Day At The Track

Why not allow a mare to have two foals?

05:00 AM 26 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Harness racing
Why not allow a mare to have two foals a year?
Photo courtesy ctvnews.ca

To The Editor;

We have what is commonly known as a horse shortage in harness racing, which is really just an imbalance based on number of race days a racetrack would like to run a year and the horses available for those tasks.

Obviously, the Southern Hemisphere loves this since many of the horse's names end with an A or an N. But I am not telling you anything you don't already know.

One partial solution to the horse shortage is to allow broodmares to have two foals a year. Originally nature didn't allow for that but due to technology this can now be accomplished with embryo transplant (ET).

The first result is obvious that we would have more foals a year. It would also be a safety net for the breeders since they might not get quite the same price as they would for one foal if it was perfect, but how many foals are really born perfect? This does not take account of the double digits of mares that are barren or miscarry per year.

This gives two chances and makes the breeding portion safer. It also would allow stallions to breed more making it more economic for stallion owners. It also would not hurt the genetic pool since the rule would only allow mares to be bred to one stallion per year so, the ratios of genetic diversity would basically remain the same.

I would submit this new rule as a five-year experiment since nobody likes change and this will give the feel and the reality of it being temporary so it could be evaluated in the future. But the best byproduct is that the rule would state that all the ET's would have to be done with only Standardbred recipients.

This would help possibly 1000 mares that are up for adoption and looking for homes so they don't end up in the slaughterhouse and to have a role going forward. Due to the expensive nature of performing ET this rule would allow the gene pool to breed more of the top mares since it would not be economically feasible to do it with every run-of-the-mill female that retired.

If anyone reading this has any further ideas or enhancements or criticisms, I would like to address them now before I send this rule change in play in August when the changes are due.

Eric Cherry

Ongait.com

echerry@icnltd.com

 
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