Proposed Rules Overwhelmingly Ratified by Members in Referendum
 
Horses Free of the WFFS Gene to be Awarded D-WFFS Honorific
 
Warmblood Studbook of Ireland began addressing Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS) by requesting all owners of Approved Stallions, Approved Mares, and Studbook Mares to voluntarily have their animals tested for the WFFS gene through WSI. WSI also requested funding from the Department of Agriculture for a breeder education program and to test the entire Irish Warmblood population. 
 
However a voluntary testing system is not sufficient to identify and control the disease in any population (to date there have been no WFFS cases reported to WSI). Therefore the following additions to WSI Studbook Rules were proposed to our members last week (WSI has members in thirteen countries), and all proposed rules were duly ratified.
 
1) All Approved Stallions must be tested for the gene associated with Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS) to maintain their approval. Approved Stallions that pass the test and are free of the gene (N/N) will be awarded the honorific D-WFFS and their status will be publicly highlighted by the Studbook. Approved Stallions that do not pass the test (N/WFFS) will be placed on a list available to Members in Good Standing. Approved Stallions whose owners do not cooperate in the testing program will lose their approval. Stallions going through the approval process will be tested after Stage 1 if they were not tested earlier.
2) All Approved Mares must be tested for the gene associated with Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome to maintain their approval. Approved Mares that pass the test and are free of the gene (N/N) will be awarded the honorific D-WFFS. Approved Mares that do not pass the test (N/WFFS) will be placed on a list available to Members in Good Standing. Approved Mares whose owners do not cooperate in the testing program will lose their approval. Mares going through the approval process will be tested.
3) All Studbook Mares must be tested for the gene associated with Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome to maintain their status. Studbook Mares that pass the test and are free of the gene (N/N) will be awarded the honorific D-WFFS. Studbook Mares that do not pass the test (N/WFFS) will be placed on a list available to Members in Good Standing. Studbook Mares whose owners do not cooperate in the testing program will lose their status as Studbook Mares. Mares being evaluated for Studbook Mare status will be tested.
4) Foals sired by stallions awarded the D-WFFS honorific (or otherwise proven to be N/N) and out of mares awarded the D-WFFS honorific (or otherwise proven to be N/N) will not be tested during the registration process and will be awarded the D-WFFS honorific. Foals out of mares awarded the D-WFFS honorific (or otherwise proven to be N/N) but sired by stallions whose status is unknown will be tested during the foal registration process and will be awarded the D-WFFS honorific if free of the WFFS gene (N/N). Foals sired by stallions awarded the D-WFFS honorific (or otherwise proven to be N/N) but out of mares whose status is unknown will be tested during the foal registration process and will be awarded the D-WFFS honorific if free of the WFFS gene (N/N). Foals having two untested parents will be tested to determine if they are carriers (N/WFFS) or free of the gene (N/N); in the latter case they will be awarded the D-WFFS honorific. Foals having known carrier parents (WFFS/WFFS) will be tested to determine if they are carriers (N/WFFS), and their breeders will be advised by the Breeding Director to avoid breeding known carriers to one another. The foal’s status with respect to the WFFS gene will be included on its zootechnical certificate: D-WFFS (N/N) or Carrier (N/WFFS).
 
5) Members are required to report to the Studbook within 48 hours of its death any foal that appeared to have symptoms of WFFS. Members are also required to send to WSI a DNA sample of 30-40 hairs from the foal suspected of dying from WFFS. This sample will be tested.
 
6) Members pledge to take steps to ensure that they do not breed a carrier stallion to a carrier mare.
 
Our members’ overwhelming support for these rules, despite there being no reported cases of WFFS in our population, shows once again that WSI and our members are committed to building a progressive studbook; developing a population that is healthy, sound, and excels in sport; and using genomics and other scientific methods as an integral component of our selection program. The adopted rules have been incorporated into WSI’s Studbook Rules as of 13 May 2018.