Tuesday, November 22, 2016

notorious S.T.A.L.L.I.O.N.S.

Like any overeager and excitable 12 year old with an internet connection, I set immediately to the google for researching anything and everything I could about the ottb on which I had just laid down a deposit: Charlie Murray.

This obviously included the standard perusal of his pedigree and race record.

Charlie Murray, 2009

The thing is, tho - I don't know an awful lot about thoroughbred racing lore or history. Sure, plenty of these names are familiar. But I couldn't necessarily tell you why, or any details or distinguishing characteristics of the most famous stallions.

Imagine my surprise, tho, when further googling uncovered a link to Behind the Bit's post on "Meanest Thoroughbred Stallions Ever..."

Could it be true? Could this horse I had just fallen in love with bc of his sweetness and laid back attitude really be from bloodlines associated with such notoriety?

Below are just a few snippets from the many forums and articles my search uncovered on the topic:


Storm Cat (by Storm Bird)


image source

Quotables from the Forums:

  • Known for siring "grouchy" horses
  • Offspring noted as "handfuls," can be very tough when not handled correctly and are very sensitive. Can't be bullied or rushed. 
  • Storm Cat progeny have a rep for bad temperament 
  • Mares and fillies seem to be generally thought of as quite sweet tho
  • "Keep yourself on the same team as the horse and you have a great horse. If you're determined to fight with him you'll probably end up with a ruined horse because he'll never back down, never quit. That never-say-die and I'm-gonna-fight-til-I-drop attitude I attribute to Storm Cat, Northern Dancer, ..., etc"
  • Bold as brass
  • For eventing, I wouldn't take a Storm Cat for free. They tend to be very spooky.


Elsewhere around the Web:

Sporting Post:
Another interesting example of sires "passing on" their temperamental quirks can be seen in the Storm Bird male line. Storm Bird himself was a notoriously mean stallion, and his son, Storm Cat, himself has a number of stallions, such as Catrail and the self mutilator Tale of The Cat, with troublesome personalities. Another Storm Cat son, Storm Boot - a successful sire from limited opportunities in the US, was also described as an "unusually aggressive stallion."
Having said that, two sons of Storm Cat, who are reputed to be relatively sensible stallions are Giant's Causeway and the late Hennessy

Daily Racing Form
"They are horses you don't fight," Terrazas said of Storm Cat and his progeny. "If you fight them, they're going to fight back, so you have to find a medium ground where you get along."

Summerhill Stud
Then there's Storm Cat, whose father Storm Bird, unusually for a son of Northern Dancer, was a bad tempered old bugger who passed his quirks on, to the degree that several of Storm cat's sons are not only on the "hot" side in general, but prone to self-emasculation.

Halo (by Hail to Reason)


image source

Quotables from the Forums:

  • The Hail To Reason lines through Halo and Roberto are notorious for evil stallion behavior
  • Halo's sire Hail To Reason produced some good sport horse types, but also quite a few that were difficult tempererd
  • Halo drowned birds
  • Halo tried to kill people
  • Someone in KY got the idea to put Halo in an aluminum muzzle... bad idea, apparently he used it as a weapon, swinging his head and bashing a groom in the face...
  • Halo was just sheer evil. You could tell stories about him for hours. He snapped birds out of the air, and eyed airplanes too.


Elsewhere around the Web:

Sporting Post
Another famous stallion, best described as vicious, was Halo. A horse who constantly wore a muzzle, Halo passed on much of his fire to his great son, Sunday Silence. The latter was said to have "a belligerent temper" while Halo attacked a number of grooms during his years at stud.
Famed US trainer, Charlie Whittingham, said of the Halo progeny, "Halo is a pretty mean sucker... all his sons and daughters are a little that way."

American Classic Pedigrees
A mean, not particularly attractive near-black horse, Halo, nonetheless matured into a good turf runner.
He also had a nasty and cunning disposition that did not improve with age and was quite studdish while still a racehorse. To add to his sins, he had the habit of regularly dumping exercise riders and running off. 

The Vault Horse Racing 
(this whole article is worth a read if you have time)
Halo could not really help being such a bad-tempered colt. His sire, Hail To Reason, had needed a good deal of convincing to bloom into the well-mannered horse he became, and his grandsire, Turn-To (1951), a son of Royal Charger (1942) and grandson of the incomparable Nearco (1936), got mixed reviews in the breeding shed.
There was something about his new career that turned the always nervous Halo into a genuinely nasty stallion, so mean that he went out to his paddock wearing a specially designed muzzle.

