Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 4-2022


Equine Business Management

Examining Committee Member

Shea Porr, PhD, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Michelle Santiago, PhD, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Ms. Dean Ann Provine, Committee Member


Though Fragile Foal Syndrome (FFS) has been around for some time, the public interest in FFS is recent. The hype spread rapidly from a public media announcement that a stallion at a prominent North American stud farm was a carrier (Brooks, 2021). As with most genetic mutations, FFS likely arose due to the increased inbreeding that results from human selection (Orlando & Librado, 2019). Fragile Foal Syndrome affects the enzyme responsible for developing the connective tissues. Two recent case studies highlighted the devastating effect of FFS on every part of the equine body (Metzger, et al., 2020; Grillos, 2021). So far, no one knows for sure where the mutation originated, but the strongest theory is that the origin lies with the Thoroughbred and its progenitors (Brooks, 2021). Future advances in reproductive technologies and techniques could reduce the need to worry about the effects of harmful mutations on the equine population. These techniques come with ethical issues, but the majority of breeders are determined to err on the side of caution. They, along with registries and other interest groups, are taking steps to promote public education and curb the spread of FFS.