Word of the Day: Barn Blindness

Barn Blind” is a term I grew up hearing often but had forgotten until recently. Basically, everyone thinks that their critter (dog, horse or whatever else you are breeding and raising) is better than anyone else’s but the real meaning of Barn Blindness’ is when a breeder cannot see the animals shortcomings and therefore, continues to produce sub-pair offspring. For example, I noticed a local (Texas) breeder that always has their horses photographed in an angle towards the camera. This angle is fine but it doesn’t properly portray the topline, trapezoid or body per portions of the animal as seen here…


I finally got a chance to see some of this persons offspring and I quickly understood why they do not photograph their horses in the above stance. Their horses backs are a mile long! There is 8″ or more back left behind a big western saddle. That’s a L…O…N…G back.  Every horse in their breeding program has this same signature long back. When we become barn blind these types of flaws continue to plague our breeding lines.

Our breeding industry has radically changed over the past 10 years and is nothing like it was nearly 20 years ago with new tests, technology and the ability to collect, freeze, store and ship semen. We have improve so much but we have reduced our breeding pool.

I guess where I’m going with all of this is… we must be aware of our animals shortgivings and realize that just because an animal won something once somewhere important that does not merely qualify an animal to reproduce. There are many factors involved in selecting quality breeding stock and continuing to tweak, adjust and monitor the progress of each generation. We owe it to our animals to be selective, mindful and objective when critiquing them and their abilities to reproduce. But frankly sometimes a stallion makes a better gelding, a mare should remain a maiden and we should think in terms of improving the gene pool, developing healthier, mentally tolerant and physically apt animals we will all be just fine. To improve upon the horse we must improve ourselves.


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