This book review will be published over several posts since it grew exponentially once I started (could have something to do with a 5 ½ hour plane flight and extreme boredom. 11,000 feet and passing over Nevada). This is Part 1 of 4.
If you've read this blog long enough (silly me, still assuming I have readers!) you've probably noticed I over-think and analyze EVERYTHING. Endurance and dressage are thinking sports.
It was with this is mind that I picked up Tom Ivers's book, "The Racehorse Owner's Survival Manual".
Ivers (almost called him “Tom”, but heard my high school English teacher screeching at me, as I once wrote an entire essay examining the poem Kubla Khan and referred to the poet by first name, so I can’t. Good literary technique must extend even to blogging) writes mostly for the conventional race horse owner of Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter horse tracks. Arab racing may be mentioned in passing. However, several times throughout the book he does mention endurance conditioning as it contrasts with the (comparative) sprints of track horses.
I will admit that my eyes glazed over when the nitty-gritty of interval training was introduced, however several training concepts warrant further reflection and research. Here is what I have gleaned from the book and am taking under consideration for my own use.
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit I know nothing about breeding. It seems like such a crap shoot to get what you want from a breeding, which is why I believe that I have no business doing it. The people that should be breeding have an exact goal in mind and are developing their breeding to achieve that vision. Each breeding is carefully planned, and pedigrees are studied to get an exact product (or at least the best chance of that product!). There is a difference between breeding stock and performance stock. This was something I had read before, but it didn’t hurt to read it again. The best performance stock usually comes of outbreeding from 2 different lines. However, these horses don’t make the best breeding stock because they don’t produce “true” as reliably. This is why breeding the best performers to the best performers rarely works. Ivers (almost called him Tom again) discusses this briefly, but well. All I can say is Kudos to the breeders who are taking the time to doing this right. My Endurance take: I used to be very disparaging about a horses lineage and breeding. I once said to an acquaintance who had just bought a horse “that’s WONDERFUL if you are going to breed or sell her!” when she was gushing about her horse’s (non-spectacular) papers. (My statement was said with an innocent smile and wide open eyes. I’m pretty sure she missed my point). When buying Farely I didn’t even glance at her papers. However, the longer I work with purebred horses and talk to knowledgeable people, the more I’m convinced that genetics does pay a huge role in the personality and capabilities of a horse. Yes, you can get lucky with some, and you can train “it” into others, but a horses pedigree and the breeding program that produced it will play in role in future horses I purchase.