WAHO General News


At the 2017 WAHO Conference in February, Guest Speaker Dr. Samantha A. Brooks, PhD, from the Brooks Equine Genetics Lab at the University of Florida Genetics Institute, announced that they would be offering a 6-week online course in equine genetics. This is with the aim of improving the understanding of genetic principles and technologies among horse breeders and owners, tailored to be the material that is most relevant and easily understood in a fairly short period of time. It’s all done online so if you are interested, can spare a few hours each week to watch a number of videos, do a few brief activities, and have some online conversations with your fellow participants, you can earn a certificate that says you have attended and fulfilled all the requirements of this course. More information on the attached leaflet HorseGeneticsFlyerPrint2017

The course is due to start on April 3rd and runs until May 15th. The details can be found here.

There is a special discount for WAHO Members of US$ 25 on the course fee if you use this specific link when registering: http://reg.distance.ufl.edu/reg/Activity/Details/87b4ff6f5e6e4ee794c473c3fd66106b



It is with great sorrow and regret that we must inform you that Baroness Ilse von Heske-Bothenwald lost her life in a dreadful crime which took place at her home on 29 December 2016, at the age of 74. This tragic event has shocked her many friends in Austria and around the world. For several decades Mrs. Ilse von Heske had been the Manager of the Austrian Arab Horse Society and Registrar of their Stud Book. She was definitely one of the most competent and experienced registrars in all of WAHO, she was tireless in helping the owners and breeders in Austria as well as communicating with all the other Registrars around the world, and with WAHO, in a professional and friendly way. Her passing leaves a great gap which will be very hard to fill and she will be greatly missed. All of us at WAHO extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all the members of the VVOE.

Until further notice, all inter-registry correspondence should be sent to Mrs. Anne Heiloo, President of the VVOE.
Contact details may be found here!


26th February 2016

Some of our WAHO Members are already aware of what has happened in Poland in the past week. For those of you who are not, a quick summary is that due to the rapid and sweeping changes brought in by the recently elected Polish government, several hundred directors or managers of state enterprises at all levels and professions have already been replaced in their posts. This is in accordance with a new law which allows that more than 1,600 civil service directors, who are apolitical, can be sacked and replaced without the need for a competitive board.

It had been hoped this would not affect the Arabian State Studs, which have always been protected by Poland’s previous governments, whatever their politics, as they were considered as National Treasures because of their importance to the nation as a whole.

Unfortunately, on Friday 19th February 2016 this hope was destroyed. In the late afternoon, Dr. Marek Trela (Director of Janów Podlaski Stud and WAHO Vice President), Mr. Jerzy Białobok (Director of Michałów Stud) and Mrs. Anna Stojanowska (Inspector of Horse Breeding at the Agricultural State Property Agency) were simultaneously dismissed from their posts with no warning and no reasons given to them by the authorities. Since then, the Agricultural State Property Agency (ANR) has appointed a new individual at both Janów Podlaski and Michałów to take over the management, but from available information neither appears to have the level of experience necessary for such an important task.

This action, which has quickly reverberated around the world, is of immense concern to WAHO, as we believe that the safe future of these iconic State Studs with their long history and continuity of breeding has been put at risk. We therefore felt it imperative to act by expressing this concern to the authorities in Poland. The letter reproduced below was sent respectively to the President of Poland Mr. Andrzej Duda, to the Prime Minister Mrs. Beata Szydło, to the Minister of Agriculture Mr. Krzysztof Jurgiel, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Witold Waszczykowski and to the President of the Agricultural State Property Agency Mr. Waldemar Humięcki.

Download our Letter to HE The President of Poland from the President of WAHO here.


71 years ago this month, Janów Podlaski's groom Jan Ziniewicz was responsible for saving the stallions Witraz and Wielki Szlem during the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden. In this later photo he is shown holding the stallions Almifar (grandson of Witraz) and Czort (son of Wielki Szlem).

