Why Breeding Horses to Look Like Cartoon Characters Is a Terrible Idea

The breeding of bulldogs, pugs and other dogs to achieve a certain physical appearance — at the expense of their overall well-being — has led to health problems, including respiratory conditions due to snouts that are unnaturally short. Cats have also been subjected to what’s known as extreme breeding.

And now, sadly, Arabian horses are being bred to look more like cartoon characters than actual equines. Introduced recently by Orrion Farms in Ellensburg, Wash., El Rey Magnum has a concave face with a very short muzzle that makes him look a lot like a seahorse. While Orrion Farms claims he is “close to perfection,” veterinarians and horse experts believe extreme breeding like this is loony tunes.

Take a look at El Rey Magnum in this video and see if you agree.

As with dogs, experts are concerned that breeding horses with shortened muzzles could lead to severe respiratory problems. This will be even more problematic for horses because, unlike dogs, they can only breathe through their noses and not through their mouths. “I suspect exercise would definitely be limited for this horse,” Tim Greet, a horse expert in the UK, told the Veterinary Record.

He said that while Arabian horses naturally have a somewhat “dished” face, El Rey Magnum “takes things to a ridiculous level.”

It’s true that horses have previously been bred to run faster or jump higher, but Jonathan Pycock, president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, said extreme breeding solely for appearance purposes is not seen in the horse world. “The problem comes when you breed for particular looks and when those looks are detrimental to the horse’s health,” he told the Veterinary Record. “In my book, that is fundamentally wrong. This is a worrying development.”

Pycock is not alone. Each of the UK veterinarians who looked at photos of El Rey Magnum found his appearance shocking, Veterinary Record editor Adele Waters told The Guardian. However, veterinarians in the U.S. have not found respiratory or other medical issues with the colt – not yet, at least.

Doug Leadley, farm manager and primary breeding adviser for Orrion Farms, dismissed the horse experts’ concerns. “I think most of those people don’t breed horses, or show them or aren’t very involved – those are people who don’t understand,” he told The Guardian.

It seems to me that Leadley’s the one who doesn’t understand the potential problems in breeding horses to look like cartoons.

Leadley told the Veterinary Record that the Orrion Farms website has been getting thousands of hits, but information about El Rey Magnum has been removed and the Orrion Farms Facebook page seems to have disappeared, perhaps because of the unsurprisingly negative reaction by people on social media.

Orrion Farms’ Instagram account is still up and running, and according to a post, El Rey Magnum was bred by Jack and Elizabeth Milam of Regency Cove Farms in Oklahoma. When Leadley heard about the horse and scheduled a visit to the farm, he urged the owners of Orrion Farms to acquire El Rey Magnum.

“I travel all around and see several impressive young horses, but rarely do I see one that stops me in my tracks,” Leadley said, according to the post. “I simply could not believe my eyes and what I saw in front of me.” Neither can many people who have seen photos of El Rey Magnum, but for an entirely different reason.

El Rey Magnum – You won’t believe your eyes…. VIDEO NOW LIVE on www.ORRIONFARMS.com

A post shared by Orrion Farms (@orrionfarms) on


Arabian horses are naturally beautiful, and shouldn’t be subjected to extreme breeding to change their appearance while possibly jeopardizing their health. Please sign and share this petition telling Regency Cove Farms and Orrion Farms to stop breeding Arabian horses that look like cartoon characters.

Photo credit: The Telegraph/YouTube


Melania P
Melania P1 months ago

Bad idea? Stupid I'd say! How is this allowed? Shameful! Petition signed and shared

Jennifer H
Jennifer H3 months ago

Disgusting idiocy. Here again people are messing with nature and it will end up biting them in the ass. That poor animal looks more like a sea horse than any land horse. Just gross.

Sofia E
Sofia E4 months ago

I've never been able to understand why some people think that deformed animals are cute. I look at them and feel a mix of disgust and pity, they are not cute at all to me. I'll always prefer muts, no pedigree animals to these poor aberrations.

Megan H
Megan Hargan4 months ago

Simply disgusting.

Czerny A
Czerny A4 months ago

What the hell is wrong with people? What makes them think this cartoon horse is attractive? He is grotesque and freakish with none of the magnificent nobility of wild horses.

Philippa P
Philippa Powers4 months ago

Why can't humans leave well enough alone?

Jen S
Jen S4 months ago

I have rescued Thoroughbreds, not Arabians, so I am not an expert. If the illustration is accurate about what is winning at Scottsdale and elsewhere, this is bad for the breed. It will certainly affect oxygen flow. That aside, it looks unnatural, extreme and any responsible horse person should think twice about breeding for this face; it would be cruel to the progeny.

Jean Dahlquist
Jean Dahlquist4 months ago

This is pretty creepy to me.

Sarah Grayce P
Sarah Grayce P4 months ago

Very bad idea.

Marianne C
Marianne C4 months ago

I won;t be surprised if he cannot breathe normally, and this deformity shortens his life. He should not be allowed to breed, for fear of passing the deformity on to his offspring.

This kind of breeding to the point of deformity is both stupid and cruel, and should be illegal.