****

And just for the sake of completeness, let's take a look at the two other stallions close in Charlie's pedigree (not known for any savage or nasty behavior), bc who doesn't like looking at pictures of some classy horse flesh: 

His sire, First Samurai:

source 
And grandsire, Giant's Causeway

 source
(Is it just me or does Charlie not resemble either stallion very strongly at all? lol)

***

So what do you think about all this? 

If you've looked into OTTBs (or any other breed, for that matter), do you consider the temperament of the stallions? Or do you think that hereditary nastiness is total bunk, that it's a case of nature v nurture? 

kind eye

Would you buy a horse with a pedigree full of nasty stallions? Does it factor into your decision-making process at all, or do you exclusively draw your conclusions by the horse as it appears in front of you? Maybe you don't consider the pedigree at all? Or only as an afterthought?

Do you have any stories or experiences with notoriously crotchety or nasty horses? Or does your horse have any tendencies or quirks that you can trace back through his or her lineage? Do you recognize any of the names on Behind the Bit's list from your own horse's pedigree?

I don't know much about racing or pedigrees and would love to hear all about it from you! 

79 comments:

  1. A horse with a background? What's that? lol

    I doubt I'll ever know about what Griffin is, let alone his lineage. I still have a little bit of hope re: Q though. And Stan, well, I suppose I could find out about him - he is papered! And he is kind of a dick in the field... But he's a dollbaby for people, so I'm not too worried after 10 years of knowing the horse pretty intimately haha.

    I do envy you TB folks though - so, so much rich history to be found and ample baby photos if you dig enough. God I wish I had baby photos of all of mine...

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    1. It's definitely awesome to be able to research so much about their history, tho I'm still holding out for pictures and more personalized stories about Charlie's past (fingers crossed!). You should definitely look up Stan tho - if for no other reason than the fun in satisfying that curiosity. I was lucky to be able to learn a bit about Isabel, who was the product of a local, very well known, and prolific breeding program. Obvi it didn't change much about how I interfaced with Izzy, but it was still cool to know!!

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  2. We had a Tale of the Cat 2yo in for race training during school that would try to mount you whenever you too him out of his stall--like, savagely so. Even after he got snipped he was a terrorist.

    Bobby has Halo through his sire's side, and whenever he's pulling one of nasty crazy tantrums I blame it on Mighty Magee--a stallion who bit the finger right off our BM while she was trying to lead him outside.

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    1. Oy I think I would be nervous around a horse that was always so aggressive lol. I've taken to calling Charlie "Kitty" whenever he puts his grumpy face on now tho lol. I.... Don't think he appreciates it much haha!!

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  3. We have a couple storm cats in our barn and both are great horses except when it comes to food. One is super aggressive (like picked up a person and threw them on the ground) and the other just loses his damn mind. So I think some of the things are true but obviously not every horse is a terrible. Both horses are fantastic under saddle. One is super lazy and looks like a western pleasure horse.

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    1. Yea I agree that each horse isn't totally defined by their lineage (otherwise I wouldn't have continued with Charlie's purchase after finding all this stuff haha!) but it's definitely interesting and helps explain some stuff. Personally I loved all the different versions of people saying not to fight with Storm Cats - that they will just fight back, so instead you need to find a way to work with them. That, to me, rings very true of Charlie (esp w regard to the first horsemanship session I did with him and my go to guru in anticipation of trailer training)

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  4. Fiction also has Halo in his background, but he's insanely mellow tempered on the ground and relatively easy to control under saddle despite his temper tantrums haha. Temperaments of bloodline mares/studs don't really play a factor in my decision, since each horse is unique.

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    1. Every horse is definitely an individual!! In this instance it obvi didn't influence my choice to buy the horse, but it's been useful background in how I understand our progress. Tho of course if you read through all the forums there's plenty of warning about self fulfilling prophecies too lol - if you always expect the horse to be a nasty spooky son of a bitch he will ultimately have no choice but to comply!!

