Archive for April, 2007

HERDA: Too much of a good thing?

Monday, April 30th, 2007

As the geneticist and molecular biologist who developed a test to positively identify HERDA carriers, as well as a Quarter Horse owner, Nena Winand DVM, PhD finds herself wearing many hats these days.

“I got an e-mail from a man the other night and one third of his herd are carriers,” related Winand, an associate professor at Cornell University. “He wanted to know where he goes from here.

“There is a lot of breeder counseling involved because of the prevalence (of the disease),” she added. “A person needs to be conversant enough with the breed and with the performance of the sub-bloodlines to effectively deal with the situation.”

Winand’s immediate goal, however, is to let people know that the test is available and that it is one hundred percent accurate. “I just hope people will test their horses,” she said. “My only goal in this is to help breeders do what is right for the health and welfare of the horses. I live and breathe cutting horses.”

Winand has traced the disease back to Poco Bueno (pictured), a foundation sire of Quarter Horse performers, who figures prominently in modern cutting horse pedigrees. “I paid for this work myself, with the help of some (Quarter Horse) breeders, because I wasn’t comfortable with some of the data I was seeing. I also own a Doc O’Lena granddaughter and I wasn’t going to sit on my rear and wait.”

HERDA manifests itself as a collagen defect in the skin, resulting in sores and lesions that heal poorly, if at all, and render horses unrideable. Afflicted horses are usually euthanized because of a poor prognosis.

A homozygous recessive gene causes HERDA and both parents must carry the gene for offspring to be afflicted. Since carriers are not afflicted with the disease, up until now, it has been difficult to positively identify them.

But laws of genetics dictate that there is a 25 percent chance that offspring of two carriers will develop the disease and that 50 percent will be carriers. When an afflicted horse is crossed with a carrier, the offspring will be either carriers of or afflicted with the disease; and when an afflicted horse is crossed with a normal horse, 100 percent of the offspring will be carriers.

“I think cases were occurring sporadically for a long time,” Winand said. “But I don’t know that people would have recognized anything about it. The human diseases that are sort of similar weren’t even understood until the late 1990s, in terms of genetics. Even in the past few years, people kept denying it was out there. There was a lot of resistance.

“It’s very different from even HYPP, which was prevalent, but a dominant trait, where you could, with few exceptions, see whether a horse was affected or not. If you look at the general (Quarter Horse) performance population, the HERDA carrier rate is 13 percent, which is quite high. You don’t see it at all in race horses, but when you get into hardcore cutting horses, it’s 25 to 30 percent.”

Winand sees the HERDA test as an important step forward in managing the trait.

“I’d love to just tell people that they can’t breed horses with genetic defects, but that’s not practical. I think if we just manage it from the standpoint of trying to avoid carrier-to-carrier matings, it is probably the most productive route to take at this time. It won’t eliminate the trait from the gene pool. You can’t do that unless you cull out all of the carriers.”

According to Winand, advances in reproductive technology, together with line-breeding and inbreeding practices, helped fuel the fire for HERDA. She notes that one stallion, who is still standing, has 56,000 registered descendants. “My resistance to cloning is because of that,” she admitted. “How much influence of one individual is acceptable or good? Those questions are always fun to debate and hard to really answer.

“My gut feeling is that when you start to see the emergence of recessive traits, health issues and financial loss as a consequence, that’s when you need to start to back off the inbreeding. That’s typically the index that we use as geneticists and veterinarians.”

Winand’s research has not ended with the development of the test to identify HERDA carriers. “There are also soundness issues in these bloodlines. It may be related to HERDA carriers or it may not. Those are polygenic traits and we want to understand them. That is where we are going with this now. We want to build a better cutting horse.”

For information on HERDA testing: Nena Winand, DVM, PhD, Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 607-253-3608,

AQHA President Merrill on HERDA test

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

I recently talked with Frank Merrill (pictured), president of the American Quarter Horse Association, about the test that is now available to identify carriers of HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia) and the test’s implications for Quarter Horse owners. Merrill has bred and campaigned champion Quarter Horse performers for 40 years, including cutting horses, those most significantly affected by HERDA.

Q: Do you anticipate action being taken by AQHA in regard to HERDA carriers?
A: If there is anything done about it, it is up to the Stud Book and Registration Committee. The Executive Committee does not have auspices over the Stud Book and Registration Committee, when it comes to rules and regulations in regard to registration. If they elect to do anything, as far as designate it as an undesirable disease or trait, that remains to be seen.

