Horse Tale: Oriental Stallions Dominate Horse DNA, Gene Study Shows

Virtually all the horses who grace racetracks, horse shows, riding stables, and private farms around the world today descend from two lines of “Oriental” champions, researchers reported Thursday.

The genetic study sheds light on the long-withstanding effects of intensive breeding, which dates back just 700 years. Choices made then — during the height of the Medieval period in Europe and at the birth of the Ottoman Empire — live on today in the genes of horses found across the American West, in the stables of European royalty, and on the pampas of Argentina.

A Lipizzan stallion named Conversano Sessana, born in 2001.The Y sequence that is needed as a template to detect variants in any horse is generated from a stallion of this breed.