Department of Animal Breeding, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kırıkkale University, Kırıkkale, Turkey
The aim of the present study was to estimate genetic parameters of body measurements in Turkish Arabian foals. Records of wither height, front cannon circumference, heart girth, and body length were used for body measurements at birth, 6 months of age, 1-year-old and 2-year-old. Heritability of body measurements of Turkish Arabian foals was estimated by using records of foals sired by stallions which had at least 5 foals. Body measurement records at birth of 1597 foals sired by 40 stallions were used in heritability calculation of withers height, front cannon circumference, and heart girth. Heritability of all body measurements was estimated by paternal half-sib method. Estimated heritability ranged from 0.05 (heart girth) to 0.58 (wither height). Heritability estimates can be used to improve body measurements of Turkish Arabian horses. These results indicate that mass selection method based on the individual phenotype of the horses at different ages can provide genetic improvement in the herd. Phenotypic correlations between body measurements at consecutive age periods were all positive, ranging from 0.22 to 0.63. Thus, early body measurements of the Turkish Arabian foals can be used for prediction of the size of the adult horse.