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  1. #1
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    Question Horses born from Artificial Insemination are never first class horses...

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve looked through numerous posts dating back but have not come across this topic, or rather claim, that I’ve found extremely disturbing...

    I’ve picked up a copy of Federico Tesio’s “In His Own Words” and haven’t progressed much into the read as I had to go over, again and again, his claims around artificial insemination. He states that clearly there is evidence that a horse produced through artificial insemination lacks that key ingredient that makes horse a winner, namely “nervous energy”. He goes on to elaborate on this phenomenon and actually supports it with carefully studied cases.

    He firmly states: “Artificial insemination results in a perfect reproduction of all the Mendelian characteristics but without transmitting the extra “nervous energy” that gives birth to the superior animal that is Nature’s masterpiece”.

    Here’s a link to parts of the book, please refer to Chapter One (page 21):
    http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=...age&q=&f=false

    Has this phenomenon been studied any further? Do we have evidence against his firm statements?

    Or even, do we know which top performers in this day and age have actually been born from Artificial Insemination, to abolish the claim of World’s finest horse breeder?!

    Look forward to your comments!

    Thanks



  2. #2
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    I think it is important to note that Tesio died in 1954 and thus never even had an opportunity to evaluate the impact, if any, of AI using any method *we* know on the athletic aptitude of the horse. In addition, he bred TB racehorses, and we would not have a basis to compare within that part of the industry as, quite obviously, the Jockey Club requires live cover.

    With respect to sporthorses generally, presumably most of the top ones are bred via AI as very few WB breeders would consider allowing their mares or stallions to be bred through live cover.



  3. #3
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    Everything Yankee Lawyer just said - and all top competition SJ's and Dressage horses are probably the result of AI.

    And as a totally different view, I have had 3 siblings born from one mare. 2 warmbloods AI and one TB live cover. I can't see anything that relates to what he's on about in the form of "nervous energy" being taken away from the AI bred horses versus the live cover one. If anything, the live cover baby was born broke. Hubby use to ride her in from the field as a 2yo with halter and leadrope before she was ever broken. Now had he tried that with Abba, he probably wouldn't be here anymore!

    Tesio was a brilliant man, but AI back in those days couldn't have been what it is today. Who knows, if he were alive today maybe he would be the forerunner in introducing AI to the TB industry.

    And as someone who breeds TB's I would be in favor of AI, but not ET and I don't think you could have one without the other. Part of what makes mares special is that mare and her value is diminished when you have 3 of her offspring being born in a year. And I'm not totally convinced with the ET donor mares either. I'm not saying any of those horses won't be good ones who are raised on a donor mare, but I think the "real" mare has a lot to offer her foal in terms of characterisitics. Yes, I would be in the small majority, but having watched my horses growing up in herds and seeing what they pick up from their moms, well I like it that way, with one notable exception.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



  4. #4
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    Interesting topic. I don't know if the "nervous energy" Tesio speaks of is needed in anything but a racehorse. I do believe that if turnout and socialization is limited (babies are hothoused), the soundness and competitive nature of a baby is highly at risk.

    Already in the TB world, a valuable mare might have to be bred live cover, and deliver her foal, but I know that some immediately give their baby to a nurse mare so they can return to the shed and warmer climates faster as well as keeping the foal safe from his rambunctious dam. I have no idea how common this is, but I would like to see numbers. The ones from this mare are mostly good runners, but would they have been world beaters if raised by their dam? Tesio's comments might be proven true with clones if we ever see enough to get an idea.



  5. #5
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    I wouldn't have numbers for nurse mares either, but it would be interesting as it follows the point I made with the ET mare raised babies.

    I do know if the mare is in anyway viscious at all, then yes that foal is removed immediately. Common sense on a stud where you need to protect workers. Rags To Riches baby this year was raised on a nursemare.

    Having the opportunity to watch my young ones grow, seen how they've acted with moms and weanling groups, and then going on to break them you get to see what each mare brings to the table as far as raising their own. Because despite different stallions they each have defining characteristics of the one who raised them.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilka_tu View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve looked through numerous posts dating back but have not come across this topic, or rather claim, that I’ve found extremely disturbing...

    I’ve picked up a copy of Federico Tesio’s “In His Own Words” and haven’t progressed much into the read as I had to go over, again and again, his claims around artificial insemination. He states that clearly there is evidence that a horse produced through artificial insemination lacks that key ingredient that makes horse a winner, namely “nervous energy”. He goes on to elaborate on this phenomenon and actually supports it with carefully studied cases.

    He firmly states: “Artificial insemination results in a perfect reproduction of all the Mendelian characteristics but without transmitting the extra “nervous energy” that gives birth to the superior animal that is Nature’s masterpiece”.

