Tuesday, August 27, 2013


One of the things you must know if you breed or buy horses is that genetically you are likely to have just one out of four breedings to the same sire that produce something special. Mind you 25% is a lot better than the 4-5% success rate for breeders overall but be prepared to be disappointed more often than not.

There have been some exceptions to the genetic rule such as the Hall brothers, Conway, Angus and Andover who were three of eight, and there have been exceptions in the other direction such as Albatross and his eight failed full siblings making him one of nine.

Another good case in point is the success of world record 2yo trotter Cooler Schooner 2,1.51.3f who is already over two seconds faster that her full sister Broadway Schooner, a winner of  $895K.  There have been two others with the same breeding who raced but did not beat 1.57.

What was the difference ? The pedigree is the same but the random nature of genes and how they interact defies sameness and indeed if you compared all four individuals you would likely see why. Conformation is a big part in yearling selection especially when you are looking at full siblings to something special.  Deweycheatumnhowe had four full siblings before he came along, all of them raced, but Ray Schnitker claimed that Dewey was much the best conformed of them all. It is generally agreed that Andover Hall was the best conformed of the Hall brothers too and his results as a sire have backed that up although I'm sure there are some contrary opinions regarding Conway Hall whose son Windsongs Legacy could have been one of the greats of all time but for his early death.

Getting back to Cooler Schooner she is by Broadway Hall, another son of Conway Hall, and from a mare that is inbred maternally to Speedy Crown. This is a typical feature of sires that have no Speedy Crown maternally. In the case of Cooler Schooner, however, she also has a double connection to Conway Hall since her dam carries a combination of  Arnie Almahurst and Stars Pride, as does the dam of Conway Hall.

The bigger farms seldom go back to the same sire since they have so many stallion options. It keeps the buyers guessing but it results in a lot of failed breedings, hence the 4-5% success rate. So what do you do as a breeder ?  Make sure that your first choice is your best choice and stick with it. The percentages will repay you accordingly. 

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