"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Equine Breed DNA Test Results!

Ok guys, I'd been keeping this one from you, but only because I was waiting for the results. If they had been "Inconclusive" I wouldn't have shared this fun finding!

I was on one of the FB endurance pages when I stumbled upon the story of a Mustang that had been DNA tested to find out what mix of breeds he was. I came to a screeching halt. I've been unsuccessfully looking for an equine breed genetic test for the last 2 years. Luckily, a bunch of people had asked this person where she had had the DNA test done, and she was nice enough to link back to the Happy Mustangs FB page, where they have all of the info in their Files section. It is a members-only page, so I actually joined just so I could have access to those files, though it doesn't hurt that I love Mustangs and now enjoy reading the stories of the Happy Mustangs members.

But I digress. The genetic test is done at Texas A&M University and your horse doesn't have to be a Mustang to get tested. You send in 30-50 hairs from your horse's mane or tail, and they analyze them to find specific breed or horse type markers. So say, if you have a draft-type Mustang (they exist), the results might come back that it's a mix of Spanish horse, Draft, and Morgan - you're not necessarily going to get a specific breed always. If your horse is heavily mixed, the results might come back as "Inconclusive".

For just $25 for this test (vs $150 for some of the canine breed DNA tests, which sometimes get some really crazy results, and I think part of it is because they try to always identify specific breeds), I was willing to experiment, even if the results came back as "Inconclusive".

I wrote to Dr. Cothran, the person in charge of the Genetics Lab at TAMU, and within 24 hours he had responded and sent me the form that I would need to fill out. They just ask for your mailing address and some very basic information on the horse whose hair you're sending. The turnaround time for the test itself is 2 weeks, but it took closer to 4 weeks total: 1 week for my form + hair + check to arrive at TAMU and another week for the results to arrive to me via mail.

Here are the results!

You can see all of the breeds/horse types that they can identify with this test.
Lily is a Thoroughbred and...Eastern European Warmblood cross? Huh?

So of course I went and looked that up. Eastern European Warmbloods include the Holsteiner, Hanoverian Oldenburg, and Trakehner, among others.

So she has something from one or more of those breeds, and possibly some Irish sporthorse thrown in there somewhere. No Spanish horse whatsoever.

I laughed. This just makes her even more of a mutt than I originally thought, but it is fascinating to me because TBs have been crossed with Warmbloods and Irish Drafts to produce some really awesome sport horses. Since she has "clear Thoroughbred roots" per the notes on the results form, she could also just be a pure TB that was just never tattooed...though I've had enough vets and farriers ask what she's mixed with other than TB, based solely on her solid feet and excellent teeth, that it makes me want to lean more towards the idea of her being a mix!

So basically, my mare is a sport horse.

Not the best conformation shot, but it's still my favorite!

Yeah, I can totally live with that. :)

If anyone wants more info on the genetics test, just read through the comments below. I've responded to the same question numerous times: the info on who to contact is right there! :)

50 comments:

  1. That is so cool! Fancy sporthorse :)
    And you can't beat that price.

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    1. Haha yeah, I now kind of have a piece of paper giving me free rein to make her as fancy as I want. ;)

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  2. How fun, maybe i should dna test Ramone!

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    1. THAT would be fun! They would probably have to add a line for the "Rama-Llama" gene though. ;D

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  3. That's awesome! And so CHEAP when compared to the Wisdom panel! Awww.. your very own Eastern European Irish Warmblooded Thoroughbred.

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    1. Beka, I literally laughed out loud with your comment! I'm going to say just that next time I take her to an event and someone asks what she is. Lol!!

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  4. I'd love to have the information if you can provide it, please!

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    1. You can write to Dr. Gus Cothran at GCothran(at)cvm(dot)tamu(dot)edu and he can e-mail you the form. Or, you can just send them Tristan's info. They ask for the horse's name, age, breed or suspected breeds, sex and color. Plus your name, address and phone number. Attach 30-50 mane and/or tail hairs to the sheet of paper with all of this info, making sure to NOT tape over the follicles. Send to Animal Genetics Lab, CVM, VIBS, 4458 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4458. They ask that the $25 check be made payable to Texas Agri-Life Research-VTAN. This is exactly the information in the Happy Mustangs files, but I ended up just contacting Dr. Cothran directly. I was surprised by how quickly he responded each time I e-mailed him questions.

