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Extreme Breeding in Horses

Pictures have recently been published online of an Arabian horse called El Rey Magnum. The horse has been selectively bred by Orrion Farms in Ellensburg, Washington, USA, to feature a drastically concave profile. But vets are warning that this colt represents a very worrying development.

Perfection or Cartoon Character?

Whilst Orrion Farms describe the horse as "close to perfection", vets believe that the young colt will have breathing difficulties due to what amounts to a deformed skull. Arabians have always had a dished face but El Rey Magnum is something else altogether. Take a look for yourself:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIcB_4mbu90]

A deformity of the face is a more serious issue for horses than for flat-faced dogs such as pugs and French bulldogs. This is because dogs can breathe through their mouths whereas horses can only breath through their noses. Exercise would probably have to be kept to a minimum for a horse with a deformed skull.

The images are rather jolting and most of the vets who have seen them have found them shocking. At first, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are looking something created by CGI technology. There is a cartoon quality to this horse. But El Rey Magnum is a real horse. The trouble is, where do such breeding practices end? This is breeding to make a fashion statement, to generate publicity and to make justify a huge price tag. But the horse has to live with that face.

Money Making Enterprise

El Rey Magnum is rumoured to be worth a fortune which doesn’t say much for the priorities of some of the equestrian community.

Many vets believe that breeding for extremes which might adversely affect a horse’s normal function should be condemned. Meanwhile, Orrion claim that the horse is a "stepping stone" to perfection. They claim that people don’t understand horses. In their defence, a vet who has examined the horse has stated that it does not have breathing issues or any other medical problems. But once this kind of breeding starts it tends to become ever more extreme.

One wonders what will be next. Horses with ridiculously short legs because they look cute perhaps? Meddling with nature rarely ends well. Horses are beautiful animals and do not need to be modified to suit the tastes and curiosity of humans.

What do you think about extreme breeding? Would you be interested in buying a horse like El Rey Mangum or do the pictures make you feel slightly queasy?

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