In the Fell Pony breed, a stallion service slip is submitted by stallion owners to the Fell Pony Society in the year when a mare is covered. Then a copy of that stallion service slip is supposed to accompany the registration application for the resulting foal. The Society can then compare the registration application to the slips submitted previously by stallion owners.
The other day a question came up in conversation: what do ‘unclaimed’ stallion service slips mean? What does it mean when the Fell Pony Society has record that a stallion covered a mare but then no foal registration application follows? In the conversation I had, it was suggested that the number of unclaimed stallion service slips could be a proxy for the number of unregistered Fell Ponies. While it’s certainly possible that a pony was indeed born and survived, there are also a number of other reasons that a stallion service slip was unclaimed.
Here’s my list of reasons that a stallion service slip might go unclaimed. What other reasons can you think of?
- Perhaps the breeder fell on economic hard times and chose not to register the animal with the Fell Pony Society.
- Perhaps the breeder chose to register the pony with a different registry.
- Perhaps the breeder judged that the pony was not a good representation of the breed and chose not to register it at all.
- Perhaps the breeder wasn’t sure if the stallion covered the mare – in the case of a fence failure, for instance – and the breeder submitted the stallion service slip just in case.
- Perhaps the mare never settled.
- Perhaps the mare settled but then slipped the foal.
- Perhaps the mare gave birth but the foal succumbed to Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
- Perhaps the mare gave birth but the foal died for another reason.
The length of this list certainly indicates that there are lots of reasons that a stallion service slip might go unclaimed. It’s important, then, that one not make assumptions about what an unclaimed stallion service slip might mean.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2014