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  5. If I didn't have such a long list of tack I need to buy I would so do this with Goose! He is not built like a "typical" mustang at all, and is also a hard keeper (which sucks cause most mustangs get fat looking at hay!). Along with his coloring.... Dang I want to do this now! Maybe I will just suck it up and do it. I also am going to clip his brand soon so I can get the number and see what I can track down that way. He's starting to shed so he should be fine with a naked strip under his mane now. Thank you for posting about this! And I would also love all the info too!

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    1. You're welcome! It would be especially interesting to see what Goose's mix is! Here's the info:

      You can write to Dr. Gus Cothran at GCothran(at)cvm(dot)tamu(dot)edu and he can e-mail you the form. Or, you can just send them Goose's info. They ask for the horse's name, age, breed or suspected breeds, sex and color. Plus your name, address and phone number. Attach 30-50 mane and/or tail hairs to the sheet of paper with all of this info, making sure to NOT tape over the follicles. Send to Animal Genetics Lab, CVM, VIBS, 4458 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4458. They ask that the $25 check be made payable to Texas Agri-Life Research-VTAN. This is exactly the information in the Happy Mustangs files, but I ended up just contacting Dr. Cothran directly because I felt weird just sending a check and horse hair out to a university lab without talking to someone there first. Lol I was surprised by how quickly he responded each time I e-mailed him questions.

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  6. Very cool!!! I think she just gained value for being a "Warmblood cross" teeheee :)

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  7. I'm kinda sad . . . I had envisioned Lily and Ashke distant cousins (although ALL breeds are related to the Arabian if you go back far enough) and loved the thought of you riding a Spanish horse. Eastern European sounds like steppe horse rather than Andalusian.

    Neat that you know. And you know, in the end, the only thing that really changes is the little blurb on the sidebar of your blog. :)

    I hope to actually be able to register Ashke this year (maybe) and will have to have him DNA tested, although both of his parents are part of the Arabian horse DNA database, so they will match him to them, specifically.

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    1. It's awesome that you can have Ashke registered!

      I know-I'd been hoping to be able to narrow down her lineage some. I could do genetic testing through the TB DNA database, but they are all so, so inbred that I'm sure she'd end up being related to every great TB sire in history. Lol I honestly really thought she'd come up as Anglo Arabian.

      Though when you think about it, who knows...all TBs come from either the Godolphin Arabian or the Darley Arabian, and Trakehners in particular have a lot of Arabian blood in them.

      Makes me want to work at the lab to see exactly how they identify the breed markers! :)

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    2. I think this is great that they can do this. I'm a firm believer that papers should follow the Horse. And your right just about every breed of Horse stems from Arabian blood. How cool!!

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  8. That is pretty cool! I've often thought about getting our two 'auction' horses tested to find out what they actually are. I'm sure they are mostly quarter horses but I am almost positive Duke is half elephant, or hippo or something...

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    1. I laughed with your comment! It was pretty cool to be able to do this test and find out what else she's mixed with other than TB. Of course she could still just be TB. Haha...

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    2. What I really wish is that we could find out exactly what Duke was so that I can get 10 more like him. He is fat year round, he is naked in -50 degree temps and completely fine, his feet need to be trimmed about once a year and the damn horse has never been lame a day in his life... what kind of magical horse is he?!
      I am pretty sure Pistol is an appendix, and George, well I have his pedigree and know his whole life story so I know exactly what he is!

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  9. I think my sister is going to do it. I sent her the information. We have been wondering what her horse, Ranger, is for the last 20 years. He came from an Amish auction, so that can lead to many possibilities.

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    1. Awesome! Keep us posted on what he comes back as!

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  10. Would luv the info please could send it to me at

    andipandi0809@gmail.com

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  11. Wandered upon your blog looking for a place that would do genetic testing for breed! I have a Mustang, so I was curious anyway, but heard rumor that there may be a Friesian stallion running near the herd he came out of. So not holding my breath, but sort of intrigued. There's been a few people that have either asked or assumed he's part Friesian... Who would I contact about sending in his hairs?