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  5. Interesting isn't it. from what I understand of Carmen's sire: Gaucho III, his babies tend to be sensitive and reactive and require tactful handling. Totally nailed it. If I was to breed Carmen (thinking of it) there's a bay stallion who has the mellowest temperament and is gorgeous to boot that I have my eye on.

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    1. Good that you knew what you were looking for in Carmen!!

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  6. I buy and sell a lot of OTTB's and there are definitely bloodlines that I go for in a riding horse (Mr. Prospector in particular) because I have found that those horses are the most pleasant and athletic to be around. When I was in standardbreds full time, there were bloodlines that I avoided because they produced ornery, mean, or spooky horses. (Ironically, my own standardbred has all my least favorite bloodlines.) With that said, I've met Mr. Prospector sons and grandsons that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole and I've met horses from 'evil' bloodlines that were perfectly lovely creatures. I do think there's something to be said about inherited personality, but a lot of it can be overcome with proper handling. Since you are buying, not breeding, I'd look at the horse in front of you, not what his paperwork says he might be. If you were breeding for a riding horse, I'd stay away from Storm Cat though!

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    1. Well - technically I'm neither buying NOR breeding haha, and so not needing advice so much as sharing my own findings and curious about everyone else's!! Makes sense that dealers would gravitate towards a certain "type" tho

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    2. Yankee's great great grandsire is Halo and Yanks is the sweetest horse alive. He does also have Mr. Prospector, but he's 4 gens back though. Meanwhile, B has Storm Cat 2 gens back and I have to agree....hes a spooky MFer on occasion....interesting.
      Bloodlines are so curious, but I am not one to care or live/die by the bloodlines. I think horses are their own individual creature, formed through their experiences. I do think its cool when horses have high profile horses in their pedigree though. Like B has Secretariat twice, quite close, and I think he resembles him quite a bit but I am always skeptical how much attitude is really passed down along the lines (re Halo/Storm Cat, etc).

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    3. agreed that it's definitely not live or die (in most cases haha) but is super curious and interesting all the same. i kinda love those instances where we hear a thing about some famous horse and think 'huh, maybe THAT'S where my guy got it lol!'

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  7. IMO once you get more than a generation back, temperament is not reliably passed down. I look more to the direct parents for indications of character and temperament, usually. What DOES get passed down through the generations very reliably is athleticism, ability, and conformational and soundness issues. It's also worth noting that many stallions that have such bad reps would likely not be nearly as difficult if they weren't stallions. Testosterone and very busy breeding careers can wreak havoc on their brains. FWIW, Charlie's bloodlines contain one of the best eventing TB lines in America - Fappiano. His pedigree is very sporty.

    The Hanoverian Verband actually did a study a while back about what features are MOST hereditary. The highest? Jumping ability and rideability. The lowest? Gaits and temperament. Sometimes people get too caught up focusing on the wrong things in a pedigree. ;)

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    1. that's really interesting - and definitely among the things i've been most curious about (in a passive, haven't-done-the-research kinda way lol): what's hereditary and to what degree? for instance i figured that reaching back far enough in the lines, certain traits become less meaningful. tho i'm surprised the finding was 'gaits and temperament' bc to my uneducated ear, i feel like i hear a lot about those two things wrt breeding. tho i suppose it supports why some notoriously nasty horses might end up growing to prolific and famous reputations in the breeding shed: bc they consistently produce horses fit for the job.

      anyway i was definitely pleased to see charlie's pedigree upon first researching him, tho not bc the name "Fappiano" stood out to me (he's not familiar to me at all at present, therefore must do more googling lol). rather, i had understood that First Samurai babies were trendy in eventing for a while and considered it a good thing, without necessarily knowing why. #themoreyaknow

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    2. From my experience, gaits and temperament are passed on more reliably from the mare lines. I wouldn't pick a mare with a bad temperament and shitty gaits and expect a stallion to fix her. The mare is tremendously more important than most people realize. Sure, there are some stallions that produce certain things very reliably (Cassini makes VERY rideable horses, for example) but I would be very hesitant to judge something like temperament from pedigree. Jumping ability, absolutely. General aptitude, sure. Rideability, yeah. Other stuff - no.

      Sometimes they just pass on WEIRD shit too... like Henry's sire does the exact same tongue thing. Someone explain that??? Genetics are a weird game.

