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View Full Version : Help a noob out: Questions about the "industry" of TB breeding



mvp
Jun. 25, 2011, 08:24 AM
Long back story as to why I'm asking this, but I want to know how TB breeders are supported by data from the JC or "professionalized."

1. Do you all talk about "breeding by computer" the way cattle breeders do? I think they mean folks who take the *incredible* amount of performance- and pedigree data available in that industry and then just number crunch to choose their nicks or assign a price to a bull or cow.

2. Are their professionals number-crunchers like this who sell this particular service?

3. Does the JC keep data as it does in order to help breeders? Do they acknowledge that purpose? Do people complain about what they do or don't measure?

4. The "Dosage System" and it's fans. I know how this works and (vaguely about the PhD chemist (?) guy who promotes it. It seems that others don't think it's valuable. Are their other, similar kinds of big data-analysis efforts or systems out there?

Many thanks! I'll explain why I'm asking if you care.

Timex
Jun. 25, 2011, 09:43 AM
In my admittedly limited experience, you've got people that breed according to pedigree, or nicks/dosage, or winnings, or stud fee, and every now and again, a combination of those things, plus conformation. There is a definite difference in how a lot of people breed, whether they're looking to sell or race the offspring. I haven't seen a whole lot of assistance come from the JC, but that doesn't mean anything. But, for a fee, you can get assistance/reco's from some of the online nicking websites. And I'll bite, why are you looking for this info?

jennywho
Jun. 25, 2011, 10:33 AM
I am not much help because we live out west and our stallion selections are limited, but we do dream about someday having mares, a market and purses good enough to support sending mares to KY to be bred.

We look at everything, the stallion's conformation, his pedigree (especially the mare side), and his race record. Often we get stallions out here that are well bred but didn't run or had a very short career. For me confo is most important followed by dam's produce record.

As far as dosage and nicking go, we look out of curiosity but our selections are so limited that we don't put a ton of stock in them unless they are crazy out there.

If we were in a bigger market we would probably use the services of TJC/equineline/brisnet etc more, but at this point we know who's who and who's done what. Still I don't think it would be anywhere close to the scale that cattle breeders do. I think there are too many more variables in the race breeding industry that can't be quantified.

Since we breed to sell mainly we also put a lot of stock as to what is going to be commercial.

I don't know if this helps any?

mvp
Jun. 25, 2011, 10:56 AM
Thanks to you both. Here's the background that may make this conversation more interesting for your racing types and COTHers who care about OTTBs and WB registries.

I'm involved in a historical research project about breed associations and what they do.

As part of that I discovered how incredibly data-rich cattle breeding is. That goes back to the late 19th-century. As I understand it, the USDA helps support bull proving. AI firms certainly do this, too.

Then I got bitter.

So the JC has refused to keep data on TBs' performance in the show ring, even though USEF records would let them do that and help breeders who might be interested in figuring out which TB lines could do a nice job there. The WB registries do a bit of record-keeping in this regard.

But really? My taxes are paying for cattle breeders' attempt to find valuable nicks but I have almost no help as a horse breeder?

So I was interested in how the TB industry funds its data collection and analysis.

Go Fish
Jun. 25, 2011, 12:28 PM
But really? My taxes are paying for cattle breeders' attempt to find valuable nicks but I have almost no help as a horse breeder?



People eat cows and drink milk. Generally speaking, people don't eat horses.

You have to consider the end result and usefullness to the general population of the breeding.

Since cattle generally find themselves in the human food chain, the government has a vested interest in the breeding, raising, selling and butchering of this food commodity.

Seal Harbor
Jun. 25, 2011, 12:45 PM
This is what the PHR was originally set up for. However the JC decided it wasn't worth their while, and Ned Bonnie bought the database and gave it (I believe) to the USEF.

danceronice
Jun. 25, 2011, 01:01 PM
People eat cows and drink milk. Generally speaking, people don't eat horses.

You have to consider the end result and usefullness to the general population of the breeding.

