Asad’s Horse Ancestry Results

I just got Asad’s horse ancestry report. According to Texas A&M’s not very coherent list of breeds with shared genetic markers, the horses whose DNA markers are most like this 70% Bookcliff stallion born in 2005 are modern Argentinian Criollos. here is what Wikipedia has to say about Argentinian Criollos:

‘The written historical record shows that in 1535 there were 100 Spanish horses imported to Buenos Aires by Pedro Mendoza. In 1540, about half of those horses escaped during battles with the indigenous peoples of the area. Those feral horses quickly acclimated and soon numbered in the tens of thousands.In 1918, the Argentine breeders decided to create a purebred Criollo registry, and the breeders’ association was then formed in 1923…

It was not until 1934 that Dr. Solanet was able to firmly take control of the breeders association. He set a new goal for the breed with a shorter, more compact stock horse which emulated the Chilean Horse breed that he admired so much. In 1938, 70% of the registered crioulos were culled because they did not possess the phenotype desired by Dr. Solanet and his followers.

Since the chances of any 20th century Argentinian Criollos being imported to, escaping and establishing a free roaming breeding population here in the American SW before 1934 when Monty Holbrook caught Asad’s ancestors is zero, it is clear that the Bookcliff strain of horses cannot be descendants of Solanet’s breeding program. Instead, the Bookcliff horses must share ancestors with the same horses that were shipped to South America and eventually became the modern Argentinian Criollo.

I have not yet found which horses from Spain and/or North Africa carried those genetic markers. However I do know that Asad’s grandsire, Chato’s Shadow proved to carry the same mtDNA as the modern Portuguese Sorraia. Sorraia, Portugal is near the major seaport of Lisbon. So I would expect to find insight into Asad’s ancestors by looking into the history of horse breeding and export in that area of the Iberian Penninsula in the 15th and 16th centuries.

This 16th century portrait of a Portuguese stallion shows an interesting stance. Most modern horses do not show show nearly as much bend at the hock or forward engagement of the hind hoof. So I have always wondered how much paintings like this reflect artistic license and how much reflects an accurate depiction of how the horse moved.
Asad has become much more social so taking conformation shots is much more of a challenge. When I caught him in this phase of his stride with his inside hind leg elevated and engaged as he turned toward me though, I realized, yep, Square Iberian/Barb horses really do move in the way those old images show them.

As a afterthought, I may register Asad as Sport Pony sire since the A&M report indicates that modern Welsh pony and the Trakehner share some of his genetic markers. Fanciers of Welsh and Connemara ponies readily admit the influence of Spanish horses. The Trakehner breed blurbs simply note that from the early Middle Ages the area was noted for its hardy horses and light horse cavalry. That might also explain why Thorowgood medium wither pony saddles and pre-1960’s used Steuben English saddles usually fit my Colonial Spanish horses. They share enough genes with the horses those saddles were designed for to have backs with similar conformation.

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