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    3. interesting - that aspect didn't make it into the published post above, but it came up a lot in my research. esp in the forums, people talked at length about how the improvement in the lines came from the world-class nature of the stallions attracting the best and highest quality mares. and therefore, the addition of the mares' good qualities into the lines is what turned nasties like Storm Cat into more 'sensible' stallions like Giant's Causeway.

      definitely agreed tho about genetics being one of the strangest sciences tho haha

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    4. also. bc i can't help myself, i dug around a bit for pics of Fappiano. is it just me or does charlie's head more closely resemble his than either Giant's Causeway or First Samurai? so funny how that works out... tho of course i also thought charlie looked another horse from the Storm Cat line too... so what do i know

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    5. Yeah I think Charlie looks more like most of the Fappiano's I've seen (we had a lot at the barn where I was a WS in Maryland because they specifically sought them out) than the rest of the top side of his pedigree. He's just bigger. But really, he looks A LOT like a Halo to me... reminds me a lot of Bobby's Halo. Big and rangey.

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    6. 'big and rangey' --> YUP. sounds about right haha!

      really tho this is just giving me more reasons to google all the pretty horses haha.

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  8. I've recently come across a few horses by the same sire as Miles, and it's actually kind of funny to hear the similarities and differences in their personalities. New Vocations actually had a Congaree gelding for adoption and his description could have been Miles, it was so similar! LOL

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    1. ha isn't it crazy how that works out? it was much the same with isabel - even her 'cousins' as opposed to siblings had such similar characteristics, physical traits, and dispositions

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  9. I'm obsessed with TB bloodlines. I didn't used to know diddly about them, but I am in love with Runkle's sire Yes It's True (who passed away just last year at only 19). I tried Runkle before I knew that was his sire, so it just solidified a 'yeah probably' to a 'yeah definitely'.

    I wanted to try and do a study to figure out the best sporthorse bloodlines in TBs but I'm having trouble accumulating data. Maybe now that I have a little teeny tiny name and corner for myself on the internet I could leverage that?? who knows.

    Giants causeway is a GREAT stud.

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    1. ha i'm basically in the 'i don't know diddly' camp right now but am trying to learn!!! it's cool that you already had some guiding knowledge about that when making the decision about Runkle too. and yea, if you manage to pull together some sort of statistically meaningful study on bloodlines in sport horses i would LOVE to see it!

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    2. I would also love to do a study on bloodlines, temperament, soundness, ability, etc. But it's super hard with OTTBs because there are so many different factors -- including present-owner factors. I've talked to some people with connections to the JC and they say that low quality data should be fairly easy to come by, but high quality data will be a challenge. But it's one I'm up for!

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  10. I haven't even looked into William's bloodlines. I think that when breeding parental temperaments are important to consider but when but when buying it really comes down to the individual horse.

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    1. yea that's kinda been my thought process too. tho i've also looked toward history when thinking about the general training of my horses. for instance, isabel's apparent 'quitting' problem** (**NOT saying it was all her fault tho!) had precedence in other horses from that line. and it's really interesting to see how ppl talk about 'not fighting' with Storm Cats, bc that's been my impression of how to handle charlie too

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  11. Wow I've really been behind! Congrats!

    I find more often comes from the mare. People focus on the stallion and neglect the other half, nature and nurture come from that side. FWIW, I would put little stock in negative things people say about a horse in general. It generally reflects on them then the animal.

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    1. yup i got a new horse! and yea the mare is certainly an important part of things, it seems :)

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  12. I don't know anything at all about breeding or bloodlines either, but Odin is directly by another stallion on the nasty list - Dynaformer. Mr "has bitten off fingers." Honestly I think Odin as a stallion would have been quite a handful but as a gelding? Lack of hormones has a wonderful calming effect!

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    1. ha yea i hear ya. and it's funny - Dynaformer stood out to me for kinda bizarre reasons: in my mind charlie looks WAY more like him than he does his own sire.

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    2. He was called "Dyna-finger" for a reason lol...

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  13. Archie is a Storm Bird grandson. He's never been nasty to people on the ground (other than the old farrier, that one time...), but he's sensitive under saddle and will battle if I try to force instead of ask. He takes that crap personally. And at nearly 20, he still keeps all the other horses in their places, especially when food is involved.

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    1. interesting that you see some of the same characteristics! that seems to describe charlie too, 'taking it personally.'

