When choosing a mare...TrueNicks or conformation?

User avatar
Ballerina
Posts: 3055
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:22 pm
Location: Chesapeake, VA & Saratoga, NY

Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:43 am

I think a lot of things have to be brought into consideration. Understanding the faults of the mare and the stud - not doubling up on mutual problems. If mare is a maiden, breed to an experienced stallion with a record of producing sound get who get to the race tracks. If the breeder likes the type embodied in the mare, look for a stallion to complement that type. Surely take into consideration nicking, but not necessarily make it gospel, but it should factor into the decision. To me, soundness and health would be my top priority. I'd be wary of a lot stallions rushed off to the breeding shed before they could finish their 3 year old year. I've never bred a horse. My experience which is a great deal comes from 40 years of breeding dogs. These are the lessons I've learned over the years. I can't see where it would be any different in breeding horses. My mantra has always been, first make them sound; then make them pretty. I know pretty doesn't count in making a good race horse, so lets say - first make them sound; then make them runners.
Cladan
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:39 am

Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:37 pm

Breed the best to the best and hope for the best. That said, confirmation is key, stats and algorithms, not so much :)
User avatar
Treve
Posts: 4404
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 5:12 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:02 am

There was an informal photo of Chrome standing square in the shedrow head on and it definitely showed him as nearly knock-kneed. I was quite surprised when I saw it, it was posted from sometime around his retirement on this here forum. :P
I do like Colerful Bride's overall confo, I'm just not a fan of her topline (Sea Mona's was better, I just wish we'd gotten clearer confo shots of her entire body). The sleepy eyes really is of no concern to me, that's just aesthetic.
Looking at all of these mare's dams, the production records are similar though I think Sixtyfivenorth's dam Lady Heroine has the edge due to a larger sample size and having produced a multiple stakes winner. CB is in between and Sea Mona's is similar but slightly smaller sample. I'm too tired to look past that but it could give you more things to pour over and study.
You should go with your gut, when it comes down to it, once you've got all the other information on hand.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
User avatar
Diver52
Posts: 1656
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:44 pm
Location: Redlands, CA

Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:23 am

FWIW a friend who is in the Chrome fan group asked my opinion and I loved Sea Mona's pedigree as a fan, plus her gentle temper--Storm Cat 3x3 and Seattle Slew 3x4, and from the Man o' War male line. Fanwise, that did it for me!
I ran marathons. I saw the Taj Mahal by Moonlight. I drove Highway 1 in a convertible. I petted Zenyatta.
User avatar
Ridan_Remembered
Posts: 1450
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:15 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:03 am

Treve wrote:There was an informal photo of Chrome standing square in the shed row head on and it definitely showed him as nearly knock-kneed.
Here is a knock-kneed horse (not a Thoroughbred).
Image

Here is the 3-year-old Chrome after he won the Hollywood Derby.
Image

This is my favorite video of Chrome because is shows his action close up, including a segment when he is coming straight toward the camera. It also has slow motion segments. From the front, the viewer can compare Chrome to other horses racing right next to him. Chrome's action is as straight and true as they come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr6QDRJGUBE

As a final point of comparison, here is a photo of Secretariat and his groom, Eddie Sweat. Red had about the straightest front legs you'd ever want in a horse, and yet just the way he's standing at that moment, one might say he looks "nearly" knock-kneed. Photos never tell the whole story. They merely freeze a small fraction of a second.
Image
User avatar
Treve
Posts: 4404
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 5:12 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:21 pm

Ridan_Remembered wrote:
Treve wrote:There was an informal photo of Chrome standing square in the shed row head on and it definitely showed him as nearly knock-kneed.
Here is a knock-kneed horse (not a Thoroughbred).
Image

Here is the 3-year-old Chrome after he won the Hollywood Derby.
Image

This is my favorite video of Chrome because is shows his action close up, including a segment when he is coming straight toward the camera. It also has slow motion segments. From the front, the viewer can compare Chrome to other horses racing right next to him. Chrome's action is as straight and true as they come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr6QDRJGUBE

