The goal of the First International Equine Gene Mapping Workshop, held in 1995, was the construction of a low density, male linkage map for the horse. For this purpose, the International Horse Reference Family Panel (IHRFP) was established, consisting of 12 paternal half-sib families with 448 half-sib offspring provided by 10 laboratories. Blood samples were collected and DNA extracted in each laboratory and sent to the Lexington laboratory (KY, USA) for dispatch in aliquots to 14 typing laboratories. In total, 161 markers (144 microsatellites, seven blood groups and 10 proteins) were tested for all families for which the sire was heterozygous. Genealogies and typing data were sent for analysis to the INRA laboratory (Jouy-en-Josas, France) according to a specific format and entered into a database with input verification and output processes. Linkage analysis was performed with the CRIMAP program. Significant linkage was detected for 124 loci, of which 95 were unambiguously ordered using a multipoint analysis with an average spacing of 14.2 CM. These loci were distributed among 29 linkage groups. A more comprehensive analysis including synteny group data and FISH data suggested that 26 autosomes out of 31 are covered. The complete map spans 936 CM.