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  14. I enjoy reading about TB bloodlines because I like to think about what will cross well on Gina. (Stupid Gina.) That said, I've never thought about temperament being passed on down generations, beyond "Will Gina's random spookiness get passed on to her baby?"

    Love reading about these stallions- they're lines I don't know a lot about!

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    1. ugh damn Gina, c'mon!! but yea i can totally see how fun it would be to nerd out on this stuff for breeding purposes! (tho it would probably overwhelm me bc omg so many choices lol)

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  15. I haven't commented on anyones blog in foreverrrr but felt the need to chip up for this one! I've worked on a Standardbred breeding farm for several years now and worked at the yearling and racehorse sales for several years before that so while I haven't been in it my whole life, it's been a while at this point. I find pedigrees vs performance to be wildly interesting, call me a nerd.

    That being said, I always judge the horse in front of me. Yes I absolutely check and see a pedigree and think "oh here we go…" or "oh, this one should be super straightforward!" and may ask certain questions of the owner (or if I'm handling it, be a bit more safe) but the bottom line is horses don't know who they are by or out of.

    We had a mare who was straight up mean. Injured several people badly. Stuck a guy and tore his ACL with her ears up, no tail swish, no squeal, no heads up that she was going to be nasty. Knocked someone else out unconscious. She'd strike, bite, cowkick, body slam you, just not a happy girl. Only certain people were allowed to touch her. She had mastitis once and held a grudge until the day we sold her to the guy who had to give her meds when that was happening. When she foaled out, you had to give the tetanus shot while she was still down (with the umbilical cord still attached or not…) and do whatever else you needed to do and get out before she stood up. If she stood up, you were to leave the stall immediately and the foal would get what it needed in the morning. If the foal couldn't nurse and needed help? It required multiple people, a chain lead rope, a twitch and some serious, careful efforts. She was a great mom and loved her babies. She was fine in the field with other mares and foals. Her foals? Almost always well behaved and not a one was mean like her.

    Some stallions and mares do have "stronger blood" than others, meaning that they seem to stamp their foals more strongly. There's a Standardbred stallion for instance who throws foal with consistently the same head as him. Luckily it's a nice, refined head. The foals are usually a little stubborn and tend to be shorter backed. That being said, we usually get 2-4 foals by him per year. We have had… one? foal by him in several years without his head. We also have maybe 3 foals who have a longer length in their back by him. The stubbornness seems to be 60/40 towards being stubborn, most are but some aren't. His half brother (same mother) is actually standing stud as well and has and throws THE SAME HEAD. We haven't bred to that one so I'm not sure how the other factors are.

    TL;DR - The horse doesn't know who it's sir or dam is. Yes, it may influence them but even ones who consistently produce horses with x characteristic, there is generally exceptions. I wouldn't care of the pedigree was full of "nasty" horses but it might give me a different approach to dealing with the horse until I got to know them.

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    1. see this stuff is as FASCINATING to me. you must see some of the coolest (and craziest, and maybe sometimes saddest) stuff working at a breeding farm. i'd love to be a fly on that wall for a little bit and see how it all unfolds, how all the horses behave, and all that goes into running a smooth operation. tho somehow i suspect i wouldn't be the best at actually working in that industry lol.

      but your point about the horse not knowing its own history is a great way to think about it. yes, *we* can know things and weigh out certain considerations, but at the end of the day it's just about the horse itself.

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    2. Haha! You are right when you say I see some of the coolest, craziest and saddest stuff working at a breeding farm. I enjoy my job though. You could certainly ask around in your area, maybe there is a breeding farm (not necessarily TB or STB) that would let you be a working student for a day/tag along to see how it all works. It's certainly a learning experience! I'm sure if you pitched it right, SOMEONE would let you do it, even for a couple hours one day! Foaling season starts in January for the racehorse folks so that's coming up. :)

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    3. yea that's not a bad idea! i just feel so awkward being all like, 'well you don't know me but give me all your knowledge. all of it.' haha. tho my dressage trainer is somewhat involved in breeding and my friend who teaches lessons has taken her camp kids to breeding farms for tours so maybe i'll elbow my way in with them?

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  16. As I've commented on other blogs before, I have zero interest in bloodlines and breeding...not a knock on those that do, it's just not something I put much weight in. I got Roger for his goofball personality, his athleticism and his potential for the jumper ring, not because I liked the horses in his pedigree. I'm aware that the same qualities I adore about Roger are probably influenced by his breeding, but I just don't have the interest in exploring his bloodlines. I'm also a believer that each horse is unique and you can't always judge a horse by their pedigrees.

