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Bloodlines-N- Pedigrees Insight on Breeding Better Horses

Welcome to Bloodlines N Pedigrees Welcome to BLOODLINES N PEDIGREES a tool we have designed to provide the owner, breeder and trainer with information on how to use the pedigree as a selection tool. The pedigree has been an Invaluable tool for the breeding of horses since they first started keeping records on horses. Our goal is to inform you on how to use the pedigree to help make decisions on the mating, sale and purchase of horses. Our look at the use of the pedigree as a selection tool will include Information on breeding systems and the role they play to give you the opportunity to breed the best horse possible. We will look at many of the breeding theories and patterns in the horses that are successful as well. This will include both performance and racehorse segments of the industry. This will come under the heading of BREEDING SYSTEMS and/or BREEDING THEORIES depending on the topic for that issue. This issue will begin our exploration of inbreeding.

One area we hope to provide more information on is the influence of the mare in the production of the foal especially through the tail female line that traces to the taproot mare of that line. This area of pedigree research has fascinated me for many years. Our plan is to explore this facet of the pedigree and give you some food for thought on its use in the selection of When we delve into the our horses. We have history of the breed and titled this segment THE we go to the people who FOUNDATION. This used these ancestors we month we will talk about find out about the how Della Moore made human-interest side of an early impact on the their story. It is not just Bud Warren breeding who begot who; but what program. took place that made these people and their One of the areas we will horses so special to the attempt to keep current development of the on is the new breed. We will report Information that is some of this through our coming from the studies WHERE IT CAME of the horse’s genome. FROM segment. This The genome being the month we will delve into term used to designate how Poco Bueno was not that they have only a great cutting horse determined the genetic and influential sire but make up of an animal. we will tell the story of Geneticists are making his role in how modern strides to give us new cutting may have come to genetic information that use the saddle horn to will enable us to breed stay in the saddle. the best horse possible. We will report on the history of the American Quarter Horse to enable you to learn about the attributes of the horses in the breed. This will enable you to learn about the qualities that were present to make those horses perform to their highest level and how we can pass those qualities on to the next generation.

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Volume 1, Issue 1

Inside this issue:

WELCOME

1

DEFINING INBREEDING

2

THE SADDLE HORN AND MODERN CUTTING

6

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MARE

7

THE ORIGIN OF THE SPEED GENE

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Introduction cont…. This will include looking into how the horse performs through such recent finding as the “speed gene” and how the mitochondrial DNA affects the performance of the animal. GENETIC NEWS will be our segment dedicated to bringing you up-to-date on the news on the genetics of the horse. GENETIC NEWS this month

will tell how Dr. Emmeline Hill and her fellow researchers have reportedly found the origin of their “Speed Gene.”

pedigree. We hope you will join us in our endeavor to provide the kind of information we all need to breed a better horse.

This welcome to BLOODLINES N PEDIGREES gives you a sneak peak at some of the topics we will be delving into to enhance your knowledge of the

THE BREEDING SYSTEMS— DEFINING INBREEDING By Larry Thornton

Your link here: Advertise in Bloodlines -NPedigrees

The breeding system known as inbreeding is a valuable tool in the development of a breed or a bloodline within a breed. There are many advantages to inbreeding but they are generally overshadowed by the disadvantages. The following is the beginning of a discussion of inbreeding that will set the groundwork for us to cover the pros and cons of this breeding system and other breeding systems we can use to breed our horses. As you will see Inbreeding is not for everyone.