Since cattle generally find themselves in the human food chain, the government has a vested interest in the breeding, raising, selling and butchering of this food commodity.

Yep. Cattle are an easily defined public health issue.

Also, the Jockey Club exists to promote TBs principally as racehorses. They don't really have any need to keep sport-horse secondary statistics, and it's counter to their interests to help the warmblood cross-breeders in any way. That's just removing stock and breeding it to produce offspring they won't be able to register.

Laurierace
Jun. 25, 2011, 01:17 PM
Actually the sole purpose of the Jockey Club is to maintain the registry. I don't think they really care what anyone does with the horses after they are registered. To answer the OP there are all sorts of computer aids that can help chose which horse to mate with which. Many people do pedigree analysis for a living and rely on all sorts of things to reach their conclusion. They are generally paid by the mare owner or the stud farm though, not the government.

LaurieB
Jun. 25, 2011, 05:57 PM
Hard to see what there is to be bitter about.

The Jockey Club exists as a registry for TBs and--as has already been mentioned--to promote TBs as racehorses. Hence the name. Keeping show records is way out of the sphere of what they were set up to do.

As for finding nicks and breeding help, if you wander around the internet even a little, there's help to be found all over. TrueNicks, ENicks, G1 Goldmine, and TesioPower can get you started.

mvp
Jun. 26, 2011, 06:52 AM
This is what the PHR was originally set up for. However the JC decided it wasn't worth their while, and Ned Bonnie bought the database and gave it (I believe) to the USEF.

Yes, the PHR is what I was thinking of. Besides Ye Olde Google, any ideas about where to get the history of this?


Actually the sole purpose of the Jockey Club is to maintain the registry. I don't think they really care what anyone does with the horses after they are registered. To answer the OP there are all sorts of computer aids that can help chose which horse to mate with which. Many people do pedigree analysis for a living and rely on all sorts of things to reach their conclusion. They are generally paid by the mare owner or the stud farm though, not the government.

Very helpful. A couple more questions: Do "nick finders" keep their methods secret? Do some people develop and sell software meant to help breeders?

On the bitterness issue and who should be helping whom.

Yes, I get that cows have a wider market. No nation needs fast horses really, really bad. But they do, arguably, need efficient milk and meat animals. (Of course, look at the high end talk at the top about fielding Olympic teams and then silly things like better and worse horses become some kind of national issue).

And a little history for y'all:

But! The USDA was a relatively late addition to the data-keeping that went with dairy cattle. Milk tests went on throughout the 19th century as a way to "sell" a breed. Beginning in 1905, dairy farmers were paying for data analysis via cow-testing associations. Euro-registries (notably Denmark) got on the stick very early (by 1895 or so) and did some very impressively work with respect to bull testing.

If you were some kind of professor at an American ag school during the first third of the 20th century, you would have been watching some changes in ideas about breeding that came from Mendelian genetics, and you would have watched Denmark.

Anywho, the USDA started analyzing cow-testing associations' data in the 1920s. You must remember two things:

1. Breeders want more involved tests, including those that would tell them something about herds and a breed as a whole. A lot of information had to be gathered.

2. No computers to do the number crunching. So even after you had paid all those people to collect data, the second phase-- making sense of it in order bring all cows up to a higher standard of productivity-- was a huge and expensive project.

Hats off to the dairy breeding industry and hats off to Denmark! We are looking at more than a century of concerted investment on their part.

danceronice
Jun. 26, 2011, 09:14 AM
Except again, that's cows. So what? Cows are useful. Horses, ESPECIALLY sport horses, are toys. (Racing at least has the taxes and regulations associated with gambling to interest the feds.) So there's really no financial reason to invest taxpayer money in breeding research. If someone really wants it done badly enough, they'll pay for it privately.

kinnip
Jun. 26, 2011, 09:31 AM
Cows and corn are arguably the raison d'etre for the USDA. I don't get any help with dairy goat or heritage poultry breeding either. They are what they are.

mvp
Jun. 26, 2011, 10:49 AM
Since we breed to sell mainly we also put a lot of stock as to what is going to be commercial.