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    1. see, that attitude always surprises me bc in all other facets of OTTBs you are such a cheerleader and diehard defender of their ilk. and yet it seems near impossible to separate the OTTBs of today from the histories and legacies that produced them.

      none of this is to say that any individual horse should be judged strictly by its pedigree and nothing else - but isn't it foolish not to take advantage of such rich and extensive information as what's available?

      actually this conversation reminds me, of all things, of that scene in 'The Devil Wears Prada' where Meryl Streep rips into Anne Hathaway for being dismissive and willfully ignorant of the extensive creative developments that went into the very sweater she's wearing.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5WWy_0VLS4

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    2. I'm kind of with you on that Emma, and the Devil Wears Prada reference is totally valid lol.

      I understand if people don't want to personally spend the time researching and learning this stuff. For most, it's not really going to be that relevant (I still think it's at least a little bit relevant to literally every horse person and and could write pages and pages about WHY that is, but I digress) and it does require self-motivation to learn. A lot of people don't want to invest that effort into it, and that's totally fine.

      But what I don't understand is why anyone would take a sense of pride in NOT caring about it, or thinking that it's a waste of time for others to care that much, or being dismissive of it's importance. That's kinda like people that are proud of themselves for not voting lol. I think that the more you know, the better educated you are as a consumer, which in turn helps you make better choices. It can sometimes make the difference in being a blind consumer versus an educated consumer. At it's core, breeding and pedigrees are really just data, and I don't think anyone would scoff at the importance of data, whether it ends up being directly relevant to them or not. It might not change your mind about a horse, but it sure can provide valuable insight. I don't think it's important that everyone dedicate themselves to learning it, but I do think it's naive to think that it isn't important.

      I also think that the more you learn about bloodlines and breeding, the more you see just how reliable of an indicator it can really be about certain things. Especially in the sporthorse world.

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  17. Storm Cat's are known for being wicked athletic, and sometimes using their athleticism for evil (Ask me how I know). That being said, when harnessed and focused excellent sport horses. Halo is actually one of my favorites in a Hunter horse pedigree where manners count for something.

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    1. oooh that's really interesting about Halos in the hunter ring. i had found some evidence that he produced great sport horses but didn't find any specifics on it.

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  18. Porsche has Storm Cat in her pedigree - and she is very athletic (watch me jump 4 ft. from a standstill!) and a bit spunky but super forgiving and genuinely wants to please. Her breeder told me that everything that came out of her Momma More Mascara was just lovely - good temperaments and just a nice line of racehorses! I always keep an eye out for them ;)

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    1. oooh interesting! hopefully charlie can rise to that level of athleticism one day haha. plus it's always nice when the breeder can provide that kind of information on the lines too :)

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  19. Interesting! I have extremely limited experience with bloodlines/breeding (read: basically none), but I definitely have heard that the dam is really important for temperament. TC is definitely much sweeter/more personable than his half sister (same sire), some of that could be that she's a mare, but TC's dam is the sweetest, cuddliest thing, while his half sister's dam is a bit mean/pissy. That being said, she's a lot more confident/bold than he is.

    I'm just glad that his movement seems to be taking after Ideal rather than his dam. His dam had the world's most lateral, downhill, hideous canter and if I had seen her canter before I bought him, I might not have bought him. I might be/am very very likely biased, but I think his canter is better than his sire's, not sure that happened, but I'm not complaining.

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    1. i feel like maybe bc it's sometimes harder to find information on the dam, it's therefore easier to kinda forget about them or the effect they have on outcomes? like i struggled to scrounge up anything on charlie's damn, Shahalo, but found tons on all the stallions...

      also tho that's kinda awesome that TC's canter seems better than both of his parents lol. maybe the dam's weird lateral stuff somehow combined to improve upon Ideal's canter?

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  20. OTTB bloodlines fascinate me, although trying to find any kind of reliable pattern .... who knows? The athleticism is in all of them. I am not sure about how heritable temperament is, but a lot of bad behaviors are easily learned, so perhaps the wicked stallions are more a product of lifestyle and handlers than bloodlines? I am usually pleased with the athleticism and scope/form over fences of OTTBs with Alydar or Danzig in their blood lines, but I have also encountered OTTBs with neither and they still jump great. And some jump like crap form-wise and never figure it out. It's such a guessing game when these guys are bred for racing as to whether the jumping ability is related to certain stallions or not.

