German stallion owner Paul Schockemöhle has made the bold decision to pay 10,000 euro to any breeder who has a foal that died of Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS).
In the German version of his breeding conditions for 2019 (no mention of it on the English version of the site), a special clause has been added about WFFS. It reads:
"At Lewitz more than 10,000 foals have been born during Paul Schockemohle's activities as a breeder there. The foals of clients are not being counted. Not a single one of those foals had WFFS. The probability is so small. It is so negligibly small that Paul Schockemöhle will pay a compensation of 10,000 euro to any breeder who can scientifically prove via an equine university clinic that his foal died from WFFS."
"This amount is not to be seen as a compensatory damage. It is intended to express that it is completely exaggerated, through the extensive coverage in the media, that we are dealing with a plague here and that stallions who are carriers of WFFS should be excluded from breeding."
This is all that Schockemöhle shares on his position towards WFFS.
Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS)
Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome is an inherited, systemic connective tissue disorder and an autosomal recessive trait. Based on scientific research approximately 10% of the European warmbloods carry this defect. In North America warmbloods are approximately 12% positive.
The inheritance of WFFS only comes into effect if both stallion and mare are carriers of the WFFS gene. Breeding to a carrier stallion (n/ffs) only has consequences if the mare (n/ffs) is a carrier too. Breeders are recommended to have their mares tested if they want to breed to a carrier stallion. Breeding a carrier (n/ffs) to a non-carrier (n/n), can lead to the foal being a carrier (n/ffs), but only when both parents are carriers, the risk of a foal with actual WFFS is 25% (ffs/ffs).
Mares who are carriers might struggle to get in foal, or if they have a WFFS positive embryo they will resorb or abort. Very rarely a live, affected foal is born. WFFS foals exhibit extreme skin fragility, especially at the joints. The disease cannot be treated or cured and is invariably fatal, typically soon after birth.
Photo © Dirk Caremans
Kareen Heineking-Schütte: "Two Cents About Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome"
Breeder with Dead WFFS Foal Writes Open Letter to Danish Warmblood
Four Schockemohle Dressage Stallions Positive to WFFS
2018 Oldenburg Licensing Top Colts Global Player and Dodo Weihgand Both Positive to WFFS
U.S. Breeders and Stallion Owners on Alert for Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome
Kathleen Kirsan: "Cleaning Up Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome"
Mary Nuttall: "Breeders Beware of Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome"