Vets’ horror at ‘freakish’ Arab horse’s curved face
HE is described as the king of horses by his owners and is reportedly worth millions of euro.
But a pedigree horse bred to have a concave face has been described as ‘horrific’ by veterinary experts.
El Rey Magnum, an Arabian show horse, is said to be at risk of breathing problems because of his unnatural face. His parents have similarly concave faces.
The colt is the latest example of extreme breeding, more usually seen in cats and dogs, and is the subject of an article in a British journal condemning the practice.
Equine expert Tim Greet said: ‘The deformity is even more significant for a horse than for a dog. Dogs, like man, can mouthbreathe, but horses can only breathe through their nose. I suspect exercise would definitely be limited for this horse.’
The owners of El Rey Magnum, at a specialist horse farm in the US, have defended the appearance of their nine-month-old colt, which resembles cartoon horses in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin.
However Jonathan Pycock, president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, said: ‘This is incredible – it’s almost cartoon-like. Quite freakish.’
Writing in the Veterinary Record, the horse reproduction expert added: ‘The problem comes when you breed for particular looks and when those
‘In a word, this looks horrific’
looks are detrimental to the horse’s health.
‘In my book, that is fundamentally wrong. This is a worrying development.’
The Arabian horse is one of the oldest pedigrees in the world, dating back around 3,000 years. They must have a ‘dished’, or concave, face as well as a long, arching neck and high tail.
Doug Leadley, manager of Orrion Farms in Washington, which owns the horse, said he had no breathing problems, adding: ‘We think he is the most beautiful Arabian in the world – we think he is a king.’
Regency Cove Farms in Oklahoma, which bred the horse, said he had been bred to be a ‘very unique animal’ which was ‘a little bit different’.
But Roly Owers, an equine vet and chief executive of the World Horse Welfare charity, said of the horse: ‘In a word, this looks horrific.’ He added: ‘If there is not a restriction to the airway in this particular animal already then there will be in future generations.’
However, Wayne McIlwraith, director of the musculoskeletal research programme at Colorado State University, said there was ‘no evidence’ that the skull shape caused breathing problems.
Extreme: His parents have the same look