With the birth of our next baby horse weeks away, I have spent a lot of time reflecting upon the genetics involving the father and mother. Of course, I hope that I have chosen the right combination to produce an outstanding jumper that also has a trainable mind and hungry heart. (Try finding those terms defined in a breeder’s literature about their stallion.)
Genetics mix differently with each baby. Are all your children the same? Mine are surely not. Even horses with full siblings may not look, act or move like their brother or sister.
My kids are separated out by age. Amber, my oldest is six years older than her sister, Ally, and 12 years older than her sister, Lauren. They all have distinct personalities and likes and dislikes. In some ways, Amber and Lauren look more alike and have similar likes and dislikes than their sister Ally. Genetics, it is all weird.
I am watching my baby Sims continue to grow almost before my eyes. At this point, there is little doubt that he will be close to 17 hands or so tall. But, will he be adjustable down the lines and easy to train? Will he have the heart to take on the really big fences without fear or hesitation? And no matter what his genetics say, a lot of this depends on how he is introduced to work and training. His trainer is almost as important as genetic make up. Will I be able to give Sims and Betty Sue the access to the training to adequately augment their own abilities? That is a hard one. For all of us breeding that home grown “want-to-be champions”, we can get the genetics right (or pretty right) and derail ourselves with the training.
My daughter, Amber, has been in Kansas City this week. The kids have come face to face with new cousins. Have they found kids just like themselves or totally unique individuals without similarities? When I learn of a new relative from my mom’s big family whom I have never met before I search their face for ways it looks like mine. Do you all do that?
Genetics is spellbinding to me. The key to so much and yet the mystery of so much as well. If any of it were easy, the next Derby horse would be better than the last and we would still not be telling tales of Secretariat and Man ‘O War. Or even about the heart of the $80 Champion, Snowman. I actually love that science and mystery abound still, distinct from one another. Every kid, every horse can be a champion- there is always a chance. When we try to breed the perfect horse, we know we will get less but we continue to hope for the best.
I can’t wait for this baby to be born, boy or girl, win or lose, mixing these strong Flexible Irish lines with the trainable, beautiful mover Silhouette German/Holsteiner lines, is a dream come true for me.
Thanks as always, for riding along.