Photo of the Day: Javera Chelsea at Craver Farms

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 4th, 2009 in General

Javera Chelsea (by Thane x HB Diandra by Mariner) belongs to Doris Park of Iowa, and she is certainly lucky to have her. This full sister of the grey Javera Thadrian is now at Craver Farms for a full brother-sister mating.

Just try to find the slightest defect in this mare’s conformation. I haven’t been able to so far. Photos by Charles Craver.



34 Responses to “Photo of the Day: Javera Chelsea at Craver Farms

  1. Wonderfully conformed mare, legs ‘to die for’, incredible eye. Wow.

  2. She’s 22.

  3. And she really is much nicer than that. The camera angle should have been lower and more to the center of the body, as she is not long-backed and short legged. It did show her condition and a bit of conformation for Edouard to see, since he has not seen her in the flesh!

    We are awaiting results of a pregnancy test via blood test, to see if she and Thadrian are expecting for 2010.

  4. Jeanne, it’s a good a photo as one can get. The mare shows very well. One can tell she is not long backed and short legged.

  5. She’s so lovely–beautiful head and eyes.

  6. Edouard–you say that this mare is being bred to her full brother. I recently had one respected breeder tell me such a breeding would be “too close.” Can you explain why the sort of breeding done by someone as capable and widely respected as the Cravers would be thought of as wrong by another respected asil breeder? My question is not meant in any way to be a challenge; I am seeking only information because the difference in opinion leaves me confused and feeling as if I must side with one or the other as both cannot be right. Or can they? Everyone–please feel free to comment, especially Jean and Joe. Thanks.

  7. I will leave this one to those who know better than I do, and there are many who read these pages. In general, inbreeding perpetuates type; it perpetuates quality, but also defects. As far as I am concerned, inbreeding is only safe when the two individuals are close to perfection, conformation wise, so that the risk of perpetuating major defects is minimized. I feel this is the case with Javera Thadrian and Javera Chelsea. So in short, both the Cravers and the person you talked to are right.

  8. Excellent! Thank you Edouard. I hope others will comment as well as I find the topic fascinating and am trying to learn more about it. Many sources re: breeding are tremendously complicated for a beginner.

  9. I don’t think one could say that full sibling matings are bad or good. It is indifferent pending the outcome of the results. Each result must be judged individually not necessarily judged by the quality of the resulting foal but by the way the resulting foal eventually impacts the rest of the breeding group or breed. Ibn Fa Serr, TheEgyptianPrince, and Ansata Shah Zaman are all the result of full sibbling matings, all of these stallions being born in the 1960s. Now that over 40 years has passed, their accomplishments as excellent sires is well proven. So in each of those cases such a mating has created a benefit for others. I have every confidence that mating Javera Thadrian to his sister is just as important for the future. Both siblings are to me among the finest examples of Davenport bloodlines.

  10. Inbreeding is certainly a complex interesting topic. You might check out the Asil club website which discusses a theory about the resistance to inbreeding in the Arabian horse. They talk about genetic defects found in mice and the elimination of the defects due to systemic inbreeding. Horses are certainly different than mice, but it is certainly interesting.

    My understanding is that modern genetic science says that inbreeding brings out recessive genes, or “defects” referred to above. If this is so, then tight inbreeding seems to be a true test of the purity of the genetic makeup of the horse.

    You will see what can be referred to as “inbreeding” in the pedigrees of many Arabian horses. I think this is perpetuated by many farms using just a few stallions or in many cases just one main stallion. What you get is a lot of horses that have these stallions in their pedigrees! My understanding is that horses that are tightly inbred, if they are bred to non inbred horses, tend to have progeny look quite similar to the more inbred horse. Others may be able to shed more light on this.

    If you want to see a tightly inbred horse, check out the pedigree of Carver DE. He represents 7 generations and 60 years of tight inbreeding through only 3 horses. For some reason he exists today. His sheer existence certainly causes one to question generally accepted beliefs about inbreeding.

    Here is the pedigree:

    Here are some pictures that were taken a few weeks ago. I am not sure if they will be displayed here due to formatting problems:

    I wonder what the breeder that you mentioned that said that Javera Thadrian and Javera Chelsea were “too tight” would say about Carver DE.

  11. If (most, not all) breeders of other varieties of equines were not so afraid of inbreeding, diseases like HYPP, HERDA, OLWS and others would have been discovered long before they spread throughout the other bloodlines. Inbreeding doesn’t “cause” anything, it only more readily brings out qualities (good and bad) that are already there! In my opinion, of course…

  12. My current favorite trail horse, Fair Naomi UF, is the result of a full brother to full sister mating (Janan Abinoam x Lady Fair, both of which were Tripoli x Dharebah). Fair Naomi is a beautiful, sweet-natured Arabian mare. She has many of the best points of conformation of her parents (including beautiful eyes, nearly perfect balance, and superior topline and loin), along with a couple of their faults. So she got some pluses and minuses from her parents, same as just about any other horse I’ve ever seen. I don’t think either the faults or the strengths were “intensified.” She is simply her parents’ daughter. Same as just about any other horse I’ve ever seen.

