Analyses of conformational performance differentiation among functional breeding goals in the Menorca horse breed
The endangered Menorca horse from the Balearic Islands (Spain) is selected for its economically viable traits, such as conformation and dressage performance, while maintaining the maximum possible genetic variability. The aim of this work was to describe the morphology of the Menorca horse and to analyse the conformational variation among the different performance aptitudes of the males (classical dressage, Menorca dressage and leisure) using 47 body measurements and 10 body indices. The data consists of 147 females and 200 males. The Menorca horse can be characterised as an animal of quadrangular format, slim figure with thin and long limbs, with the greatest values for height and length found in the males. The Duncan and principal component analysis with non-linear iterative partial least-squares algorithm discriminates the Menorca dressage group mainly by its differential hind limb angulations. Both the classical and Menorca dressage groups showed well-balanced body proportions for sport performance.