‘Genetics and Breeding of Irish Horses’ Book Launched

Teagasc has launched a new genetics book entitled ‘Genetics and Breeding of Irish Horses’. The author of the book is Dr Alan Hurley, Teagasc Equine Specialist.

The equine industry in Ireland is dominated by the Thoroughbred sector and the Sport Horse sector. The annual economic value of the Irish thoroughbred breeding and racing industries are valued at €1.84 billion while the Irish sport horse sector is estimated to be worth in the region of €816 million to the economy. A significant part of both industries is breeding. Teagasc is one of the main providers of full-time education, lifelong learning and advice to growing cohorts of equine breeders, producers and riders.

Teagasc Director Professor Frank O’Mara commented, “the equine industry is a growing, vibrant and diverse one which contributes substantially to the overall economy. This book highlights the importance of equine genetics and breeding for the industry as a whole. It stresses the importance of selectivity and using the best males and females, to genetically improve a population, in a certain direction, based on a predefined goal.”

Professor Donagh Berry, Teagasc and VistaMilk, said that “luck is the key ingredient to breeding a successful animal. A well-structured breeding programme, however, improves the mean performance of the population as well as increasing the chances of breeding that successful animal. Using his education on cattle genetics, Alan has elegantly and succinctly compiled the key components and blueprint of a successful breeding programme in horses.”

This book has been designed to educate those interested in equine studies. It outlines several aspects of equine genetics and breeding and illustrates how breeders can improve the genetic merit of Irish horses backed by science. The book aims to be a blueprint for equine genetic improvement. The terms commonly used by animal breeders to describe the characteristics of a population are described in an easy to understand format. The book is designed to educate breeders to use available resources to make more informed breeding decisions. This is an essential book for horse breeders and owners, students of equine studies, animal breeding and veterinary science who want to learn more about equine breeding and genetics.

Dr Alan Hurley, Teagasc Equine Specialist, and author of the book remarked, “significant genetic advances can be achieved in the coming years if an optimal approach is implemented. This will require significant acceptance from breeders and industry both in terms of recording data and implementation of available resources.”

Source: Teagasc

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