07 October, 2009

FOREST and TREES

I seem to be thinking alot about the saying “not seeing the forest for the trees.” I even "GOOGLED" it, as I wanted to be sure that I understood the meaning of this phrase. I took the picture above, while on a walk recently, which got me to thinking about this quotation again and how it can be applied to what I love, namely, Egyptian Arabian Horses.

Within our community, we have many isolated bloodline groups, i.e. Straight Babson, Sheykh Obeyd, Heirloom, Heirloom/El Deree, Pritzlaff, Post-58, Non-Nazeer and so forth. Each group has been successful in conveying the need for preservation and for creating a viable program, exclusively for the given bloodline. While some groups are more numerous than others, the fact that we still have any of them, even if the numbers aren’t as large as what we would all like them to be, is to be applauded.

Have we become obsessed with “trees” which make-up the wide variety or rather, the "forest" of Egyptian bloodlines and somehow, lost our horse in the process? The overall aim of preservation breeding cannot only be to justify pockets of obscure bloodlines, because someone decided, at some point in the recent past, that these horses are important enough to be preserved. There has to be a reason for preservation and the ultimate use of these horses for something bigger and better, right?

In today’s economy, horse interest is not anywhere near the same level, as recently as 20 years ago. In an article I read in a major monthly horse periodical, a survey of horse breeders identified that approximately 100,000+ broodmares are out of production, all breeds. With many unwanted horses flooding rescue centers (who are not prepared to care for an increased number of horses) and people demanding that breed registries become more proactive in curbing wanton breeding; how do you justify the creation of more, when so many already need everyone’s help? We really need to encourage people to breed only for the best. "BEST" should really be a very small number of horses. If it is not the best, don't breed it, no matter which family the horse belongs to, who it traces to in tail female nor how few replacements have been produced. Don't be irresponsible. We have to accept the fact that declined interest in certain lines, is really just that, as hard as it may be to accept that fewer and fewer people appreciate a particular family of horse. We just need to let it be and move on.

I am not suggesting the elimination of preservation breeding. We need it. Preservation is as vital, as the need to breed better horses. What I am saying is that now that we have a few decades of preservation breeding behind us, and more horses than we know what to do with, maybe the next step, has to really be something a bit different, a combination of only “the best” and not continuing to promote the breeding of isolated, obscure ancestral elements, who are the “be all, end all” to themselves and for lack of a better way to say it are damn ugly: coarse, off-type and poorly conformed individuals.

If Egyptian Arabian Horses have to compete against the mainstream Arabian Horse for prospective enthusiasts and owners, we really need to make certain that our horses are extra-beautiful, extra-athletic, extra-excellent-tempered horses who are going to celebrate the wisdom of the breeders who preserved the various genetic components which help to make up an “Egyptian super horse”.

I really believe that the time has arrived, when people are ready to embrace the Egyptian Arabian Horse for all that he is. We need to catch the attention of horsemen who may have previously dismissed the Egyptian Arabian Horse as a “hothouse flower” and restore the credibility of our horse, as a versatile, easy-to-handle, excellent companion horse who gave birth to the rest of the horse world and the breeds that others enjoy today. We need to do this before it becomes too late.

I know that this newest blog entry is very different in "flavor" than what is normally found here and, somewhat controversial and a bit provocative. Well, that’s the risk I am going to take, in order to push people into really thinking about going beyond where we are today and our Egyptian Arabian Horse survival tomorrow. Wasn't it Albert Einstein who said that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again, hoping for a different outcome" each time?

THINK about it,
Ralph

PS Have you visited Edouard Al-Dahdah's blog, Daughter of the Wind? If you haven't yet, please visit his blog, as there is a related discussion about the "next step."

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