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Date Posted: 20:09:57 02/16/09 Mon
Author: Kelsey
Subject: New England
In reply to: Megan 's message, "Health problems?" on 18:59:14 02/13/09 Fri

Hi Megan. I am from New England as well, but would have to disagree about the prevalence of premature deaths in Friesian horses in our area.

Within the past year alone, I know of at least 3 deaths of Friesians in their prime (under 12 years) who I knew personally. If we are to count the deaths of horses I didn't know personally, but have heard about and tally up in general over the past few years or so, the numbers begin to get quite large, considering the overall breed population. (Off the top of my head I can think of 6 just within New England.. counting the whole US add about 6 more, making 12..and I know I could think of more if I thought about it for a while)

I am only one person, so this is rather frightening. Yes, any horse can be expected to be susceptible to colic or other issues, but the proportion of premature mortality to the overall Friesian breed population, which is still fairly small, is disconcerting. An example you can examine is the number of KFPS Approved stallions who have died young within the past 5-7 years. I count about 5 or 6 that I remember at the moment.

In my experience, these deaths are either colic or heart related. A Friesian gelding owned by a friend of mine was simply found dead in his stall one morning from a ruptured aorta, which seems strange enough, but I have heard other accounts of this.

I don't necessarily think we should run around proclaiming doom and gloom, but it is an issue that anyone who has been active in the Friesian community for some time is aware of, and it is an issue that should be taken seriously. I love Friesians, and for that reason I think it is important that we pursue information about this so that we can prevent it if possible. Is it genetic, is it care related? Are we feeding them wrong, working them wrong? Can we isolate the genes that cause this so it can be prevented in future?

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