The tough and talented Connemara pony sometimes falls victim to a debilitating problem of hoof wall separation in which the hoof wall splits away from its underlying structure. Though some Connemara breeders have argued against the theory of a genetic cause, researchers at the University of California, Davis have recently proven a genetic link and are working to identifying the genes responsible.
The researchers discovered a strong association between those ponies affected by the disease and a genetic variant appearing in at least one percent of the Connemara population. The work of sequencing genes in this region is currently underway. They believe that their work will ultimately lead to the development of a genetic test which could eliminate this ruinous syndrome from the breed over the long term.
Connemara Hoof Wall Separation Syndrome is insidious because the mating of healthy parents can produce an affected pony. The research results have been welcomed by the Connemara Pony Research Group, an association formed to initiate the research and educate owners and breeders about the condition. The group is encouraging Connemara owners and breeders worldwide to provide samples from their ponies to the researchers (who require large numbers of samples) in order to hasten the day when a test for the disease will be available.
More details may be seen in Horsetalk.co.nz.
Posted August 5, 2012