It seems the big topic of discussion in the Pintabian world at the moment is Hardship Registration.
After giving it considerable thought, I will attempt to explain Hardship Registration and my thoughts in regard to the controversy surrounding it.
Just to clarify, while I am a proud Lifetime Member of the Pintabian Horse Registry, I am not a representative of the PHRI. This post is based solely on my own experience as a Pintabian horse breeder for nearly twenty years, and is my own personal opinion.
So, let us begin.
Hardship registration was adopted by the Pintabian Horse Registry to allow for the introduction of new, yet eligible, (verifiably over 99% Arabian) tobiano horses into the breed.
The fee has always been higher than regular Colored Division and Breeding Stock (from birth to two years) or Arabian Outcross registration, and for good reason. New bloodlines require research, documentation and verification, which can be a time-consuming process. This process, however, is vitally important to the breed and ensures that these new introductions are indeed eligible to be considered “Pintabians”.
Recently the fee for Hardship Registration was increased, something which caused quite a furor… and one I find to be rather baffling.
Hardship Registration is an option intended to be used only in very rare circumstances.
The increase in this fee was long overdue, in my opinion. More than once, I’ve observed complete disregard for proper registration protocol. It is not appropriate for breeders to produce multiple generations of unregistered stock, expecting the buyer to pay a Hardship fee. Nor is it appropriate to sell a horse “eligible by definition” to be registered Pintabian, counting on the fact it could be Hardship registered by the new owner. This is an abuse of the Hardship option.
Horses should be registered by those who breed them. Registration papers are legal testament by the breeder to the fact the horse in question actually is the horse stated on the Registration Certificate, sired by the stallion and out of the mare indicated on said papers. An increase in the Hardship fee will, in my opinion, encourage proper registration and discourage the abuse of registration privileges.
As I stated earlier, Hardship registration was intended for the introduction of new lines, not as a loophole for those who wish to profit from the “Pintabian” designation while failing to submit stallion breeding reports and registration applications for the resulting foals (a whole $10 and $20, respectively, if completed in a timely manner).
“No, really… its eligible, I swear!”
I encourage those who take issue with this to contact the Arabian Registry and ask if they could skip a couple generations of registration, then “hardship register” a purebred Arabian. Once the laughter on the other end of the line dies down, they would tell you, “Absolutely NOT. To register a horse as a purebred Arabian, both sire and dam must be registered Arabians.” To take someone’s word as to eligibility, as opposed to Registry documentation, would destroy the integrity of both the Registry and the breed.
Hardship Registration is a privilege to Pintabian enthusiasts, and one I consider it fortunate to have. It is intended to be used only rarely, when a truly new line is found, and not as a fall-back for those who do not register properly in the first place.
Keep in mind, however, that the PHRI has every right to discontinue Hardship Registration completely.
After twenty years, there are numerous “spot lines” within the breed, and Arabian Outcross horses would still provide a great variety of fresh genetics without the need to use Hardship Registration at all.
“But, I bought these horses believing they could be registered as “Pintabians”… it’s not fair!”
There also is the issue of those who have already purchased (possibly) eligible Pintabians and wish to gain Hardship Registration for them. Information regarding Pintabians has been available globally via simple internet search for many years. The Registry has always advised buyers to inspect registration papers BEFORE purchasing a Pintabian, or at least to check with the Registry regarding eligibility.
If a horse is purchased based on the fact it is represented by the seller as a Pintabian, the buyer expecting to have it registered and use it for breeding stock, it is the buyer’s responsibility to conduct proper research before making that purchase. If a horse is descended from registered Pintabian stock, one would then go back and question the breeder as to why they represented the horse as a Pintabian, and yet failed to register it as such.
