several thousands of dollars with no foal to show for it. Wouldn’t it be better to test for OLWS and then not breed carriers? Sure it would, but you can’t make any money on non-breeding horses unless you train them to have a job.
Photos of some cute, and ultimately dead, lethal white foals.
And WTF is up with this website?
They're willing to explain OLWS, but then give the excuse that breedig overos requires the risk of crossing and that losing one foal out of three is acceptable. No it isn't. It is "never" acceptable to risk a foal's life with a genetic defect!
Video of lethal white foal:
So here we have three genetic defects, all easily avoidable, none banned by the organizations that promote the stock horse show industry. Why? Greed! It is pure greed that does not ban a defect that is ultimately harmful to the horse. Why AQHA, APHA and ApHC have not banned the breeding of HERDA carriers is a mystery to anyone that has the best interest of the horse at heart. Greed! Nothing but unmitigated, inexcusable greed!
So Shame On You, AQHA, APHA and ApHC. Shame on you for being so fricking greedy you will let horses be born with fatal flaws and stand by while breeders continue to produce these doomed horses. You have an obligation to the breeds you represent to stop the breeding of these defects! All of these defects are propogated by show ring breeders. All are kept going because people think having a show champion, regardless of how genetically defective, means you can breed it into perpetuity! Stupid greedy people!