sheep. He closed his herd and that Inbreeding is defined as "the mat- meant he had to retain only the geing of animals more closely related netically superior individuals to obtain the than the average of the desired "type" in the next population." This includes sire to generation. This meant that evendaughter matings; son to mother tually he had to inbreed to set the matings, full brother to full sister matings, half brother to half sister desired type. Bakewell's success matings, cousin to cousin and so on led others to develop "breeds" that bred true or "pure" for certain chardown the line. acteristics when mated within their herd or their breed. The early development of the "pure breeds," as we know them today, The Celebrated American provides us with some insight into Quarter Running Horse of Colonial the desirable effects of inbreeding. America experienced a similar development through inbreeding to England's, Robert Bakewell is The general definition of a breed is considered the originator of the stallion *Janus. Quarter H orse breeder and historian, Helen "a group of animals with a common modern breed development. Michaelis assembled a great deal of ancestor or ancestors and distinct Bakewell believed in the philosophy colonial history on the quarter horse. characteristics that are passed on of "breed the best to the best to get She reported in the "Sons of Janus" generation after generation." The the best." So he assembled the (THE AMERICAN ability to pass these characteristics "best" QUARTER HORSE JOURNAL, April on animals he could find and then set 1951) that colonial breeders bred their generation after generation comes out to develop the "type" of animal mares to winners and the sires of winners. through inbreeding. he wanted in his herds of cattle and

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The Breeding Systems cont‌. *Janus was one of those successful sires of colonial winners. Michaelis tells us, "After the arrival of *Janus it was within the *Janus family that most of the winners were found. Some of the Janus-bred horses had so many crosses to *Janus that modern writers questioned their pedigrees." Michaelis went on the explain that *Janus stood at stud 28 years and that the Colonists believed in *Janus blood. She credits this Colonial attitude to the philosophy of, "if one Janus cross was good-several should be better." Michaelis' report tells us that the outcome of this inbreeding, "resulted in a horse that could not run a full quarter of a mile.� Thus the concentrated blood of *Janus may have shortened the distance of the Colonial Quarter Horse but it gave him a tremendous burst of early speed and uniformity of conformation. Thus the foundation of the Colonial Quarter Running Horse had unknowingly set the "type" of animal known today as the American Quarter Horse through the practice of inbreeding. The key to what made Bakewell successful was the fact that he culled or removed the undesirable individuals and kept only the genetically sound animals. Strong culling and the retaining of only the best or genetically strong is a key to any inbreeding program or venture. This is why many of the successful breeding programs that practice inbreeding were successful—They used rigid culling levels using only the genetically superior to achieve the desired results.

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The early King Ranch breeding program is synonymous with inbreeding and linebreeding in the quarter horse industry. The King Ranch breeding program developed the Old Sorrel line of quarter horses, because Old Sorrel was the best cow horse they had ever seen on the ranch.

that the King Ranch was successful in their breeding program by carefully selecting only the best horses for their breeding herd. They had rigid standards and culled all horses that didn't meet their criteria.

The genetic text ANIMAL BREEDING-AN INTRODUCWhen the King Ranch started using TION by Rodney B. Harrington gives Old Sorrel as a breeding stallion, they us another example of rigid culling were pleased with his colts. In order through plant breeders. Plant breeders will use high culling levels to to perpetuate the line they started breeding him back to his daughters. achieve their goal in producing an outstanding inbred line of plants. In But they were not satisfied with the some cases they will save only 1% of results. So they started breeding to the progeny over several years and Old Sorrel through his sons and they will work with thousands of daughters. They found this to be a plants. This is not practical for the better then close inbreeding of Old animal breeding industry but it tells Sorrel being bred to his daughters. us that to use inbreeding as a breeding system, we need to use only the best The sons and daughters of Old most genetically sound individuals Sorrel that were used as breeding and cull the rest. horses on the King Ranch were all tested and proven to be good using Bakewell was unable to use the horses. The individuals that carried the desirable genes were the only ones genetic knowledge available to modmoved to the Old Sorrel breeding pro- ern breeders. Bakewell's idea was to gram. introduce and keep the best genetics in his herd by selection. Through The quality individuals the King proper selection, he retained the deRanch required in their breeding pro- sired animals, making his herd gram may best be demonstrated by "homozygous" for the desired traits. the number of sons that were signifi- Homozygosity is the basis for breeds cant contributors to the breeding pro- passing on the same traits generation gram. Bob Denhardt in his book, after generation. THE KING RANCH QUARTER HORSE, discusses 14 sons of Old The genetic condition of homoSorrel that were used as breeding zygosity is best defined through a horses in the Old Sorrel breeding pro- short discussion of basic genetics. gram. Of these 14 only 6 made a sig- The horse's genetic makeup is connificant contribution. The 6 were tained on 64 chromosomes. The Solis, Cardenal, Little Richard, genes are located on the 64 chromoMacanudo, Babe Grande and Hired somes. The genes are strands of deHand. oxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The DNA is the code to tell the bodybuilding The significance of these 6 stallions materials how to form the different and their contribution is put into per- systems. Thus the genes carry the spective when we see that Old Sorrel genetic material that gives the animal was used on the King Ranch for 22 his physical characteristics. years from 1921 to 1943. This tells us

