Date: August 2002
Q: XX has a very limited breeding base, and it seems to me that our best mares have not necessarily been taken to the best stallions for their lines. Indeed we seem to have more stallions than mares at the moment. Genetics sets the blueprint for the horse, and the environment will determine to what extent this is expressed in the mature individual. If we don't have the very best genes in our population to begin with we cannot hope to magically produce an elite horse from average stock by accident. With a small population it is very important that breeders look critically at their stock and don't just breed for the sake of it; or just put their own mare to their own stallion regardless of compatibility and/or the need for genetic diversity in the succeeding generation. It is also vital that all breeding stock should be free of genetic faults and unquestionably pure-bred, otherwise we will dilute the gene-pool before we really get started. A clarification of the breed standard along with a clear grading system is something we desperately need.
A: I think your analysis of the situation for the xx population of Tekes is
valid for all countries in Europe. I agree with you that we need to work
out a breed standard as well as start working out effective evaluation
systems in order to select the animals with the best breeding value.
Without management the Akhal-Teke breed will loose much of its qualities
and never be really competetive with other successfully managed breeds.
It is frustrating for breeders as well as buyers that the management/mother
stud book of the Akhal-Teke breed has not been able to work out a breeding
plan or ways to measure breed progreess or trustworthy breed evaluation
systems. For many people interested in horse breeding it is more tempting
to start with a breed that already has a clearly defined system and rules
for the breed so that the breed progress for the population as well as for
the individual breeder can be measured objectively.