What is Blup and
what is it actually
Many people have a personal opinion towards the Blup, so perhaps this a really good question. But in writing this, I will dive into the well-known Blup evaluation. With Icelandic horses, “Blup” is the dynamic size, which undergoes through adjustments every year, and when Landsmót is held. The name for Blup comes from “Best Linear Unbiased Prediction”, which is an objective and static composition assigned to the horse.
“Blup should be understood as a guide to help the breeder in making the “right” decision through a mathematical calculation.”
Blup was invented in 1950, but was first used actively in 1962, where the idea was to predict the quality of a given offspring. The influencing factors for Blup were thus the selection data, yearly results, as well as the age. But by 1982, Icelandic people had already adapted Blup in their breeding, with new and alternative parameters how the horse were evaluated all the way from building to riding properties. And although the evaluation method was widespread and well-known among the Icelandic population, Blup was first officially used in the FAIO (the Farmers Association of Iceland) in 1986, which has since been responsible for the genetic evaluations. It is this transition that has increased the number of properties assessed from 10 to 13.
Blup evaluation has been shown to have a positive influence on the breeding industry, but also on the quality of Icelandic horses. However, Blup is a complex analysis system, so it can be difficult to understand its calculation model and which type of horse you can expect to get. Blup should be seen as a guide that helps the breeder make the “right” decision through a mathematical calculation. Such a calculation takes place objectively, so that the outcome can always be traced back to the collected data. However, it is true that a horse’s characteristics can’t be calculated precisely. The more subjective are the assessed parameters, the more errors can be interpreted in the system, which increases the risk of inaccurate evaluations. And with being people involved, awarding grades can be subjective and not 100% measurable.
In other horse breeds, there are other measurable properties that give the horse its characterization, but this is not the case for the Icelandic horse. Here it is seen that 4-gaiters have a difficult time achieving as high grade as a 5-gaiter, because they have one more gait. That being said, it does not mean that the Blup is useless, as it gives an indication of which properties may be dominant in a horse. It is always important to remember that it is not necessarily the best horses that has the highest Blup-rating. The purpose of the Blup is to promote the presentation on the horse track via data, and it is a continuous development evaluation method. It is, of course, positive, but you have to settle for yourself, whether the “perfect stallion” also has a high Blup, and is the right horse for you and your needs. A Blup-evaluation can not make the decision for you.