As anyone who has followed Thoroughbred racing over the last couple of decades knows, the statistics have changed dramatically. Possibly not as apparent when looking at the change from year to year, but when comparing recent years with statistics from the early 80′s, the differences start to show. Consider the Triple Crown – the fact that there hasn’t been a horse to win every leg of the championship in over thirty years is blatant proof that the breed has changed significantly. Further, a cursory glance through the 2014 Stallion Register will find a significant portion of sires with a race record that rarely – if ever – climbs into double digits. Both of these factors – the difficulty today’s Thoroughbreds have racing further than a mile and a quarter, and the brevity of their careers – can be attributed to their breeding and training.
Pedigree analysis, conformation evaluation, all of the planning that goes into breeding – everything comes down to the breeder’s goal for the hypothetical foal. The race course is not the only end goal some breeders may consider – a significant number, possibly THE significant number of foals, are bred with the sales ring in mind. The fact that the buyer will then go on (or hopes) to race the hypothetical foal may not be considered — either in the breeding considerations or in the training of the young horse. While training is, to most, what happens at the track, the truth of the matter is that a horse is ‘trained’ from the first human contact. Continue reading