You bring up another good point. Live cover makes TB breeding somewhat regional for most people breeding commercially. I assume those at the tippy top ship their mares wherever they need to go?

And "commercial" means dividing yearlings from horses that have gone to the track, right? What you can sell as a yearling is the look of his pedigree (and perhaps his conformation?). And that's different from what you'd sell or how horses would be bred if those who planned the breedings also kept horses all the way to racing age.

I think I remember some old school types talking about the gradual change of racing (say, since 1950) that meant that the big ol' families with the big ol' farms weren't breeding horses they'd keep to racing age. The "new market" was for a horse you could sell to someone else on the basis of his pedigree. Have I got his at all right?

Oh, yes and the USDA is a lot like everything else, it seems. They support what Big Farming demands.

Chicken Legs
Jun. 27, 2011, 09:12 AM
There are lots of pedigree services that offer their services to find matches for your mare. True Nicks, E Nicks, Tesio Power etc. Some stud farms offer the nicking service for free.

As stated by others, the tb Jockey Club does not offer any pedigree services. They are a registry service for the breed.
Any help you might seek for pedigree advice would be best done by doing a lot of research yourself or talking to some of the
pedigree experts that you see advertised in our publications.
Many of the larger stud farms have in house pedigree people who assist owners with mating selections.

The dosage theory was invented by a person who basically assigned numerical values to different distance capabilities of
the offspring of what are called Chefs-de-race - the stallions have an impact on the breed as determined by their
ability to consistently sire top class horses. These numerical values are determined by their placement in the horse's family tree. It helps figure out how much quality is in the horse's pedigree and how close up it is in the extended pedigree.

Bacchus
Jul. 1, 2011, 08:45 AM
TJC offers pedigree services through TJC Information Systems, which runs equineline.com, so lots of pedigree info, including nicking, is coming from TJC.

mvp
Jul. 1, 2011, 09:42 AM
All very helpful, thanks!

Yes, I know about the Dosage System-- a tad about its history. It had a French and then Italian version before being updated and more recent Chefs-de-race chosen for American TBs. I even understand the way the Dosage Dudes set up their metrics and why they did it as they did.

So these "Nicking Services" you can pay for. Is it essentially a Guru, his long knowledge of pedigrees, performance and which studfees are a good deal in today's market or fashions? Or do these guys build software that helps them combine pedigree, racing results or other info into one big, sexy equation?

Just curious.... and again... y'all should see how the Dairy Folks built this over the 20th century. It took a long time but is impressive. They have measurements for lots and lots of heritable characters from production, to fertility, to overall conformation and particular parts (hind end, bone, whatever). It's pretty dang cool.

LaurieB
Jul. 1, 2011, 11:33 AM
So these "Nicking Services" you can pay for.

All the nicking services I mentioned above are free, either through the stallion registers or the stud farm websites.

Equibrit
Jul. 1, 2011, 12:39 PM
But really? My taxes are paying for cattle breeders' attempt to find valuable nicks but I have almost no help as a horse breeder?

So I was interested in how the TB industry funds its data collection and analysis.

One assumes you are not interested in feeding the masses with horse meat/milk or racing cattle.

Pristine
Jul. 1, 2011, 09:50 PM
www.equineline.com has a 5x 5 generation pedigree with nicking free and one can check further back also. www.bloodhorse.com and www.thoroughbredtimes.com both have online stallion registers. You can check statistical summaries and their other info. If you have a mares name you can check her progeny at www.pedigreequery.com or equineline by putting in her name and year of birth for foals. You can get 5x pedigrees + race records free on www.brisnet.com. It is 105E. Sale horse pedigrees are available on many sites but the most are at www.keeneland.com www.fasigtipton.com www.obssales.com www.barretts.com These catalog pages have info about both sire and dam. pedigreequery is not always complete and up to date and has sometimes been inaccurate so double check with other web sites. If Losing the Iron Horse is still available on bloodhorse you can download historical sire info.