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The Breeding Systems cont…. The horse’s 64 chromosomes (32 pairs) come together when the sire and dam are mated. The sire provides 32 chromosomes and the dam provides the other 32. The gene's location is fixed on the chromosomes and combines with another genes at that location when the embryo is formed. The two genes are called alleles. When the alleles are identical in their code, they are homozygous. If they are different they are said to be heterozygous. How do we get homozygosity? We inbreed. Inbreeding leads to an increase in homozygosity of the gene combinations. Bakewell developed his desired type by inbreeding which lead to homozygosity of the desired traits. This allowed the traits to be passed on generation after generation. The homozygous state is seen in such traits as the white faces of Hereford cattle. The Hereford breeds true for this trait. Even in crossbreeding with Angus cattle, the white face is expressed because the Hereford passes only that trait on and it is dominant in nature. (The white face masks the black face of the Angus.) A key beneficial effect of homozygosity is the phenomenon we know today as prepotency. Prepotency is defined as the ability of an animal to mark his or her foals with desired characteristics. Color and markings are the most identifiable characteristics of the prepotent individual.

owner wanted “because the mare owner knew what he wanted” and Leo would give it to them. He then went on to point out that Leo would cross with mares from many bloodlines including Joe Hancock, King, Three Bars and Oklahoma Star sire line mares.

with Angus cattle, the white face is expressed because the Hereford passes only that trait on and it is dominant in nature. (The white face masks the black face of the Angus.)

A key beneficial effect of homozygosity is the phenomenon we know Where did Leo’s prepotency today as prepotency. Prepotency is come from? Well a look at his pedigree defined as the ability of an animal to will define what we are talking about mark his or her foals with desired with inbreeding and it’s role in homo- characteristics. Color and markings zygosity making the individual prepo- are the most identifiable characteristent. Leo was sired by Joe Reed II by tics of the prepotent individual. Joe Reed P-3 and out of Little Fanny by Joe Reed P-3. This is a half The greatest example of the phebrother/sister mating that apparently nomenon of prepotency in the quarter resulted in Leo inheriting a lot of the horse comes through Leo. Leo’s prepogood genes from Joe Reed P-3 making tency or his ability to mark his foals in him homozygous for those genes ena- the quarter horse industry is legenbling him to pass them on. dary. Leo’s long time owner and his fellow AQHA Hall of Fame member The animal's physical character- Bud Warren talked about it this way, “Leo was a combination of genes the istics are his phenotype or what he clicked.” Warren went on to explain looks like. His genetic makeup is that he could breed any mare the mare known as his genotype. owner wanted “because the mare The horse’s 64 chromosomes (32 owner knew what he wanted” and Leo would give it to them. He then went on pairs) come together when the sire and dam are mated. The sire provides to point out that Leo would cross with mares from many bloodlines including 32 chromosomes and the dam provides the other 32. The gene's location Joe Hancock, King, Three Bars and Oklahoma Star sire line mares. is fixed on the chromosomes and combines with another genes at that Where did Leo’s prepotency location when the embryo is formed. come from? Well a look at his pedigree The two genes are called alleles. When the alleles are identical in their will define what we are talking about with inbreeding and it’s role in homocode, they are homozygous. If they zygosity making the individual prepoare different they are said to be hettent. Leo was sired by Joe Reed II by erozygous. Joe Reed P-3 and out of Little Fanny by Joe Reed P-3. This is a half How do we get homozygosity? We inbreed. Inbreeding leads to an brother/sister mating that apparently increase in homozygosity of the gene resulted in Leo inheriting a lot of the good genes from Joe Reed P-3 making combinations. Bakewell developed his him homozygous for those genes enadesired type by inbreeding which lead bling him to pass them on. to homozygosity of the desired traits. This allowed the traits to be passed on generation after generation.

The greatest example of the phenomenon of prepotency in the quarter horse comes through Leo. Leo’s prepotency or his ability to mark his foals in the quarter horse industry is legendary. Leo’s long time owner and his fellow AQHA Hall of Fame member Bud Warren talked about it this way, The homozygous state is seen in “Leo was a combination of genes the such traits as the white faces of Hereclicked.” Warren went on to explain ford cattle. The Hereford breeds true that he could breed any mare the mare for this trait. Even in crossbreeding Volume 1, Issue 1

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The role of inbreeding is to set the type or characteristics desired in the development of the herd or a breed. This results in the herd or breed being homozygous for the desired genes. The homozygosity of the desired genes leads to prepotency of individuals within the herd or breed. Thus inbreeding becomes the foundation or

base of the breed or herd. Our next look at inbreeding will show the down side of this breeding system and how it affects what we are doing. The Pedigree of Leo showing the inbreeding that helps us understand his prepotency.

Sire: Joe Reed II / Leo / \ \

\ \ Joe Reed

/ / Dam: Little Fanny

This photo was selected to demostrate a trait Leo passed on to his grandson Jewel's Leo Bar. Leo had some freckles on his face and legs. Jewel's Leo Bar who was out of Leo Pan by Leo was nicknamed "Freckles" because of the freckles on his face and stockings. The success of "Freckles" resulted in a whole line of performance horses including such famous cutters as Freckles Playboy and Colonel Freckles.The freckles didn't necessarily pass on to the next generation but they still demonstrate how prepotency works in that Leo's freckles passed to his grandson and this is what we look for in a good breeding horse. So the next time you see a Freckles bred horse look to see if they have the freckles.

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WHERE IT CAME FROM— THE SADDLE HORN AND MODERN CUTTING By Larry Thornton The cutting industry lost a legend on February 26, 1990, when Pine Johnson passed away after a long fight against cancer. Pine will always be remembered by his family for many things that a father and husband are remember for, but most of us will remember him for his association with another legend, Poco Bueno. It was the Poco Bueno/Pine Johnson team that many authorities credit as the first famous cutting horse team. Poco Bueno became Pine Johnson's primary job when he went to work for E. Paul Waggoner at the Three D Stock Farm at Arlington, Texas. Johnson recalled his first meeting with Poco Bueno in a 1985 interview. "When I went to Waggoner's they told me, 'Your main job is Poco Bueno.' Well, they led him out of the stall and he looked too heavy muscled. A real heavy muscled and thick kind of a horse. He didn't look like an athlete. But I found out he was." What Pine found was the great power and quickness of Poco Bueno. Johnson continued his story, "He's the only horse that ever turned out from under me. He turned out from under me at a rodeo during the cuttin'. I mean he just turned out from under me so quick that I hit the ground on my feet and stood up. And I just didn't realize he had that much quickness. I like to never made myself believe that this horse was actually that quick, a cow was at his mercy."

decided that was what the saddle horn was for, and just as he'd go into a turn, I'd pull up on it for all I was worth, and I'd stay with him although I often felt like my feet were over my head." Johnson's new style of riding a cutting horse was born out of a need to survive on the back of Poco Bueno. Some riders criticized him for the new style. Eventually the new technique caught on and evolved into our modern style of cutting with the saddle horn an essential part of the equipment. Pine added, "I never reined him while I was cuttin'. He was so fast that I didn't have time to and I couldn't have if I'd started the day before ... He kept me too busy just trying to ride him." In my 1985 interview, Pine recounted the working style of Poco Bueno. "He had more ability, more power than any horse I'd ever ridden. I've never ridden a horse like this. He seemed to take hold of the ground ... freeze to the ground when he stopped. He didn't slip and slide. He had a way of turning around not many horses have. He dropped down, straight down in front and bent his knees and it seemed to give him a spring and sweep. He wasn't a rough horse at all. He never bounced. A lot of horses are good working horses but they're rough, they bounce and jerk you. But he was smooth."

