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Fallen Crest
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Blue Flame
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 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2012 03:41 pm
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Hi Dr. Deb,

DrDeb wrote:

1: How does table salt and magnesium reduce water uptake in the crest (or by extension, in any body tissue): The answer is that the two substances have different effects. Table salt (NaCl, Sodium chloride) is an important and necessary nutrient. Horses need more salt than people do, and all the warnings we hear about ingesting excess amounts of salt and that creating or contributing to high blood pressure don't apply to horses. 4Tbsp. of NaCl per day is what Jenny Paterson in New Zealand is finding keeps her horses happy, sound, and healthy, and interestingly enough, my own horse who lives in California also proves to voluntarily eat that same amount on average every day. If horses are eating fresh, moist grass -- especially if it is in a phase of growth -- they can become victims of what is called 'grass tetany'. Cattle get this also, and from the same cause -- too much phosphorus (contained in the green grass) drives out or unbalances the sodium in the animal's body, leading to water retention or oedema as one symptom.

So sodium and phosphorus have to be eaten in balanced quantities, . . .



I believe you mistyped and meant to type Potassium where you have typed phosphorous 1. As I understand it from reading documents by Dr. Swerczek D.V.M. Phd, sent to me by Jenny Paterson, grass tetany is associated with hyperkalemia - excess Ka (Potassium). It is also associated with nitrate toxicity, hypomagnesemia (magnesium deficiency), hypocalcemia (calcium deficiency) and of course hyponatremia (sodium deficiency) 2.

The upshot of all this is that when forage is high in Potassium, it enters the horse as Potassium Nitrate. The anionic nitrates can be eliminated by the horse by combining them with either Sodium, Magnesium or Calcium cations. Hence, deficiences in these minerals can occur. If there is enough Sodium being supplied to the horse then it will not need to use up Magnesium and Calcium to rid itself of the nitrates and the Sodium:Potassium ratio can be kept in check.

Points in relation to water retention and crest turgidity:

1. In growing phases, Potassium concentrates in the tips of the grass while Sodium stays lower in the plant - leading to both an excess of Potassium and deficiency of Sodium as the horses graze the top of the plants. This simultaneously causes both hyperkalemia and hyponatremia - 2 of the 4 imbalances associated with grass tetany.

2. Horses excrete excess Potassium by urination.

3. A Sodium deficiency causes the horse to retain water trying to conserve Sodium levels.

Extrapolating from the 3 points above, I think that when hyperkalemia occurs, the attendant hyponatremia causing water retention not only compounds the hyperkalemia, but also could explain the hardening crests. Hence feeding salt restores Sodium levels, increases thirst, increases water intake, decreases water retention, increases urination and thus lowers potassium levels by excreting excesses.

One more tidbit, I think grass tetany (hyperkalemia) and grass staggers (mycotoxin induced) have largely the same symptoms and can occur during the same climatic conditions. Hence I believe that sometimes horses with tetany are misdiagnosed and treated for staggers (given mycosorb instead of salt). I think this would be the case more often than the other way around since grass tetany does not appear to be as prevalent in the equine vet's vocabulary as staggers. In short, if one doesn't work (salt or toxin binder) then try the other, or both.

Potassium promotes the overgrowth of saprotrophic (microorganisms that normally grow on dead matter), commensal (organisms that live together but don't harm each other) and pathogenic (microbes that cause disease) microorganisms in plants, especially plants damaged by droughts, frosts and freezes. Thus, such forages become the source of many opportunistic, potentially pathogenic bacteria and fungi.

After ingesting them, livestock face an overgrowth of opportunistic, pathogenic organisms in the gut. The organisms rapidly proliferate to produce toxic by-products, like excessive ammonia, which is acutely toxic to fetuses and the immune system.1



Respectfully,

Sandy Amos

 

References:

1. Don't Short SALT T.W. Swerczek, DVM, PhD (Sodium chloride and other salts appear to aid in preventing grass tetany, reproductive losses and other disorders associated with high-potassium forages.)

2. Nitrate Toxicity and Sodium Deficiency Associated with Hypomagnesemia, Hypocalcemia and the Grass tetany Syndrome in Herbivores. T.W. Swerczek, DVM, PhD.

