VNIIK Rules and Reality part IV

Regulations of the Closed State StudBook
of purebred Akhal-Teke Horses

Ministry of Аgriculture of Russia, March 04, 1998

“Stallions and mares of three years old and above who have progeny and confirm to the requirements of selection are entered in the Stud Book. The grading must not be lower than 1 class. Entry in the Stud Book is made on application of the owner who presents all the necessary information contained in the Stud Book.”

The inscription into the General Studbook is neither based on an application made by the owner nor is the information presented by the owner used in the studbook. Let us take the example of the mare Alma.

Alma was inspected for inscription into the mare section of the closed studbook. [The case of the false parentage verification and registration of Alma as partbred made by VNIIK will be described in detail in the part concerning the correctness of DNA and blood tests performed by VNIIK.]

Gradings and points where given to Alma during an official breed show in Sweden. Alma was given, by T.N. Ryabova 8 points for conformation and 7 points for type class elite. This grading was made in Sweden 1998. We, as owners of Alma did not present her to any official from the General studbook between 1999 and 2005 when volume X of the studbook was published. We where under the impression that the fee for inscription into the studbook was included in the fee we had to pay new papers that had to be issued only because VNIIK made an originally false parentage verification.

Seven years after the official gradings were made in Sweden, when volume X of the studbook was published we found Alma on page 28 as graded 6.5 for type and 8 for conformation class I cat III in the year 2000. We did not present this point or gradings for Alma, and neither was Alma inspected or graded in the year 2000.

The consequence of such errors is that it undermines the credibility of the owners that should, according to the General Studbook rules be the party that supply and are responsible for presenting the information required for inscription into the studbook. In the case of Alma, it appears like we have been lying about her grading value since 1998 when she was officially graded elite in Sweden. Anyone who looks up Alma in the studbook will be surprised to see that she was graded class I in the year 2000 and that this fact has not been mentioned by us.

The situation is even worse for those who had their horses graded in their backyards by the studbook manager travelling to perform private gradings. In those cases the owners did not get a written protocol of the gradings and can really do nothing when they find errors in the studbook. [Every breed evaluation made by officials shall be written in a protocol and one copy shall stay with the owner of the horse. The content in this protocol shall be used at inscription into the studbook. No one should accept a person calling themselves a judge or inspector on their property who does not understand that protocols need to be issued at such an important inspection as the one for deciding the EBV of a horse.]

This is an issue for stakeholders outside Russia, people might be sued for giving false information about the value of the horse and the value of the horses’ offspring by only stating what they were told by a Russian official who later changed the numbers and facts in the general studbook.

The system for maintaining the studbook must protect the owners, breeders and buyers from errors made in official breed publications.

There are far too many horse owners that have been subject to these haphazardly changes of breed value classifications to ignore the problem. Having one and the same person making the same mistakes for 30 years with the breed indicates the large amount of horses that are inscribed with false measurements, points and gradings and even years for gradings.

The biggest issue with these erroneous facts is that the integrity of the studbook is damaged. If mistakes are made on which points, measurements and what year horses were graded are made, are also parentage verification mistakes made?

If the registration of EBVs are erroneous we can assume that parentage verification mistakes are inscribed, but we cannot know how many has been made. As we have had the same person responsible for the breed for 37 years and this person makes one mistake per year, we have approximately 37 horses with false pedigrees registered, if they beginning in 1973 have begun producing offspring we should have more than 500 horses in the breed with false pedigrees. This is based on one mistake made per year, if there are more mistakes we have more horses bred and registered with false pedigrees.

Should we be worried? Yes, of course.

Can we do something? Yes, we can.

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