Reading another post where some people were talking about great racehorses don't always produce good offspring, and this made a long-time question pop back into my head. All of the racehorse gurus on here, I'd love to get your insight and feedback.
What are your thoughts on nature versus nurture when it comes to good race horses? Do you think the talent comes mostly from the horse's genes, or is it sometimes a culmination of their upbringing and finding the right trainer that is able to bring out the talent? What about those with exceptional breeding, but just don't run? Could it maybe be because they just didn't niche well with their trainer(s)? Etc., etc. Just curious...
In a nutshell, it's a crapshoot. Although the odds are better when you start with a horse that's well bred. Add in an excellent trainer who has good riders, grooms, etc and your odds go up again. Rule out injuries and up the odds again.
There is no proven formula, unfortunately. I know that 'blood on top' is a time honored phrase, but I feel the mare raising the baby has alot to do with their overall attitude. Meek, submissive mares tend to have foals lower on the totem pole, the bitchy, bossy mares, tend to create alpha babies. This is not according to any study, just the things I have noticed over the years. I often wonder about the babies out of great mares that are out on nurse mares, so they don't drag down expensive mama. Is there any evidence that they end up more docile?
Training is huge. There are so many different ways to view the training of a horse. A highly individualized program is popular with some. They want each horse to have a chance. There are many trainers that have a formula and the horse fits to the formula and wins, or the horse doesn't fit the formula, and ends up with a bad record. Some horses overcome all kinds of idiocy, and some never get the chance. The odds that one big time trainer, who got lots of 2yo out of training sales gave for his operation was this: Out of every 10 2yos, he hoped 7 would make it to the races, 5 would be winners, and 2 would be good horses.
Is there some report/citation of how many/etc. of the good racehorses are alpha foals? Are any of them *not* alpha/top dog?
I've often wondered about all this, too.
I've worked with lots of foals, lots of yearlings, lots of 2 yo, 3 yo, older veterans, etc. but rarely have gotten to see a single horse thru the whole process.