By Edouard Aldahdah
Posted on August 18th, 2009 in General
I have decided to start a new series called “barely surviving lines”. In doing so, I was inspired by both the latest issue of the Khamsat magazine, which focuses on rare asil lines in the USA, and by Anne McGaughey’s excellent website “Rare Al-Khamsa Strains“.
These “barely surviving lines” are still in existence, or likely to be in existence, but we don’t know for sure. They are included on the basis of the existence of an horses 25 years (in 2009) or younger that trace to these lines. Featured “barely surviving lines” are mainly through the tail female (because of my bias of tracking down horses according to their strains, which are transmitted through the tail females), but I also include tail males, and some lines from the middle of the pedigrees.
For those of you who may wonder about the worthiness of preserving these lines, I refer you to the discussion in the latest Khamsat. Opinions on the value of preserving these lines vary. On one end of the spectrum, some people will say that every endangered line is worth preserving, because of its intrinsic uniqueness, but also because it contribues to maintaining a broader gene pool. On the other end, others will maintain that lines are rare because they deserve to be so, that good ones with flourish and that “less good” ones will perish. Of course, everything is in what you understand “good” to mean, but that’s another issue.
My own position on this issue is somewhere in the middle. Not every line deserves to be saved. Some good horses were imported to the US from the desert and from elsewhere, and so were some less good ones. In a scarce resources environment, the less good horses that produced even less good horses are not worth the efforts invested to keep the lines going on (the economist in me is talking). On the other hand, some good lines can disappear because of a concomittance of bad circumstances. The asil lines of the Babolna stud in Hungary, and many others here in the USA, are a case in point. “Barely surviving lines” will focus on these, hoping to raise readers’ awareness about the need to do something before it is too late.