Study: Mental Toughness Tied To Physical Prowess In Nordic Racehorses

A study conducted by Dr. Brandon Velie, of the University of Sydney and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, has shown that talented Nordic trotting horses have a genetic basis for mental toughness as well as trotting talent. Throughout the years, Nordic horses have been selected for strength, speed and endurance. The scientist and his study team wanted to identify genomic regions associated with athleticism, specifically trotting ability.

The study used 25 North Swedish Draught horses, 22 Standardbred trotters and 18 Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded trotters. Blood samples and genomic DNA samples were taken from each horse. The findings revealed 580 differentiated regions for trotting racing ability, with regions on the 7 and 11 chromosomes being particularly rich.

The analysis showed multiple genes related to energy metabolism, intelligence and skeletal development. The study team concluded that racing ability is controlled by multiple genes, with candidate regions influencing racing ability, neurological development and skeletal development, suggesting that racing ability is not solely based on physical characteristics, but also mental ones.

Read more at HorseTalk.

The study can be read here.

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