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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ivers Book Review: Part 1 Breeding

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.


  1. You know, after searching for Arab horses I have come to the conclusion that EVERY Arab alive is related to Khemosobi, Bask or Bay Shaw somehow!! I am not joking, everyone wants to say oh he is a so and so grandson, but that is not that special, since every Arab is! But just because several generations back they have that parentage, does not mean that they were well bred, meaning their sire and dam were chosen to produce a foal for a specific disapline.

    I have always felt that bloodlines meant little, rather the talents of the sire or dam are what I want to see (which is essentially what breeding is all about). All of the aformentioned stallions were halter horses. NOT endurance quality, while they may have produced some good endurance horses, I am far more likely to buy a horse based on it breeding if one of its parents or siblings has a good endurance record. But the owners of theses horses still flaunt the breeding while at the same time saying it would be great at endurance.
    Makes me think that people are awed by reading the famous stallions name on their horses papers.

    having never owned or worked with a horse with outstanding breeding (or that I even knew the breeding of!) I can't compare "good" breeding to not.

    My bottom line is buy a horse that is either bred or proven for what you want. Not based on how many famous names are on the pedigree.

  2. Here's Farley's pedigree:

    No Bask or Bay Shaw! LOL (at least I don't think so...I know nothing about the different lines in arabs).

    I would love to learn more if someone who does breed wanted to post something....

  3. OMG!! Your right!! The first one yet!! Haha!

    Although she does have Comet, apperently that is a good line, still don't know much about it though!

  4. All TWHs have Midnight Sun in the 4th generation or further back. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a TWH pedigree without Midnight Sun!

    I hope you'll at least briefly review the interval training stuff. I think it's pretty important, at least the practical side of it. I doubt a racehorse book directly applies to an endurance rider, but I don't know cause I haven't read it!

  5. You can refer to Tom Ivers correctly as "ti" (without the quotes); it's how he referred to himself in print and how he encouraged other people to refer to him in print. See ridecamp archives prior to 2005 (can't believe he's been gone so long!)for (many) examples of his day-to-day writings.

    ti could offend more people in the shortest time with fewer words than anyone else I have ever heard of, including some of the more flamboyant radio talk-show hosts. That said, he was a helluva researcher, and I hope it is his contribution to science rather than his abrasive personality that will survive him in the long term.

    I look forward to reading the rest of your review!

  6. Ha Mel...I did Kubla Khan as well.
    How did you do on yours? (if you remember)

    As for bloodlines...I have just one word: Callie

  7. I remember the poem being very interesting and the background that went with it. I think got a B on it. The teacher was VERY angry and took it personnally (!) that I used the poet's first name...

  8. lol...much like her expression when I questioned the morality of using Emily Dickenson's poetry. "She wanted them burned..what gave the world the right to decide against her wishes? So just because someone decides that something is art means they can break faith?"
    hahahaha...yeah, not happy.

  9. Ummm...dear sister...your last comment made no sense at all....perhaps we can chat next time I see you?

  10. this maybe a late comment but.... Farley is related to Bask. Most of our top horses are related to Bask. But then again, we like fast horses.

  11. where do you see Bask in her pedigree? Curious for learning purposes only - I dont' care either way. I posted her all breed pedigree link in an earlier comment.


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