Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2011Peer reviewed

Genetic variation in durability of Swedish Warmblood horses using competition results

Braam Åsa, Näsholm Anna, Roepstorff Lars, Philipsson Jan


The aim of the study was to investigate the possibilities of using number of years in competition as a measure of durability in the genetic evaluation of Swedish Warmblood horses. Competition results recorded between 1971 and 2008 in the disciplines dressage, show jumping and eventing were used to estimate genetic parameters for number of years in competition. Only male horses not used in breeding born between 1967 and 1991 were included in the study (17,962 horses). The study showed that horses with placings in more than one discipline at an early age had the longest competition career. This result suggests that these horses are talented for sports and possibly also that there is a positive effect of all-round training of young horses on their durability. For estimation of genetic parameters for number of years in competition different linear mixed animal models were compared. Depending on the model and transformation the heritability for total number of years in competition varied between 0.07 and 0.17. The lower values were obtained when adjustments in the model were made for age at first placing in competition. Higher heritabilities were obtained for competition years in show jumping and lower for eventing. Performance traits scored at young horse tests and as points in competition (lifetime and for young horses) showed positive genetic correlations with total number of years in competition. These results indicate that years in competition represent both the durability of the horses and their talents for performance. It is suggested that number of years in competition may be used for genetic evaluation of durability.


Riding horses; Longevity; Breeding

Published in

Livestock Science
2011, Volume: 142, number: 1-3, pages: 181-187
Publisher: Elsevier