    Also, although I have looked at merely dozens rather than hundreds of OTTB pedigrees, they all have Mr. Prospector in them (except I think for one Canadian Thoroughbred that I happened to own), which makes his presence both obviously super important for racing but also maybe a little meaningless? How much of a factor is that inbreeding in all the wicked stallion problems?

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    1. yea i definitely know that feeling - some names are SO ubiquitous (especially the farther back you go) that it's hard to imagine distinguishing two horses today based on something five generations back. but line breeding and such may be part of that answer (as might be the fact that i need to take the time to learn more about modern or contemporary stallions).

      also agreed in liking Danzig horses. do you remember that sweet blaze-faced gelding i was so crazy about, Bali? he had Danzig close in and i just freakin adored jumping him. most fun ever. if charlie turns out to be half as much fun to jump as that horse was i will be the happiest person on the planet lol. (but also, like you, i've definitely seen some doozies trying to learn jumping off the track too haha, tho most are generally athletic enough to make it work)

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    2. Yes, Bali was so adorable! Eli has Danzig, too, and he is not so sweet as Bali haha. But definitely super fun to jump.

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    3. aww i didn't know that about Eli!!! and have no fear - despite me being absolutely crazy about bali, don't let that fool you: he'd still kick my teeth in or buck me off if i weren't careful haha. his sour crabbiness is part of what cost him his job... :(

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    4. Henny is a Danzig! It's one of the reasons I bought him, actually.

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    5. ahh man no wonder he's such a fun horse!!! if only i were independently wealthy i'd track bali back down again and perform fetlock transplants on him or something lol

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    6. There are a few lines that always make me stop and take a harder look... Danzig is one of them.

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    7. see these are the things i want to learn more about lol. that was maybe my favorite part of horse shopping was googling all the different pedigrees. even tho i didn't really know much about any of them it was fun to pass them around and see what reactions they garnered from different folks, see what stood out and why

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    8. Alydar is the other one that makes me stop and look, although he is getting farther back in the pedigrees, so not as much as Danzig. (And his life ended pretty freaking tragically, which makes me wonder how much more influence he could have had)

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    9. Which all means I am watching Benchmark progeny, too.

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    10. so what i'm really thinking is that both of you should actually do a post on your horses' pedigrees, the distinguishing characteristics thereof, and what it means to you. if i had been more forward thinking i would have made this a blog hop to start lol

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    11. Oh you mean you watch Benchmark progeny like Dontsellmeshort aka MURRAY'S SIRE?! ;) I've heard such mixed thins about Benchmark - some say that he's notorious for throwing difficult horses and some say that he throws great horses. So who knows.

      Murray is in Dontellmeshort's first crop of offspring and a bunch of trainers at the same track bought his year and the following year of colts and fillies. I have not yet met a one who does not have something to say about how girthy and hard to tack up these horses are. So whatever Dontsellmeshort was throwing... he was throwing it strong. He doesn't get a ton of bookings any more - only 3 of his 2014 offspring ever hit the track.

      Interestingly, my barn's experience with Storm Cat offspring is that they are SUPER friendly and pleasant. But that stubborn streak... maybe I'm confirmation-bias-ing myself because I know he's in their pedigree, but 4/4 of the geldings with Storm Cat close in their pedigree are in pleasure/trail/retirement homes now because they had opinions about their jobs.

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    13. I watch for the jumping ability. Girthy doesn't really bother me, but kinda funny that it's in all of them! Sometimes the jumping ability is there, and sometimes it's not--I think that's where the dams come in, too. Just athleticism isn't enough.

      (deleted previous because of SO MANY typos)

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  21. Annie has Storm Cat and Pulit (AP Indy) on the top and her dam was by a son of Halo - Devils Bag. She has a lot of the characteristics that you would expect with that pedigree. She is incredibly athletic but undersaddle can be very very sensitive and certainly can take things personally.