    Inbreeding does not create uniformity. It turns up genetic variation.

    Every individual of every species has genetic defects. The longer a population has been closed to outside influence, the more defects are going to turn up, whether it’s SCIDS, “lavender foal” syndrome, or CH. But these defects are not evidence of “genetic impurity.” Rather, they are the natural consequence of breeding with an old, closed population. The the more defects you find, the more it points to a population having been bred in isolation for a very long time. In that sense, the expression of genetic defects is evidence of breed purity.

    Michael Bowling spoke about this on Saturday at the recent Al Khamsa convention in Oregon.

  13. “If (most, not all) breeders of other varieties of equines were not so afraid of inbreeding, diseases like HYPP… would have been discovered long before they spread throughout the other bloodlines.”

    Actually, HYPP is a dominant, not a recessive. You don’t have to inbreed to discover it.

  14. “Can you explain why the sort of breeding done by someone as capable and widely respected as the Cravers would be thought of as wrong by another respected asil breeder?”

    Asil breeders disagree all the time, about many things. Why should they be expected to agree?

    As far as I can recall, the only foals produced from full brother-sister matings at Craver Farms were Fair Sir, Fairlee CF, and Levantine CF. They also took Fair Sir back to his mother to produce Fairy Tale CF. Then they bred Fairy Tale CF to a full brother to her mother to produce Periwinkle CF, who is another favorite riding mare that I have here.

  15. Unfortunately, I was not at Michael Bowling discussion of this at the Al Khamsa convention. I think I was hauling horses around when he was speaking! However, inbreeding is certainly a fascinating and very complex topic.

    Googling “inbreeding” can turn up a lot of different information. Granted, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, but some of it appears to be fairly well reasoned.

    Here are some links to some of the better scholarly articles and books on inbreeding and conservation genetics that I found on the subject for those that are interested.

    I think there are several points of significance:

    1. Inbreeding does create some degree of uniformity. The main genetic result of inbreeding is to increase the occurrence of the coupling of like genes.

    2. Inbreeding does bring out those genes that are recessive including those that may be harmful to animals that are inbred.

    3. Inbreeding is useful in uncovering otherwise harmful or undesirable characteristics and purging these characteristics from the genetic population.

    4. Inbreeding is important in the development of animals that are “potent” with certain more favored characteristics that manifest in their offspring.

    Perhaps some other breeders can give their opinions on this issue.

  16. Lyman, regarding your point #1, inbreeding by itself does not create uniformity. Here is a passage from Michael Bowling’s article “Preservation Breeding and Population Genetics” from 1995:

    “We all learned long ago that ‘inbreeding creates uniformity.’ If you take nothing else away from this discussion, at least cross that off your list of life’s basic concepts. Inbreeding drives genes to homozygosity and thereby shows up underlying genetic variance. Inbreeding actually creates phenotypic variability. Selection among the results of inbreeding may give rise to uniformity.”

    Complete article text here:

  17. Regarding your points #2 and #3 Lyman, yes, I agree, inbreeding is going to turn up foals with recessive traits in homozygous form. One example is SCIDS. But inbreeding by itself won’t purge those genes from the population, unless the breeder uses selection and stops breeding from all carrier parent that produce a SCIDS foal. Fortunately, these days we have a gene test and can avoid breeding two carriers together.

    As for inbreeding creating more “prepotent” animals (point #4), I’ll give you an example. Both Carver DE and his multiple ancestor Ghadaf were chestnut, but Carver DE is no more “prepotent” for chestnut color than Ghadaf was. If you bred either one to the bay Davenport mare Magnolia, both Ghadaf and Carver DE would have a 50-50 chance of producing a bay foal, despite the many additional generations of inbreeding behind Carver DE. If instead of breeding to Magnolia, you bred either one to a homozygous bay Davenport mare, you’re going to get a bay foal, period. Chestnut is a homozygous recessive. So if a particular inbred stock is homozygous for a whole bunch of recessive traits, they will not be prepotent for those traits when bred to animals with the dominant alleles, no matter how much inbreeding is behind them.

    Again, inbreeding drives genes to homozygosity. Whether the animal is then “prepotent” for the traits depends on whether those particular traits are dominant or recessive.

  18. RJ, I admire your clear way of expressing yourself! Genetics 101 indeed!

  19. RJ’s comments are a model of clarity. Just for the record (and because I don’t remember whether it’s made explicit in the article linked), that statement about inbreeding and uniformity is a paraphrase from the opening remarks given by the prof in my first population genetics course, back in 197-mumble.

  20. Thanks for the comments, explanation and links to further information RJ, Michael and Jeanne. They have stimulated more questions in my mind.

    Let take the example of Carver DE and Magnolia. Say we bred them to each other 10 times.

    If we look at Carver DE’s pedigree, we can see he is chestnut, we can see he is closely inbred.

    If we look at Magnolia’s pedigree, we can see she is a bay. She also does appear to be somewhat inbred, with multiple crosses to Dhareb and Antez among others.

    We have 10 horses with the same sire and dam (Carver DE x Magnolia).

    What will these 10 horses look like?

  21. Jeanne

    With these questions about inbreeding, perhaps you could explain why you have inbred the horses that you have on your farm.