I do think that we ought to let people know that we’re not shooting in the dark here. We need to make the public aware that there is a test (to indentify carriers) and that is one hundred percent accurate. But at this juncture, it is dangerous for someone in my position to try to dictate something to members of AQHA. Certainly it’s the breeders’ decision, and it’s another tool that they can use to help them make decisions.

Q: What are your own thoughts as a breeder?
A: It would be meaningful to know whether a horse was a carrier so that you could breed away from (HERDA). But it would also be meaningful to know whether or not a horse is afflicted. That test is yet to come.

There is not a person in the world that wants one of these horses, and it is devastating to know that you’ve bred one or own one. Unfortunately, I bred a filly that had HERDA some years ago. We donated her for research.

It happens too often. But once is too often, really.

As we keep inbreeding to a certain lineage of horses, things like this are going to come up from time to time. I’d like to see a little more out-crossing being done to try to breed away from some of these recessive characteristics that crop up, when you double or triple up on them.

I don’t want to stand on a soapbox and start lecturing, but we have some (outcross) bloodlines in the Quarter Horse industry that are available to us now, rather than go outside our own breed. But people just have to put some thought into it.

This may be the tip of the iceberg. There are probably other characteristics that will crop up in the future that are undesirable. But as we find out about them and develop tests, I think we ought to use those tools to at least make conscionable decisions on our matings.

An interview with Guy Ray Rutland

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

In 1984, I visited with Guy Ray Rutland, who was Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading breeders of Register of Merit qualifiers. From 1945 through 1983, Rutland and his wife Mildred had bred 499 race ROM qualifiers, nearly twice as many as the second place breeder. Guy Ray and Mildred also annually appeared among the top breeders of Most Wins and Most Winners.

Among the stallions Rutland stood at Rutland Ranch in Independence, Kansas were Gold King Bailey; Gold King Bailey’s sons Gold Pacific and King Leo Bailey; the Thoroughbred Carrara Marble, by Coldstream; Jet Stop, by Jet Deck; Star Bright Moore, by Star Deck; and Bar Money, by Three Bars.
Rutland’s stallion Pacific Bailey was ranked with the leaders in both the All-Time Leading Sire and Maternal Grandsire lists.

Besides his enthusiasm for his horses. Rutland promoted Super Sup Horse Feed, a formula that he invented and now markets through a company based in Republic, Missouri.

Q: How did you first become involved with horses?
A: I was born and raised on a ranch and always had horses and naturally, like any kid, always liked horses. When I was in Okemah in the 1940’s, a fellow wanted some saddle horses hauled to Chicago for him. He looked me up and l hauled them. I knew kind of what he gave for them and I knew what he got for them. I thought that was a pretty good deal and maybe I ought to try that. And that was the start of my horse business.

Q: So, the horse business has always been your livelihood?
A: No, my daddy was a cow rancher and had cattle. Horses were sort of a sideline for me. My horses would beat my cattle and pretty soon I made the remark that I would rather have one good mare than ten cows. My dad kept telling me that I should let those old horses alone and stay with cows. He would say, “You are a good cow man and you know horses will break you.” But, I guess I never heeded him and just kept on. Finally, he just gave up and said, “Boy, those horses sure do ruin a good cow man.”

I have always bred to be able to market all my horses.

Q: You never convinced him?
A: No, but he was proud of me. He liked them too.

Q: Do you still raise cattle?
: In about 1958 or 1960, I sold all of my cattle and horses have been my 100% living since then.

Q: Did you start your breeding operation with mares?
: No, my real start was with Gold King Bailey. A friend was looking for a good palomino stallion. He offered to buy him if I would stand him and he would have the privilege of breeding his mares. I would collect the outside stud fees until the horse was paid for.

In 1946, we were looking for a colt of breeding age, but a little yellow yearling caught my eye at the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association Sale in Ada. I liked him enough to wait for him and paid $1,250 right then for him.

Gold King Bailey was Grand Champion Palomino Stallion in Fort Worth and Denver. And he was one of the good race horses down around Pawhuska.

Q: So, you started breeding both for show and race?
: I’ve always bred to be able to market all my horses. I would rather sell 95% of my colts, instead of 5% of the AAAT runners.

Q: Conformation is very important to you?
: I’d rather have a good-looking AA horse than a sorry looking AAA horse. You do find exceptions. Pacific Bailey’s dam wouldn’t have passed my conformation test, but I figured she would produce a race horse. I lean toward racing and I’ve tried to get as good-looking an animal with as much breeding and quality blood as I can.