Last edited on Wed Jul 18th, 2012 04:14 pm by Blue Flame

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 12:49 pm
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Hi Sandy

This is such a huge subject I don’t believe anyone has all the answers, but I thought you might be interested in yet another opinion on the question of fluid retention. This comes from Dr Raymond Peat (PhD in biology with a specialization in physiology) who has looked at the role of hypothyroidism in causing water retention:

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/water.shtml

“Hypothyroidism is typically associated with increased prolactin secretion. Hypothyroid people typically retain water, while losing salt, …”

“The typical hypothyroid person loses salt rapidly in the urine . . . and retains water, diluting the urine less than normal. The reduced production of carbon dioxide, with increased susceptibility to producing lactate and ammonium, causes the cells to be more alkaline than normal, increasing their affinity for water.”

Hypothyroidism is associated with weight-gain so is thought to contribute significantly to insulin resistance. Large, hardened crests are generally seen on overweight or insulin resistant horses, so I could see the logic of considering low thyroid function being involved. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an enlarged crest on a skinny horse, although a thin horse can also be insulin resistant.

Use of magnesium to quickly soften an enlarged and hardened crest has been well known for a long time, magnesium sulphate commonly being used due to its easy availability, although I think any form of readily absorbed magnesium would do the job. Mag chloride certainly is effective, but I do not have a clear understanding of how magnesium can make such a big difference in just days.

The link between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance is well documented (eg http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21205110) so it would be very interesting to know if feeding magnesium to a cresty horse has some effect on thyroid function that then changes control of water and sodium in the body. I had at one point thought the chloride ions in MgCl were having a particular effect in improving horses’ overall health, but as mag sulphate works just as well specifically on hardened crests, that’s obviously not right. (Mag sulphate is too irritating to the gut to be used longterm).

Tom Swerczek’s ideas about sodium deficiency and excess potassium in relation to grass tetany are interesting, but I have not seen anything by him that includes any reference to fluid retention or insulin resistance.

There are still many unanswered questions about grass tetany. For instance, in the area where I live, a beef and dairy region, the soils are low in sodium and alkaline minerals and relatively high in potassium, yet grass tetany is very rare. Stock are primarily grass fed, with little or no supplemental feeding. Perhaps there is some significance in Swerczek’s comments that “Without exception, most researchers have observed that clinical signs of grass tetany rarely occur unless affected animals are high producing and being fed a ration high, or excessive in protein which includes non-protein nitrogenous compounds.”

Best wishes
Pauline

Obie
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 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 03:45 pm
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Hello All,

I was diagnosed as being hypothyroid and having problems with excess weight around my waist and alot of bloat.and having food intolerences. After 2 yrs with no success being on hypothryoid medicine (as far as blood work panel), and still having issues with bloat/weight and food sensitivities I decided to talk to my Dr. about getting off the meds and starting on iodine. I have been taking mag chloride in a lliquid form for about 4 plus weeks and have noticed a little change for the better in my bloat/weight and food intolerances, but when I started taking iodine I noticed even better results. I have been taking iodine for about 2 weeks. The bloat and weight around my stomach has significantly reduced, my thyroid glands do not hurt as much and I even think I can tolerate certain foods better. Just wondering if iodine would be helpful for horses with hypothyroidism. Is there any studies on this subject for horses?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 05:57 pm
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Yes, Obie, there are studies on this for horses, though I am not up on the literature enough to quote you the references -- I'd have to stop and look them up. But you can probably do the same by just going to Google or Google Scientific. Or, when I get back from this trip I can ask my friend Marit Arana, who is a Ph.D. animal nutritionist and a friend and fellow horse-owner. Obviously, hypo/hyper thyroidism would be impacted by iodine.

Dr. Andrew Weil has also commented on iodine deficiency in humans -- go look this material up at his website http://www.drandrewweil.com. Important to note for those of us who spend a good deal of time on the road, is that restaurants in an effort to save every last penny, do not generally put iodized salt on the table, rather simply "plain" NaCl with no additives (the type of salt that Pauline Moore most complains about and warns against). Therefore if you eat out a lot, you will want to either pack a little vial of your own iodized salt or "real" sea salt, or else take the iodine supplements or kelp. -- Dr. Deb

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2012 12:23 am
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Although I have not seen any specific research for horses, anyone concerned about thyroid function may be interested in Prof Donald Miller's review of recent research on whole-body iodine needs:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller20.html

Whilst the amount of iodine in commercial table salt is sufficient to prevent goitre, that amount appears to be totally insufficient to supply the rest of the body. Glandular tissue throughout the body has a high need for iodine, some even suggesting that iodine deficiency is implicated in the widespread rise in hormonal cancers over recent decades. Apparently iodine deficiency is exacerbated by exposure to the other halides such as bromine, chlorine and fluoride which can all replace iodine in the body.

