As a little girl, I always wanted a pony for Christmas. Santa never brought me a pony. So in my late 40s, I started taking horseback riding lessons. When I turned 50, I got my first horse, an Icelandic named Blessi (Veigar frá Búðardal). Little did I know how much fun life with an Icelandic was going to be. Blessi has a unique perspective on life. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy Blessi. And you will probably read about my cats from time to time.
descriptions have claimed the Przewalski's Horse, an endangered wild horse, as
a direct ancestor.However recent mtDNA
research (Ryder, Fisher, et al, 2011) indicates that Przewalski's Horse diverged
from the ancestor of the modern horse approximately 160,000 years ago—long
before domestication and development of modern horse breeds.
research by McCue, Bannasch, et al.(2012) shows that Przewalski's Horse is more
closely related to Mongolian, Norwegian Fjord, Belgian, and Icelandic breeds
than other breeds such as Thoroughbreds. Although Przewalski’s Horse and the
domesticated horse differ in number of chromosomes, the two species can
interbreed.McCue, Bannasch, et
al.(2012) propose that mtDNA research indicates there was interbreeding of domesticated
horses with Przewalski’s horses.
Horse herds in the wild where the range of the two
equine subspecies overlapped--especially in Mongolia.Since all existing Przewalski’s Horses are
offspring of nine of these horses captured in 1945, said founding horses are not
purebred but hybrids with domesticated horses.In other words, the genetic material was from the domestic horse to
Przewalksi’s Horse only.The above
example serves to caution the reader about making quick interpretations about breed origination on basis of mtDNA research.
McCue, M., Bannasch, D.,
Petersen, J., Gurr, J., Bailey, E, Binns, M., Distl, O., Guérin, G., Hasegawa,
T, Hill, E., Lee, T., Lindgren, G., M. Penedo, M., Røed, K. Ryder, O, Swinburne,
J., Tozaki, T, Valberg, S., Vaudin, M., Lindblad-Toh, K., Wade, C., & Mickelson,
J.(2012) A High Density SNP Array for
the Domestic Horse and Extant Perissodactyla: Utility for Association Mapping,
Genetic Diversity, and Phylogeny Studies, PLOS Genetics, Found on September 20,
1012 at http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1002451
Ryder, A., Fisher, Schultz, B., Pond, S., Nekrutenko, A., & Makova., K. (2011).A massively parallel sequencing approach
uncovers ancient origins and high genetic variability of endangered Przewalski's
horses". Genome Biology and Evolution.