by Trey Nosrac
A several weeks ago, I posted a accurate saga illustrating the unpredictability of the small business of harness racehorse breeding. Soon after pushing the mail button, one more accurate tale illustrating the level leaped into my brain.
The prior story was about how our top-advertising yearling resulted from a entire fluke of mother nature and zero research. This adhere to-up report fears the finest racehorse from our small breeding company (two broodmares and 14 foals in 15 several years). Names omitted to safeguard the innocent.
This breeding story started as usual. My companion and I owned a broodmare about to give start to her next foal. Soon after New Year’s, we started out procuring for a stallion, confining our selections to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey.
We spent weeks and weeks on stallion investigation. We had dozens of conversations about point out packages, yearling rates, breeding selling prices and a great number of potential sires. We pored about printouts of performances, pretended to study pedigrees and debated like Clarence Darrow vs . William Jennings Bryan. Lastly, we made our stallion preference and signed a breeding contract. We chose a manufacturer-new sire, banking on the cache of a very first crop in the revenue arena.
All proceeded in accordance to strategy until finally it didn’t. Our broodmare produced a fine healthy foal. For the duration of our broodmare’s article-birth cycle, insemination with semen from the manufacturer-new, ultra-promising sire took spot. We have been pretty enthusiastic: until eventually our mare did not get back in foal the initial time, the 2nd time, the 3rd time, and many others.
The connections of the new stallion contacted us with the troubling news that incredibly couple of the mares bred to this stallion acquired in foal for the duration of his very first calendar year standing at stud. It takes place.
In early June, we stood at the beautiful farm the place we continue to keep our broodmare and her infants, looking above the fence at our broodmare and her second foal at her aspect. We ended up dealing with a barren time economically and enjoyable-clever, a breeding bummer.
In the length, from the major of a hill, a resident stallion stood hunting back again at us about that same fence, pawing the ground, beckoning. This resident stallion’s glory days had been powering him, he was well in excess of 20 several years outdated and his yearly ebook of mares bred experienced dwindled to a pamphlet with significantly less than two dozen web pages. Despite the fact that we highly regarded the heck out of him, this stallion was under no circumstances on our radar display screen. My spouse and I appeared at just about every other, shrugged and said: “What the Hell, why not throw a Hail Mary into the close zone?”
A person year later, we appeared over that fence and viewed a wonderful young colt strolling beside his mom on long, wobbly legs.
With so a lot of strikes in opposition to this colt, we did not even deliver him to industry as a yearling. This colt was a late foal from an ancient sire, a marginal maternal loved ones and the first foal of his mare did not make it to the races. We made the decision to race the colt on the inexpensive. We sent him out for breaking at a nearby farm, brought him back to stand section of the prolonged wintertime in the discipline and despatched him to a neighbor to log some miles on a farm keep track of. We staked the colt pretty flippantly and did not send out him to a coach right up until late February.
Very long story quick, this afterthought colt was the very best racehorse we have produced and raced at the sire stakes amount. We offered him midway by his 3-calendar year-previous period and he is still racing competitively at age 5.
This horse and the horse I referenced in the former column, illustrate some thing: I’m not certain what. My husband or wife and I have agonized, conjured, forecasted and researched meticulously, selecting appealing stallions for our broodmares. Our collection procedure is a good deal of entertaining, but I do not doubt that experienced breeders would roll close to on the floor laughing if they listened to tape recordings of our conversations about breeding.
Statistically, according to our compact sample sizing, our sire choice system is flawed. In our scenario, the base line is this: our ideal seller and most effective racehorse ended up the only two foals untouched by our rigorous analysis, vetting and considering. Our two panicky, blindfolded, unresearched rolls of the dice were thriving, although our excellent, cautiously regarded as compositions had been not. There could be some theory for this phenomenon, like counterintelligence or the Dunning-Kruger outcome (a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their understanding or skill in a precise region).
No matter what.
Despite our checkered horse breeding previous, we are meticulously setting up for the 2023 time. We have carefully picked and wildly overspent for a nationwide-amount breeding stallion. We also wildly overspent for a new broodmare. We have a comprehensive prepare that has been two years in the creating. Every thing is in position. Of study course, if points go off the rails, there is always a wacky Strategy “B.” Time will inform.
You obtained to adore the breeding recreation.