Friday, June 15, 2018

Foundation Sire: Inschallah

This is the eighth installment of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s Foundation Friday. Every other Friday we will be featuring a foundation sire - one who has been influential in the development of warmblood breeds. We pull from the incredible archive of The Horse Magazine, published by Chris Hector of Australia. Thank you, Chris, for permission to draw on your expertise! 

Foundation Sire: Inschallah
1968 – 1990
169 cm
Breeder: J. Guicheney

Inschallah was a French-bred grey Anglo Arab (36% Arab) who was exported from France to Oldenburg, where he became the most important sire next to Furioso II at the famous Vorwerk stallion station in Cappeln. He stood there from 1970 to 1990. In 1972 he won his stallion performance test in Westercelle.
Among his 30-some licensed sons are Indonese, a highly successful Grand Prix stallion; Ile de Bourbon and Inervall, two advanced (S) level winning show jumpers; and Inselfürst, who won his stallion performance test. He was the sire of the Swedish Olympic horse, Inferno. Inschallah AA also sired more than 70 premium mares and a great number of horses that were highly successful in sport.
Inschallah was approved for breeding by the Oldenburg Verband as well as Hanoverian Verband, Trakehner, Westfalen, Hessichen (Hessen) and Rhineland Verbands.
Inschallah was a large-framed horse with enormous gaits, producing a more rounded movement, with higher knee action and a reaching forward stride as opposed to the flat leg movement of earlier times.
His progeny’s winnings in Europe amounted to almost one million DM. He sired over 30 licensed sons but has emerged as a more important broodmare sire – Rohdiamant and his full brother, Royal Diamond, are both out of Inschallah mares.
In 1995, Germany’s former Oldenburg breeding manager, Dr Roland Ramsauer, said “Inschallah blood is currently very popular with European breeders. Inschallah’ s impeccable temperament has been successfully and consistently showing up in generation after generation of his offspring. Breeders have discovered that although there are excellent moving stallions available, there have been some problems with unsuitable temperament. The Inschallah blood produces enormous gaits and solid conformation, but it also produces very suitable sport horse temperament.”
Inschallah’s son Istafan, who was represented at the European Showjumping Championships 2015 by his son Isti, is very much a product of the breeding program of the great Georg Vorwerk: by Inschallah, out of a mare by Furioso II out of a mare by the Verwerk’s great Thoroughbred sire, More Magic xx.

To read the entire article, with pedigree and more offspring details, on the Horse Magazine website, click here.
There are several stallion descendants of Inschallah in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on


Royal Prince

Royal Prinz

Monday, June 11, 2018

Young Jumping Horse classes: What can they tell us?

Christopher Hector has just posted another interesting new article on The Horse Magazine's website - this one about the Young Jumping Horse Classes in Europe. He brings in two contributors as well - Thomas Hartwig and Gemma Alexander - so the scope is quite extensive.

History, examples, opinions!

Did you know that until the 1970s, "German jumping horse breeding was not significantly better than in Ireland, Great Britain or France"? That's according to Thomas Hartwig, co-author of this article, and he credits the German Springpferdeprüfungen - young horse jumping classes - with turning that around. German coach Herbert Meyer calls them, "Maybe the best thing that has happened to German jumping in recent decades.

As we in North America think about ways to improve our path from breeder to competitor to international winner, looking at programs like this can help.

Read the whole article by clicking here.

The Race to Le Lion: YEH Champions Contest for the Holekamp/Turner Grant

June 5, 2018 Article by Kate Lokey on

Quantum Leap is the currently the highest place horse from the 2016 YEH Championships that is qualified to compete at Le Lion d'Angers. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The Holekamp/Turner Grant is just a few months away from being awarded to the next U.S. Young Event Horse star to represent the United States at the 2018 FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses at Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers in France. In 2012, the USEA announced that this new grant would be aimed at supporting a pipeline of developing horses for the U.S. Eventing Team.

