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Re: [RC] Proving Stallions - k s swigart

From: <heidi@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
You've pointed out that dispositions can go to
pot when the sole breeding criterion is speed

Actually, it is not that the sole breeding criterion is speed that
causes the dispostion to "go to pot."  In fact, the sole breeding
criterion for medium distance (i.e. not a quarter of a mile) flat track
racing is NOT speed, but determination.  The horse that wins the
Kentucky Derby is not the fastest horse, it is the horse that is the
most determined to win and will let nothing stop it from doing so.

It is not that racing people ignore dispostition in their selection
criteria, but actually have a selection criterion that produces
borderline unmanageable horses.

This is not true for the other attributes that you list below:

so can many other aspects necessary for other types
of performance, including hoof wall structure, bone
integrity, agility, gaits other than the flat-out run, etc.

However, other than the "hoof wall structure" thing which comes from the
fact that the horses are raced only on "good" surfaces, the race track
does just fine in selecting for bone integrity, agility, and gaits other
than the flat-out run.

Bone integrity:
Horses without good bone integrity simply never see the track; they will
break down before they get ther.  The higher speeds associated with
racing will break down a horse much faster than the "long slow distance"
that is asked of most endurance horses, the bones of a race horse have
to be much better than the bones of an endurance horse.  And it has been
clearly demonstrated by multitudes of studies of bone remodelling in
racing horses (including taking cross sections of bones on necropsy),
that racing them young actually IMPROVES the quality of bone that a
horse has as the ability to remodel bone declines as the horse matures.

Race horses have to be very agile, and besides, the abilities necessary
to be quick are pretty much the same as the abilities necessary for
agility.  The race track, from a training aspect, doesn't teach horses
to be careful where they put their feet, and the selection criteria
doesn't select for the temperament necessary for them to be able to
learn to be careful where they put their feet....but then we are back to
that temperament thing that the race track doesn't reliably produce.

Gaits other than the flat out run:
Any horse with the athletic ability to produce a good "flat out run"
(which, incidentally is not what the medium distance flat track selects
for) has more than adequate "gaits" for an endurance horse.  It may not
be able to produce the gaits necessary for the sylized stuff that wins
in the show ring, but the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles,
and neurotransmitters to drive these things necessary to produce a
successful full racing gallop are more than adequate to produce good
working gaits.  And good working gaits are all an endurance horse needs.

The race track may not produce the mindset that makes the horse want to
USE these good working gaits, but rest assured, any even marginally
successful race horse HAS the gaits...the lack of proper mindset to use
them is back to that temperament thing.

Orange County, Calif.


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RE: [RC] Proving Stallions, heidi