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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Genetic conditions of joint Nordic genetic evaluations of lifetime competition performance in warmblood sport horses

Viklund, Åsa; Furre, S.; Eriksson, Susanne; Vangen, O.; Philipsson, Jan

Abstract

Breeding programmes for warmblood sport horses are similar in the Nordic countries Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, and stallions of same origin are used. The aim was to investigate whether a joint Nordic genetic evaluation based on lifetime competition performance is feasible and beneficial for breeding competitive sport horses in the Nordic countries. Results for almost 45 000 horses in show jumping and 30 000 horses in dressage were available. The larger populations in Sweden and Denmark contributed with 85% of the results. Heritabilities and genetic correlations between performances in the different countries were estimated, and comparisons of accuracies of estimated breeding values (EBVs) and number of stallions with EBVs based on national or joint data were studied. The heritabilities ranged between 0.25 and 0.42 for show jumping and between 0.14 and 0.55 for dressage. The genetic correlations between competition performances in the Nordic countries were estimated to 0.63- 1.00. EBVs based on joint data increased accuracies for EBVs for stallions by 38-81% and increased the number of available stallions with EBVs by 40-288%, compared to EBVs based on national data only. A joint Nordic genetic evaluation for sport horses is recommended.

Published in

Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics
2015, Volume: 132, number: 4, pages: 308-317