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Correct use of integrated breeding values

Correct use of integrated breeding values

Every breeder is looking for a suitable stallion for his mare. It is not only interesting what the stallion himself has achieved, but also whether he passes on his qualities to his offspring at all. This question can be answered by means of the breeding value estimation. This is because the stallion's own achievements as well as the successes of the already existing offspring are included in the breeding value. The evaluation of these data results in a breeding value that shows how high the dressage or jumping disposition of a stallion is.

Each year, stallion breeding values are estimated after evaluating a wide range of data. Information 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 build-up tests, more than 78,500 pieces of information from broodmare and disposition tests as well as more than 7,200 pieces of information from stallion performance tests - are included in the statistical estimation procedure of the breeding value estimation. Every year in Germany, the integrated breeding values for riding horse stallions are estimated on behalf of the German Equestrian Federation (FN) at the computer centre of the Vereinigte Informationssysteme Tierhaltung (VIT) in Verden. The aim of the breeding value estimation is to estimate hereditary differences in performance as accurately as possible in order to provide the breeder with the necessary basis for selecting a stallion. It must be kept in mind that breeding values are only one component for the evaluation of horses and their hereditary performance.

This is how the integrated breeding values can be used

Warendorf (fn-press). Breeding values can provide the necessary basis for selection decisions. The breeding value estimation provides decision-making aids for mating planning with regard to dressage, show jumping and versatile disposition. Thereby However, it must be noted that breeding values can only be one component in the evaluation of horses and their hereditary performance. The consideration of further information is certainly indispensable in the evaluation of riding horses.

The stallions can be selected and ranked from different points of view based on the breeding values. The categorization of the stallions in the TOP percentage classes, for example, provides a breeding aid in the assessment of the stallions. Not only the TOP one percent of the stallions are interesting, but also further categorizations in TOP percentage classes. The top five percent of all stallions with a dressage disposition include all those for which a breeding value of 136 points and better was estimated, the top ten percent include all those with a breeding value of 126 points and better and the TOP 25 percent include all those with a breeding value of 109 points and better. In the jumping stallions, stallions with a breeding value of 141 points are among the top five percent, stallions with a breeding value of 132 points and better are among the top ten percent and stallions with a breeding value of 117 points and better are among the top 25 percent.

Another important aid to interpretation is the certainty of the breeding values. The certainty depends on the amount and quality of information available and varies from 99 percent (certain estimate) to 70 percent (uncertain estimate). For horses with little available information (e.g. if information is only available from the dam or the sire) or for horses that only have their own performance (e.g. only a few starts in development competitions), the breeding value is estimated more "cautiously" than for horses with extensive information. This is mostly the case with young stallions. Then the hereditary performance of these stallions is not yet sufficiently secured and can lead to larger differences. Against this background it is necessary that the stallions are divided into appropriate groups according to the security of the breeding values. On the website of the FN under www.pferd-aktuell.de/Zuchtwertschätzung three TOP lists have been set up for dressage and jumping respectively, dividing the stallions into three groups according to the safety of the breeding values (70 to 79 percent, 80 to 89 percent and 90 to 99 percent).

Search mask in the yearbook helps with the sire search

The FN Yearbook Sport and Breeding in the form of a DVD is a great help in selecting a stallion. By means of special functions, it is possible to search for particularly predisposed stallions according to disciplines, breeds and birth years of the stallions on the basis of the breeding values. For example, sires with versatile dispositions can also be found there. The search mask offers the possibility to search for stallions that have shown above-average hereditary performance in dressage as well as in jumping. Or criteria such as rideability or the number of offspring in competition sport play a role in the selection of stallions. With the help of the yearbook there are many possibilities to research successes and information from the sport for breeding and sport horses and to find corresponding sires.

The Yearbook Sport and Breeding can be ordered at the FNverlag, phone 02581/6362-254, e-mail vertrieb@fn-verlag.de or Internet

Dr. Teresa Dohms-Warnecke

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