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An integration of external information for foreign stallions into the Belgian genetic evaluation for jumping horses



J. Vandenplas, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liege, Passage des Déportés-2, Gembloux 5030, Belgium. Tel: +32 81 62 23 58; Fax: +32 81 62 21 15; E-mail:


The aim of this study was to test the integration of external information, i.e. foreign estimated breeding values (EBV) and the associated reliabilities (REL), for stallions into the Belgian genetic evaluation for jumping horses. The Belgian model is a bivariate repeatability Best Linear Unbiased Prediction animal model only based on Belgian performances, while Belgian breeders import horses from neighbouring countries. Hence, use of external information is needed as prior to achieve more accurate EBV. Pedigree and performance data contained 101 382 horses and 712 212 performances, respectively. After conversion to the Belgian trait, external information of 98 French and 67 Dutch stallions was integrated into the Belgian evaluation. Resulting Belgian rankings of the foreign stallions were more similar to foreign rankings according to the increase of the rank correlations of at least 12%. REL of their EBV were improved of at least 2% on average. External information was partially to totally equivalent to 4 years of contemporary horses' performances or to all the stallions' own performances. All these results showed the interest to integrate external information into the Belgian evaluation.