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Research article2008Peer reviewedOpen access

Genetic parameters for traits evaluated at field tests of 3-and 4-year-old Swedish Warmblood horses

Viklund, A.; Hellsten, E. Thoren; Nasholm, A.; Strandberg, E.; Philipsson, J.


There are two types of 1-day field tests available for young Swedish Warmblood sport horses; one test for 3-year olds and one more advanced test for 4-year olds. Conformation, gaits and jumping ability are evaluated at both tests. Studies on various genetic parameters were based on about 20 000 tested horses. The data for 4-year olds consisted of 30 years of testing. The aims of the study were to estimate genetic parameters for results from different time periods, and to estimate heritabilities for, and genetic correlations between, traits scored in the two tests. The judgement of traits was shown to have been changed during the 30 years of testing, resulting in changes in higher heritabilities in, and stronger genetic correlations between, later time periods. In the first time period, records showed higher residual and lower genetic variances than in the subsequent time periods. Genetic correlations between traits recorded in the first and last time period deviated considerably from unity. Further studies are needed to investigate how to treat data from the early period in genetic evaluations. Heritabilities were moderate to high for conformation traits (0.24 to 0.58) at both types of tests, except for correctness of legs (0.08). The heritabilities for gait traits were also moderate to high (0.37 to 0.53). For jumping traits, the heritabilities ranged between 0.17 and 0.33. The highly positive genetic correlations (0.82 to 0.99) between corresponding traits tested at the simpler test for 3-year olds and at the ridden test of 4-year olds implied that it would be desirable to include the test results of 3-year olds into the genetic evaluation as breeding values for Swedish Warmbloods for many years has only been based on results from 4-year olds.


riding horses; performance test; animal model; heritability; genetic correlation

Published in

2008, Volume: 2, number: 12, pages: 1832-1841
Publisher: Cambridge University Press