Q: What do you look for in conformation?
: I look at a horse like I would a top athlete: wide at the shoulders and narrow at the hips, good muscling and straight legs. I’m a fanatic about a good, straight hind leg and a good inside gaskin.

Q: The mares that you started with, what were the predominant bloodlines?
: The first Quarter mare I bought was a Hank H mare. In the 1940’s and 1950’s the bloodlines were King, Leo, Vandy and of course. Three Bars. I liked those lines. They were popular and I tried to stay with them.

Q: Did you like the same lines in your stallions?
A: I did. Pacific Bailey is by Gold King Bailey who is out of a Leo daughter. Bar Money is a Three Bars son.

Q: Didn’t you try to purchase Leo at one time?
: I saw him in Pawkuska and ran him through my computer as a good horse. I tried to buy him but couldn’t. I’ve always liked the Leos.

They have good hind legs. Pacific Bailey’s sire is out of a Leo mare. Pacific Bailey’s daughters have that good hind leg and good hip and are producers like Leo daughters. I think one day Pacific Bailey will over-take Leo as a leading maternal sire of ROM.

Q: Leo was double Joe Reed bred. Do you think this line-breeding had anything to do with his prepotency?
: Yes. I think in the right horses you can bring out the strong points with line-breeding. Of course, you have to know what you’re doing.

I bred Pacific Bailey’s mother back to him. We got a filly and turned around and bred back to Pacific Bailey again. There was an improvement in conformation with each cross.I’ve got a AAAT producing daughter of Pacific Bailey that I bred to Pacific Bailey last year for the first time. She got a real good filly and I put her on the list to breed back to him.

If the poor boy has him, a horse is inbred. If a rich man has him, he’s line-bred. I guess my horses a re inbred. I am going to try a little more of it. I don’t tell people to do that. But I think it is fine with the right horses.

Q: How do you out cross?
: I crossed my old Gold King Bailey mares on Star Bright Moore. Then I got Carrara Marble, a Thoroughbred horse, and crossed him. The Bar Money cross on Gold King Bailey mares is a good one. I cross those daughters back on Pacific Bailey.

One good example is Bobby Bar Bailey, a AAAT stakes winner by Bar Money out of Kit Gold King, by Gold King Bailey. She was a multiple AAAT stakes producer when crossed on Pacific Bailey and her colts nearly always topped our sale.

Q: What about your Thoroughbred stallions?
: I’ve always been for the right infusion of Thoroughbred blood. Ilike a Thoroughbred that looks like a Quarter Horse.

Carrara Marble was my first Thoroughbred stallion and he was a good-looking horse. My new stallion. Native Arrow, looks like a Quarter Horse and I think he will prove himself as a sire for Quarter Horses.I’ll always select a stallion for a cross a year or two before I’m ready for him. I start by figuring out what bloodline I want, and then I try to find the best stallion. Native Arrow is a couple of years ahead of me now. I wanted to get Bar Money, Jet Stop and Pacific Bailey rolled in to one, and then cross that back to a Thoroughbred horse that looked like Native Arrow. He came along a little ahead of time, just by chance, and I liked him well enough. It was kind of like when I found Gold King Bailey as a yearling.

Native Arrow is a son of Exclusive Native who was the leading sire of Thoroughbreds for two years. If he doesn’t prove to be a good sire he’ll be the first one that I’ve missed.It’s my customers that have made me the leading breeder.

Q: How many broodmares do you have at this time?
: I’m almost ashamed to say that I have close to four hundred mares and fillies that I’ll breed this year. lean name them all and tell you their breeding.A few years ago, an inspector for AQHA was going around checking the mares of big breeders. He came here and I told him to alphabetize their papers, and we went to the different pastures and rolled cake out on the grass for the mares to eat. We went behind them in the pick-up and I named them off.

In an hour and a half, we’d looked at 150 to 200 mares. This fellow said, “I don’t believe it. I’ve been all over the country checking mares for years and you’re the first one who could identify them like that.” He figured it would take all week to look at them, and we did it in an hour and a half.

Q: Do you sell the majority of your horses as weanlings?
: I offer all the weanlings every fall in my Annual Production Sale. My first sale was in 1967. Prior to that I sold by private treaty. But my numbers increased and I saw the need for this type of sale. I would make more money if I kept the babies and sold them as yearlings, but I sell them as weanlings because I just don’t have the space to keep them.

