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The system behind Integrated Breeding Value Estimation

The system behind Integrated Breeding Value Estimation

Warendorf (fn-press). The data basis of the breeding value estimation model is the performance data and the pedigree data. On the one hand, the performance data includes the results from competition sport. All dressage and show jumping competitions up to advanced (S) level since January 1, 1995, which have been registered via the Toris show organization system, are taken into account. This means that the results of all started horses are integrated.

The results achieved by young horses in dressage and/or show jumping competitions are also included in the breeding value estimation via the value score. In addition, information from the broodmare, disposition and stallion performance tests is included. The scores for walk, trot, canter, rideability and free jumping (for broodmare and disposition tests) as well as the scores for gaits, rideability, free jumping and course jumping (for stallion performance tests) are used as performance characteristics. In addition to these performance data, the pedigree data from at least two generations are used for a relationship link.

All these data from more than 615,000 horses - more than twelve million pieces of information from competition tests, more than 2.9 million pieces of information from performance tests, more than 78,500 pieces of information from broodmare and disposition tests and more than 7,200 pieces of information from stallion performance tests - flow into a very elaborate statistical estimation procedure. To estimate the genetic superiority or inferiority (breeding value) of a horse, not only its own performance but also that of all its relatives is used. At the same time, the performance in one trait also influences the estimation of the breeding value in all other traits. The performance of a horse is always seen in relation to the performance of other horses under comparable environmental conditions. These comparisons take place within the same test, age or performance class of its rider. By simultaneously considering all these environmental effects and the genetic effect of the horse itself, the estimation model is able to differentially assign the genetic superiority of a horse to these influencing factors. This means that the model takes into account whether a horse won a test because it was ridden by a particularly good rider, because the other horses in the field were particularly weak in terms of performance or because the horse has a correspondingly high genetic predisposition. With this model, breeding values can be estimated in all characteristics, even if the horse itself has no corresponding own performance, but only its relatives.

For each horse, a breeding value is estimated in each individual characteristic, so there are 20 breeding values in total. The jumping characteristics of all types of tests, i.e. the rank in the show jumping test, the score in the show jumping test as well as the evaluation of the free jumping and show jumping in the breeding tests are combined to an overall breeding value "Jumping". The same applies to the dressage characteristics: Ranking in the dressage test, value score from the dressage horse test, evaluation of gaits and rideability from the breeding tests. This results in the overall breeding value "Dressage".

Important for the correct interpretation of the breeding values is the certainty of the estimate. The certainty is a measure that characterizes the amount and quality of information available. The breeding values for stallions are only published in the Yearbook Sport und Zucht if the estimated total breeding value for jumping or dressage has a certainty of at least 70 percent and the estimate is based on at least five offspring with own performances.

Dr. Teresa Dohms-Warnecke

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