Sunday, November 1, 2009

Family Genes- Sisters

While I am a firm believer in the power of genetics even I admit there is a limit to how much stock we should put in genes over the merits of the individual. I don't have to look farther than my own family to see that two siblings can be vastly different in looks, personality and talents. My sister has three inches on me.... maybe four...and half. She has olive skin and beautiful big greeny hazel eyes whereas I have piglet pink skin and blue eyes. We do both have dark hair, big knees and a propensity to trip while walk up stairs.. and to into walls and both have trouble with sharp objects. What am I talk about?

Yesterday I found a mare for sale that is a full sister to one of my favorite mares of all time, Sage- a gorgeous buckskin quarter horse with a big soft eye, million dollar disposition and a cute, compact little body. She is cowy, low headed, deep hocked and sweet as pie. She is the kind of mare that people comment on...or try to buy. The only thing I dont like about Sage is she's 14.1HH, a little too small for my big heiny. Which is why I was pretty excited, yesterday when I found her full sister, who looks pretty dang cute and just happens to have the added bonus of an extra 3 inches (she measures 15HH).

Which got me thinking about just how much stock I put in the old family genes. Obviously this mare would have to be nice in her own right but I guess a part of me doubts how much one sister can be like the other.

Are you much like your sister (or brother)?

I also wonder... Why is the abbreviation for hands, HH?"

(Note: Barbie, Sage is too 14.1!!! And you know it!! I was there when we sticked her! And no, not even in high heels:)


  1. HH is for "hands high". Just an abbreviation of the term for note jotting ease.

    I am not like my siblings. They are all tall and willowy, brunette with hazel eyes and over 6' (sister included and the tallest). They also look like our Prussian side. I, on the other hand, am red-headed and green-eyed and short at just 5'8". I also take after our Irish side.

    However, the differences don't end just there. Sometimes when I'm with them, I feel like I'm sitting with strangers. Or worse, listening to aliens speak about a different world, a different culture than the one I'm in. I truly don't understand how I can be so very, very different from them.

    Oh, wait! Maybe I can! I'm 8 yrs younger than the next youngest of us. Our mother passed away when I was 5 (I am the spitting image, albeit slightly shorter version of her), and they grew up in the 80s. We ARE culturally different just due to the generational difference. And perhaps because I was raised by our step-mother with less impact from our father. Who knows?

    I'm just me. And really, compared to my siblings, I prefer it.

    wv: hygon- height gone. Yeah, yeah, pick on me some more for being the shortest in the family!

  2. I find it difficult to compare animals to humans in terms of genetic diversity. After all, humans have bred animals for hundreds of generations specifically choosing certain genetics(which we mostly recognize as phenotypes). Humans have not been so selective in their reproductive purpose. Only one race that I can think of was ever selectively "bred". I know this may not sound appropriate, but in actuality African Americans were selectively bred during the US's less than glorious period of slavery. Hitler may have been the only other person to try to achieve any sort of uniform "look" amongst a people. Hence our current philosophy that Germans are tall and blonde, when historically Germans were an overwhelmingly shorter, darker and hairier people. Which probably explains my oldest brother being a handsome blend, my middle brother being the tall, blonde version and myself being the shorter, darker, hairier version-LOL. I just tell everyone I got ALL of the Native blood-hehehehe

    As civilization has evolved-humans have become hugely genetically diverse, while domesticated animals have become less so. And of course, wild animals are unanimously uniform according to species. Very rarely do you see innerspecies cross breeding-which they can and will do if forced into an artifical situation(muley and whitetail deer/lions and tigers, wolves and dogs, etc).

    Did you know that it only takes 5 generations of selective breeding to create a new breed of dog?

