FIS stands for Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome which is a genetic disorder first found in Fell ponies and more recently in the Dales pony.
A test became available in February 2010 and we were one of the first studs to test all our ponies to check their status.
We have always admitted openly to having one mare who is a carrier of the gene and it was sadly she who bred the first proven case of FIS in a Dales Pony. This does not mean she was the first. We truly believe this terrible thing was meant to happen to us, as we would act upon the knowledge we gained and in doing just that a test is now available to all.
It was a very sad and traumatic time for both the family and the mare and it is an awful thing to witness. It is for this reason we implore anyone to test their ponies and breed accordingly. The Dales Pony Society will not licence a colt for stallion status if he is a carrier and will not licence without an FIS test being taken. This does not ensure safe breeding entirely as older stallions are not necessarily tested, so please, at least make sure your mare is.
It is safe to breed from a mare who carries the gene as long as she is bred to a stallion who does not. It is of course preferable to breed from two clear animals.