To read about this year's contenders and more about the program and the Mondial du Lion d'Angers Championships, click here.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Five Spanish Purebred Horses Named for World Young Horse Championships

Jose Daniel Martin Dockx and Mejorano HGF, Purebred Spanish Horse selected to compete at the World Young Horse Championships. © 2018 Lily Forado

Posted on

Five Purebred Spanish horses were named Thursday by Spain for the World Young Horse Championships in Ermelo, Netherlands, Aug. 2-5, including the seven-year-old Mejorano HGF owned by Hampton Green Farm of the United States.

Visit to read more.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome is a topic of importance among breeders. Information about this genetic defect is scattered among many sources. Below are some answers to the most frequently-asked questions. 

What is Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS or FFS)?

Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS) is a fatal disorder caused by a genetic defect. The defective gene is one that is critical in the production of collagen. 
Affected foals have "hyperextensible, abnormally thin, fragile skin and mucous membranes (tissue that lines cavities and covers organs) that cause extensive lesions throughout the body. ...Signs of the disease are present from birth. Newborn foals have to be euthanized." [UC Davis website. See also the list of resources for breeders for other informational sites. For details of how the mutated gene interferes with the formation of healthy tissues, see "How does this genetic defect actually work?" at the bottom of this page.]

WFFS is a recessive trait, which in this case means that horses can be:

  • N/N - they have two copies of the dominant allele (version of the gene). They do not have or carry WFFS and cannot pass it on to their offspring. They are clear of the mutation.
  • WFFS/N - they have one allele with the WFFS mutation and one without. They are perfectly normal, but are able to pass the mutation on to their offspring some of the time. Horses who are WFFS/N are carriers of the mutation but do not have the defect.
  • WFFS/WFFS - they have the defect and probably are aborted before they are born in most cases. If they are born, they are as described above and must be euthanized. There are no adult horses with WFFS/WFFS status, because they do not survive.
Because WFFS is recessive, in order to get a foal with the defect you would have to breed a carrier to a carrier. If you breed a carrier to a horse that is clear of the gene, you will never get a foal with the defect. 

How does a horse get WFFS?

A horse gets WFFS by inheriting it. The only way to get it is if both the sire and dam of the horse are carriers of WFFS. WFFS is not caused by a "bug" and is not contagious.

What is the difference between "having" WFFS and being a carrier?

Only a foal with two copies of the defective allele (versions of the gene) "has" WFFS. A fetus who has WFFS will often be reabsorbed or aborted. If a foal is born "with" WFFS, he or she will show the symptoms and will not live. 

A carrier has only one copy of the defective allele, and one copy of the normal allele. Carriers do not "have" WFFS and are normal and healthy. There have been no formal studies of carriers and possible related health issues, but it is known that there are many international competitors who are careers. 

Is WFFS really a disease?

Technically it is, because part of the definition of "disease" is "a disorder of structure or function ... not simply a direct result of physical injury." WFFS is certainly a disorder of structure and function. But it's not a disease the way most people think of a disease, like flu or E. coli or cancer. 

The clearer terms for WFFS would be syndrome, disorder, or genetic defect.

Is WFFS limited to warmbloods?

No. WFFS should probably be known as Fragile Foal Syndrome, because it has been identified not only in all warmblood populations (including those with more closed books like Trakehner and Holsteiner), but also several other breeds including Thoroughbreds. 

Is WFFS the same as HERDA?

No. HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia) is also an autosomal recessive genetic defect, but found in American Quarter Horses (especially cutting lines) and related breeds. Unlike WFFS, it manifests usually in the second year. As with WFFS, there is no cure.

Although they are not the same, Dr. Nena Winand, who has studied both WFFS and HERDA, recommends "testing any horses at risk for HERDA before breeding to warmbloods, and not crossing carriers of these two disorders. Avoid crossing a mare that tested positive for the WFFS1 or the HERDA mutated gene with a stallion that tested positive for the WFFS1 or the HERDA mutated gene." [from Q & A with Dr. Nena Winand on WFFS]

Will my horse get WFFS from another horse who is a carrier?

No. WFFS is not caused by viruses or bacteria and is not at all contagious. It is not a "disease" in that sense; it is a genetic defect.

Do carriers get sick?

No, carriers do not get sick. As far as we currently know, being a carrier has no effect at all on the horse, and there are many highly successful horses who are carriers. 

How do I know if my horse is a carrier?