71 years ago this month, Janów Podlaski’s groom Jan Ziniewicz was responsible for saving the stallions Witraz and Wielki Szlem during the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden. In this later photo he is shown holding the stallions Almifar (grandson of Witraz) and Czort (son of Wielki Szlem).

WAHO would like to reassure our Members that Dr. Marek Trela of course continues in his position as our highly valued and internationally respected Vice President, with our full support.

The WAHO Executive Committee is also sure we can rely on all our WAHO Registering Authority Members, Associate Members and Individual Associate Members to support not only Dr. Marek Trela, but also Mr. Jerzy Białobok and Mrs Anna Stojanowska, who have been largely responsible for continuing to raise the international reputation of the Polish State Studs’ Arabian horse breeding programmes. Between them have over 100 collective years experience of working at and with the Polish Arabian State Studs, and as such they are rightfully held in the highest regard around the world. To lose this wealth of wisdom overnight, without allowing them the opportunity to pass on their knowledge to their successors, would create a great risk to the successful breeding programmes of Poland and thereby to the many WAHO Members around the world who rely on incorporating Polish Arabians into their breeding programmes. WAHO sincerely hopes the Government of Poland will reconsider their decision.


Photo: Anette Mattson

Janow Podlaski Photo: Anette Mattson

Photo: Anette Mattson

Janow Podlaski Photo: Anette Mattson

Photo: Anette Mattson

Michalow Stud Photo: Anette Mattson


The Brooks Equine Genetics Laboratory at the University of Florida in America is working to identify the genetic cause of Juvenile Idiopathic Epilepsy (JIE) in Arabian horses. The project is led by Assistant Professor Samantha Brooks, who many of you will remember as one of our excellent Guest Speakers at the 2011 WAHO Conference, and is funded in part by the Arabian Horse Foundation (AHF) which is a WAHO Associate Member. The researchers are seeking to identify the mode of inheritance, identify the mutation(s) associated with JIE and ultimately develop a diagnostic test to assist owners and breeders in identifying carrier breeding stock.

To advance this research project, assistance from the Arabian horse community is requested. DNA samples are needed from horses that have been previously diagnosed with JIE, as well as horses that have had an offspring with JIE. All studies are confidential, so participant and horse identity will not be released.

“This project is an expansion of the Arabian Horse Foundation’s support of research into genetic disorders of particular interest to the Arabian horse breed,” stated Beth Minnich, chair of the AHF’s Research Advisory Panel. “While JIE is thought to be a genetic disorder, no extensive work has been done to identify the exact genetic mode of inheritance or the proposed relationship with lavender foal syndrome.”

Juvenile idiopathic epilepsy is a seizure disorder and affected foals usually begin exhibiting clinical signs between two days and six months of age. The seizures exhibited by affected foals generally begin with muscle stiffness all over the body and the foal might fall over. After the stiffening ceases, rapid muscle contractions then begin all over the body. The seizures can last from only a few seconds up to about five minutes. During this time the horse could lose consciousness or possibly injure itself either falling over or thrashing on the ground. Once the episode has ended the foal usually exhibits some temporary post-seizure signs including blindness, lethargy, and disorientation. Once the horse has outgrown the seizures it can usually go on to live a normal healthy life. Anti-seizure medications have been effective in reducing frequency and severity of the seizures and are helpful in decreasing risk of injury during an episode.

Interested Arabian owners can contact the Brooks Equine Genetics Laboratory, Department of Animal Sciences, PO Box 110910, Gainesville, Florida 32611, U.S.A. for more information on participating in this study. Telephone number: +1-352-273-8080; email: equinegenetics@ifas.ufl.edu

Further information about the Arabian Horse Foundation can be found at their website.


WELCOME to ECUADOR and to SERBIA: It gives us great pleasure to announce that, during the 2014 WAHO Conference, two new countries – Ecuador and Serbia – were warmly welcomed to full Registering Authority Membership, with their horses accepted into the WAHO Definition, having completed all necessary requirements during their time as Applying Members, and having published their first WAHO approved studbook.