Monthly Archives: February 2012

Interval Training and the Iron Horse: the 2008 Claimer of the Year

A magnificent article on the subject from the Thoroughbred Times staff writer Denise Steffanus this week about Antrim County and trainer Jay Wilkinson and their 2008 exploits:

Many of you may remember me writing about this topic 3 years ago, as I was the one who sold Jay the HR/GPS monitor used in the preparation of this 2-time Claiming Crown champ:

The TT article is a professional job, unlike my post, and quotes Jay extensively as he gives a horseman’s view of how/when he utilized interval training to turn this $5k claim into a $50k claim in just a few month’s time. My blog post gives some further details, including the actual PPs from the time frame in question – along with a litany of comments from non-believers.

Strange that the TT piece crops up 3 years after the fact, but nice to see a mainstream publication picking up on Jay’s amazing story. Jay is listed as Clifford Wilkinson if you wish to add him to your virtual stables, please send me a note if you wish to get in touch with him. He’s an old fashioned standardbred guy who interval trained this gelding and increased his earnings per start by 300% in a few short weeks.

Here’s why I think some standardbred training regimens can do wonders with thoroughbred stock:

After all, the winning time in the Hambletonian has improved at a 500% greater rate than that of the Kentucky Derby in the past 70 years, so they must be doing something right!-


The ‘3 Million Dollar Book’ is Coming from Thoroedge…

No, this isn’t my ego talking – there actually was a book similar to the one I am working on authored in 1985 that was proclaimed as such by several newspapers in Australia and New Zealand.

The tome was titled ‘Racehorse Training and Feeding: Modern and Scientific Conditioning Methods’ by Dr. Philip Swann and the 1980 Australian Harness Horse of the Year named Pure Steel was conditioned according to these methods. When the owner was kind enough to give public credit to Dr. Swann’s role in his success; the ‘3 million dollar book’ was revealed to the world. A later version of the work was called ‘The V200 Plus Scientific Method’ and we will read much about V200 and its role in equine conditioning in my upcoming offering tentatively entitled: “Internal Horsemanship – Your Horse Conditions Himself with Feedback Induced Training”.

My goals in writing this book are twofold: firstly to help the ‘little guy’ compete with the deep pocketed owners around the world, for as top South Africa/Dubai based trainer Mike de Kock says: “When your horse may not have the bloodlines or ability of their opponent, fitness is the one area where you can beat them.”

Secondly, I wish to be involved with the next American Triple Crown winner in any way, shape, or form. I am currently located in the bluegrass of Kentucky, but I have clients in 6 countries outside of the USA – and I am constantly striving to increase my reach in order to become known as the author of the next ‘3 million dollar book’.

Here are the first few paragraphs from the introductory chapter:

Let’s get this straight from the get-go: the horse is the boss. The puzzle that is equine performance is composed of many pieces, yet conventional horsemanship only looks at half of them, the half that is observable from the outside.

F.I.T. stands for Feedback Induced Training, where internal responses to exercise are gathered before/during/after exercise sessions and later analyzed to determine the 3 F’s: how Fast, how Far, and how Frequently each horse is telling you he needs to go in order to improve with the smallest chance of injury.

Have you ever tried to lose weight? Nearly all of us have. The experts continue to impress upon us the importance of counting calories and of weighing ourselves weekly (at least). There is a reason for that: when attempting to influence a variable such as your bodyweight, the most effective approach is to measure your caloric intake as well as your rate of weight loss. If you just ‘wing it’ and attempt to eat less without looking to the scale at regular intervals, you are more likely to fail in your quest, or least not achieve the maximum desired effect.

A common saying in the field of personal development summarizes this concept quite neatly: “What gets measured, also gets improved.” If we stick to the thoroughbred industry, we are given a similar quote from the great Italian breeder/trainer Federico Tesio: “It is difficult to predict the race career of a young unraced colt just by looking at it, and without actual measurement.”

Traditional horsemanship entails observing the outer signals (behavior, coat, eyes, ears, etc.) when making training decisions; what I aim to do is teach horsemen how to collect and analyze the inner signs (both good and bad) of a horse in training. Most all feedback gathered from a horse in the traditional manner is subjective and qualitative; an expert opinion, in other words. However, the internal feedback gathered during exercise is both objective and quantitative, a series of numbers.  What FIT gives you is a measure of actual fitness, and therefore the best opportunity to improve it.


Stay tuned, hopefully the e-version/.pdf will be ready in early March, with the paperback available later in the month.