As a final point of comparison, here is a photo of Secretariat and his groom, Eddie Sweat. Red had about the straightest front legs you'd ever want in a horse, and yet just the way he's standing at that moment, one might say he looks "nearly" knock-kneed. Photos never tell the whole story. They merely freeze a small fraction of a second.
Image
Your initial post asked for a sincere opinion, I gave you mine... you seem to have made up your mind, and I'm not here to change it, if this shared characteristic between the mare and the stallion don't bother you, as I said before, go with your gut :)
And furthermore... I did say I personally would prioritize bloodlines over conformation in my first response to this thread if the foal was being bred to race, rather than commercially - I expressed the very notion that good horses, even great horses have overcome conformational and biomechanical flaws which is why I do not think it is the end of the world. And it is easier to improve on conformation than to improve a bad family or questionable bloodlines. Much harder. But if conformation is the end goal, then in my opinion when you've got a horse like Chrome that is mostly well conformed wouldn't you want to maximize your chances by avoiding a mare with a similar issue? He could improve a mare on virtually any other aspect, it seems odd to pick a mare that has the one lone similar flaw if you're breeding for confo.

Neither of those photos depict a horse standing square, or on even ground but that photo post hollywood derby does show a little bit what I'm thinking of. His front left especially, and googling pictures of him yields that same odd angle with his front left over and over again, including pictures of him as a foal and a yearling. For comparison here is Secretariat as a weanling (notice that while Secretariat could give the slight impression of toeing out, his knees don't angle in or seem tied together). And neither of the photos you posted would be held against either horse. But it is interesting to me that the photo you posted the first time happens to be one where his front left is in movement and you therefore cannot see it.

Regarding the video, there isn't a single shot of him standing square where his legs are visible, and while I was the first to point out during his 3yo campaign that he had an incredible stride, towards the end of the video when they show him trotting in slow motion, he has a bit of... I'm not sure what it is called in English in French we say "le cheval billarde" likely due to his knees.

And that photo you showed as an example of knock-kneed is exactly the kind of angulation I was thinking of in that Chrome photo that I'm thinking of. My initial reaction when I saw it was something along the lines of "holy sh*t, no wonder he twisted his knee in the Pegasus, it's a testament to the horse that it hasn't happened more often". I'm not knocking Chrome, Ridan, he's a beautiful horse with wonderful conformation overall, he was talented and I wish him much success in the shed.

ETA: I found the discussion and the photo I was thinking of. I did not see Chrome in person so I can't attest to Retrospectiv's comments, and I don't recall the video Izvestia is talking about... but I knew I wasn't the only one who had noticed.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
TBird
Posts: 266
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:09 am

Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:24 pm

In all the conversations I've heard about California Chrome this is the first time I've heard anyone argue vehemently about how correct he is.
stark
Posts: 4168
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:55 am
Location: SoCal

Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:55 pm

Confirmation 101 with long time trainer Bruce Headley

https://twitter.com/K_Headley/status/952581010234908674
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
User avatar
Ridan_Remembered
Posts: 1450
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:15 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:09 pm

@Treve, I'm truly sorry to have offended you. That was not my intent. My original question had to do with what value to place on the TrueNicks score vs. a mare's conformation. Somehow the conversation turned to Chrome's conformation which, overall, is really very good. Here is a link to where you can see Chrome's conformation video from the Taylor Made Stallions website. Make up your own mind. http://www.taylormadestallions.com/hors ... 24702.html

@TBird, I have not been "arguing" that Chrome is correct. Only that he is not as badly conformed in front as some have claimed. This is why I posted multiple pics to provide points of comparision, and vids to enable people to see for themselves rather than take anyone's word.
User avatar
Retrospectiv
Posts: 534
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:38 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:28 pm

Agreed with others. Chrome is built like Daffy Duck. He's crooked from his knees down. Always has been.
Take it for good or bad, it's just how he is. Knocking other horses won't change that fact.
"It's been my policy to view the Internet not as an 'information highway', but as an electronic asylum filled with babbling loonies."
User avatar
Ridan_Remembered
Posts: 1450
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:15 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:48 pm

Retrospectiv wrote:Agreed with others. Chrome is built like Daffy Duck. He's crooked from his knees down. Always has been.
Take it for good or bad, it's just how he is. Knocking other horses won't change that fact.
What an unfortunate comment. (1) Are you unable to do a compare and contrast exercise? That's all the above is. Doesn't knock any horse. Not Chrome, not anyone. (2) Daffy Duck? Overly harsh much? I'd love to have such an "ugly" duckling as Chrome. $14,752,650 won, 2 time horse of the year, 7 grade 1s, wins on all surfaces, 27 Starts, 16 Wins, 4 Place, 1 Show.
User avatar
Retrospectiv
Posts: 534
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:38 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:58 pm

