Sunday, 6 November 2011

Testimonials from Breeders and Owners of HWSS affected ponies

“I now know that of my four breeding ponies, three were carriers. These ponies were not purchased from one breeder, but from all parts of the US with very different "recent" bloodlines.  This indicates to me that it is not a rare problem but is becoming more widespread.” Breeder A, USA

“It took months, if not years, to admit to myself that the symptoms my imported in utero foal displayed matched those described as this genetic hoof condition. And even then I’d look for any little symptom that might not match with the description. Now 5 years old she has never needed her feet trimmed, she walks on her soles in summer as the hoof wall just flakes off. Both parent’s feet are normal.” NZ

“I don't know about other Connemara ponies, except my mare’s half-sister, who have this kind of foot problems. But of course there is the pony of Ms.X. Y was the farrier for a longer time and made contact. She is a vet doctor and I think you will hear of her soon.” Germany

“I think it is VERY common that the vets and farriers come to the conclusion that these cases are White Line Disease and that they don't try to make further research on it. At least here and in our neighbour countries. Although I find that odd and also frustrating..” Sweden

“You are asking someone who the odds have been very high...  I imported 5, two stallions and 3 mares (from Ireland and USA)... 1 stallion and 2 mares of the 5 were carriers...and produced the hoof issue.   Y imported 3 mares and 1 stallion and 100 % of them were carriers (from USA and UK)...    I think maybe we were very unlucky.... at least I'm hoping so!!!!” Breeder M, Canada

“I think we've had 12 or 13 of these foals born in Canada over the last 9 or 10 years... none in the last 5... once we figured it out... we of course didn't double up on carriers :)
and voila... no more problem.” Breeder M, Canada

When I was looking for ponies I was looking to diversify & expand the gene pool here! I did find that my most typey mare was my most prolific carrier. She also produced the best foals.
However I wasn't going purely for a particular type & so I don't think it skewed my odds.....I nearly bought in a second stallion at the same time. I learnt later through my own research on my foot issues that his sire was either a carrier or had HWSS! So if I had bought him as well that could have been 5 for 5 !  Breeder N, Canada

 “In Ireland, I've had the opportunities to see hundreds of ponies in a day or two at shows, sales, etc, and I've seen many thousands of ponies. And I've seen many at shows with those very short feet you are talking about, and I've always heard owners complaining about "the farrier trimming them too short" complete with eye rolling and tut tutting.  It wasn't until X and Y sent me some photos of their affected ponies and asked me if I'd heard anything about it here that I started really taking note of those feet.  Then I started asking some of the farriers in the area if they'd noticed the issue, and they started naming breeders and stallions producing the issues that it really started to sink in that yes, there really was a problem. I started thinking back on some of the ponies I'd had come through my barn for training and sales, and then I came to the conclusion that the horrible feet on my own pony were this issue as well. About the time I realized that, I also realized that the stallion my mare was in foal to had the issue, after some remarks made by the person standing him at stud, and after being allowed to closely inspect his feet.  And lo and behold the filly produced by that mating has the issue, although it is pretty manageable.
I realized that some breeders in Ireland had an idea there was an issue, but they really did NOT want to know for sure.  One exceedingly well known breeder, whom I had been on very friendly terms with, when I asked about if she had ever noticed a hoof problem in the Connemaras, she said no, but that she kept all her ponies on Farriers Formula, and didn't I do that too?  And she hasn't spoken to me other than to just say hello and keep going since then:(  Her stallion is the sire of one of my mares that X has, who produced some of the affected foals.  Further investigation indicated to me that that stallion himself is affected, although it is manageable (he has been a good performance pony, and won quite a lot throughout Ireland and Europe), and quite a number of his progeny are affected.  Some questioning of the breeder of the stallion X and I had, and a chance to look at his breeding stock, and a talk with his farrier (who was also my farrier) indicated that he knew there was a hoof problem, but also "didn't want to know" as the Irish would say.  He did exceedingly well at Clifden and other shows with very short footed yearling and two year olds who were wearing shoes and hoof black "because the farrier botched the job" when they were pared:(“ Ireland

“I have one, and there are others.  And yes, you are right, they are being treated with supplements, for white line, etc.  There was no way to diagnose them before, because it's only been in the last 4 or 5 years that anyone has realized that it is actually a problem.  … B in particular, had bad problems with it.  It was from them that I first heard of it.  I'd seen it here, but like everyone else, attributed it to other things.  Once I was made aware of it and was looking for it, I started seeing more and more of it. And discovered that the dam of a stallion I'd had had it (and my stallion, although he himself had great feet, produced several with the problem), another stallion, the sire of a mare I have with it, also had it...  It didn't take long to become convinced it was more than a small problem.  I started looking hard at feet at Clifden show and at the sales, and realized it was pretty prevalent, and a lot was being done to hide those bad feet.” Ireland

“I've seen a lot of ponies who were trimmed really really short at Clifden, and are shown with hoof black on, and it finally dawned on me why.  I know for fact some of them were shown on bute, and I know the farrier who does some of them and we discussed their feet.  One was just a yearling.  And he in fact had some bondo on his feet. It was well filed down, and hoof black put over it to disguise it.  If you didn't know the bondo was there, you really wouldn't have been able to tell without really getting down and looking closely at his feet.” Ireland

“A leading farrier from Newmarket, UK, is presenting a seminar at Massey Uni this week.
I rocked up at lunch time with pics of feet (Crafty, X’s  pics, Y's pics and the Oz ones) and asked him had he seen this before?
He took one look and said 'Yes.  I have no idea what is going on, you can see the hoof tubules as the problem is within the wall.   It must not be confused with white lines disease or shelly feet'.   He said it is masked by wet environment - if the hoof stays wet it is not as noticeable but once the hoof dries out and then gets wet again ithe problem gets very bad.” Researcher, NZ