All human records are subject to error, and Arabian horse pedigrees are no exception; that’s why parentage verification has been adopted by registration authorities. There can be simple entry errors, or mistaken sire reports. Accidental breedings happen; so does the intentional use of multiple sires, and the last cover need not be the effective one. Mares can switch foals, and young (or even older) horses can be mistaken for one another when they’re delivered to new owners as part of a group. There have even, though they’re uncommon, been genuine cases of deliberate ringer substitution.
Coat color is just as legitimate a parentage verification system as blood typing or DNA testing; the coat color rules have long been established. Two chestnut parents always produce a chestnut foal, and a grey foal must have a grey parent; the application of these rules allows the recognition of historical parentage problems. Coat color is much less efficient than blood or DNA typing, because the great majority of matings could legitimately produce an array of offspring colors. This means color rule violations give a minimum estimate of pedigree error, even though the errors recognized are genuine.
The more recent development of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome testing added two more criteria for finding pedigree errors, although they are applicable only in cases where direct sire or dam lines can be compared, whether that’s from living animals or preserved historical material.
The Conservancy’s pedigree database has been updated to correct known discrepancies in the records of the Arabian Horse Registry. In the most influential of these, the female line switch of Freda with *Saleefy has changed the pedigrees of the Schilan family based on mtDNA results , and given them a new strain designation of Hamdani Simri. Affecting fewer horses, the coat color incompatibility of Petra (registered as a grey with two bay parents) has been explained by an identity switch with Halloul, thus changing the pedigree of the Second Foundation sire Ralf. In a third case, affecting no living straight Davenports, the sire of Halawa, also a grey registered to two bay parents, has been changed to Dhareb.