I didn't knock his overall looks or his race record. Simply stated a fact that no matter how much you happen to love him, correct he's not....
I'm not going to argue the point with you. You've already made up your mind on him. I hope he throws some correct foals from the mares chosen.
"It's been my policy to view the Internet not as an 'information highway', but as an electronic asylum filled with babbling loonies."
User avatar
Treve
Posts: 4404
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 5:12 pm

Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:16 pm

Ridan_Remembered wrote:@Treve, I'm truly sorry to have offended you. That was not my intent. My original question had to do with what value to place on the TrueNicks score vs. a mare's conformation. Somehow the conversation turned to Chrome's conformation which, overall, is really very good. Here is a link to where you can see Chrome's conformation video from the Taylor Made Stallions website. Make up your own mind. http://www.taylormadestallions.com/hors ... 24702.html
I'm not offended, no worries. You asked about truenicks vs confo, I gave my initial opinion which is "truenicks to be taken with a grain of salt", and that I'd place confo above truenicks, but I'd place bloodlines over confo. And commercially confo over bloodlines. However you can't really create a rule of thumb for something that has so many variables which is why I added the caveat with regards to conformation; i.e. it's not just a question of whether or not a mare has good confo, but rather how does her confo complement the sire's confo... I might pick a mare that has slightly less good confo overall if the stallion's best qualities compensate for her flaws, than I would a mare that has better confo overall but whose flaws aren't as well compensated by the stallion. The goal of breeding is always to improve on the curent generation. In this case Chrome's confo is relevant if one is making a choice between mares that he's been bred to, based on conformation.

I've stated time and time again that he's handsome and he's got a lot of qualities. His front angles aren't part of those, in my opinion, and if I were to choose a mare bred to him, I'd choose a mare with straight front legs to compensate, and wouldn't worry about a lot of other aspects cause he has several qualities that would improve on a less well conformed mare.

I don't know why TM uses that photo though it really doesn't do him justice, especially compared to the other stallions.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
User avatar
Honor Code
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:16 am

Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:16 pm

So, now that the fireworks have calmed down a bit...

Genuine question here. How would a breeder/prospective breeder judge whether a horse has genetically crooked legs(like Curlin and his mother) or somatic crooked legs(Chrome in the womb? Haven’t see his mother)

I also hear a lot of foals have corrective surgery for leg defects. Are stallions required to disclose whether they had surgery for such corrections?

Thanks for anyone who can tell me.
TBird
Posts: 266
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:09 am

Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:30 pm

Honor Code wrote:So, now that the fireworks have calmed down a bit...

Genuine question here. How would a breeder/prospective breeder judge whether a horse has genetically crooked legs(like Curlin and his mother) or somatic crooked legs(Chrome in the womb? Haven’t see his mother)

I also hear a lot of foals have corrective surgery for leg defects. Are stallions required to disclose whether they had surgery for such corrections?

Thanks for anyone who can tell me.
It's rare to see a perfect stallion. So most breeders are looking either for faults they can live with, or faults that don't double up on what their mares might have that needs correcting. Looking at a horse, you often can't tell what has caused the crookedness--for the most part either genetic or race related. In my experience, crookedness problems that occur in the womb usually straighten with time. The vast majority of foals are born with some degree of crookedness--that's a lot of leg to squish into a small space--which goes away as they mature.

There's no requirement for anyone to disclose anything. But a stallion manager will often disclose prior surgery when asked--if he knows. By the time a stallion gets to a stud farm, he will likely have passed through several sets of hands and information like that gets lost along the way. Fwiw, corrective surgery isn't nearly as popular as it used to be. Many breeders now feel that what is corrected when a foal is young would have fixed itself naturally, given time.
BaroqueAgain1
Posts: 9885
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:16 pm

Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:07 pm

TBird: By the time a stallion gets to a stud farm, he will likely have passed through several sets of hands and information like that gets lost along the way.

One more reason why it would be good to have a set of nationwide rules to insure that a horse's medical records - from foal to breeding farm to pasture ornament - travels with the horse through his/her life.
TBird
Posts: 266
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:09 am

Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:18 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:TBird: By the time a stallion gets to a stud farm, he will likely have passed through several sets of hands and information like that gets lost along the way.

