Phenotypic Correlations of Stride Traits and Body Measurements in Lipizzaner Stallions and Mares

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Besides being well known for their use in classical dressage, Lipizzaner horses are today becoming more and more popular for use in driving sport, with Croatia as the largest breeder in the world. To estimate their phenotypic predisposition for driving sport, this research analyzes the correlation between body measurements and traits of length and speed of walk and hand-led trot in 18 stallions (LS) and 53 mares (LM) by using a digital camera. Statistical analysis of the data concerning phenotypic correlations among the indicated traits has revealed the potential of documenting a large number of structural exterior body characteristics and quantitative measurements in Lipizzaner horses, and technical equipment has been found to be useful in research of stride traits. Higher withers height (WH) achieved through breeding was found to be negatively correlated with the number of strides per second during walk and trot, but positively correlated with walk stride length, especially in LS. Higher values for chest girth (CG) and cannon bone circumference (CBC) were found to be positively correlated with speed, as well as with stride length in LS, and negatively correlated with the number of strides per second during walk and trot in both LS and LM. Because for many years the goal of breeding Lipizzaners in Croatia has been to obtain a bigger body format and longer stride, leading to better results in a driving sport, these findings confirm breeding goals in selection work guided toward better stride length and extended stride as the most desirable traits for driving sport.

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