    Here’s a link to parts of the book, please refer to Chapter One (page 21):
    http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=...age&q=&f=false

    Has this phenomenon been studied any further? Do we have evidence against his firm statements?

    Or even, do we know which top performers in this day and age have actually been born from Artificial Insemination, to abolish the claim of World’s finest horse breeder?!

    Look forward to your comments!

    Thanks
    Before I read the rest of the replies... was this book written in 1848? It just sounds like one of those weird science ideas of the long ago past. Written by someone with an agenda.

    Now in the interests of open-mindedness, I will consider it's possible there is some hormonal change in the uterus following copulation that makes a big difference in the development of the egg or something... and I will read everyone else's replies...



  7. #7
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    twofatponies - I believe that the Tesio concept was that if Live Cover was employed in ALL breedings, the superior "sperm" would be the first one to cross the finish line and would make its way to the egg first, and get to be the one to fertilize it, but if you employ AI and have split that ejaculate into 2 or 3 or 5 doses, then only one of those mares is going to get the "winning" sperm and the other mares are all going to be stuck with "substandard" little swimmers instead ...

    In theory - I guess it makes sense but in reality, there is no correlation between the quickest swimmer produing the best moving dressage horse or the highest jumping jumper either or the hunter with the prettiest jump and the best work ethic

    And does the fastest swimming sperm = the fastest running race horse? I guess if that was correct, every single live cover conceived TB baby should be a superior race horse and we all know that is far from being the actual case ...



  8. #8
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    I would never even thought of this - I have two lc foals coming next year - they will be our first lc foals - so now I have to keep this in mind too!!!!!



  9. #9
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    Tesio was a brilliant breeder.

    But he beleived in a LOT of weird things.

    Including, IIRC, that if you bred a mare to an "inferior" stallion, all her subsequent foals would be "inferior", even when bred to "superior" stallions. And the importance of skylights in broodmare's stalls.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  10. #10
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    OP don't worry, Tesio's theory has not held up. As people have already said, most all of the top horses in showjumping and dressage were produced by AI. The stallion owner checks the sperm for concentration and motility, or at least the stallion owner I used did (I happened to show up before collection, which was rather hilarious) to make sure the mare owner gets a good sample for her mare.



  11. #11
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    As few horses specifically bred for showjumping, dressage, etc., are being bred live cover then it seems to me there is no way to compare whether AI or LC produces the "better" horses. So logically, what we have is a level playing field with almost all high level competition horses being bred via AI, and as such we see some AIs are "better" than other AIs; as we have seen for centuries the same level playing field with TBs ...



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    Tesio was a brilliant breeder.

    But he beleived in a LOT of weird things.

    Including, IIRC, that if you bred a mare to an "inferior" stallion, all her subsequent foals would be "inferior", even when bred to "superior" stallions. And the importance of skylights in broodmare's stalls.
    Yep, not all ideas from brilliant fellows are created equal. I'd put the one quoted by the OP in the BS category.

    Also, I have three ET foals on the ground this year that rival the best foals I have ever seen anywhere. Their real parents are stamped all over them. The ET moms (grand ladies that they are) just feed and care for them.

    I also have an ET from 2004 who never met her true dam until she was a yearling. The filly is a behavioral clone of the true mother. She has the same personality and even the same restroom habits (puts everything in one corner of her stall and when she can she puts it through the bars into someone else's stall). I have watched all my ETs with great attention and can say that I see no diminution of the passing on of the dam's traits.
    Last edited by Home Again Farm; Aug. 27, 2009 at 11:32 AM.



  13. #13
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    Before we toss the theory completely, merely for arguments sake (and ‘cause I’m stuck here waiting for a phone call), let’s say that the “winning” sperm in the live cover breeding race does in fact produce the best possible expression of the genes.

    So, if the superior athlete is the product of live cover, then that is the high end of what the bloodline can produce. Now, if the superior athlete was produced AI, we could speculate that the live cover foals of the same breeding would be even better.

    So, if Sandro Boy is the product of an AI breeding, we should all be trying to repeat his breeding live cover.



  14. #14
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    In a way I think this is being confused with in vitro. The sperm still has to swim, and unless the stallion has poor quality sperm, there's going to be good swimmers in every dose.



  15. #15
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    I also have an ET from 2004 who never met her true dam until she was a yearling. The filly is a behavioral clone of the true mother. She has the same personality and even the same restroom habits (puts everything in one corner of her stall and when she can she puts it through the bars into someone else's stall).
    Peg
    Fleur de Lis Hanoverians



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Home Again Farm View Post
    Yep, not all ideas from brilliant fellows are created equal. I'd put the one quoted by the OP in the BS category.