There is a DNA test that you can have done by submitting a hair sample. Click here for a list of WFFS resources. Near the bottom of the page are links for the testing labs. Make sure to use a lab that is licensed and qualified to perform the test.

Should I test my riding horses?

Even if your horse is a carrier, it should have no effect on him or her, or the training or competition career. However, testing and reporting any horse contributes to the knowledge base on WFFS and its frequency and distribution in the population. The more complete the picture, the better the information we have to use and make breeding decisions.

How long has WFFS been around?

According to the scientist who discovered the mutation, Dr. Nena Winand, the first mutation of the gene happened about 170 years ago. 

Do we know who the first horse was who had the gene mutation?

Identifying the horse who first had the mutation would require extensive research and pedigree tracking. We may never know for sure who that "original" horse was. For practical purposes today, the knowledge is irrelevant, since the mutation now exists in all warmblood breeds and some others, including some Thoroughbred populations.

How long have we known about it?

The mutation was identified in 2011: the specific gene where it occurs. There were cases described earlier, not identified at the time as WFFS, that probably were WFFS. There has been a test for it since 2013.

There has been some awareness of WFFS in Europe since it was identified, but how much is not known. It did not achieve the status of common knowledge, or the level of open discussion we have now.

In 2018 a foal by Everdale, belonging to US breeder Mary Nuttall, was born with WFFS and had to be euthanized. The breeding had been handled by Hilltop Farm, and they and Mary Nuttall promptly announced to the world that this had happened. Hilltop Farm went further and tested all their stallions, one of which - Sternlicht - was found to be a carrier, and Hilltop removed him from breeding, at least for 2018. That precipitated the current level of awareness of WFFS.

What does WFFS mean for breeders?

WFFS is a topic of importance among breeders, because it will be breeders who will be managing WFFS by the decisions they make. Much of the current discussion of WFFS concerns these questions and decisions, and opinions vary a lot. Some breeders really believe that it's a big fuss over nothing. On the opposite extreme, some believe that every carrier should be removed from breeding. Each breeder needs to understand WFFS enough to make responsible breeding decisions.

How many horses are carriers for WFFS?

Reports vary, but among warmblood populations between 9% and 19% of horses are being reported as carriers of WFFS world-wide.

Can we stamp out WFFS?

It might be possible to stamp out WFFS, but it's unlikely. It would be necessary to remove every carrier from breeding, and that is unlikely to ever happen. The costs would be prohibitive, including the loss of valuable animals from the genetic pool of warmbloods, and the cost to individual breeders of losing breeding animals.

Why are all known carriers not immediately taken from breeding?

There are several reasons to avoid removing all carriers from breeding. 

First, it would require the removal of something like 10% of the warmblood gene pool from breeding. Genetic diversity is important, and among warmbloods the diversity is not all that extensive to begin with. Losing 10% would not be good. 

Second, genetic defects happen, and there are others in this population, and new ones could develop. If you remove all carriers of all defects from breeding, you'd be looking at losing even more than 10% of your population from breeding. 

Third, you would not only be losing 10% of your breeding animals, you'd be losing some individuals that are extremely valuable in what they contribute to the improvement of sport horses. Roemer, who stood at Iron Spring Farm and was a Preferent stallion who had a strong positive influence on the quality of dressage horses, was a carrier

Fourth, the removal of an animal from a breeding program means a significant loss for the individual breeder, in dollar cost, time and planning invested, and an immediate loss of productivity. Having to remove a mare out of your breeding program would be a significant loss for any breeder, and for a single mare owner it would be devastating. Having to remove more than one, or your best one, would mean an additional reduction of your business's value, with the loss of important future sales.

If we don't stamp out WFFS, how do we live with it?

WFFS can be managed so that there is no risk of producing a foal with both WFFS genes: the lethal condition. An affected foal can only be conceived when both sire and dam are carriers. If breeders have a carrier mare, they must only breed her to stallions who are clear. A carrier crossed with a clear horse has a zero percent chance of producing an affected foal.