I started using iodine myself about 18 months ago, and noticed a huge increase in energy within the first couple of days that has been sustained ever since. I also lost around 4kg in weight with no other changes to diet or exercise. Some friends who also tried iodine around the same time found that after the initial increase in energy they started to get some unpleasant symptoms - headaches, nausea etc. This continued for several weeks before completely disappearing. It is thought this reaction occurred due to their bodies eliminating bromines. Dr David Brownstein has written extensively on this subject, but hopefully our horses are not exposed to the same level of toxic halides that we all face daily from our food supply and working and living environments.

So, of course I figured that if humans need so much more iodine than the amount for prevention of goitre, then there's a good chance other mammals also need that much more. My horses have been given iodine regularly for the past year but I can't honestly say I've seen any difference either positively or negatively. They are all healthy and functional, and the one who has an easy-keeper body type has not shown any signs of becoming IR. I cannot tell if iodine is helping to protect him, but there certainly does not appear to be any harm.

It would be wonderful if proper studies could be done for horses, but I'm not holding my breath as, once again, there's no potential for a patentable product to justify the investment.

Pauline

snazzywildpony
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 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2012 07:30 pm
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Dr Deb,

There is a veterinarian online who is helping thousands of people with horses that have similar symptoms (Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Insulin Resistance) with nutritional changes to their diet. It is free information and magnesium and iodine are covered in depth. She has complete classes you can pay for but like here, if you have the patience to read though many past posts, you can get all the information you need as well as tools to help you. I am not sure if you are aware of her research so I will not name her by name but she does have over 10,000 documented cases.

She has stated that there are tendencies in certain breeds for insulin resistance and Iberians are listed. So far all you are saying certainly seems to be in line with what she says. Hard crest=bad=precursor to laminitis and she recommends an emergency diet for these animals which is outlined in her forum files. She is also very open to discussing her research.

Annette Carter

Blue Flame
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 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2012 09:45 am
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Pauline,

Thank you very much for that information on Iodine. I'll look into it further.

Annette,

I believe many of us will know exactly to whom you are referring.

Initially when I put together a nutritional balance spreadsheet for my horse, which took into account pasture analysis and supplements. I was concerned that the supplement I was using put Iodine levels at 215% of RDI (going on the initial RDI information I had from the agricultural lab). So I looked into it a bit further and found that, according to both NRC guidleines and the un-named vet, the total Iodine in my horse's diet was at 66% of their suggested RDI. I trust the NRC and the un-named vet more than the local lab for RDI levels.

Dr. Deb, am I correct in recalling that the horse's thyroid can be felt on either side of the throat just behind the turnover (throatlatch) area under the jaw?

Once, when I initially felt these lumps I was a little concerned (thinking they might be inflamed lymph nodes indicating an infection) and asked a vet to have a look. I think he told me that the lumps were a perfectly normal thyroid. Every so often now, when I remember, I palpate those lumps just to make sure they haven't changed - they haven't.

EDIT: I just remembered that when I was overseas for 3 weeks this year and my horse just lived on pasture with no supplements - when I returned he had a hard bulging crest. This went back to normal soon after returning him to his normal regime of supplements - which included extra salt, magnesium and iodine. Unfortunately I did not think at the time to palpate the thyroid.

There is a horse with a hard bulging crest in our paddock. Tomorrow I'll check his thyroid gland to see if there is anything noticable by the layman.

Sandy

Last edited on Sun Jul 29th, 2012 10:11 am by Blue Flame

Blue Flame
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 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2012 10:05 am
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Answering my own question that I asked of Dr. Deb, I found this article regarding the thyroid gland and associated info - Swollen Thyroid Gland
by: Phillip Johnson, BVSc (Hon), MS, Dipl. ACVIM
September 01 2005, Article # 6011

Last edited on Sun Jul 29th, 2012 10:05 am by Blue Flame

Blue Flame
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 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2012 10:25 am
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Pauline Moore wrote:
Apparently iodine deficiency is exacerbated by exposure to the other halides such as bromine, chlorine and fluoride which can all replace iodine in the body.Very interesting since flouride and chloride/chlorite based biocides are quite commonly added to municipal water supplies.

This gives me even more food for thought because all of the troughs at our grazing facility are on the town water supply.

Personally, I bought a water distiller to make sure my family were not getting dosed with flouride - but that's a whole other can of worms.

