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It's all about the only native Finnish horse breed!


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It’s a boy! :)

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Little colt!

A surprise was waiting for us in the stable this morning! Elyse, that sneaky, sneaky mare, had given birth to a little colt while I wasn’t watching! Luckily everything seems to have gone by the book and both are ok. Whew!

Peppi’s little brother is sired by a fine trotter stallion called Vieskerin Valo. Who, by the way, holds the 8th place of the Trotter King ranking for now. ;)

More posts about my journey as a horse breeder so far:

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Leonida won the work horse championship 2014

From Leonida pokkasi palkinnot Valtakunnallisessa työmestaruuskilpailussa (Hippos.fi)

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Leonida won the work horse championship for finnhorses 2014. Photo by Hippos/Eeva Karvonen. See more photos at the Hippos photo bank

This was the first time Leonida attended the competition. One could say she cleaned the prize table. She was the fastest in the trot test, the best mare to attend and the best first-timer. Second place went to mare Vikspertta, who was the youngest horse to attend – only five years old! Two-time work horse champion, mare Vilpotar placed third. The first prize was 1 500 euro.

– It’s great to see that hard work pays off. Leonida is an honest, fine family horse, told Matti Pakarinen, whose wife Tarja and daughters Veera and Viivi also like to take part to the daily stable routines back home.

Pakarinen has had Leonida since last October.

– I appreciate the work that Veikko Herranen (the previous owner) has done with her. Leonida felt good, but I didn’t expect us to win, since there were so many good horses against us.

 Again next year?

– Maybe not. She might be in foal next year. But if she’s not, we’ll come to compete again.

Leonida lost a shoe during the competition, but managed to pull through all the tests. There were about 500 people watching the competition. This was the 30th anniversary for the work horse championships, which has been organised annually since 1984.

The work horse championship is an annual competition for studbook inspected mares and stallions. There are three tests: 1000 m trot, 500 m walk with 500 kg carriage, and finally the pulling test, where the horses pull a sleigh in sand. The start weight is about 500 kg, the horse pulls 20 m at a time. More weight is added to the sleigh during the breaks. This continues until the horse stops or the vet calls it off (the horses are naturally under strict surveillance throughout the tests). The horses receive points for each test and the horse with most points wins the title of the champion.

Matti had a camera with him through the competition. Click here to watch it on Facebook.

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Vikspertta pulling. Photo by Hippos/Eeva Karvonen

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Happy 30th birthday, Pette!

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Invitation for Pette’s party (click to enlarge)

Pette was born on May 13th, 1984 at Ypäjä. He made a great career in racing. He won the Trotter King title as well as the Nordic Championship for coldblood trotters TWICE in 1993 and 1994. These are just a few merits on his list. Altogether his career included 163 races with winnings over 200 000 euro. He retired from the race tracks in 1997.

Being an active horse, he didn’t settle for just resting in his retirement days. His owners decided to introduce him to riding, and started schooling him for dressage and jumping.

Pette was inspected for J (Juoksija, trotter) studbook with first prize in 1995 and for R (Ratsu, riding horse) studbook without a prize in 2004. He has sired 112 foals to date, and is standing at stud this year as well.

Here’s a beautiful short document of Pette, made by Ville Virtanen in 2013 (in Finnish).

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Peppi’s first show

We took Peppi to her first (official) show a few weeks back. What an exciting day in Peppi’s life! She experienced what it was like to travel alone, without mommy on board.

She received a II- prize (range from III- to I). She was the second best of her class with good points: type 7, barrel 8, legs 7, hooves 8, walk 7, trot 7 (scale 1-10).  She is now 132 cm at withers and 136 at croup, which means that she is growing quite fast at the moment but is still a bit smaller than the others (most of them were around 135-140cm). Maybe she wants to be a pony after all? ;)

All results (pdf)

 

A bit worried look… “What’s happening?”

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Posing for the jury

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Swish! Look what I can do!

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Trot

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Feeling pretty!

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132 cm at withers, 136 at croup

Photos by Jaana Hohti and Satu Pitkänen/Rozpravka Photography, see more at Peppi’s Sukuposti page.


