Genetics Vs Opportunity

Genetics Vs Opportunity

Postby Katewerk » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:11 pm

Here's a question I've wondered about for some time -- how much of a young horse's career success is based on raw genetic talent, and how much depends on the ability of the owner/trainer to detect and develop it?

I often wonder about this watching 2 year olds at our small local track, where purses are generally in the lower 4 figures: How many "California Chromes" never achieved their potential because they were cheaply bred, and never had access to a decent trainer.

Or is the sport well enough integrated top to bottom that an overachiever at a lower-end track is likely to move up regardless?
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Re: Genetics Vs Opportunity

Postby TBird » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:18 pm

I think opportunity plays a huge part in a horse's success. Perhaps even more than raw talent. A talented horse with a trainer who's not a good horseman or who is simply sloppy and/or careless, or a horse with impatient owners or exercise riders who just don't give a damn, is going to have a hard time overcoming those obstacles to reach his potential. Very, very few horses are just SO good that they can make it on their own. The vast majority need all kinds of support (mental, physical, medical, dietary, etc) to be able to maximize their abilities.
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Re: Genetics Vs Opportunity

Postby Ridan_Remembered » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:41 pm

Katewerk wrote:Here's a question I've wondered about for some time -- how much of a young horse's career success is based on raw genetic talent, and how much depends on the ability of the owner/trainer to detect and develop it?


Nature vs. nurture is a question discussed and studied about us human beings too. It's a tough question to fully resolve definitively, but studies of human twins raised apart show a remarkable similarity in their temperament, personalities, life choices and behaviors. A 50-year study of twins shows that about 50 percent of individual differences are genetic and 50 percent are environmental. Here's the link where you can read about this study in more detail: http://www.medicaldaily.com/nature-vs-nurture-debate-50-year-twin-study-proves-it-takes-two-determine-human-334686

These study results would apply to other mammals. In fact, anyone who has bred dogs for shows or working roles knows how large a role genetics plays in not only a dog's physical characteristics, but to their temperament, personality, intelligence, and trainability. But the way a puppy is raised and trained also plays a critical role in how that dog will behave as an adult. I'm sure the same is true for horses. You need the raw talent, but it won't ever be developed in the wrong hands.
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Re: Genetics Vs Opportunity

Postby bare it all » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:45 pm

Katewerk wrote:Here's a question I've wondered about for some time -- how much of a young horse's career success is based on raw genetic talent, and how much depends on the ability of the owner/trainer to detect and develop it?

I often wonder about this watching 2 year olds at our small local track, where purses are generally in the lower 4 figures: How many "California Chromes" never achieved their potential because they were cheaply bred, and never had access to a decent trainer.

Or is the sport well enough integrated top to bottom that an overachiever at a lower-end track is likely to move up regardless?


I think another interesting topic is horses that are bred to have all the talent in the world -- and end up total duds.
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