Skip to main content Accessibility help

Designing an early selection morphological linear traits index for dressage in the Pura Raza Español horse

  • M. J. Sánchez-Guerrero (a1), I. Cervantes (a2), A. Molina (a3), J. P. Gutiérrez (a2) and M. Valera (a1)...


Making a morphological pre-selection of Pura Raza Español horses (PRE) for dressage is a challenging task within its current breeding program. The aim of our research was to design an early genetic selection morphological linear traits index to improve dressage performance, using 26 morphological linear traits and six dressage traits (walk, trot, canter, submission, general impression – partial scores – and total score) as selection criteria. The data set included morphological linear traits of 10 127 PRE (4159 males and 5968 females) collected between 2008 and 2013 (one record per horse) and 19 095 dressage traits of 1545 PRE (1476 males and 69 females; 12.4 records of average) collected between 2004 and 2014. A univariate animal model was applied to predict the breeding values (PBV). A partial least squares regression analysis was used to select the most predictive morphological linear traits PBV on the dressage traits PBV. According to the Wold Criterion, the 13 morphological linear traits (width of head, head–neck junction, upper neck line, neck–body junction, width of chest, angle of shoulder, lateral angle of knee, frontal angle of knee, cannon bone perimeter, length of croup, angle of croup, ischium–stifle distance and lateral hock angle) most closely related to total score PBV, partial scores PBV and gait scores PBV (walk, trot and canter) were selected. A multivariate genetic analysis was performed among the 13 morphological linear traits selected and the six dressage traits to estimate the genetic parameters. After it, the selection index theory was used to compute the expected genetic response using different strategies. The expected genetic response of total score PBV (0.76), partial scores PBV (0.04) and gait scores PBV (0.03) as selection objectives using morphological linear traits PBV as criteria selection were positive, but lower than that obtained using dressage traits PBV (1.80, 0.16 and 0.14 for total score PBV, partial scores PBV and gait scores PBV) or dressage traits PBV and morphological linear traits PBV (2.97, 0.16 and 0.15 for total score PBV, partial scores PBV and gait scores PBV), as selection criteria. This suggests that it is possible to preselect the PRE without dressage traits PBV using as selection criteria the morphological linear traits PBV, but the expected genetic response will be lower.


