Millais, who made numerous experiments with "pure-bred dams and wild sires, and returned them afterwards to pure sires of their own breeds, never saw a case of telegony", and "every single experimenter", he says, "who has bred to produce the phenomenon has hopelessly failed like himself".
We have endeavoured to elicit the general experience of horse-breeders and stud-managers by submitting to them the following question on the subject, and it will be seen by the answers given below how little is known of it, and how universally the theory is repudiated by them.
When a filly has been put to a horse and bred a foal by him, it is said by some that foals from the same mare subsequently born to other sires partake after the first sire. Have you any experience which bears out this statement? If so, will you kindly give me particulars of the case or cases?
1. "It is a subject in which I have taken great interest for some years. In the cases that have come under my observation I have never had an instance of foals born from the same mare taking after the first sire." - Rev. D. B. Montefiore, Mursley Hall, Winslow.
2. "I think the first sire influences the produce when a mare is put to another sire, but have no experience to offer. Mowthorpe, my stud-groom, is certain they do, but neither can he give any evidence on the point." - R. Whitworth, Southwood End, Halifax.
3. "I have not had any cases where a mare has bred a foal and then, when put to a different sire, has bred stock which has taken after the first sire. I once had a case where I could not get a Shire mare to commence breeding to a Shire horse, so we used a hackney, which was successful. Several people told me she would always breed hackneys or very light foals, but I proved this to be quite the contrary, as the next foal she had, which was by a Shire horse, was very weighty and full of bone and made a good horse, and the mare continued breeding good Shires." - J. Wainwright, Hargate Hall, Buxton.
4. "I have not noticed a sire to have any effect on the future progeny of a mare by other sires, and I don't think it possible." - C. E. E. Cooke, Bygrave House, Baldock, Herts.
5. "I have not in my experience noticed that when a filly is put to a horse and bred a foal by him, foals from the same mare subsequently born to other sires partake after the first one." - W. Crosland, Buscot Park, Faringdon.
6. "I do not know that I have ever known the taint from the first sire to descend in a following year to the progeny, either in horses or cows." - J. P. Cross, Catthorpe Towers, Rugby.
7. "So far as my experience goes, I have not noticed that foals got by different sires from the same mare have partaken after the first horse. I have heard it said that if a nag-mare was first discovered by a cart-horse and afterwards mated with the lighter class of stallions the foals would for two or three years have a strain of the cart-horse blood in them, but I have never known it." - A. Collen, Hackney Stud, Saff'ron-Walden.
8. "I have heard that when a filly has been put to a horse and bred a foal by him, foals from the same mare subsequently born to other sires have partaken after the first sire, but in my experience I have never observed anything of the kind." - J. Bastin, Norbury Park Farm, Dorking.
9. "I have never known a case in which a sire had any influence on the subsequent produce of a mare by other sires.
"I know many people hold very strong views in regard to this matter, but I feel quite confident that their theory is founded on a mistaken idea.
"How often do you find a smallish, undersized, insignificant-looking mare that is reputed to be and instanced in her neighbourhood as a good and consistent breeder, and you will hear the remark, she always breeds one better than herself, and this not always to the same horse, but to any decent well-bred horse she may be put to. To account for this you examine her pedigree, and you find it made up for several generations of weighty, typical Shire animals that have themselves been bred true to type. This mare generally breeds animals that have a strong family resemblance to each other, very dissimilar to herself, and perhaps not much like the sire, but breeding always one type to different horses. Thoughtless people are apt to say that the foals must take after the first sire, though they may have none of his peculiarities really, and the people who make the assertion probably never saw the sire." - J. Green, Galwich Estate Office, Ashbourne.
10. "I have had no experience to justify me in coming to the conclusion that a filly, breeding for the first time to a certain horse, and then mated with other horses and breeding from them, will produce foals partaking of the conformation or type of the first sire." - John James, Dinarth Hall, Colwyn Bay.
11. "I have crossed scores of mares of coach, cart, hackney, and thoroughbred varieties, and have never yet been able to find in my experience that it made the slightest difference in regard to the subsequent produce." - Mansfield Harrison, Brookfield Stud, Highgate.
12. "I believe in some cases the effect of previous mating is visible in the produce, but personally I have not come across a case in the horse. On one occasion we had a Clydesdale mare accidentally served by a Shetland pony. The produce was a nondescript animal, just what you would have expected from such a violent cross. Her next foal was to a pure Clydesdale, and it did not show the slightest trace of the Shetland with which she had previously been mated, though I fully expected it would have done so." - R. Brydon, Seal/am Harbour Stud.
