Objective - To determine whether there was genetic linkage between the recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) trait in Thoroughbred horse pedigrees and DNA markers in genes (the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium release channel [RYR1] gene, the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase [ATP2A1] gene, and the transverse tubule dihydropyridine receptor-voltage sensor [CACNA1S] gene) that are important in myoplasmic calcium regulation. Animals - 34 horses in the University of Minnesota RER resource herd and 62 Thoroughbreds from 3 families of Thoroughbreds outside of the university in which RER-affected status was assigned after 2 or more episodes of ER had been observed. Procedures - Microsatellite DNA markers from the RYR1, ATP2A1, and CACNA1S gene loci on equine chromosomes 10, 13, and 30 were identified. Genotypes were obtained for all horses in the 4 families affected by RER, and data were used to test for linkage of these 3 loci to the RER phenotype. Results - Analysis of the RYR1, CACNA1S, and ATP2A1 microsatellites excluded a link between those markers and the RER trait. Conclusions and clinical relevance - It is likely that the heritable alterations in muscle contractility that are characteristic of RER are caused by a gene that is not yet known to cause related muscle disease in other species.