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Article

Combining Threshold, Thurstonian and Classical Linear Models in Horse Genetic Evaluations for Endurance Competitions

1
Departamento de Producción Animal, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Avda. Puerta de Hierro s/n, E-28040 Madrid, Spain
2
Departamento de Mejora Genética Animal, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, E-28040 Madrid, Spain
3
Departamento de Anatomía, Embriología y Genética Animal, Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), Universidad de Zaragoza, E-50013 Zaragoza, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(6), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061075
Received: 8 May 2020 / Revised: 5 June 2020 / Accepted: 17 June 2020 / Published: 22 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Breeding and Genetics)
Endurance competitions are carried out across the countryside worldwide, where the adapted physical and metabolic conditions of the horses are essential to satisfactorily end the competition. Horse breeding programs usually use the rank and time to improve the performance of horses in competitions. It is also relevant to analyse the placing trait i.e., whether or not a horse finishes the race. The discontinuous nature of rank and placing traits require special methodologies to deal with them. Here we have used 6135 endurance records from 1419 horses, with a pedigree containing 10,868 animals, to develop a multitrait model with a new free software tool (GIBBSTHUR). The obtained results suggest that it is possible to ignore the race time and use rank and placing to perform the genetic evaluation in endurance horse populations.
The racing time and rank at finish traits are commonly used for endurance horse breeding programs as a measure of their performance. Even so, given the nature of endurance competitions, many horses do not finish the race. However, the exclusion of non placed horses from the dataset could have an influence on the prediction of individual breeding values. The objective of the present paper was to develop a multitrait model including race time (T), rank (R) and placing (P), with different methodologies, to improve the genetic evaluation in endurance competitions in Spain. The database contained 6135 records from 1419 horses, with 35% of the records not placed. Horse pedigree included 10868 animals, with 52% Arab Horses. All models included gender, age and race effect as systematic effects and combined different random effects beside the animal and residual effects: rider, permanent environmental effect, and interaction horse-rider. The kilometers per race was included as a covariate for T. Heritabilities were estimated as moderately low, ranging from 0.06 to 0.14 for T, 0.09 to 0.15 for P, and 0.07 to 0.17 for R, depending on the model. T and R appeared mostly as inverse measures of the same trait due to their high genetic correlation, suggesting that T can be ignored in future genetic evaluations. P was the most independent trait from the genetic correlations. The possibility of simultaneously processing the threshold, Thurstonian and continuous traits has opened new opportunities for genetic evaluation in horse populations, and much more practical genetic evaluations can be done to help a proper genetic selection. View Full-Text
Keywords: race; time; rank; placing; genetic evaluation; horse race; time; rank; placing; genetic evaluation; horse
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cervantes, I.; Gutiérrez, J.P.; García-Ballesteros, S.; Varona, L. Combining Threshold, Thurstonian and Classical Linear Models in Horse Genetic Evaluations for Endurance Competitions. Animals 2020, 10, 1075. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061075

AMA Style

Cervantes I, Gutiérrez JP, García-Ballesteros S, Varona L. Combining Threshold, Thurstonian and Classical Linear Models in Horse Genetic Evaluations for Endurance Competitions. Animals. 2020; 10(6):1075. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061075

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cervantes, Isabel, Juan P. Gutiérrez, Silvia García-Ballesteros, and Luis Varona. 2020. "Combining Threshold, Thurstonian and Classical Linear Models in Horse Genetic Evaluations for Endurance Competitions" Animals 10, no. 6: 1075. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061075

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