Harness Racing Success Linked to Intelligence Genes

A genetic study of Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotter harness racehorses revealed eight major genes likely related to their success on the track, some of which drive the horses’ abilities to learn and remember.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

harness racing
A genetic study of Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotter harness racehorses revealed eight major genes likely related to their success on the track, some of which drive the horses' abilities to learn and remember. | Photo: Kersti Nebelsiek/Wikimedia Commons
Success on the trot tracks isn’t all about brawn. There’s quite a bit of brain in there, as well.

Sure, a harness race winner needs to be fast. But he’s also got to adjust to—and even anticipate—his driver’s demands, navigate around other horses and their sulkies, and, most importantly, not break into gallop even when trotting at high speeds. And there are genes for that—ones that code for intelligence.

New genome-wide studies on harness racehorses revealed eight major genes that appear to be related to their success on the track. While most of those genes are related to physical fitness and ability, some drive the ability to learn and remember.

“Trotting on a racetrack is not a particularly natural act for the horse compared to how its wild ancestors were moving,” said Gabriella Lindgren, MSc, PhD, of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics. “These horses need to be able to adapt to the handling and interaction with humans, the environment, and also trotting on the racetrack

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

When do you begin to prepare/stock up on products/purchase products for these skin issues?
105 votes · 105 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!