HOW GAIT IS INHERITED: Research and article by Victoria Varley (copyright 1993)
It is already a known fact that trotting horses bred to trotting horses produce trotting foals. The same is true for hard pacing horses and also for gaited horses, but what happens when you breed a trotting horse to a hard pacing horse? Or a hard pacing horse to a gaited horse? and what happens when you breed a trotting horse to a gaited horse? To cut a long story short and generally speaking;
I have discovered that gait inheritance is gender related. Sons inherit the gait of their mothers, while daughters inherit their fathers gaits.
When I began creating the Tiger Horse breed, and early on began developing my personal herd to resemble the ancient Soulon of China, I had a huge task ahead of me. I had to use homozygous Appaloosas for color production that could not gait, and a variety of gaited breeds for gaited infusions but that would not produce spotted foals. I wanted a spotted gaited Soulon just like China was attempting to develop.
From each group and wherever possible, I selected individuals that were quite different from their original breed’s standards, ones that more closely resembled the statuesque Soulon horse. The Soulon are the ceramic horses seen in ancient art, always adorned with gilded blankets, bejewelled tassels and other fine head gear and accouterments. They were a ceremonial horse and much revered during the exotic and most illustrious
Fortunately “genes take millions of years to disappear, let alone change” and is the reason I was able to produce my Soulon look-alikes during my lifetime. Well..... I worked at it for a solid 20 years producing over 100 horses from diversely different breeds, which proved my gait inheritance theory.
By crossing a variety of non gaited horses to gaited horses I was quite early on able, to study how gait was inherited. I am currently (2011) in the process of having a paper published that offers the data collected and am enjoying the professional assistance of Professor E.Bailey at the University of KY where the Tiger and Soulon Tiger Horses have stored DNA and blood typing info from the start of my work.
There are lots of spotted horse breeds and lots of gaited and non gaited horse breeds but my SOULON are as unique as their extinct Chinese cousins and will continue to turn heads for centuries to come. One lifetime is not long enough to breed excellent horses, let alone bring a new breed into existence so it makes no sense to me to breed for anything less than perfection and with anything less than breeding quality stock..
What could be more exciting than sitting astride a magnificent and powerful horse in full gait, and feeling as though you are sailing on a cloud? My name is Victoria Varley, I am the Founder of Tigre and SOULON and have been involved with horses of all breeds for over 30 years. If you have never taken a ride on a perfectly gaited horse, you don’t know what a heavenly ride is. In 1986 I was an open rider with the USA team and competed in the First World Championships 100 miles in one day endurance race, near Rome, Italy. My horse was a dapple gray mare named Miss Lexa who recently celebrated her 30th birthday. We flew with our horses for this momentous event. Individual USA riders brought back the gold, silver and bronze medals. In 1987, I was again selected to represent the USA, this time as one of the “4 man team” at the European National Championships 100 miles in one day endurance race. This time we flew with our horses to Germany, Europe and this time I brought home a team gold medal. Once again, Miss Lexa was my horse of choice. Arabians who excel at the sport of distance riding are remarkable animals but exhausting to ride especially at the trot where one must rise and falll in rhythm with the horse or have blisters for several weeks.