Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some things are rare for a reason

Recently, I was pointed to the latest trendy phenomenon in the equine world - the Sorraia Mustang. This isn't your garden variety, $125 from the BLM and $42 at your local killer auction mustang. Oh no! This is a very rare sort of a mustang that traces back to a total of eleven horses that some dude on a huntin' trip met up with in 1920. From reading his account, I suspect he met up with some adult beverages first! Allow me to quote:

"in 1920, on a hunting trip in the region of Coruche, on the lower Sorraia (river), on the ‘Sesmaria’ estate, I saw a herd of ca. 30 individuals, more than half of them were light duns, some were grullas, many with superabundant stripes, and generally in all aspects absolutely wild, or primitive, as if they were a species of zebra, or a hemionus (halfass) species."

They're a half-ass species? Well hell, that certainly explains a lot. However, as a horsewoman of some decades experience, all I see here is a fugly, badly conformed and admittedly inbred horse that someone is trying to preserve. Look at the herd below. We see uniformly bad shoulders, long backs, short croups and fuuuuugly heads.
Unlike the American Warmblood Society, which embraces diversity like a bunch of university professors at a rally for Gay Left-Handed Taiwanese Victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (watch for a future entry on that topic), the Sorraia mustangs do have a breed standard, and thanks to all of that inbreeding, there is no deviation from it. It's just fuuuuugly and I don't see how it is structured to actually be able to do anything. (The web site shows its talent at sliding down a hill and chasing cows with a stick, both things I can accomplish with a $325 breeding stock paint from the local killer auction). But that's ok, it doesn't have to do anything. It is a rare and special breed and, much like Paris Hilton or Leona Helmsley, both of whom believe the same to be true about themselves, should therefore only have to exist and be waited upon.

"All Sorraias descend from only 11 or 12 animals that d’Andrade secured in the 1930s, and inbreeding is therefore extremely high. "

OK, so the gene pool is the size of a plastic kiddy swimmer from Wally-Mart? Why do you think this is good? If that was what your family tree looked like, you'd be appalled. (And probably cross-eyed and knock kneed to boot.)

The one question you can tell the Sorraia "preservationists" have not asked themselves is why this critter was still running wild and basically in the process of becoming extinct in the early part of the 20th century. Could it possibly be related to the fact that it's a low quality, inbred, badly put together, primitive looking horse who has no athletic ability which would warrant its upgrade to a life of Burberry-print fly masks, visits from the equine chiropractor, and Mrs. Fields' Horse Cookies?

If you don't think deliberately inbreeding wild useless creatures together with no purpose is a bad idea, I want you to imagine the results if we mated Lindsey Lohan and that moron son of Rod Stewart's who just got in trouble for assault and then mated their children together for the next 80 years. Oh hell, at least those would have better noses...