    I did similar research like you did but you took it a few layers deeper than I did. Very cool that our horses have some of the same lines :)

    This is an article that was written about WB breeding but I found the research on heritability incredibly interesting and something I have been engrossing myself in when thinking about breeding mine down the road.
    http://www.hanoverian.com/ludwigherit.html

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    1. ha i've totally looked up Annie's pedigree before (and there's lots to like in there from what it seems!). mostly tho for the research i just google around like crazy with all different key words and see what jumps out. it's usually not always what i would expect!! (which is great bc i don't necessarily know what all to expect lol)

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  22. Thanks for sharing! I actually discovered some neat stuff about Ries that is warranting its own post. Ries has Halo but it is WAY back there.

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    1. ooooh definitely do a post! i'm wishing now that i had made this a blog hop so other ottb owners (or any breed, really!) could chime in too!

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  23. This is so cool. I just got way more educated reading both post and comment section!! Thanks for sharing! I want to know more now.

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  24. This is a fun article, with links to pedigrees. http://eventingnation.com/pedigree-analysis-of-rolex-thoroughbreds/

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  25. One of my first green beans was a paint gelding by a well known ***hole of a stallion. Known for his wild nature and never producing a good temperament.
    Yes, 'Tye' was a handful at first but after about 6 months, he really settled down. For years after until I outgrew him, that horse would never say 'no' to me.

    I think there is a lot of onus on owner's and trainers as far as producing a good temperament.

    Charlie seems like a good lad!!!

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  26. Halo drowns birds?!
    Our mare Lou's sire had a reputation for being a difficult, hot horse, but I take that with a huge grain of salt. The same things have been said about Lou, & she's actually very quiet & sweet.... when you treat her right. Makes me wonder how many other 'difficult' horses are actually 'badly handled' horses.

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  27. In my un-expert opinion I think it has a lot to do with how a horse is handled/treated. I always think you get back what you give. Good luck with Charlie, he's gorgeous.

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  28. As soon as I looked at his pedigree, I raised my eyebrow at those naughty lines in there before you even brought up the meanest stallions post. Fear not though, I don't think a lot of their progeny totally take after them, though the Storm Cat line surely can produce some tricky ones. Bacon also has some "mean men" in her line (Seeking the Gold, Woodman, Danzig) and her dam picked up an Arabian by the neck and threw her away from her hay pile. But, fortunately, I have not seen any of those tendencies from Bacon. I think Mr. Charlie will be just fine!

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  29. I guess this goes to show you, much about a horse cannot be predicted from pedigree. Genes are such a crap shoot--so many combination possibilities, even with the same sire/dam, each colt or filly could be so different. Glad Charlie won in his game of russian roulette!

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  30. I really wish that saddlebred stallions were as well-documented as thoroughbreds. I can't even find a picture of Leo's sire, let alone a description!

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  31. It's not TBs, but I definitely have a look at the stallion lines in the Nooitgedachters. Because I pick so many of my horses from the same outstanding stud, I know the lines intimately and I know which stallions were absolute nutcases. Ryka for example was completely insane, but he was out of a fairly insane dam, Superstar, too. Crossed with extremely quiet mares he produced some nice ones, but Ryka x Alet or Ryka x Heidi came out a bit crazy. Then there was Luther who had the most incredible nature and produced gentle foal after gentle foal. Luther is long gone but foals out of Luther mares are incredible.
    Ultimately I judge the horse according to its own nature, but if it has a nutcase parent or grandparent I will definitely be more suspicious and stricter on what its own nature is like, especially if I plan to breed it.

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  32. There's been a lot of feedback here, but I'll throw in my 2 cents anyway! Certainly athleticism and ability come through pretty strongly; Storm Cat does make some talented horses, as do several other guys like Bold Ruler who also don't have great reps as far as personality. I think personality comes more from the mare and the horses the babies interact with than stallions as well as from the handling they get, based on my own experiences anyway. But I will say that trainability and the way they react to pressure is at least somewhat inherited. Storm Cat babies in my experience are a little flighty if you push too hard, and they are really hard to outlast. Bold Ruler babies tend to be a little bull headed from time to time, though they do also make for bigger bodied horses that have very correct form over fences. I wouldn't not buy a horse based on those bloodlines at all, because they tend to be great prospects. But I do take those things into account when making a training plan. For example, the last bold ruler horse I had sometimes had to do two-a-days just because it was better for everyone to just come back to something later than to insist on working through it.

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