Odessa, the cow he was working slipped and fell. He got right down on his knees in front of her - like he thought she might try to crawl under him. When that cow would turn her head to one side to try to get up, he'd lay his nose right on the ground in front of her. When she'd move her head to the other side, he'd move his. It was really something.� Poco Bueno could do more than cut. He was an intelligent horse that showed his ability to get the job done as a day-to-day cow horse. Pine had to put Poco Bueno's power to work with a rank Hereford cow. "One day I was penning a registered Hereford cow, she didn't want to go in the pen. So I just roped her off Poco Bueno. She was runnin in, hookin' him and I didn't want her to hook him and scar him up. She was a big cow, probably 1050 pounds. I had never roped on him before. He just turned around and drags her to the pen just like he was a ranch horse.

Pine showed Poco Bueno over a period of years. He would bring the great stallion in from the pasture in the fall after breeding his band of mares - get him ready and show him at the major shows across the country. They went to an average of about five shows a year. Pine found that the success of Poco With a horse as quick as Poco Bueno Bueno led to some hard feelings among the Pine also credited Poco Bueno with the to contend with, Pine Johnson unother exhibitors about the great stallion practice of positioning the horse paralknowingly set out to change how we and his rider. So he persuaded Mr. lel to the animal being cut. It was a ride our cutting horses. According to Waggoner to let him exhibit the stallion in a good way to entice the cow to make a Johnson in the story, "Poco Bueno, noncompetitive manner. Pine reported that break and Poco Bueno would sweep First of the Famous Cutting Poco Bueno and his rider "were more popuaround and block the animals attemptHorses," (The Texas and Southwestern lar after they exhibited him." ing escape. Horseman, May 1966), "I never thought it looked like much of a cowThe tenacity of Poco Bueno was recounted by Pine in the Texas and boy if the rider had to hold on to the Southwestern Horseman story. "Twice, saddle horn while he was cutting... but I once in Forth Worth and once in Volume 1, Issue 1

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Pine must be credited with more than riding Poco Bueno. He was the man that started Poco Lena and Poco Tivio showing them to some of their early successes. He trained and showed the great gelding Snipper W to a top 10 finish in the NCHA in 1952. All three of these horses became early AQHA Champions and at the time Pine rode them they were owned by Mr. Waggoner.

legs and get close to the ground and the more you asked of her, the more she could do. With both Poco Lena and Poco Bueno, I never got to the point where I thought I didn't have enough speed and power to get the job done."

The exploits of Poco Bueno and Pine Johnson Poco Lena was the only foal of Poco have been legendary since Bueno that Pine had an opportunity to their day in the limelight. show for any length of time. He related, We lost these two great individuals with the pas"She had the same style as her sire, she would drop down when she went to turn, sage of time, but they are still with us through their she would drop straight down and legend. So the next time you that's how he turned out from under balance yourself with the me that time. He'd drop 6 or 8 inches saddle horn, think about down towards the ground and sweep over. Well, this left you up out of the sad- Pine Johnson, the man that rode Poco Bueno and now dle and that's how he turned out from under me. Well, Poco Lena did the same you not only know where it came from but why it came thing. She had a way of knuckling or about. kneeling down kind of. She'd bend her

This picture shows Pine and Poco Bueno making one of their famous moves. You will note that Pine has not adopted the new riding style. But this picture shows the kind of moves this great stallion had. This picture was used to design the old NCHA championship belt buckle that was used for many years.