Corresponding author



Hide All
Amer, PR, Simm, G, Keane, MG, Diskin, MG and Wickham, BW 2001. Breeding objectives for beef cattle in Ireland. Livestock Production Science 67, 223239.
Back, W, Schamhardt, HC and Barneveld, A 1996. The influence of conformation on fore and hind limb kinematics of the trotting Dutch Warmblood horse. Pferdeheilkunde 12, 647650.
Bakhtiari, J and Heshmat, G 2009. Estimation of genetic parameters of conformation traits in Iranian Thoroughbred horses. Livestock Science 123, 116120.
Becker, AC, Stock, KF and Distl, O 2011. Genetic correlations between free movement and movement under rider in performance tests of German Warmblood horses. Livestock Science 142, 245252.
Becker, AC, Stock, KF and Distl, O 2012. Genetic analyses of new movement traits using detailed evaluations of warmblood foals and mares. Journal Animal Breeding Genetics 129, 390401.
Belloy, E and Bathe, AP 1996. The importance of standardising the evaluation of conformation in the horse. Equine Veterinary Journal 28, 429430.
Biau, S and Barrey, E 2004. Relationship between stride characteristics and scores in dressage tests. Pferdeheilkunde 20, 140144.
Byrne, TJ, Amer, PR, Fennessy, PF, Cromie, AR, Keady, TWJ, Hanrahan, JP, McHugh, MP and Wickham, BW 2010. Breeding objectives for sheep in Ireland: a bio-economic approach. Livestock Science 132, 135144.
Colombani, C, Croiseau, P, Fritz, S, Guillaume, F, Legarra, A, Ducrocq, V and Robert-Granié, C 2012. A comparison of partial least squares (PLS) and sparse PLS regressions in genomic selection in French dairy cattle. Journal Dairy Science 95, 21202131.
Ducro, BJ, Bovenhuis, H and Back, W 2009. Heritability of foot conformation and its relationship to sports performance in a Dutch Warmblood horse population. Equine Veterinary Journal 41, 139143.
Ducro, BJ, Koenen, EPC, van Tartwijk, JMFM and Bovenhuis, H 2007. Genetic relations of movement and free-jumping traits with dressage and show-jumping performance in competition of Dutch Warmblood horses. Livestock Science 107, 227234.
Duensing, J, Stock, KF and Krieter, J 2014. Implementation and prospects of linear profiling in the Warmblood horse. Journal Equine Veterinary Science 34, 360368.
Groeneveld, E, Kovac, M and Mielenz, N 2010. VCE. User’s guide and reference manual version 6.0. Institute of Farm Animal Genetics, Mariensee, Germany.
Gutiérrez, JP, Cervantes, I, Pérez-Cabal, MA, Burgos, A and Morante, R 2014. Weighting fibre and morphological traits in a genetic index for an alpaca breeding programme. Animal 8, 360369.
Hazel, L and Lush, J 1943. The efficiency of three methods of selection. Journal of Heredity 33, 393399.
Holmström, M 2001. The effects of conformation. In Equine locomotion (ed. H Clayton and C Saunders), pp. 281295. Elsevier Health Sciences, London, United Kingdom.
Koenen, EPC, van Veldhuizen, AE and Brascamp, EW 1995. Genetic parameters of linear scored conformation traits and their relation to dressage and show-jumping performance in the Dutch Warmblood riding horse population. Livestock Production Science 43, 8594.
Leleu, C, Cotrel, C and Barrey, E 2005. Relationships between biomechanical variables and race performance in French Standardbred trotters. Livestock Production Science 92, 3946.
Mantovani, R, Sartori, C and Pigozzi, G 2013. Retrospective and statistical analysis of breeding management on the Italian Heavy Draught Horse breed. Animal 7, 10531059.
Martinez, V, Kause, A, Mäntysaari, E and Mäki-Tanila, A 2006. The use of alternative breeding schemes to enhance genetic improvement in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): I. One-stage selection. Aquaculture 254, 182194.
Miglior, F, Muir, BL and Van Doormaal, BJ 2005. Selection indices in Holstein cattle of various countries. Journal Dairy Science 88, 12551263.
Moore, J 2010. General biomechanics: the horse as a biological machine. Journal Equine Veterinary Science 30, 379383.
Moser, G, Tier, B, Crump, RE, Khatkar, MS and Raadsma, HW 2009. A comparison of five methods to predict genomic breeding values of dairy bulls from genome-wide SNP markers. Genetic Selection Evolution 41, 56.
Olsson, E, Näsholm, A, Strandberg, E and Philipsson, J 2008. Use of field records and competition results in genetic evaluation of station performance tested Swedish Warmblood stallions. Livestock Science 117, 287297.
Posta, J, Komlósi, I and Mihók, S 2010. Genetic parameters of Hungarian sport horse. Mare performance tests. Animal Science Paper Reports 28, 373380.
Saastamoinen, MA and Barrey, E 2000. Genetics of conformation, locomotion and physiological traits. In Genetic horse (ed. AT Bowling and A Ruvinsky), pp. 439472. CABI Publ, London, United Kingdom.
Sánchez, MJ, Cervantes, I, Valera, M and Gutiérrez, JP 2014. Modelling genetic evaluation for dressage in Pura Raza Español horses with focus on the rider effect. Journal Animal Breeding Genetics 131, 395402.
Sánchez, MJ, Gómez, MD, Molina, A and Valera, M 2013. Genetic analyses for linear conformation traits in Pura Raza Español horses. Livestock Science 157, 5764.
Sánchez, MJ, Molina, A, Gómez, MD, Peña, F and Valera, M 2016. Relationship between morphology and performance: signature of mass-selection in Pura Raza Español horses. Livestock Science 185, 148155.
SAS Institute Inc 2005. Sas/statistical users guide for personal computer. SAS/Genetics TM 9.1.3, Cary, NC, USA.
Schroderus, E and Ojala, M 2010. Estimates of genetic parameters for conformation measures and scores in Finnhorse and Standardbred foals. Journal Animal Breeding Genetics 127, 395403.
Vicente, AA, Carolino, N, Ralao-Duarte, J and Gama, LT 2014. Selection for morphology, gaits and functional traits in Lusitano horses: II. Fixed effects, genetic trends and selection in retrospect. Livestock Science 164, 1325.
Viklund, Å, Näsholm, A, Strandberg, E and Philipsson, J 2011. Genetic trends for performance of Swedish Warmblood horses. Livestock Science 141, 113122.
Wallin, L, Strandberg, E and Philipsson, J 2003. Genetic correlations between field test results of Swedish Warmblood Riding Horses as 4-year-olds and lifetime performance results in dressage and show jumping. Livestock Production Science 82, 6171.
Wold, S 1994. PLS for multivariate linear modeling QSAR: chemometric methods in molecular design. In Methods and Principles in Medicinal Chemistry (ed. H van de Waterbeemd), pp. 195218. VCH, Weinheim, Germany.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Sánchez-Guerrero supplementary material
Table S1

 Word (15 KB)
15 KB

Designing an early selection morphological linear traits index for dressage in the Pura Raza Español horse

  • M. J. Sánchez-Guerrero (a1), I. Cervantes (a2), A. Molina (a3), J. P. Gutiérrez (a2) and M. Valera (a1)...


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.