    What have we seen in terms of reproducing full brother's and sisters in our horse herd? A variety of phenotypes and ability, yet marginal difference in temperment and personalities. There is often more of a difference between the two sexes than between full siblings of the same sex. That being said-I realize that what we breed are specific "nicks"(King and Leo), whose genetics have proven time and time again to consistently cross well on each other. We have not tried to reinvent the wheel in our breeding program. Crossing two diverse bloodlines that have not proven to consistently produce a certain type of offspring may well(and does) produce wildly different full siblings.

    C-Sometimes I believe we are in a scary sort of "sync"...I have been working on a bloodlines post about Dixie Beach and Lady Coolidge....and now we hear the music from "The Twiglight Zone" softly playing in the background. Yikes!

  3. I'm not much at all like my sister and in school people were always surprised to find out that we are sisters. She has always been a tomboy, very outgoing, somewhat unconventional and she doesn't even like horses. I am (mostly) a girly girl, usually pretty shy and quiet and boringly average for the most part. While we both have brown hair, mine is nearly black while hers is a "mousy" brown and she gets almost blond highlights in it in the summer. She has olive skin that tans easily while I have pink skin that doesn't tan quite as easily. It amazes me just how different we are, given that we grew up in the same house and have the same parents!

  4. I am not like my sister at all. I'm 5 inches taller, have lighter hair, and our personalities are completely different. My first barrel mare was an absolutely incredible horse. You could do anything to her, anyone could ride her, she was just wonderful. A few years ago I came across her daughter. I absolutely HAD to have her. Big mistake. Nightmare of a horse, pure evil... I'll never make that mistake again!

  5. I do think genetics play a strong role in horses. Sage is the best horse I have ever owned, she has taught me so much. From what I know about her sire he was very quiet, easy to handle, and very smart. These are trats Sage also has. I find the Poco lines are easy going smart horses. Where some lines are hard to train tough horses. I have yellow horse Cara who is hot and loves to work, not a easy horse, but wants to please. Her sire was a tough horse but very trainable.
    Oh by the way Sage is 14.2 on a tall day with her heals on.
    Love Barb:)

  6. My sister and I look different until we smile.

    Then you can see we have the same soul. Sorta.

    She's also terrified of horses and water. I'm not (my current courage battles aside). I'm the tom boy, she's the popular one. But we are oddly alike in our philosophy, political views, laugh, and that smile.

    Horses - I have no idea. Every dog I had was a mutt which was fixed immediately!

  7. Oh, I have five siblings and I am the only one who likes horses, the outdoors, and didn't do well in school! My oldest brother, computer geek, next sister was a cheerleader, next sister was the bookworm, next sister was in choir and band, next was me the horse chic, and the last sister is an art major. I can't color a thing.

    But we do all of similarities, we all were in band and choir, two of my sister's did cheerleading, and two of us ran track. So we all had some things the same.

    We are all relatively the same height, but some of the girls have thin top half and booties, and others have chunky top halves and no booties. So, I think it's safe to say we are similar and different! '

    Did that help at all? And I am so sad I missed your poll, I drive 30 minutes to a grocery store and I go every other week!

  8. I don't have any siblings, but I bet it must be interesting to compare the differences and alike-ness.
    I do have 3 kids, though, and most interesting for me is comparing my twinlings. They have never veered off from being ideintical in size and stature (always within 1 lb and 1 inch of another), but sometimes their personalities are similar and sometimes completely different.
    My twinling, Jem is very much like me in so many ways, while my twinling Jax is much more like his Dad. Jax even looks more like his Dad (stockier, same eyes, hair color, even though it's only slightly darker than his identical twin brother's hair).
    So, I think personality, related to the parents, of the child (or horse for that matter) is the most fascinating.
    Will a child, or a horse, take after one of the parents...or not?


  9. Maddy has three full sisters that I know of...all four of those mares, when impatient pick up their left front leg and hold it in the air like a pointing dog. It is the funniest thing. I will have to post pics at some point...the other owners have emailed me picks of their mares doing it. Of course they are all duns, but look very different in build, but seem similar in horsanalities.