THE FOUNDATION— THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MARE By Larry Thornton Bud Warren was an early “short horse” owner and breeder that became a legend in the racing American Quarter Horse. The term “short horse” refers to the men and woman that raced the American Quarter Horse during the early years of the development of the breed. These men and woman believed the American Quarter Running Horse was at his best at the shorter distances such as 220 to 350 yards and thus the term “Short Horse Racing.” When you hear the name Bud Warren you automatically think of the great stallions he owned and stood in his AQHA Hall of Fame career. He owned Leo, Sugar Bars and Jet Deck to name just a few and these three stallions are commonly found in the pedigree history of not only our modern quarter running horses but the breed in general. When Bud Warren was putting his Volume 1, Issue 1

breeding program together he was buying mares to start a broodmare band. One of those mares was Swamp Angel. Warren bought Swamp Angel for $30.00 on the recommendation of a friend. He described her as a “little ole bay mare.”

Joe Reed P-3 and Joe Moore, two famous stallions in the quarter horse breed. Both of these stallions were successful sires of racing and performing American Quarter Horses.

Della Moore became a broodmare under suspicious circumstances. She was The “little ole bay mare” foaled a beau- secretly bred to Joe Blair, a famous tiful bay filly named Leota W. Warren thoroughbred that was noted for his told me that Leota W could have speed. The foal produced was Joe “easily been the best” he ever raced. Reed. Joe Reed went on to be a good This filly would race as a two-year-old racehorse and then he became a great to win 14 of 16 starts including the first sire. When the AQHA started registerfuturity for two-year-old quarter horses in the 1947 Oklahoma Futurity. ing horses they designated AQHA numbers 2 to 19 as studbook foundation sires. Joe Reed was P-3 in the An inspection of Leota W’s pedigree shows us a very interesting female in- studbook denoting his success as a sire. fluence through a great matriarch of the breed Della Moore. This great Cajun-bred mare was a successful racehorse that went on to be the dam of Page 7


Joe Reed P-3 sired horses like Joe Reed II and Little Fanny. Joe Reed II was a successful racehorse that was the 1945-46 AQHA World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse Stallion. When they crossed Joe Reed II and Little Fanny they got the great Leo. Leo would officially run 22 races winning 20 of them. He lost both of these races to mares. Leo ended up in the hands of Bud Warren. The mating of Joe Reed II and Little Fanny would make Leo inbred to Della Moore.

Old DJ. Johnny Dial by Depth Charge was a former World Champion Quarter Racing Horse and he was out of Black Annie by Rodney by Old DJ. The dam of Black Annie was Betsy by Old DJ. As you can see Old DJ was a contributor to the American Quarter Horse through his influence on the female side of the pedigree.

When we combine Randle’s Lady with Leo we get linebreeding to Old DJ. Old DJ was the sire of Della Moore, the double great granddam of Della Moore later continued her Leo as he sired Della Moore. Old DJ broodmare career for Ott Adams the was a noted broodmare sire in the Cabreeder that stood the famous founda- jun-bred running horses. tion sire Little Joe. She produced Aloe, Grano de Oro, Panzarita and Joe The mating of Randle’s Lady with Moore when bred to Little Joe. Joe Leo also produced Rosa Leo. This AAA Moore became the most famous of rated race mare went on to produce this group. He sired such noted runJet Charger, a son of Jet Deck. Warren ners as Stella Moore, a racing Ameri- called Jet Charger the “best he ever can Quarter Horse Champion. Ott Ad- bred.” He proved it by being the 1972 ams selected Joe Moore as his replace- AQHA Racing Champion Aged Stalment for Little Joe. lion.

Bud Warren would put together a great broodmare band to go with his great stallions. These mares would include Julie W, the famous Joe Hancock mare that gave him such noted mares as Flit. He had Connie the thoroughbred mare that when bred to Leo gave the industry the NSBA Hall of Fame stallion Tiger Leo. Then you find the three King P-234 daughters in Betty Warren, 89’er and Sorrel Sue. This list could go on and on but the point has been made that Warren was noted for his stallions but it was his mares that put him over the top. The influence of the mare on the foal produced has lead to several key breeding theories as to how this influence comes about. So we will take a look over the next few months at some of the theories behind how a mare not only influences her foals but the foals that descend from her.

