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WBFSH seminar - Jan Philipsson


Jan Philipsson (Photo:
Jan Philipsson (Photo:
The Swedish Warmblood data base and its use for research and development

The breeding objective of the Swedish Warmblood Horse, as defined by the Swedish Warmblood Association, includes a durable horse with a noble and functional conformation, gaits, jumping ability and rideability to be internationally competitive in both dressage and showjumping. Furthermore, the temperament should allow horses to be used for many purposes. The main sources of information to be used for genetic evaluations and selection, following the breeding objectives, have been developed gradually and incorporated into a single data base devoted to breeding of SWB horses as follows:
•  Competition results in dressage and showjumping since 1970
•  Results from testing of 4-year old horses in Riding Horse Quality Tests (RHQT) for conformation, gaits, temperament (rideability), jumping ability and health since 1973
•  Performance test results of young stallions (3-5 years) since 1977
•  Registered all foals born live since 1980
•  3-year old tests since 1999
Approximately 60% of all born SWB horses have results from either of the 3- or 4-year old tests or from both. About 30% of the horses have official competition results recorded. Performance records are available for about 60,000 SWB horses and pedigrees for another 150, 000 horses.
Research to develop a BLUP Animal Model based on RHQT data for overall conformation, gaits and jumping ability was concluded already 1986 and used since then for selection of stallions after progeny testing. Each one of the sources of information used for practical breeding purposes have been thoroughly analysed and results have been presented in MSc and PhD theses. By 2006 an integrated BLUP index system had been developed using the 3- and 4-year old records together with competition records to produce breeding values for all SWB horses (stallions, mares and fillies) for 3 major conformation traits, 5 dressage traits and 3 jumping traits. All information is available at and open to anyone. Both mares and stallions can be ranked according to all 11 traits and on a number of other criteria. Due to the early start of recording results and computerization of the data pedigrees are very complete and performance results are available for most horses in 3-5 generations. This makes the estimated breeding values (BLUP-indexes) quite reliable.
Completed or on-going research by MSc and PhD students in collaboration between the Swedish Warmblood Association and SLU includes e.g.:
•  Genetic analyses of stallion performance test results and relationships with competition results
•  Genetic correlations between young horse test results and later competition results
•  Genetic relationships between results obtained in different time periods
•  Impact of pedigree incompleteness of imported horses on estimated breeding values
•  Genetic correlations between results obtained in different countries
•  Phenotypic and genetic variation in foaling rate by different reproduction technologies
•  Health – conformation – performance – longevity relationships
A demonstration of the content and functions of the data base will be included in the presentation.