Q: The sale is held here on your ranch?
: It is held here inside the barn. There is a 60’x60′ clear span in the center that we use as the sales arena. Right now we have portable stalls set up in that area.The barn was completed in 1973. It is 252 feet wide and 320 feet long and contains 148 16’xl6′ concrete stalls with 16′ alleyways. We also have an office and a breeding area. Thirty portable stalls can be set up in the arena area.

Q: Do you put all the weanlings in the sale?
: I put them all in and try to sell them all. This is my only income, so my intention is to sell everyone of them. Once in a while I might keep a filly as a replacement for an old mare. But I can’t keep them and run them all.

Q: Who are the buyers at your sales?
: Most of my customers are poor folks like myself. They are looking for a bargain — they want to buy one as good as the best for a lot less.

My old customers are some of my best customers. Some have been coming every year since the first sale and they always go home with more horses.It’s my customers that have made me the leading breeder. They take the horses and train them and run them and prove them.

Like when Jumbo Pacific was a weanling colt in the sale. I bought him back for $900. I had him gelded and was going to make a race horse out of him. But I sold him the next spring to Joe Thomas, the fellow I had gotten his mother from. Joe paid $2,500 for Jumbo Pacific, That $2,500 turned into a pretty good investment. And that’s why my customers keep coming back.

Q: You have been very successful in the horse business and very obviously enjoy what you are doing. You also seem to have a lot of respect and affection for your horses. Is that true?
: I like horses. And I think that a lot of horses are smarter than the people that handle them. They need tender, loving care. If they misbehave, well then correct them, but use common sense. Most bad habits in horses are man-made.

Bar Money is an example. He had a bad reputation when I got him as a three-year-old. He bit me one time. I got my whip and spanked him and told him not to do that anymore, and then I hugged him.The horse sold in 1966 after my partner died. I wanted to buy him, but my last bid was $130,000 and that didn’t get him. He later sold for $165,000, a record at that time.

Five years later, I had the opportunity to buy him again, so I went to see him. They had him all locked up to where you couldn’t even see in the stall. But I walked in and said, “Hello, Money,” and he came up to me and put his head in my arms. The fellow that was showing him sure looked relieved. He said, “Did you know that horse is a killer. He’ll eat you.”Bar Money has the kindest disposition. It’s just that he had been mishandled somewhere down the line. Tender, loving care and common sense is all that it takes.

Q: Have you realized the goals and objectives you had when you started with your horse business?
: When I got Gold King Bailey, I wanted him to be a show horse, a sire and a maternal sire, and he was all of those.Then I decided I wanted to be the leading breeder of winners in the American Quarter Horse Association, and l have achieved that goal. as well as being the leading breeder of Register of Merit Qualifiers.

I have two more goals in my life. One of them is to breed an All-American Futurity winner. Naturally, I’d like to own him and win myself, but that’s not as important to me as breeding him.My other goal is to let my children take over the operation so that I can get out a little more and sell the horse world on my Super Sup horse feed.

I would rather invest in horses than anything else I know

Q: How did you get into the horse feed business?
A: A few years ago, I set out to make the best horse feed for my own personal use. My dad taught me many years ago how to feed livestock. Contrary to the opinion of most horsemen who say that there is no better feed for a horse than just plain oats, they need corn, oats, bran, vitamins and minerals. They’ll do much better on the right mixture than straight oats.

People started noticing how good my horses looked and how well they were doing. They wanted to know what I was feeding them and would I sell them some. It got around by word of mouth and one thing led to another. My formula was based on observation and trial and error.I attribute some of my success as a breeder to my feed, because it develops so under horses. It helps by closing open knees and eliminating epiphysitis and ankle joint problems. It works on all horses.

Carrara Marble was on the list to die when he was 25. I started feeding him my Super Sup formula and he came back fat and slick. We put him to sleep at 32 years of age, not because of old age, but because of a freak accident. We were going to breed ct mare to him and he slipped and hurt his back. He died like a champion.

Q: Stallion progeny races have made a big impact on the industry in recent years. Weren’t you our of the first to organize a race like that? Wasn’t it one of your goals?
A: I started a Gold King Bailey Futurity at Terre Haute, Indiana in about “1950. I added to it as the number of stallions at my ranch increased.

I really don’t know if that was the first race like that. I just thought that it would be an incentive to get guys to buy the colts and train them and run them. It was a kind of bonus for them. We didn’t have many futurities and things back them. I know one fellow that had some little gripe about the way I was doing it, and he wanted the Association to make me stop, but they told him to leave it alone.

Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the Quarter Horse industry today?
: Buy the best that you can buy. With the competition today, the best is not too good. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that cost makes the horse. When I first started selling my colts in Indiana years ago, people judged the horse by what it cost. “My horse is better than yours because it cost more money.” That doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

When people come to me to buy mares, I try to help them pick out the best lean for the price they want to pay, just like I’d buy for myself. Always try to buy the best you can for what you have to spend on your horses.

Q: How do you feel about the future of the horse industry?
: I am optimistic about the future of the horse industry, I got a letter from someone awhile back who wanted to know what would be the best investment — gold, silver or oil. I scratched all of those out and wrote in “horses.” I’d rather invest in horses than anything else I know.

We have our ups and downs, like anything else. The economy hits us, but by the same token, it hits the farmer and the businessman. 

I think I’ll just stay in there and try to raise the right kind of horses. I’d still rather have one good mare than ten old cows.

Do it again

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Even the most seasoned cutters will tell you that it’s hard to win one of the National Cutting Horse Association’s major aged events. So how hard it is to win two? Or three? Or six, for that matter?

If you count just the Open and Non-Pro classes at the NCHA Futurity, Summer Spectacular and Super Stakes, plus the Gelding Stakes and the old NCHA Breeders Cutting, only 46 individual horses have taken home more than one trophy.

And only nine individuals have won three or more of those events. Naturally, you have the Triple Crown trio of Smart Little Lena, Docs Okie Quixote and Chiquita Pistol, along with fellow three-event winners Dual Pep, Little Tenina, Playboy Olena and Sister CD.

Above them only two horses, Sandy Bonelli’s Shakin Flo and Phil Rapp’s Tap O Lena, have won more, raking in six championship titles each. Shakin Flo won the Non-Pro Futurity in 1997, followed by the Non-Pro Super Stakes, Open Derby, Non-Pro Super Stakes Classic, Open Classic Challenge and Non-Pro Classic Challenge. Tap O Lena won the Open Super Stakes in 1994, followed by the Non-Pro Derby, both divisions of the Super Stakes Classic, and both divisions of the Classic Challenge.

If you total up the winning scores for those two horses in those events, Shakin Flo marked a combined 1351 points, while Tap O Lena scored 1350.5.

Here’s a look at multiple winners through the years . . .

Horse Wins
Shakin Flo 6
Tap O Lena 6
Chiquita Pistol 3
Docs Okie Quixote 3
Dual Pep 3
Little Tenina 3
Playboy Olena 3
Sister CD 3
Smart Little Lena 3
A Little Starlight 2
Amanda Starlight 2
Autumn Boon DNA 2
Bayou Shorty 2
Bobs Smokin Joe 2
Boon San Kitty 2
CD Olena 2
Charoakter Eyes 2
Commandicate 2
Doc Per 2
Doc’s Marmoset 2
Docs Otoetta 2
Dual Rey Me 2
Freckles Docs Oak 2
Hicapoo 2
July Jazz 2
Laredo Blue 2
Leantoo 2
Little Lacey 2
Lynx Melody 2
Miss N Command 2
Miss Silver Pistol 2
Nu I Wood 2
Olenas Dually 2
Peppy San Badger 2
Peppy Star Rio 2
Peppymint Twist 2
Playboy Bee Jay 2
Playboys Ruby 2
Quaketta 2
Quintan Blue 2
Riosmysister 2
Rockin By Choice 2
Shania Cee 2
Smart Lil Scoot 2
Snapper Cal Bar 2
Tassa Mia Playboy 2


Dirty business

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Ranchers know cattle, but farmers deal the dirt. That was the reason the National Cutting Horse Association called on Bob Kiser (pictured) last year.

The NCHA holds its three events at Will Rogers Equestrian Center. The Ford NCHA Super Stakes, which concluded on April 15, was the latest NCHA show to benefit from Kiser’s expertise.

An Illinois corn and soybean farmer turned entrepreneur, Kiser designed an innovative new harrow or “drag” to maintain arena floors. The National Reining Horse Association has used Kiser’s system since 1988; the American Quarter Horse Association consulted Kiser in 1999 and has been using Kiser’s DragMaster at their three major shows for the past eight years.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Dave Brian, NCHA’s director of shows, of Kiser’s drag. “The beauty part is that the arena floor is level from start to finish, so everybody has the same chance. Every time a new set starts, the arena floor is the same as it was before.”