    Also, I have three ET foals on the ground this year that rival the best foals I have ever seen anywhere. Their real parents are stamped all over them. The ET moms (grand ladies that they are) just feed and care for them.

    I also have an ET from 2004 who never met her true dam until she was a yearling. The filly is a behavioral clone of the true mother. She has the same personality and even the same restroom habits (puts everything in one corner of her stall and when she can she puts it through the bars into someone else's stall). I have watched all my ETs with great attention and can say that I see no diminution of the passing on of the dam's traits.
    Thanks Mary Lou!

    I don't know and said as much so your insight to what you have is brilliant so thanks!

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



  17. #17
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    I'm being a bit didactic here, and might be showing off as well, but at the time Tesio was forming his ideas, there was a prevalent European philosophy created by a Frenchman named Henri Bergson who postulated the existence of a "life force" which he called Elan Vital that was responsible for evolution and the improvement of living things.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89lan_vital
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/bergson/#5

    I'm fairly certain that what is translated in Tesio as "nervous energy" is very much a derivative of Bergson's Elan Vital. Given how the Western World at the time (early twentieth century) was fixated on all things sexual, it would make sense that sexual energy in the act of procreation would be the means by which Elan Vital was transmitted to the next generation.
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  18. #18
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    As brilliant as Tesio was he had some strange ideas.
    For example, he thought grey was a disease, not a color modifier. And because of his belief grey in the TB was almost bred out of the gene pool.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    I'm being a bit didactic here, and might be showing off as well, but at the time Tesio was forming his ideas, there was a prevalent European philosophy created by a Frenchman named Henri Bergson who postulated the existence of a "life force" which he called Elan Vital that was responsible for evolution and the improvement of living things.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89lan_vital
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/bergson/#5

    I'm fairly certain that what is translated in Tesio as "nervous energy" is very much a derivative of Bergson's Elan Vital. Given how the Western World at the time (early twentieth century) was fixated on all things sexual, it would make sense that sexual energy in the act of procreation would be the means by which Elan Vital was transmitted to the next generation.
    That makes sense.(I don't mean I think it's true - just that I now understand how they might have thought that!)

    I do have a friend who has a breeding program with three pony stallions and a bunch of mares... she has a non-scientific theory that if a mare and stallion don't like each other, they shouldn't breed. She only does live cover anyway, but if there isn't a good attitude between the mare and stallion (assuming mare is in her cycle, etc.) she won't "force" the issue with restraint or AI, but try a different pairing (taking her own bloodline plans, conformation, etc. into account, too, of course).
    Last edited by twofatponies; Aug. 27, 2009 at 04:48 PM.



  20. #20
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    Tessio's hypotheses were formed in the absence of what is now considered common knowledge about the actual breeding process in the equine. The concept that "the best sperm will get there first" was formed - at least in part - with the view that the use of AI would give what may perhaps not be the best sperm a head start by the introduction of the insemination dose directly into the uterus. At that time, there was a strongly held belief that - as is seen in other species, notably (because of practical knowledge) humans - at the time of ejaculation, sperm were deposited into the vagina rather than the uterus. In fact, in the equine, as a result of a variety of factors, the ejaculate is usually deposited directly into the uterus, or at the very least under pressure into the cervix (which results in almost immediate transfer into the uterus) - in other words, there is no "head start" for sperm with the use of AI compared to live cover.

    Further to the above, newer knowledge has demonstrated that sperm are moved, once in the uterus, not solely by the motive force of sperm tail wiggling, but in fact to a great degree by uterine contractions. Tessio's argument therefore would have to be added to in order to adjust the "best sperm's" ability to take into account the "best uterus'" ability to provide motive force to a "poor sperm"!

    Then on top of that, we must consider that newer science has demonstrated that an almost equal number of sperm end up in BOTH oviducts - that ipsilateral to the developing follicle, and that contra-lateral. It is therefore necessary - if we decide we wish to endorse Tessio's theory - to develop a belief that a sperm (the best sperm none the less) not only has superior physical attributes in itself - which is somehow magically linked to the DNA that it carries - but that it also has superior intelligence and homing instinct enabling it to head for the correct oviduct adjacent to the pre-ovulatory follicle.

    So now, Tessio's theory has been expanded to "demonstrate" that the "best sperm" not only gets where its going first, but also has achieved stimulation of the uterus to provide contractions to aid it - and none of its several billion compatriots that are also along for the ride - and furthermore, has a well-developed brain or GPS equipment to ensure that it heads to the correct oviduct!

    While the Tessio theorists can expound at length on the hypotheses, they are starting to have a hard time to produce physical evidence in support... no brains or GPS equipment found in a sperm yet!
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