Dr. Kareen Heineking-Schütte, a veterinarian and managing director of a breeding, sales and training facility in Germany, recommends continuing to breed this generation of mares and stallions, including carriers. Then choose non-carriers for breeding stock over the next generations. She advocates "keeping preferably non-carrier fillies" and for stallions, "chose from the best sons preferably those who are non-carriers." ["Two Cents about WFFS," eurodressage] This is a gradual reduction of carriers among the breeding population that is also supported by Dr. Nena Winand, one of the world's experts on WFFS. ("See also Should Carriers be 'culled'?" below.)

Should carriers be "culled"?

To clarify terminology, "cull" is a term that means "selectively slaughter." A more accurate term in the context of WFFS would be "remove from breeding." 

To remove all carriers from breeding is not practical or advisable (see "Why are all known carriers not immediately removed from breeding?" above). According to Dr. Nena Winand, who has studies both WFFS and HERDA, "Perhaps over time outstanding horses that are non-carriers can be sought out [for breeding] and the carrier frequency can be slowly reduced if necessary, but this type of change is best effected over many generations."

Should I stop breeding my carrier mare?

While it is safe to breed a carrier mare to a clear stallion (see below, "I have a carrier mare. Is it safe to breed her"), individual breeders may wish to remove WFFS from the future generations they produce. To do that they would remove their carrier mares from their breeding program. If they then breed their clear mares only to clear stallions, their future generations will all be clear of the defect.

How do I find out if my mare is a carrier?

Testing is available, and some warmblood registries in the US have arrangements with testing labs for members to have tests done at reduced rates. Make sure to use a licensed and qualified lab for testing. Click here to view a page of WFFS resources, with testing labs listed near the end of the page.

I have a carrier mare. Is it safe to breed her?

Yes, if you choose a stallion that is clear of the defect (N/N). "Safe" means that If you breed a carrier to a clear horse, you have zero chance of having an affected foal.

I want to breed my carrier mare but only to a clear stallion. How do I find out if a stallion is a carrier?

More and more information about stallion WFFS status will be published as more people become aware of its importance in breeding decisions - and as more mare owners ask for the information. According to Dr. Winand, one of the world experts on WFFS, "Ask the stallion owner or the studbook the status of the stallion you are considering for your breeding program. If a stallion owner is not transparent about the carrier status of a stallion that should be a red flag indicating you may want to do business elsewhere."

Is it possible to know if a stallion is a carrier if he's deceased?

Maybe. If the stallion has hair on file at a lab, that hair can be tested. If semen exists, it can be tested. If both parents are known to be clear, the stallion would be clear. If the stallion has a carrier foal out of a proven clear mare, then he is a carrier.

I have a carrier stallion. Is it safe to use him?

Yes, if you breed him to mares that are clear, your stallion will never sire an affected foal. Some owners of carrier stallions are requesting proof of clear status from mare owners before they will sign a breeding contract.

Are there legal implications to be aware of with WFFS?

Legal advice is beyond the scope of this FAQ. However, there are a couple of points that could be considered.

Hiding a stallion's carrier status. There was a lawsuit filed against the owner (and others including the repro center) of a stallion who was a carrier for HERDA, similarly a genetic defect, claiming that the owner published a clear status for his stallion knowing he was a carrier. The settlement was for $60,000, according to published reports.

European Union regulations. EU regulations prohibit breeding a carrier to a carrier, if the genetic defect would cause the affected animal to suffer.

My mare is clear (N/N) for WFFS. How can her foal be a carrier?

Her foal can be a carrier if the sire was a carrier. If you breed a clear horse to a carrier, you have a 50% chance of a clear foal, and a 50% chance of a carrier foal. To guarantee a clear foal, both parents must be clear.

If my horse is clear, does that mean the parents are clear too?

No, not necessarily. If you breed a clear horse to a carrier, you will get a clear horse 50% of the time. So a clear horse could have two clear parents, one carrier parent, or even two carrier parents.

Why are so few foals born with WFFS?

Considering the percentage of breeding horses who are carriers of WFFS, we would expect one in every 400 warmblood foals to be born with WFFS (in a population that is not managed for WFFS). The frequency has not been that high. The most likely reason is that foals with WFFS do not reach full term, but are reabsorbed or aborted. 

