Monday, November 18, 2013

Oro: Pearl of Peace

The story behind Pearl of Peace

25 February 2013 at 16:52
Pearl of Peace is the UK’s first ‘gold’ Andalusian horse, who possesses the rare and newly mapped pearl gene. Born in March 2012 and known at home as Oro, Pearl of Peace is a genetic rarity. This young PRE Andalusian colt is the first of his kind in the United Kingdom and possesses the double pearl and single black gene.

The genetics of Pearl of Peace

The pearl gene alone is incredibly rare and the physical exhibition of the pearl gene coat dilution is even more unusual. The pearl gene is the most recent equine gene to be mapped for equine testing, and has only been confirmed in a few breeds. Considered to be one of the most rare colour traits, the introduction of the gene to the United Kingdom is a positive move for British breeding.

The pearl gene is a coat dilution modifier and the visual coat colour changes are based upon the foundation colour of the horse. Pearl of Peace possesses a golden coat and hazel green eyes – the brightening of eye colours due to pigment changes are also a typical trait of the gene. His rare coat colour is a result of the reaction of the gene upon a bay coat colour, turning it into the bright gold of Pearl of Peace. As Oro also possesses the single black gene, in the future he has a 50/50 chance of producing black horses carrying, but not exhibiting, the pearl gene.

Pearl of Peace Breeding History

Oro is bred with the intention of a career in Grand Prix dressage and his heredity stands him in good stead for the pursuit of this sport. His Dam, Vega X who possesses but does not exhibit the pearl gene, is out of Lastur – whose father is Gaucho III. Gaucho III is considered to one of the top dressage stallions in America. With world class gaits, Gaucho III has sired quality progeny throughout the USA, Spain, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Gaucho was shortlisted for the American team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, however during the veterinary inspection he sustained an injury and could not compete. His half brother, Invasor II, won silver during the Athens Olympics for the Spanish team. With such an impressive record of fantastic breeding and sporting success, the future for Pearl of Peace looks incredibly promising. Though he is still very young, he moves beautifully and his paces are already showing great potential for the future.

Pearl of Peace’s exceptional genetics and phenotypes are the result of careful breeding carried out by his owners, Equus Vita. Equus Vita was founded in 2010 to promote the PRE Andalusian horse and is a home for horses that possess the rare pearl gene in the UK. Equus Vita continue to produce quality sport horses within this gene pool that are some of the most rare in the world, exhibiting exceptional breeding and colour traits.

The Future of Pearl of Peace

As the first ‘golden horse’ in the United Kingdom, Equus Vita plan to use Pearl of Peace as their foundation horse to produce many more like him. Their stud already includes his half brother Fuego, who shares the same dam and is also a carrier of the pearl gene. Fuego’s sire is one of the Equus Vita stallions, Uranio III who is from the famous Legionario XIX lineage. Fuego’s stud service will be available from June 2013 when he turns three. Other prospects for the future include Spirit of Pearl, who shares the same sire as Oro – Impetuoso Gap II. Spirit of Pearl possesses the rare pearl gene and has an unusual coat colour.

Pearl of Peace is expected to make 16.2hh and his availability for stud services will be made known once he reaches the age of three. His owner, Christine Kershaw, explains her delight at breeding Pearl of Peace:

"I had spent many months studying the genetics of horse breeding and realised that with my mare Vega X I had a 50% chance of breeding a double pearl horse. I chose a stallion that I thought would suit her and I patiently waited eleven months for the arrival of Oro. I still remember the telephone call from the stud, that I had bred a gold colt and they could not believe the colour he was on birth - a dark gold. For the next few months everyone came to visit him at the stud, as he was so rare and no one had ever seen the colour before. It was and still is an incredible feeling to know that I have bred and actually own him, as there are so few in the world. I cannot wait until he is ready to be backed - he already dances and is very light on his feet."

For more information about Pearl of Peace, or any of the other horses at Equus Vita, please 
email or visit the Pearl of Peace Facebook

The bullion stallion: 'Pearl of Peace' becomes an internet star thanks to rare gene that gives him a GOLDEN mane

A small stable year in rural Hertfordshire is not necessarily the place where you might expect to find gold. 
But that is exactly what happened when Britain's only gold Andalusian colt was born there last spring. 
Now 18-months-old Pearl of Peace is a remarkable example of his extremely rare breed - made even more so by the fact that he was born with green eyes.

Pearl of Peace, pictured with his owner Christina Kershaw, is a remarkable example of his extremely rare breed - made even more so by the fact that he has green eyes

Born in March last year, Peal of Peace, is known as Oro which means gold in Spanish,where the breed originally comes from.  

But Oro is doubly rare as thanks to a genetic quirk he has two copies of the 'pearl' colour gene, one from both his mother and father. 

And he has become an internet sensation with almost 200,000 fans of his Facebook page where his owner posts pictures and updates about his activities.

Golden: Pearl of Peace is also known as Oro which means gold in Spanish where his breed originally comes from

Christine Kershaw, 57, who owns Oro, also works as a mediator in the shipping industry and has been involved in helping to free hostages from Somali pirates.

She has only been breeding horses for four years so was delighted that her first her attempt to breed a Golden Andalusian horse worked so successfully.

Golden: Pearl of Peace is also known as Oro which means gold in Spanish where his breed originally comes from

She told the Sunday Times: 'I was absolutely overjoyed when Pearl of Peace was born.

'The stud phoned me because he had green eyes and they kept on saying: "We've never seen anything like it."

'Everyone who came up to the stud had to have a look at this horse with such an odd colour. Every time the vet goes to the yard he takes all his students to look.

'He is just this extraordinary colour and has the most weird sheen on his coat, even when he's dirty.'

She also explained how the horse came to have his 'double' pearl gene.

Double trouble: Pearl of Peace is doubly rare as thanks to a genetic quirk he has two copies of the 'pearl' colour gene, one from both his mother and father Pearl of Peace.

Star attraction: Pearl of Peace has become a hit with both visitors to his stables and online horse fans with nearly 200,000 followers on his Facebook site

She added: 'To produce this kind of horse you need two copies of the pearl gene. I bought a mare and purely by chance she had one copy of the gene. 

'Then I found a stallion with two copies of the gene so I was guaranteed that one copy would come over. But I had only a 50-50 chance that the mare would pass the other copy over and so basically the first time I really tried, I pulled it off and bred Pearl of Peace.'

Pearl of Peace was born with green eyes and a bright blond mane but over time that has darkened slightly and his eyes are now hazel.

There are believed to be around 185,000 Andalusian or Pure Race Spanish horses registered worldwide. 

Their ancestors have lived in Spain for thousands of years and since the breed was recognised in the fifteenth century the characteristics have changed very little and been prized by the nobility for their prowess as a war horses.

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