Sandy

Last edited on Sun Jul 29th, 2012 10:26 am by Blue Flame

barbhorses
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 Posted: Thu Sep 5th, 2013 10:01 pm
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I just got a Spanish type Sulphur stallion back in April who was very obese. I have known about this stud for over a decade and think it is amazing that he is now actually mine as he was in danger of disappearing like so many of these horses do.

Anyways, he came to me very obese. His hip angle is also different than when he was younger. His topline doesn't exist and has a total lack of muscle in his croup. I think I took at least over 100 pounds off of him since then and just sent him to an excellent cowboy dressage type trainer in Texas. Diego's neck was just gigantic when I got him and it still is big, but not close to looking like it was. I am not sure if his crest is just fallen or broken, but am hoping that it is possible for this to be fixed. Here are some pictures of the boy. The first photo was from over a decade ago when he was a young stallion. This is so you can see his hip angle and compare it to what he looks like today.



Next pictures are of Diego before I got him in December 2012:







Here are pictures of him on a timeline when I first got him to now.



You can see in the picture above that Diego's neck bulges out to this side at the level of his mane. All of it was this big rock hard massive bulge that I couldn't even put my hand around. He has so much weight on top of his neck that his cervical vertebrae actually pop when he turns his neck all the way around to bite at his side in one sweeping movement or when he suddenly puts his head to the ground.



This picture shows his bulging neck really well.



What his neck looked like on the right side.



This picture shows how much weight he has lost since I first got him. You can also compare this picture to the first photo I have up at the top to see how drastically different the angle of his hip is today from the way his hip is naturally angled. His neck has come down a lot and I can actually grab the bulge in his neck. It is softer on the outside, but still hard on the inside. It also does not stay perched up like it use to when he was obese. I think this is causing some strain on his vertebrae.

The following pictures were taken 02SEP13 and 03SEP13



You can actually see from him rolling over his fat what is left of his neck.



A nice shape emerging on his right side.



Diego is obsessed with rolling. I am not sure if it is just his way of relieving tension in his neck or if he really just loves to roll that much.



Diego getting on the trailer to go to the trainer in Texas.



Sorry for the massive amount of photos, but I wanted to give you a good idea on how much weight he has lost as well as his gigantic neck was and where it is now. Additionally, I wanted you to see just how drastic the angle of his hip was when he was young and where it is now.

Is his crest broken or just fallen? If I put him on Total Equine with a high magnesium count would that reduce his hard fat to the point that his neck would go down and not be falling over anymore? How can the angle of a horse's hip change so dramatically and is it possible through proper work that his hip will go back to normal?








Last edited on Thu Sep 5th, 2013 10:56 pm by DrDeb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Sep 5th, 2013 11:12 pm
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Dear BHorses: I have deleted about a third of the photos you originally posted as being essentially duplicates and/or not particularly useful for the question at hand.

Your horse has neither gained nor lost a significant amount of weight. He is a stout fellow; he has always been a stout fellow; and he will always be a stout fellow. This is very characteristic of some bloodlines/strains of American mustang, as it is also of the Criollo horses of Argentina and the Huaso horses of Chile.

Your horse is cresty and prone to adding pad-like or thick fatty deposits in other body zones, as well. He is also prone to insulin resistance, and will always need to be on a managed diet. The object is not so much weight management per se as it is the prevention of laminitis/founder.

To this end, you should read the "when is it time to give up on my horse" thread and also use the Google advanced search function with "magnesium" and "insulin resistance" or "IR" as keywords, to look up other threads in this Forum where our Institute Friend Pauline Moore is speaking of her work and research into the benefits of supplemental magnesium and other supplements and management techniques beneficial to the IR or IR-prone horse.

From this you may see that any concern with the merely cosmetic appearance of the animal's crest is silly. Many horses whose ancestors originated in Iberia have large crests. The crest is simply a fibro-fatty structure that sits along the back of the horse's neck. Use the Google advanced search function with keyword "crest" or "falling crest" and find the thread where I post images of a carcass where I and my class dissected across the crest so that you can see its exact nature, position, and structure.

A 'broken' crest means that the fibro-fatty tissue has fractured. Sometimes this happens. It is not repairable and is considered a blemish. Functionally it means absolutely nothing, it has no impact on the horse's functionality.

A 'fallen' crest just means that the crest flops over to one side, or may flop from one side to the other as the animal moves. This is analogous to a woman with a big bosom going jogging without a bra -- actually, probably less uncomfortable for the horse than for the woman.

