“The aim is to get horses to match the description of the breed, with working attitudes and with an ability to train which makes them outstanding.”
The Breeders and Owners Association of Menorca Horse is in charge with the development of the Genetics Breeding Program specific for this breed. It was approved by the old Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación in 2007 and it was later modificated to guarantee its adaptation according to current guidelines in 2010. It is always technically supervised by the members of the Research Group MERAGEM (PAI-AGR 158 and AGR-273).
The main aim of this Conservation and Selection Program is to get horses according to the pattern of the breed, with working attitudes and temperamental qualities (nobility and intelligence) to make them suitable for dressage and that makes them stand out equestrian disciplines for those who are selected, always maintaining the genetic variability and reducing the blood relationship level and kinship of the population.
So that, the Breeders Association develop official output controls for the different sport disciplines to evaluate the breed (Classical Dressage and Menorca Dressage) that brings to the Breeding Program the necessary information for its right development. Besides, this organisation works to develop new performance control methodologies that allow it to get objective information to base on the genetic evaluation of the breed for the variables of functional-shape, particularly the final preparation of a Linear Scoring System for conformation traits specific for this breed.
The information obtained after the genetic evaluation of the animals is shown in the official breeding catalogue in order that the breeders can use the information to match the horses most compatible for breeding. But, due to the reduced census of this breed, it is essential to take into account the genetic relationships among the specimens to cross and the blood relationship level of the descent got from each crossing to assure and keep the maximum genetic variation as possible among the whole population of Purebreed Menorca Horses.
In order to carry out technical activities related with the Breeding Program, the following companies have been subcontracted:
- Qualified Centre of Animal Genetics: Fundación de Investigación de la Universidad de Sevilla (FIUS)
- Performance controls in the studs: Calificadores Morfológicos Lineales habilitados y Técnicos especialistas en morfología de la Raza
- Germplasm Bank (storage): Serveis de Millora Agrària i Pesquera (Semilla)
- Reproduction Centre (collection and processing of sperm): Semilla and Miquel Ferrer
The Breeding Program of Menorca Purebred Horse has been active since 2008. It includes the actions for the breed conservation and selection. One of the accomplishments is the genetic evaluation of the animals according to achievements for each selection line.
The genetic evaluation is a set of actions done over the population, such as to control performance and the full registry of available studs. Those allow to get individual stud values and its precision of each analysed trait. This rating enables to classify the animals agreeing to their genetic success into three official categories (Young Recommended Breeding Stock, Enhancer Breeding Stock and Elite Breeding Stock). So, it is possible to select the best being as a progenitor for next generations.
The information got in the genetic analysis is yearly published in a public Breeding Stock Catalogue. It collects a list of males and females, adding genetic and productive data of each animal. It guides the breeders about the results their descendants will be able to get.
This document is included in the Breeding Program Dissemination and its information varies whenever the available information is completed or extended or new animals are estimated. Furthermore, a Breeding Stock Catalogue provides security and precision of the value of each animal used in the stockbreedings according to specific and objective selection criteria. It gives prestige to the owner and the breeder of the specimen with genetic category and pushes up the value of the animals included in it.
Every year, the Breeders and Owners Association of Menorca Horses works with the Investigation Group MERAGEM to publish the Breeding Stock Catalogue, according to official output controls compiled until the endings of the year before. The animals with official genetic categories, their congenital value for every trait assessed and interesting information from the point of view of the preservation are included in the catalogue.
A new Breeding Stock Catalogue is published every year in the website of ARCA (dependent of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing, Nourishing and Environment), together with other interesting information of the Breeding Program. Communications are available in the following links:
The edition of these documents is possible thank you to the collaboration and support received by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Nourishing and the Department of Environment and Biosfere Reserve from the Insular Council of Menorca. We wish the information included can be a great aid for the breeders and for the mating plans for the next season.