One more reason why it would be good to have a set of nationwide rules to insure that a horse's medical records - from foal to breeding farm to pasture ornament - travels with the horse through his/her life.
I'm curious, are you talking about all horses or just racehorses? I can imagine very few horse owners who would be in favor. Not because they're trying to hide anything but because it would be a bookkeeping nightmare. In any given year, depending on how many states we race in, we are dealing with 7-10 vets, sometimes more. What would be the mechanism for passing the records along? Who would vouch for their accuracy? (Trainer? Owner? Multiple vets?) Most of our vet records are for small stuff: vaccines, bute, banamine, etc, but those pages add up. Not to mention that vet records (bills) come with prices on them. I doubt many vets would like the idea that horse owners would soon be able to compare costs between their own vet and every previous vet their horse had ever seen.

What we really need is nationwide, consistent medication rules. But without a national governing body, that won't be happening any time soon either.
User avatar
Honor Code
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:16 am

Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:51 am

TBird wrote: It's rare to see a perfect stallion. So most breeders are looking either for faults they can live with, or faults that don't double up on what their mares might have that needs correcting. Looking at a horse, you often can't tell what has caused the crookedness--for the most part either genetic or race related. In my experience, crookedness problems that occur in the womb usually straighten with time. The vast majority of foals are born with some degree of crookedness--that's a lot of leg to squish into a small space--which goes away as they mature.

There's no requirement for anyone to disclose anything. But a stallion manager will often disclose prior surgery when asked--if he knows. By the time a stallion gets to a stud farm, he will likely have passed through several sets of hands and information like that gets lost along the way. Fwiw, corrective surgery isn't nearly as popular as it used to be. Many breeders now feel that what is corrected when a foal is young would have fixed itself naturally, given time.

What we really need is nationwide, consistent medication rules. But without a national governing body, that won't be happening any time soon either.
Thanks for answering!

I had heard that it wasn't as common any more. It's a nice trend, surprising in light of how the sales emphasize perfect conformation etc. Anyway, in your own opinion/experience-would you describe any current kentucky stallions as having "perfect" or maybe "almost perfect" conformation?

It would be nice if we had a national governing body. Re: requiring disclosure: The European Horse passport idea seems like a good one-recording owners, major health issues, and so forth. Doesn't/wouldn't cover drugs, but like you say, a uniform drug policy would make most of that largely redundant.
TBird
Posts: 266
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:09 am

Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:49 am

Honor Code wrote: I had heard that it wasn't as common any more. It's a nice trend, surprising in light of how the sales emphasize perfect conformation etc. Anyway, in your own opinion/experience-would you describe any current kentucky stallions as having "perfect" or maybe "almost perfect" conformation?
The most "perfect" stallion I've ever seen is Bernardini. For me, he just has everything you would want in a gorgeous, correct horse.

But as far as racehorses are concerned, great conformation is a side issue. It means nothing if a horse has no talent or heart. And of course, with stallions the most important thing is whether or not they have the ability to pass along their good qualities. Correct conformation often means that a horse moves with efficiency. It gives him a better chance of staying sound. But it doesn't provide speed--or help a horse win races.

Aside from the disciplines where horses are only shown on the line, no one breeds to a stallion because he has good conformation. They chose a horse that excels in whatever they want their prospective foal to be able to do.
Moms Command
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:27 pm

Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:37 pm

I realized this has been thoroughly hashed out, but, I thought I would throw in my two cents. I breed commercially, and I pay little or no attention to true nicks. For me, conformation is key, because, that's what the buyers are looking for. I don't have the money to buy it all, so I get as much pedigree as possible, without losing conformation. Ive been breeding for 10-12 years now, and this year my 3 yearlings and 1 weanling averaged $103,000, with moderate to low stud fees. The mare you talked about with the C+ true nicks would definitely be the most appealing to me for several reasons. She has the best conformation, she's pregnant to a first year horse (always the safest when breeding commercially on a budget) and she has a Tiznow in the pipeline. Those are all huge pluses when breeding to sell. Breeding to race is a whole different beast. I wish it was not, but, that's the way it is if you have limited funds. When the market gets off a horse, they're off, even if it's a consistent race horse sire, like Afleet Alex, or Midshipman.
Post Reply