Genetic testing… Can we predict winners?

Can genetic testing predict equine winners?

New research strongly suggests a correlation between genetics and good performance in eventing and dressage too. Can you imagine testing for what is the best racing distance for your horse? Or testing for a performance index?

Well, its all happening now and Genetic testing is here to stay! There are an increasing number of tests that can give us a fair answer from diseases to (more recently) performance.

As good as it sounds, could you imagine the earthquake that this could cause in the industry if we just rely on these tests? Where the art of breeding and racing would be unveiled in a blood sample?

What issues are there with genetic testing?

Most prestigious international breeders & associations of racing horses have seen several problems with these testings. They include issues such as the total validity, lack of agreement, the room for fraud, and also need for consent. Ultimately they only give you a strong probability. In other terms, they give you a predisposition but not predetermination!

The use of these tests by associations could actually damage the industry badly. Therefore they don’t get involved including or promoting genetic testing. As such, it would then be up to owners to decide what they want to test.

The breeders however have seen a benefit and they plan to gradually introduce these tests for disease and illness. For example, crippling industry diseases such as laryngeal haemaplegia.

What tests are on offer?

There are several laboratories that are offering tests. However, there is not overall agreement/validation of these increasing amounts of tests.

Some will offer disease screening: prediction of hoof problems in Connemaras, hyperkalemic paralysis in quarter horses, etc…

If you want to have a look at the menu, you could have a peek in these websites:

These tests to date haven’t yet proven a total prediction of performance ability.

If you decide to request one, we are happy to help you. But just remember that these tests are statistics, and horses don’t do statistics, but they are smart enough to prove anyone a fool!