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    1. You can write to Dr. Gus Cothran at GCothran(at)cvm(dot)tamu(dot)edu and he can e-mail you the form. Or, you can just send them your horse's info. They ask for the horse's name, age, breed or suspected breeds, sex and color. Plus your name, address and phone number. Attach 30-50 mane and/or tail hairs to the sheet of paper with all of this info, making sure to NOT tape over the follicles. Send to Animal Genetics Lab, CVM, VIBS, 4458 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4458. They ask that the $25 check be made payable to Texas Agri-Life Research-VTAN. This is exactly the information in the Happy Mustangs files, but I ended up just contacting Dr. Cothran directly. I was surprised by how quickly he responded each time I e-mailed him questions.

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  12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Sport_Horse

    You may have an "Irish Sport Horse" on your hands....what do you think?

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    1. Huh...I hadn't even considered that possibility, but you're right! I always imagine Irish Sport Horses with more bone, but the ones in the Wikipedia link do look a lot like Lily. Fascinating! :D

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  13. I wonder what would happen if I tested my Friesian??! Speaking of cool and cheap DNA testing; has anyone tried that new huge panel from Etalon Diagnostics. It's $99 - which seems kinda crazy for all of the stuff that's on it. Anyone try it yet?

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  14. I would love to see the results if someone knows 100% their horse's breed and had them tested to see if it came back accurate. Or if someone was willing to have their horse tested; maybe under "breeds/suspected breeds" put unknown- just to see if they are actually testing DNA or just guessing, lol. I have a palamino yearling filly who is "supposedly" full blooded QH, however she did not come with papers, so I would love to run a test and see what she comes back as. Lol, with my luck she would be 1/2 welsh pony and 1/2 miniature horse; ie she would have no luck in turning out tall enough for any of us (except maybe my 3 yr olds ;P If anybody has done testing (even with another company), and would be willing to share the details, I would love to know about your experience. My email is Raestb82@gmail.com Thanks in advance!

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  15. I would love to see the results if someone knows 100% their horse's breed and had them tested to see if it came back accurate. Or if someone was willing to have their horse tested; maybe under "breeds/suspected breeds" put unknown- just to see if they are actually testing DNA or just guessing, lol. I have a palamino yearling filly who is "supposedly" full blooded QH, however she did not come with papers, so I would love to run a test and see what she comes back as. Lol, with my luck she would be 1/2 welsh pony and 1/2 miniature horse; ie she would have no luck in turning out tall enough for any of us (except maybe my 3 yr olds ;P If anybody has done testing (even with another company), and would be willing to share the details, I would love to know about your experience. My email is Raestb82@gmail.com Thanks in advance!

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  16. Thanks for all the info regarding testing, I'm going to do it! Fun looking at your site :)

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  17. This is great! I read this and contacted the vet at Texas A and M and are waiting for a call. I have been workung with the Auction and Kill Pen horses whose history in most cases is totally unknown. I am in the process of adopting an Arabian mare who is probably 100% Arabian. Currently the breed Associations hands are tied unless one or both parents are known. These poor animals not only loose their self esteem, but their history as well. I feel if I can document proof thru DNA testing, videos and her coggins test this Horse might have a good chance of being registered. Perhaps this might be an incentive to establish another category of apendix registry. It's sure worth a shot not to mention the mystery of what it will tell. Im excited about the outcome.

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  18. Since AQHA does genetic parentage verification for foals where they test foal dna against parents on file, can't they just expand and do a large query against all dna on file? Can't they find an exact match if horse is already registered? Shouldn't a person be given the option to pay out of pocket to have that done? UC Davis keeps ALL of AQHA dna on file. Why won't they just do it!?

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    1. I have no idea. I know nothing of the AQHA nor UC Davis; the only QH I ever owned was not registered and I have nothing to do with this breed association. The university I contacted was Texas A & M, not UC Davis; Texas A & M offers equine genetic testing. I have no affiliation with any university or studies; I was just posting the information I found and the results I obtained since I know a lot of people out there have the same questions re: their horses' breeding, especially when it comes to rescued horses with unknown histories.

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  19. So, where exactly do we send this in to? I would love to find out what my mare has in her. We never knew the true parentage of neither Dam nor Sire... And how much is this?

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    1. You can write to Dr. Gus Cothran at GCothran(at)cvm(dot)tamu(dot)edu and he can e-mail you the form. They ask for the horse's name, age, breed or suspected breeds, sex and color. Plus your name, address and phone number. Attach 30-50 mane and/or tail hairs to the sheet of paper with all of this info, making sure to NOT tape over the follicles. Send to Animal Genetics Lab, CVM, VIBS, 4458 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4458. They ask that the $25 check be made payable to Texas Agri-Life Research-VTAN.

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  20. Hi im Chistina i just sent him an email i personaly own 4 horses and they are all crossed with somthing the arabian cross is obviously An arabian based on how he acts and his gates but his head is onky slightly dished so its just noticeable and he has HUGE ears and his rump is similar to a QH but a smaller version of it and the. You have my paint cross who is like 50/50 black and white but his confirmation is all off on the normal breed he is extremely stocky and has a thick build he even has thick legs and mountain high withers his head has bow to it kinda like the opisite of an arabians dished face and then you have the draft cross she is thick all over in bone and muscle build bigger hooves than the others but had color similar to a paint that has hardly any color other than 4 white socks that end at the knees or higher and a couple other random small spots then you have her son whoes sire was a douple homozygous paint stallion who could be registered as a APH but once again his confermation is outta whack because of his moms genes so i am definitely going to do this to the 3 older horses because if i get the mares back then i know what her son is it will be highly intriguing to see what they all are :)

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  21. I am interested in having my horse tested. Can you send me the info.

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    1. Kelly, please read my response to Justine's comment above. The info is there.

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  22. Would luv the info please could send it to me at
    Jenhodges1977@yahoo.com

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  23. No Morgan markers? Darn, my "registered QH" (who I know isn't the same horse as his papers reflectance a bit of research and finding the original breeders video of the horse who's papers my boy came with), looks more Morgan than QH.

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  24. No Morgan markers? Darn, my "registered QH" (who I know isn't the same horse as his papers reflect. After a bit of research and finding the original breeders video of the horse who's papers my boy came with), looks more Morgan than QH.

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  25. No Morgan markers? Darn, my "registered QH" (who I know isn't the same horse as his papers reflect. After a bit of research and finding the original breeders video of the horse who's papers my boy came with), looks more Morgan than QH.

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  26. Hi I am in the UK, will he still be able to do the test or would the sample be too stale by the time it reached Texas?

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  27. Hi I am in the UK, will he still be able to do the test or would the sample be too stale by the time it reached Texas?

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  28. Hi I recently bought a paint mare from a rescue and was told she is a paint Friesian cross. I personally do not see any Friesian in her but maybe Hafflinger. But wondering who I need to contactor how I contact them to get her tested. Please message me on fb at Jennifer Bonsall-Beaver

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  29. Ya, I got a sorrel QH mare that was a rescue. She was 4 yrs old and looks very much a perfect picture of a Quarter Horse. Not broke yet but very sweet, but surprise!! I looked closer and ya she was in foal! A month after that I bought a box of its a boy cigars. I'm wondering if he's accually all QH, He sure looks it. Except his markings are very unusual. ( RED ZEBRA DUNN ). Thats what I call it. He not only has zebra stripes on his legs and especially the fronts but he has the marks across his shoulders too. Like a mule. He is barley 4 mos old and super awsome, smart etc. Does anyone know the address, phone or email so I can get them both tested. THE SIRE IS UNKNOWN. THANKS

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  30. Thanks so much for the information. I definitely want to get my stallion, Codie, tested. In 2003, he was 8 months old when he was part of a Humane Society Rescue, and they can't give out any information about previous owners, etc. We think Codie is a Quarter Horse/Mustang cross. He's also tri-color but can't be registered as a paint, which is a shame. He's an incredible animal and would add so much to any breed.

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