There is also speculation that if you try to cross a carrier mare with a carrier stallion, the mare will often not get in foal. [See article by Danish breeder Jytte Kolster on eurodressage.] 

The future of WFFS is in the hands of mare breeders, because they're the ones who will be making the breeding decisions. These FAQs are to help breeders learn as much as you can so you can make responsible breeding decisions that are right for your program.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome Resources for Breeders

The subject of Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome is a hot topic among breeders today, not surprisingly. Resources and information about WFFS are not all together in one place, which makes it hard to get all the information you need to make informed decisions regarding WFFS in your breeding program. The WBG - WFFS Awareness Group on Facebook is a closed group, but they have assembled a list of resources and shared it with us. I will be adding to this list, which you'll find below.

What is WFFS?

According to Wikipedia, Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS) "is a genetically induced disorder seen in horses, specifically those belonging to the Warmblood breeds. Affected foals have extremely fragile skin that tears or cuts from contact with normal surroundings, are subject to infections, and are often euthanized within a few days of birth. The disease is caused by a mutation of a gene and is incurable."

WFFS is a recessive trait, which in this case means that horses can be:

  • N/N - they have two copies of the dominant allele (version of the gene). They do not have or carry WFFS and cannot pass it on to their offspring. They are clear of the mutation.
  • WFFS/N - they have one allele with the WFFS mutation and one without. They are perfectly normal, but are able to pass the mutation on to their offspring some of the time. Horses who are WFFS/N are carriers of the mutation but do not have the defect.
  • WFFS/WFFS - they have the defect and usually are aborted before they are born. If they are born, they are as described above and must be euthanized. There are no adult horses with WFFS/WFFS status, because they do not survive.
Because WFFS is recessive, in order to get a foal with the defect you would have to breed a carrier to a carrier. If you breed a carrier to a horse that is clear of the gene, you will never get a foal with the defect. 

Reference Links

Original Patent submitted by Cornell:
Testing in the USA:
Testing in Germany:
Testing in England:
  • Laboklin
  • Animal Genetics (Europe), 1 Mount Charles Rd, St. Austell Cornwall, PL25 3LB, ENGLAND: Telephone: 44 (0)1726247788
Testing in Australia:

More Successes for Diamo Blue's Relatives

Diamo Blue, 7, part of an illustrious family.
Ben Radvanyi photo

Sometimes your family makes you proud, and if the young stallion Diamo Blue could read show results right now, he might be justified in taking pride in recent wins by his half-brother and uncles.

Diamo Blue is a young stallion owned by W. Charlot Farms, sired by the impressive Diarado (who is by Diamant de Semilly), and out of a mare by Chacco Blue. His relatives dominated the last two stops of the prestigious Global Champions Tour. In Madrid, 9-year-old Explosive, by Chacco Blue, won the Grand Prix with Ben Maher. The following week the Global Champions Tour moved to Hamburg, Germany and 9-year-old Don Diarado, by Diarado, ridden by young Maurice Tebbel, won the first qualifier of the Grand Prix. The Grand Prix was won by Diamant de Semilly son Don VHP Z under World #1 Harrie Smolders, with another Chacco Blue offspring, Chacco’s Son under Maurice Tebbel, coming a close second. This past weekend, Chacco's Son was one of only three horses to go double clear in the Nations Cup in La Baule. 
Diamo Blue
in the 7-Year-Old Jumpers.
Ben Radvanyi photo

Augustin Walch, of W. Charlot Farms, says, "We are thrilled to be able to offer the incredibly successful bloodlines of Diarado, Chacco Blue and  Diamant de Semilly to discerning breeders of show jumpers in North America.

"While the focus for Diamo Blue will be on breeding during the next few months, we have started showing him in the 7-year-old Jumpers, where he had a fabulous round with one unlucky rail at the last jump."

Meanwhile, the 2017 USEF Hunter Sire of the Year, Cabardino, is once again leading the USEF Hunter Sire rankings at the half way mark of the 2018 show season.

For Diamo Blue's Stallion Profile, including pedigree, click here.

Cabardino, 2017 USEF Hunter Sire of the Year
2017 USEF Hunter Sire of the Year.
Audrey Morissette photo.
To read more about Hunter Champion Cabardino, click here.