Conversely, for a seller to represent a horse for sale as eligible for registration, when it is not, is at best irresponsible (or ignorant) and at worst, fraudulent and illegal. The responsibility for any disappointment as a result of such a transaction lies with the seller and/or the purchaser and NOT the PHRI. In no way is the Registry responsible for the claims made by anyone selling a horse without proper registration papers, or the risk any buyer chose to take in purchasing unregistered stock.
Ignorance is no valid reason or excuse.
Hardship for Pintabians with one Arabian parent
With regard to Hardship Registration of Pintabian foals with one Arabian parent, it should never be a consideration. Arabian Outcross Registration is available to all registered Arabian horses for a very reasonable $20 fee (or $40, for non-PHRI members). Most stallion owners would pay that fee if approached by a Pintabian mare owner, in order to sell a stud fee. It would be to their benefit, as it would open up the Pintabian market to that particular stallion, for life. If not, they may allow the mare owner to pay the fee.
If the stallion owner were opposed to either option, I would go elsewhere. No matter how elite the stallion, if his owner thinks so little of Pintabians as to refuse his PHRI registration or deny support of the mare owner’s desire to breed a Pintabian from him, he’s not worth breeding to my precious Pintabian mares. Surely there would be a stallion with similar bloodlines and accomplishments whose owner would be more than happy to register him in the Outcross Division and collect the stud fee. The market is a competitive one, to be sure.
It is to your advantage as a mare owner and Pintabian breeder to work with stallion owners who are willing to support you.
Over the top fee? Not from my perspective…
One of the roles of the Pintabian Horse Registry is to protect the integrity of the word “Pintabian” and its definition, as well as the huge investment of time and resources its loyal members have invested in their Pintabian herds over the years. As for those who consider the hardship fee to be over the top, let me ask you this…
- Did you intend to Hardship register horses as Pintabians, in order to capitalize from the “Pintabian” name and profit from the sale of those Pintabians or their foals?
- Did you intend to enter the arena with other breeders like myself who have invested many years of our lives, tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars, blood, sweat and tears into their breeding programs?
- Do you value these horses so little as to think you would not more than recoup that investment in the sale of one horse?
- So… what you are saying is that you want to use the Pintabian definition, and the popularity of the breed which has come thanks to the loyal breeders and its Registry who have tirelessly promoted, protected and sacrificed for it for twenty years, for your own profit, with little risk or investment on your part?
I certainly hope not.
No one interested in becoming involved with Pintabians is forced to pay a Hardship Registration fee.
That fee is intended for the serious breeder who finds a new bloodline and feels it worthy to invest in.
There are myriad ways to get started with this fantastic, beautiful breed, most of them relatively inexpensive. One may start with a registered Pintabian stallion (of which there are many lovely specimens available) and a few Arabian mares, as many of us did years ago. Really, all a new breeder would need is one Arabian mare, as there are Pintabian stallions now available in many locations worldwide. Yes, it would take more time to build a herd, and yes, one would pay their dues in doing so… as every single Foundation Breeder out there did.
I, as a breeder, would question the motives of anyone unwilling to pay the applicable Hardship fee. The quality and uniqueness of pedigree, along with that of the actual horse, is something a good breeder takes pride in and is willing to attest to. I feel the increased Hardship fee not only protects the PHRI’s dedicated breeders and their years of hard word and sacrifice, but aids in keeping the fox out of the hen house, so to speak. Don’t believe for a moment there are not those who would enjoy nothing more than to slip an ineligible horse into the breed and profit from the hard work of those who have worked faithfully and honestly to promote the breed and its legitimate horses for many years.
There is great interest in and demand for quality, legitimate Pintabian horses, and for good reason. These amazing creatures are not only breathtakingly beautiful, but beloved members of our families due to their intelligence, trainability and friendly demeanor. They are also among the purest breeds of horses in the world. It is important we keep it that way.
It is our duty as their stewards to remember, always, that Pintabian horses are truly rare, unique and special.
We need to use wisdom and discretion in not only the care and breeding of these animals, but also in their promotion and the protection of their purity and legacy.