Are Tb race times faster today than 20 years ago? I realize Tb's are not as hardy as they once were but has the breeding trajectory really resulted in faster horses? I know there will be some effect of improved racing surfaces, management, drugs, etc.
Just curious as I have been reading the book Making of a Modern Warmblood and there seems to be such a difference between some of the big breeders believing in specialization: jumper or dressage horse. Others think that is a bad way to go and all warmbloods should be well rounded athletes.
The Tb racehorse is a good study of if we can really improve upon the intended purpose of a horse. Certainly it has worked with milk cows
Do you think it is just because we have reached the max-limit of what a horse is capable of speed wise?
What have Standardbred breeders done to make them faster? Larger? Lighter?
It is that I can see the argument both ways: maybe a warmblood should be specialized to optimize their jumping or dressage ability. Certainly what qualities make a spectacular jumper are not the same that make a spectacular dressage horse. However, there were, historically speaking, so many stallions that have greatly influenced BOTH fabulous jumping and dressage breeding. What will happen to these highly versatile stallions? What will we lose by specialization? What will we gain?
I'm all for specialization, because the competition today is getting very technical.
Yes there are some quality needed by both dressage and jumpers, for example the ability to collect and the power in the hind end.
But there more elements that are dressage or jumper specific, for example what advantage brings carefulness to a dressage horse? and what advantage brings spectacular trot to a jumper?
You can see that a very high percentage of the top stallions are specialized and breeders are getting more and more specialized, some breeders are even specializing in producing event horses and in US you have breeders specializing in hunters.
There is an advantage for a dressage breeder to have some jumping stallion genes to increase the power but for a jumper breeder there's no advantage to use dressage genes in a program.
My 2 cents...
I can't remember off the top of my head where I saw/read this, but it was from some notable research vet-- they stated that thoroughbreds are already racing faster than their bodies can physically handle. Which, in addition to the loss of sturdy-ness in the breed, I'm sure contributes to the frequency of breakdowns. This statement would also tie in with the fact that they haven't gotten any faster in the last 20+ years. If they're already going at speeds higher than nature should even be allowing them, how much faster would you want them to go?
By comparison, I wonder how the speed versus mechanical ability translates with the standardbreds, if their overall times are improving? At what point would they be surpassing what they should physically be capable of?