13. "My experience is quite contrary to the idea that the first sire has any influence on the subsequent produce of mares by other sires." - J. Paisley, Waresley Estate Office, Sandy.
14. "The point you raise with regard to breeding of horses, that foals partake after the first sire, is, I think, a common belief. I have, however, had considerable experience in breeding, and I have never as yet been able to satisfy myself that such is the case." - J. Lett, Rillington, Yorks.
15. "I really cannot say that I have ever noticed that when a mare has been put to a horse and bred a foal by him, foals from the same mare subsequently born to other sires have partaken after the first sire." - E. Green, The Moors, Welshpool.
16. "I believe that when a mare is served by a good horse, her subsequent progeny to other sires will be favourably influenced by the first. I have not had a case myself." - F. Buttle, Kirkburn Manor, Driffield.
17. "Having studied the question of a sire's influence on stock other than his own for now forty years, I am convinced that there is no ground whatever for saying that he has any influence on the future progeny of the mare when put to other horses." - J. Forshaw, Carlton-on-Trent, Newark.
18. "I certainly do not think that when a mare has been put to a horse and bred a foal by him, foals from the same mare subsequently born to other sires will partake after the first sire." - John Rowell, Bury, Huntingdon.
19. "I have heard a good deal said about the matter you mention, but I do not think there is so much in it as many people seem to think - in fact, if there is anything at all. I give you one or two cases of my experience.
"1st. 24648 ' Royal Duchess', grey, was served as a two-year-old by 'Dunsmore Combination', which is a dark-brown, and she produced a grey foal which was rather of the Clydesdale type. As a three-year-old she was served by ' Dunsmore Bismarck ', a brown horse, and produced another grey, which also took after that sire in character of legs and hair, which was rather inclined to be curly. The following year she was served by ' Dunsmore Jameson', which is a bay. She then produced a bay-brown of a class resembling most of that horse's get, and not the least bit resembling either of the other two horses she had been served by, the colt having more size and scale than any of the others. She was again served by ' Dunsmore Jameson', and produced another bay-brown colt, which died when it was about six weeks old. She is now suckling a grey by the same horse, which is at present not so strong as the two she bred previously by him." T. Ewart, Dunsmore Home Farm, Rugby.
20. "In my experience I have never known a sire when put to a mare to influence foals from her by other sires." - Alfred S. Day, Berkeley Stud, Crewe.
21. "I have no experience of violent crosses, but where animals of the same breed are used, I do not think there is anything in the matter suggested by your question." - E. Drewry, Holker, Cark-in- Cartmel, Lancashire.
22. "I have keenly watched the subject for years, but have never seen anything to indicate that the first sire influenced in any way the produce of other sires from the same mare."--W. Bower, East Rudham, Norfolk.
23. "I have no experience of a case of a mare producing a foal that favoured a previous sire." - T. B. Barling, M.R.C.V.S., Amberley Court, Monmouth.
24. "My experience has been that a foal from a mare by a different horse to which the same mare has previously bred, does not partake after the first sire in shape or colour.
"To give one of many examples, the hackney mare ' Bonny Clara' 6419 bred to the chestnut horse ' Clovelly' a chestnut filly foal. The same mare put to 'Derwent' 4737, brown, produced a brown filly; the next foal, by 'County Member' 948, brown, a bay filly.
"Her next three foals are all by 'Royal Danegelt' 5785, chestnut, and are all chestnuts. These several foals varied in shape and colour according to their different sires." - H. Starling, The Paddocks, Elsenham, Essex.
25. "I have had a number of mares here with foals by trotters (American), Shire horses, thoroughbreds, all of which have afterwards bred to my hackney stallion, and in no case has any trace of a previous impression been found in their immediate or subsequent foals. I am therefore unable to believe in the subject of telegony." - A. W. Hickling, Ald-bolton, Nottingham.
26. "I know it is the theory of some people that a mare will throw back to the first horse that she breeds by, but in my experience I have never found it so." - William Flanders, Witchford, Ely.
27. "I cannot say positively that any actual impression from the service of a stallion of a different breed or type was conveyed to the next produce of another horse." - J. Conchar, Wylde Green, Birmingham.
28. "I am not aware that we have had any case where a horse has affected a mare's progeny for more than one foal." - Colin Campbell,, Danesfield. Marlow.