The number of Eriskays being born remains very low and the Eriskay Pony Society (EPS) is working with the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) to establish a genomic profile to help develop a better understanding of the breed. This will allow owners to take a more strategic approach to breeding whilst also continuing to make use of the SPARKS system that identifies suitable matches. As the understanding of all breeds, diseases and the importance of genetics in choosing suitable mates improves, the Society, along with the RBST and leading academics, will use the Eriskay pony DNA profile to help work on increasing the numbers of animals being bred in an appropriate and sustainable manner whilst identifying potential obstacles and barriers. .
As part of the Society’s commitment to preserving and promoting the breed, this work will help compile a much more comprehensive DNA profile for Eriskay ponies than ever before. It won’t cost owners anything as the Society has secured funding to pay for the analysis and the results will help make it easier for the Society to support owners and ponies in future. While those who have bred from ponies in the past will be familiar with taking a hair sample, samples from non breeding ponies have never been collected before. That has changed and now a complete DNA profile from every living Eriskay pony is being sought, no matter whether it’s been done before, the pony’s age, sex or the breeding intentions.
This DNA testing project is completely funded by the Society, courtesy of a generous grant from the Horserace Betting Levy Board. If you are an Eriskay pony owner we would encourage you to take part and you can request your FREE sample kit, which includes return postage, by emailing email@example.com