The Super Stakes was a 20-day event that involves 1,800 entries vying for a total purse of $3.14 million. There were seven to nine sets of 12 to 15 riders most days, and at the conclusion of each set, the ground was worked with a drag in preparation for the next. The show used a total of 9,000 cows — milling, dodging and running — not to mention the impact of the horses themselves, and at the end of each set, the arena floor resembled a dry riverbed minus the rocks. The NCHA has struggled to keep the ground consistent with an eight-inch base consisting of dirt and sand, topped with three inches of pure sand – a total of 1,400 tons.

After a day spent watching competition at the NCHA Super Stakes at Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth last year, Kiser knew what needed to be done to meet NCHA’s challenges with the arena surface.

“Most of it was because the drag they were using didn’t work the whole soil profile,” he explained. “The ground changed from a hard to a shallow surface and then, as the horse got to the outside [of the working area], the sand got deeper. Everywhere the horse went, he was on a different type surface. And when horses went to stop in the deep sand on the sides, it took a lot of effort to get up out of there and that’s how injuries occur.”

The NCHA implemented Kiser’s plan with a DragMaster fitted with a water tank for the first time during the NCHA Futurity. The improvement was dramatic.

Kiser got involved in the business of arena maintenance when he owned reining horses and the National Reining Horse Association came to him for advice.

“They were having a lot of trouble with their ground and asked me if I knew anything about it,” he explained. “I really didn’t except that I knew a lot more about working sand and dirt than most people. And it’s turned into quite a business for us.”

Kiser built an international business with Absolute Innovations Manufacturers and Drag Master. In addition, his reputation as an arena specialist keeps him on the move, with clients as far-flung as Argentina, Poland, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

“Experts in the field of horse injuries tell us that 80 percent of injuries are related to improper footing,” Kiser noted. “With all the rules and regulations that these associations have in place, there are no specifications for the ground, and that is one of the most important factors.

“My goal is to make it so that people have the same good footing wherever they show at major events,” he said.

Test for HERDA now available

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

According to Dr. Ann Rashmir, DVM, associate professor at Mississippi State University School of Veterinary Medicine, a DNA test developed by Cornell University is now available for horse owners to determine whether an animal is a carrier for the genetic disease hyperelastosis cutis, more widely known as HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia).

Dr. Nena Winand, DVM, (pictured) with the Department of Molecular Medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Rashmir have collaborated since 2004 on research into the disease, most commonly associated with closely related cutting horse bloodlines.

The DNA test, developed to enable breeders to manage the disease for which there is no cure, identifies normal, carrier and affected horses, including newborn foals. It requires either a blood sample or 20 to 30 mane or tail hairs, with roots attached (tail hairs are preferred for neonatal foals). The cost of the test is nominal and results are confidential.

HERDA manifests itself as a collagen defect in the skin, resulting in sores and lesions that heal poorly, if at all, and render horses unrideable. Afflicted horses are usually euthanized because of a poor prognosis.

A homozygous recessive gene causes HERDA. Both parents must carry the gene for offspring to be afflicted. Since carriers are not afflicted with the disease, up until now, it has been difficult to positively identify carriers.

Laws of genetics dictate that there is a 25 percent chance that the offspring of two carriers will develop the disease; that 50 percent will be carriers; and that 25 percent will be normal. When an afflicted horse is crossed with a carrier, the offspring will be either carriers of or afflicted with the disease; and when an afflicted horse is crossed with a normal horse, 100 percent of the offspring will be carriers.

For information about HERDA testing, contact: Nena Winand, DVM, PhD; Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine; e-mail at

Hollywood Dun It tops $5 million

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Hollywood Dun It, the all-time leading sire of the National Reining Horse Association, who died in 2002 at the age of 22, recently surpassed five million dollars in offspring earnings, according to NRHA. The famous stallion, with trademark golden coat and long, black flowing mane and tail, was owned by McQuay/Easton LLC, a partnership comprised of leading trainer Tim McQuay and his wife, Colleen, Tioga, TX, as well as Jennifer Easton, St. Mary’s Point, MN.

Sired by Hollywood Jac 86 and out of Blossom Berry, Hollywood Dun It was bred by Cliff and Gwendy Steif, Woodstock, IL. He was started by Ken Eppers and shown at three and four by McQuay, who claimed reserve on the colt at the1986 NRHA Futurity, then captured wins in the 1987 NRHA Derby and Super Stakes.

Retired to stud in 1988, Hollywood Dun It sired winners of the NRHA Futurity, Derby, and Superstakes, the National Reining Breeders Classic, and All American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity, as well as numerous other events. His offspring have also won medals in Federation Equestre Internationale, USET and USEF competition, as well as breed association World Championships.