Once a year, new breeding values are calculated for all horses in the KWPN Database. As per the conditions outlined below, breeding values for stallions are published annually at www.kwpn.org/breeding-values and online in the Stallion Database, by stallion. Breeding values for mares are listed individually in the KWPN Database under the heading Genetic Profile. Breeding values for stallions are published in the online KWPN Stallion Database under the Genetic Profile tab. Breeding values for mares and other horses are listed under the Genetic Profile heading in the KWPN Database. Breeding values for all horses must be at least 30% reliable to be published.
A horse’s performance can be viewed as the sum of its genetic ability plus environmental factors (e.g. training, rider skill, and health care). Horse breeding, however, is solely about ability, as only ability can be passed on to offspring. For this reason, KWPN breeding values are an estimate of genetic ability. Breeding values are calculated for the following traits: sport, movement, conformation, and health.
Breeding values and statistics
Sport breeding values for stallions are published in a rank table, which also includes the number of offspring for the various information sources in the calculation of the breeding value. These rankings are also available digitally through www.kwpn.org/breeding-values. Stallions are listed by breeding direction: dressage stallions, jumper stallions, Thoroughbred stallions, Gelder stallions and harness horse stallions. Recognized-, Thoroughbred- and Gelder- stallions are published in alphabetical order.
Genetic Profile and detail traits
All important traits of the KWPN breeding goal are listed per breeding direction in the genetic profile of each stallion. A genetic profile is a convenient tool to analyze all important traits together at a glance and an easy way to compare stallions when trying to select the best partner for a mare. The breeding values are represented in the detail traits of conformation, movement and jumping.
Everything we can see or measure about a horse is the sum of its genetic ability plus an entire series of environmental influences. For breeding purposes, only the first factor is important: a horse’s genetic ability, as a rider’s talent cannot be passed on to a foal. Breeding values are estimates of genetic ability. The KWPN calculates breeding values for conformation-, sport-, and health traits.
Comparing with the Average
Breeding values provide a means of comparing the genetic ability of an individual horse with the average genetic ability of all KWPN horses. As a result, breeding values allow us to view a horse’s standing in the KWPN population at a glance. The average of the entire population is set annually at 100 points for each trait. For the primary trait sport, two-thirds of all KWPN horses score between 80 and 120 points (with a 20-point deviation for this trait). A breeding value above 120 is therefore considered above average. For the traits conformation, movement, and health, there is a 4-point deviation. Therefore, a horse with a conformation breeding value lower than 96 or higher than 104 deviates from the population average with respect to genetic ability.
Three sources of information
Breeding values are calculated using three different groups of information: information about a horse’s sire and dam (plus all relatives), information about the horse itself, and information about the horse’s offspring. This last source of information is by far the most important for obtaining a breeding value, as it clarifies the traits which can be passed on to offspring with respect to genetic ability.
If information is available only on a horse’s sire and dam – as is often the case with young horses – an expected breeding value is calculated. A horse’s expected breeding value is the average breeding value of its sire and dam. If there is no breeding value for the dam, then in most cases the pedigree index is used. Genetic ability can be estimated using the breeding values of a horse’s sire, dam’s sire, and dam’s dam’s sire.
Once horses age three and older have established a performance record or data has been compiled on their offspring, breeding values can be calculated. Breeding values for sport traits are based on sport standings derived from the Dutch Equestrian Federation (KNHS) and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), in addition to scores obtained from ability tests and studbook recordings. Breeding values for conformation, movement, and jumping traits are based on data gathered from linear score forms completed when a horse is presented for studbook acceptance. The breeding value for OC health is based on the OC offspring inspection for stallions and calculated based on the performance of 20 specially selected yearlings.
Reliability of the Estimate
The more information available on a horse, the better we can estimate genetic ability and calculate a breeding value. Offspring data, in particular, benefits breeding value reliability. The reliability percentage which corresponds to each breeding value is a measure of the quantity of information used. A reliability percentage of 55-60% is considered sufficient to more than sufficient, and a reliability percentage of 70% or greater is deemed good to very good. As the reliability percentage increases, the breeding value stabilizes. The greater the reliability, the closer we can approach a horse’s actual breeding value.
Breeding values and reliability percentages for the most important traits per breeding direction are summarized in the Genetic Profile, a tool used to observe at a glance how a stallion or mare passes on traits relative to the population. The most important trait in the genetic profile is the primary breeding goal trait of sport (dressage, jumping, driving) in the following respective breeding directions: dressage horses, jumpers, and harness horses. In the Gelder horse breeding direction, both dressage sport and jumping sport are represented, given the versatile nature of this type of horse.
The primary trait sport is accompanied by a number of supporting traits, including conformation, movement, free-jumping, and OC health. Even height is represented in the Genetic Profile. Although height is not an immediate breeding goal trait, many breeders are interested in its heritability. Breeding values for the remaining traits (various conformation-, movement-, and jumping traits from the linear score form) are summarized in the breeding values for detail traits.
Breeding values Mares 2014-2015 (in Dutch)
Top 200 mares with 1 to 4 offspring in jumping
Top 200 mares with at least 5 offspring in jumping
Top 200 mares without offspring in jumping, inspections or performance tests
Top 200 mares with offspring in jumping at inspections/performance tests only
Top 200 mares with 1 to 4 offspring in dressage
Top 200 mares with at least 5 offspring in dressage
Top 200 mares without offspring in dressage, inspections or performance tests
Top 200 mares with offspring in dressage at inspections/performance tests only
Gelder mares with offspring in dressage
Gelder mares without offspring in dressage, inspections or performance tests
Gelder mares with offspring at inspections and performance tests (dressage) only
Harness horse mares:
Harness horse mares with a breeding value of 120 or higher
Breeding values stallions