Your horse does not have a broken crest. He does have a fallen one. Sorry, there's no 'bra' for this. If you feed him up and let him get fat -- as he approaches critical danger of founder -- the crest will stand up hard and erect. This is your canary in the coal mine; you do NOT want the crest to stand up. You want it to be soft and floppy; this indicates that the horse is in the metabolic safety zone.

The exception to this is that, as your gelding begins to learn how to carry himself and a rider under saddle in a proper manner -- in other words if and when he ever learns to carry himself and his rider straight and in some degree of collection -- in those moments when he is collected, when he makes the neck-telescoping gesture, then the crest will also stand up. This is due to the arching and stretching of the neck which is part of the postural dynamic of true collection.

I'm sorry to hear you've shipped your horse off to any trainer whatsoever -- you would have been better off learning how to teach him what he needs to know yourself. This is not advice to you alone; anyone who writes in here and mentions that they use a 'trainer' gets this warning. You will be very lucky indeed if you have a horse that is safe and reliable for you to ride six months after the 'trainer' returns him.

Let us know when you need more assistance. -- Dr. Deb

barbhorses
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 Posted: Thu Sep 5th, 2013 11:28 pm
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Thank you for your response. The trainer is actually a friend of mine and is well respected for being very patient and producing calm and confident individuals that work well under saddle.

It would be impossible for me to train Diego as I will be in boot camp for 2 months and A School for 4 months in Illinois (the pains I go through in order to have a job that pays well enough for my horse habits!). So, I made sure he went to someone I can trust which is why I sent him to Texas instead of a local trainer I don't know in California. I am sorry that you appear to have had such bad luck with trainers. I can't blame you for that either. Another reason why he went to Texas! lol

Diego is a stout fellow (which I like), but he has lost a significant amount of weight. I guess you can't tell from the photos, but his neck was twice as big and he was so fat that I had to really poke my finger into his side to feel his ribs. Now, I just have to press lightly with my hand into his coat to feel them. Huge difference.

That is scary to now know that when I got him that he was so dangerously close to foundering. His neck was rock solid and would stand straight up with that big additional bulge out onto the side of his neck.

You are also correct in the Iberian part. Genetically, these guys are related to the Puerto Rican Paso Fino, Chilean Criollo, and American Paso Fino. This breed does not gait though and do not come in most equine colors.

So, it will never be possible for Diego to have a normal appearing neck? My friend/trainer said it would take a while for Diego to get his muscling over the topline. He thinks he looks so weak that he said he would probably just do mostly ground work for at least a month to strengthen his topline before he got on him.

What is your opinion on his hip angles? I think it odd that he looks so drastically different there from when he was younger to how he looks now.




DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Sep 6th, 2013 08:09 am
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BHorses -- you might enjoy reading my book "Conquerors" that tells the actual history of Iberian-related horses in the New World. There are zero horses of Barb extraction in the New World, except a very few exported quite recently directly from North Africa. No type of mustang or feral horse or criollo or bagual horse, or any other Iberian-related horse of the Western Hemisphere, has any more Barb in it than all Iberian horses have; how that Barb strain got in there you may read in "Conquerors". Your horse is not a Barb because he is dun-colored. Color is almost never a good way to tell a horse's bloodline or to tell what other horses it may be related to.

As to "a normal appearing neck": your idea of "normal" has been formed by your unconscious acceptance of the cultural norm, which is for all horses to look like the English Thoroughbred. This affects many people and was an attitude or norm that got started during Napoleon's time. Your horse's neck is absolutely normal for a horse of his ancestry and type.

As to "my opinion on hip angles": I don't have opinions. However, you can read all about the FACTS of the matter in two places:

1. Go to the Equus Magazine website and click on their bookstore, which is called something like "horse books etc" or "horsebooksetc.com" and purchase my "Principles of Conformation Analysis". This book has been available since the mid-1980's and has helped many people.

2. Go to the Equus Magazine website and obtain a subscription. Back-start the subscription about three years, to the beginning of my New Series on conformation study, and read all about it.

Sounds like you've done something sensible regarding a trainer. Good luck with Boot Camp & your military career. -- Dr. Deb

Crest fallen stallion
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 Posted: Mon Nov 6th, 2017 09:10 pm
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People could also be taking advantage of you by breeding to your pedigreed stallion for a smaller stud fee if they can convince you his crest is a hereditary problem. Has the person who told you not to breed him had their own horses bred to him? Just a thought.


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