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Genetic parameters of eventing horse competition in France


Genetic parameters of eventing horse competitions were estimated. About 13 000 horses, 30 000 annual results during 17 years and 110 000 starts in eventing competitions during 8 years were recorded. The measures of performance were logarithmic transformations of annual earnings, annual earnings per start, and annual earnings per place, and underlying variables responsible for ranks in each competition. Heritabilities were low (0.11/0.17 for annual results, 0.07 for ranks). Genetic correlations between criteria were high (greater than 0.90) except between ranks and earnings per place (0.58) or per start (0.67). Genetic correlations between ages (from 5 to 10 years old) were also high (more than 0.85) and allow selection on early performances. The genetic correlation between the results in different levels of competition (high/international and low/amateur) was near 1. Genetic correlations of eventing with other disciplines, which included partial aptitude needed for eventing, were very low for steeplechase races (0.18) and moderate with sport: jumping (0.45), dressage (0.58). The results suggest that selection on jumping performance will lead to some positive correlated response for eventing performance, but much more response could be obtained if a specific breeding objective and selection criteria were developed for eventing.

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Correspondence to Anne Ricard.

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Ricard, A., Chanu, I. Genetic parameters of eventing horse competition in France. Genet Sel Evol 33, 175 (2001).

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