Breeding News

WBFSH Seminar - Jan Philpsson II

17-11-2009

Jan Philipsson
Jan Philipsson
Use of competition results for genetic evaluation of longevity in Swedish warmblood horse

The aim of the present study was to investigate the possibilities to use number of years in competition as a measure of longevity in the genetic evaluation of the Swedish warmblood horses. Male horses not used in breeding born between 1967 and 1991 were included in the study. Competition results recorded 1971-2006 in the disciplines dressage, show jumping and eventing were used to estimate genetic parameters for number of years in competition. The study revealed that horses with placings in more than one discipline at an early age had a longer competition career. This result suggests a positive effect of all-round training of young horses on their longevity. For estimation of genetic parameters for number of years in competition different linear mixed animal models were tested. Depending on the model the heritability for number of years in competition varied between 0.07 and 0.17. The lower value was obtained when the number of competition years was adjusted for breeding values of gaits and jumping ability. High genetic correlations were also estimated between number of years in competition and competition results as young horses (4 and 5 years old). These results indicate that the trait number of years in competition not only represents the longevity of the horses but also their talents for performance. If number of years in competition is used for genetic evaluation of longevity independent of the sports talent, the model must account for this, e.g. by adjusting for age at first successful competition and/or other measures of sports talent.