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Crib-biting and its heritability in Finnhorses

From Crib-biting and its heritability in Finnhorses (sciencedirect.com)

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Digging into genetics research helps breeders to produce healthy horses. These horses had nothing to do with the study, though. :) Photo by Smerikal

Finnhorses are an interesting population for scientists because they are so well-documented: each horse is registered and their  pedigree data is documented and available for more than 10 generations.

Here’s and interesting abstract of a recent study about crib-biting behavior:

Abstract

Crib-biting in horses is a stereotypical oral behaviour with a prevalence of 2.8–15%, varying between breeds. A genetic basis for crib-biting has been suggested by many researchers, but due to incomplete information on families or the lack of a sufficient number of verified crib-biters, heritability has not been determined for any horse population. However, the involvement of inheritance in behavioural traits has only been indicated by a few studies in horses, and evidence for a genetic component in stereotypies mainly comes from studies on other species.

Our aim was to estimate the heritability of crib-biting behaviour in a Finnhorse population. The cold-blood Finnhorse is a native breed that has been pure-bred since 1907. All Finnhorses are registered in the Finnhorse register, and pedigree data are available for more than 10 generations. A cohort of 111 crib-biting and 285 non-crib-biting (control) Finnhorses were recruited through advertisements. Our hypothesis was that crib-biting is a quantitative trait with a reasonably high heritability (h2), because there is some anecdotal evidence that the trait is expressed in certain families. To our knowledge, this is the first time that h2 has been estimated for crib-biting behaviour in any horse population.

The crib-biting behaviour of Finnhorses was described in more detail through an owner questionnaire. Crib-biting appears to be performed by Finnhorses in quite a similar way to other breeds. According to the owners, Finnhorses most frequently crib-bite shortly after feeding on concentrate or titbits and in stressful situations. The habit typically begins during the juvenile years or after some traumatic phase. The proportion of mares among cases was smaller than among controls.

Linear and threshold animal models were tested to estimate the heritability, but the estimates did not converge within allowed parameter space. Hence a more robust linear sire model was used in the final analysis. The estimated heritability of the trait was 0.68. Higher than moderate heritability suggests for further association studies at the genome level together with pedigree studies to identify risk loci. In addition, resolving genetic correlations between performance traits and crib-biting is of great interest for breeding purposes. This study represents a preliminary stage in genetic research of crib-biting.

Key words
behaviour; crib-biting; heritability; horse; stereotypy


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The new Coronation Trot ranking system explained (go, Valo, go!)

From Vieskerin Valo viikon ranking-nousija (kuninkuusravit.fi)

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Vieskerin Valo at the coronation Trot in Kuopio 2013

Traditional Coronation Trot ranking system has been given an update this year.

Vieskerin Valo (the sire of our next horsey baby, by the way :) ) received 20 more points by winning the Killerin Kimara race at Jyväskylä on Saturday 26th of April (You can watch the race here), so he got mentioned in the weekly report. Go, daddy, go!

Here’s an example of how the new system works:

Valo has 47 ranking points at the moment, which earns him the 9th place at the ranking. Horses can earn these ranking points in 11 categories. The best horse of each category gets 15 points, the second 12, third 10, and so on by 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. For example Finnish records, high earnings from this and last year and good records from each racing distance (1600, 2100, 2600, 3100 m) give the horse quite good points in this ranking.

  • Vieskerin Valo earns 15 points for having the best record at 3100 m distance.
  • This year’s best results at 2100 m autostart races. Vieskerin Valo’s newest 23,7a is the second fastest this year, so he earns 12 points for it (ranking leader in this category is Villihotti).
  • In this year’s earnings category the points get multiplied by three. Vieskerin Valo is placed 8th in the earnings category, so he get 4 points, which adds up to 12 ranking points.
  • He earns 7 points for having the fifth best record at 2600 m distance (volt). Plus he earns one point at earnings of 2013 ranking.

See the full ranking tables by clicking here. The online ranking page updates weekly.

“What’s this Coronation Trot you speak of?”

The Coronation Trot is the biggest annual finnhorse event, the biggest trotting event and one of the biggest summer events of all in Finland, gathering about 60 000 people to watch the best finnhorses race. Stallions compete for the crown of a Trotter King and the best mare is crowned as the Trotter Queen. This year this event takes place in Pori on 2.-3.8.2014. The ranking defines which horses get to participate the race.

This English-spoken video from a couple of years back sums up quite well the history and present day of the Coronation Trot event: