Jarosław Kamieniak 
Analysis of the degree of neural excitability of Polish pure-bred Arabian horses with regard to matings to date

The aim of the study was to analyse the degree of neural excitability of Polish pure-bred Arabian horses and the influence of various neural excitability levels in parents on the quality of this feature on their offspring. Furthermore, an attempt was made to evaluate the quality of psychological features of horses coming from the analyzed matings by means of assessing their walk and trot movement efficiency and the change in the heart rate measured during the test. The breeding value of mare and stallions (using BLUP method) was evaluated with regard to the selected features of their behaviour and their movement efficiency.
The research carried from 1993-2003 encompassed 773 Polish pure-bred Arabian horses (including 191 stallions and 582 mares). Their neural excitability was assessed using a timidity test according to Budzyński’s method. Moreover, every horse had its heart rate measured and its working capacity expressed in movement efficiency rates at a walk and trot (stride length and frequency per minute and the speed of movement) was evaluated.
The modifying influence of the breeding environment (the horses belonged to various studs) on the neural excitability level of the tested horses was observed. The stallions and mares in the tests were characterised by similar behavioural responsiveness expressed in the timidity test results. The neural excitability level of parents was found to influence significantly the quality of their offspring’s psychological features. They were characterised by the set of responses in between the properties of their parents’ behavioural features. It was shown that it is possible to predict the level of neural excitability in the offspring on the basis of the value of this feature in parents. The neural excitability level of the assessed horses was found to be statistically significantly correlated with the value of the evaluated movement rates.
The significant relationships between the timidity test results, movement efficiency and the heart rate allow us to use the aforementioned rates while evaluating the behaviour of horses. In the tested population both fathers and mothers which can influence the movement efficiency and the quality of their offspring psychological features were selected. The research indicated that the offspring coming from the mating of both calm parents was the most valuable as far as psychological features are concerned. Their neural response was balanced which was expressed in the timidity test points and in the value of the heart rate measured during the test.