As the breeding season approaches, we’re delighted to say that our 2022 SPARKS data sheets are now available. These sheets are designed to help you, as owners, to make informed choices about which stallion to pair with which mare both to give you a great genetic match for your breeding stock, and help us all make the most of our precious bloodlines to preserve the health and vitality of the breed.
Owners should also be aware that, under the rules that regulate Passport Issuing Organisations, we MUST confirm the identity of all breeding stock before offspring can be entered into the studbook. In common with most breed societies we carry out this identification by DNA sampling. For this reason, before you send your mare to a stallion, it is vitally important that you check that the stallion you are intending to use to cover your mare has provided the required DNA sample. If you use a stallion whose DNA has not been sampled it will be impossible to register any subsequent foal in the main register of the Eriskay Pony Society studbook.
You can easily check whether a stallion has been tested by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, who will be happy to confirm which stallions have had DNA submitted and which therefore are suitable for use as a stud.
SPARKS (Single Population Analysis and Records Keeping System) is a computer-based breed analysis system developed by Dr Andy Dell which, used in conjunction with the GENES genetic analysis programme, can help breeders choose the optimum pairing of male and female to help maintain the genetic diversity. The key aim of SPARKS is to help reduce the depletion of genetic diversity that can pose a serious threat to the existence of small populations. The data is updated each year and the information provided helps breeders choose pairings that will give the progeny a lower mean kinship than both of the parent animals.
At The Eriskay Pony Society, we are very grateful to Dr Dell for allowing and supporting the use of SPARKS and also to the Rare Breed Survival Trust for their continuing advice, support and encouragement.
All owners, members or not, can request a copy of the SPARKS sheet for their stallion or mare which will give details of all suitable matches. Members of the Society can also apply for a breeding grant to help with costs such as transport, livery and vet fees and this is targeted at those intending to breed with ponies which show a good match on the system.
Our Breeding Advisor, Mary McGillivray, and Registrar Lorna Holden have years of personal experience and expertise with Eriskay pony breeding. They can offer sound advice to help you throughout the process of finding a match for your mare, and we hope, breeding a foal.
If you would like a SPARKS sheet for your pony, please contact Mary (email@example.com) or Lorna (firstname.lastname@example.org)