Effect of the Age on the Evaluation of Horse Conformation and Movement

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Abstract

The evaluation of horse conformation is a changeable characteristic and knowledge of its character is essential in horse breeding. The effect of the age was investigated based on the analysis of a subjective evaluation of eight conformation and movement traits according to the 70 points scale of registered 857 Polish Trakehner. The analysis of variance included fixed effects of sex (mares and stallions), age (up to 1 year, yearlings, 2-year-old, 3-year-old and older) and the kind of breeder (private/national) and the random effect of the sire. The effect of the sire was statistically significant for all traits. The effect of the sex was significant only for the movement traits – the walk and canter in stallions reached higher notes. The effect of the kind of breeder was also statistically significant but only for the movement traits. The considered effect of the age was the most surprising result as it was statistically significant for all traits, but the only differences between age classes were found between very young horses (up to 1 year) and all other groups. The phenotypic correlations between traits suggest that traits such as overall impression, type, trunk and limbs (feet and legs) are overvalued in the youngest group of horses.

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Annals of Animal Science

The Journal of National Research Institute of Animal Production

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