Horse Breeding And Genetics

Whereas the horse has been shaped by human hands for centuries, scientific principles have only recently been applied to horse breeding. Great success has been made to reduce the racing times of Swedish trotters and improve traits such as type, conformation and dressage, and jumping ability in a number of European warmblood breeds, using application of these advanced mathematical breeding techniques.[2] While these methods have been used to generate tremendous progress in other species (e.g., to improve milk production in dairy cattle or increase litter size in swine), horse breeders have been slow to embrace modern methodology. This is in part due to the lack of a specified breeding goal for many breeds, as well as a reduced willingness of horse breeders to accept strict selection and culling schemes and employ organized performance testing of horses at a young age. However, more and more breeds have begun to use molecular and quantitative advances to make genetic improvement.

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