|In addition to the trend towards more and smaller breed registries, there is another trend towards an international expansion of the bigger established sport horse breeds.
Regional breeds, at least in smaller countries, may no longer be able to run an independent breeding programme.
The typical horse breeder, in the future, will be a female and qualified in equestrian sports.
Artificial insemination (AI) mainly with fresh or cooled-transported semen has become a major breeding tool, allowing breeders all over Europe to benefit from the best stallions of most breeds.
New AI techniques such as low-dose insemination may remain restricted to individual stallions and also the interest of breeding programmes in sex determination of foals via semen sorting is limited.
Embryo transfer and associated techniques, although allowed by most breeds, have not contributed significantly to genetic progress in European sport horses so far.
A potential use of cloning may be to produce gonad-intact copies from geldings that have performed to a superior level.
With a more open and international structure of horse breeding and increased use of AI, equine reproduction and biotechnology should be emphasized by veterinary curricula and continuing professional education programmes.
Source: Aurich, J & Aurich, C (2006): Developments in European Horse Breeding and Consequences for Veterinarians in Equine Reproduction. In: Reproduction in Domestic Animals 41 (4), 275-279.
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