    In short, why inbreed?



  22. Charles has occasionally said, with a twinkle in his eye, that he didn’t think you could preserve Arabian horses without it.

    That really isn’t just fooling for us. Like you, we have a closed herd, and so it isn’t that you are going to be inbreeding, it is how you are going to be inbreeding, and how you are going to preserve genetic differences for the future.

    A closed herd means you are always thinking about future generations, and how to extend bloodline viability as long as possible. Sometimes you just close your eyes and keep going, and the horses teach you as you go.

  23. Charles has occasionally said, with a twinkle in his eye, that he didn’t think you could preserve Arabian horses without it.

    That really isn’t just fooling for us. Like you, we have a closed herd, and so it isn’t that you are going to be inbreeding, it is how you are going to be inbreeding, and how you are going to preserve genetic differences for the future.

    A closed herd means you are always thinking about future generations, and how to extend bloodline viability as long as possible. Sometimes you just close your eyes and keep going, and the horses teach you as you go.

  24. Jeanne- Thanks. I have another question. Granted, you have a closed herd, but at the same time why breed full brother to full sister?

    What do you get from the selective inbreeding you have practiced?


  25. Charles told me that Alice Payne said she never got anywhere breeding Arabian horses until she started to inbreed. Carl Raswan wrote to Charles that he should take every opportunity he got to inbreed. Charles told me that the trick is to figure out when you do, and when you don’t, have an opportunity to inbreed.

  26. Lyman, we did it when we felt we had something to gain. That sounds simplistic and all, but when we had two individuals that we felt both preserved their heritage well, and that they fitted physically, and they just happened to be full siblings, we used the opportunity to try to extend the influence another generation.

    More commonly, we used grandfather to granddaughter or grandmother to grandson matings as a way to consolidate genetically without gratuitously dropping out genetic material.

    Charles regrets very much that he did not breed El Alamein and Dharebah together. They were both Dhareb and Antarah, and had many wonderful things in common. They also had one fault in common, and he did not do it, and has kicked himself for over 40 years for leaving that stone unturned.

  27. Jeanne,

    I am asking these questions in an interest to find out more information, and actually to simplify a complex topic in my mind. I hope you don’t mind.

    We had a similar experience with Omagh and Ghadaffa, in the 1980s. Both were excellent individuals, both were intensely inbred, full brother/sister, and in retrospect, I think we regret not breeding them together as well.

    I like simple answers. I also like simple questions. So here are a few simple questions:

    1. When you did inbreed, did you get uniformity, improvement or digression?

    2. Do you think that the individuals that you inbred more intensely were “potent” in passing on their physical characteristics to their offspring? (Lets ignore color for now)



  28. 1. Well, if we count inbreeding as everything that increases homozygosity in a gene pool, then we never did a breeding that wasn’t inbreeding to some degree. And I would say that, _of course_, we at least held our ground. Charles said that if we could hold our ground with the horses we started with, we were being successful. Uniformity? No…. and we kept uncovering things that were worth following up on. Time itself is what comes into play. That and a closed herd being bred to maximum advantage is an ever-expanding universe, and limits are always imposed somewhere along the line!

    2. Hmmm. Yes, and no. We did not breed with that in mind. We were breeding along lines that produced certain types, and the mares were just as inbred as the stallions. I don’t think the later horses were more “prepotent” than the earlier horses, as groups. There are always individuals, of course, then and now.

    There are always more questions than answers!

  29. OK. I have a few more questions for Jeanne or whomever chooses to answer:

    1. When you have seen highly inbred horses bred to other horses that are relatively less inbred, which horse has greater influence in the offspring? Inbred horse or less inbred horse? (Again lets ignore color).

    2. Is it possible to even improve with a closed herd?

  30. Or, is it precisely because of a closed herd, inbreeding, and purging of undesirable offspring that you can “improve.”

  31. I think it just is a matter of which genes go on from each parent. If the inbred horse is lined up with a group of recessive genes, it will be in the background of the offspring, but might express itself with later crosses.

  32. […] wanted to highlight an interesting conversation on inbreeding taking place in the comments on Javera Chelsea’s photos. I hope this exchange will serve as a […]

  33. I have been away for a while, looking at horses in Germany for one thing, so I am playing catch-up on this incredible thread. I am in awe of the quality of information here. When I first posed my question I had no idea that such an education would come gushing forth, like water from the rock. I have been transported back to my love of biology (long forgotten), to Mendel and his peas, for which I thank you all. The breeder who provoked (in a good way) my question in the first place does practice inbreeding, but only Grandfather to Granddaughter, or uncle to niece, etc. On the other hand I know owners (though not necessarily breeders) who practically foam at the mouth when the subject of inbreeding comes up. The horses with which I am most familiar are the CF Davenports and if those horses are the result of inbreeding then my personal feeling (not an educated POV)was and is that inbreeding is not only OK but necessary. But I never knew how to defend my uninformed opinion. Now I’ll just send the doubting Thomases here.

  34. I had the opportunity to see this mare over the weekend, and the photos, nice as they are, do not do her justice. She is absolutely stunning!

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