What makes this so interesting is the dam of Leota W was Swamp Angel who was sired by Grano de Oro by Little Joe. The dam of Grano de Oro was Della Moore. So Leota W was linebred to Della Moore through her sons Joe Reed P-3 and Grano de Oro. This gives Leota W a breeding pattern of 4 X 4 X 3 to Della Moore. Was the mating of Swamp Angel and Leo a fluke? Well Leolita was a full sister to Leota W. She was the winner of the Kansas Futurity and Derby and an AAA rated AQHA Champion. When Leo became an aged stallion, Warren set out to breed a replacement for him. He found his replacement in the stallion Croton Oil an AA rated runner. The dam of Croton Oil was Randle’s Lady, one of the mares that outran Leo. She was a daughter of Doc Horn and a mare we know today as simply a mare sired by a son of Old DJ. The dam of this unknown mare was sired by Rodney by Old DJ. Thus Randle’s Lady was double bred to Volume 1, Issue 1

This photo was on display in the Commerce National Bank in Houston for many years. Della Moore got her name by being owned by a Mrs. Moore. Mrs. Moore was the wife of an officer in the bank.

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GENETIC NEWS— THE ORIGIN OF THE SPEED GENE By Larry Thornton In January 2010 the School of Agriculture, Food Science, and Veterinary Medicine at the University College of Dublin announced that Professor Emmeline Hill and her colleagues had identified a genetic factor that enhances the ability of the racehorse to run fast. They discovered what they named the “Speed Gene.” The speed gene is based on the functioning of the myostatin gene. Myostatin is the gene that contributes to development of muscle mass or heavier muscled horses a trait our American Quarter Horses are born with. The research team found two genetic codes for this gene. One of the gene types is identified as a C and the other is identified as a T.

fellow researchers such as Dr. Mim Bower at the University of Cambridge, UK lead to the announcement in early 2012 that they believe they have traced the origin of the speed gene to a single mare. They have reported that the This racing picture of Leo represesents not only the source of the speed of the American Quarter Horse but he is a great speed gene C example of the muscle development of the American originated with Quarter Horse. He was a powerfully built stalwhat they call a lion with speed and that speed and muscle developHere is how it works; each parent “British-native ment originated with the British-native Mare. contributes either a C or T to the offMare.” This spring depending on their genetic mare entered Photo Courtesy The American Quarter Horse Hall makeup. Thus you can have three the picture of Fame and Museum. genotypes based on what each parent about 300 years contributes. If each parent contributes ago before the a C you have a C:C genotype. If one formal foundaparent contributes a C and one a T tion of the modern thoroughbred was this time period. then you have the C:T genotype or if going on. you get two T’s then you have T:T The discovery of a “British-native genotype. The study goes on to explain that mare” as the sources of the speed gene many of the pre-thoroughbred racealso brought out the finding that the They found that two-year-olds that horses of England came from the Shetfamous Canadian stallions Nearctic carried the C:C genotype had a muscle land Pony. The Shetland Pony origimass that was 7% greater than the T:T nated in the Shetland Islands north of and his son Northern Dancer have genotype. Thus the myostatin gene or Scotland. They were once used in the played a major role in the spread to C gene accounted for this increase in coalmines of Great Britain. The rethe speed gene in the modern thormuscle mass. Then it was determined searchers hunting the origin of the C oughbred. The desire for more speed that there was a correlation to the opti- gene included the Shetland Pony in the mum racing distance for each genostudy and they found a high frequency in the modern racehorse and the fact that this sire line has contributed to type. The C:C’s performed better at of the C:C genotype in these ponies. short distances and C:T’s performed this desire for speed by carrying and better at middle distances while the The research teams found that many spreading the speed gene has made T:T’s were better performers at longer of the original foundation Thorthis sire line very prominent worlddistances that required more stamina. oughbred stallions carried the T gene wide. Hill and her colleagues have formed a or were TT for the genotype for stamcompany that will verify which genoina or long distance running. This veritype your horse carries. The company fies the original purpose of these early name is Equinome. racehorses to run long distances. It was common for the early thoroughbred to The continued research by Hill and run multiple four-mile heats during Volume 1, Issue 1

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