Yearling Selection

Five yearings, all born in the same month, exercising at a slow pace for 20 minutes on a mechanical walker at the farm.

The YELLOW line indicates the inferior athlete of the bunch, doing the same level of work as the others, but at a much higher relative intensity. On the other hand, the RED line shows the leader of this group, his internal systems (heart, lungs, blood, muscles, ligaments, etc.) interrelate during exercise more efficiently than the rest.

V200 and Racing Performance

V200 is the speed achieved with a heart rate of 200bpm, or roughly 85% intensity. This number can be obtained, as seen by the above graph, with submaximal exercise intensities between 50-70% in the yearling.

V200 has shown to be remarkably consistent around the world:

6 months = 8.51 to 11.93mph
12 months = 9.94 to 13.24mph
18 months = 11.93 to 14.91mph

How do your yearlings grade out? Who are the future raceday performers?

  1. Wish this science, which Tom Ivers and I pioneered had been available when I worked for Australia’s T.J. Smith MBE, the world’s most successful trainer, ever, anywhere. Who had somehow figured out all this without any scientific assistance.
    He breezed EVERY horse in his stable 3 times a week, galloped EVERY horse in his stable 3 times a week and had the soundest most successful drug free stable in the world in a nation where horses are trained more like athletes than they are here. One secret to his success was that any horse showing any symptom of unsoundness was turned out for 2-3 weeks immediately instead of wasting time on what we call leg work thinking that somehow putting chemicals on a horses skin and bandaging them for the night and for their track work will somehow treat or prevent internal injuries.
    Using his methods, I have already proven with unsound written off racehorses from leading stables that they can returned to soundess and their racing performance improved. Using science would only improve what he accomplished. 28 Derby wins, etc, etc. The Bloodhorse obituary said they were saying what they had never said before that T.J. Smiths record would never be equaled or broken.
    Science without real horsemanship, almost non existant in American racing, will not work and Mr Smith proved that.
    Earl Ola

    • TJ Smith was a genius, I posted about him many months ago:

      I have religiously studied the work you have done with Tom Ivers, as well as the methods of TJ down under. It is unbelievable to me that you accomplished all that you did without the benefits of treadmills, rapid lactate analyzers, and onboard HR/GPS gear. I will make inroads in American with top horseman in my lifetime, I am 41 by the way. I live here in Lexington and have the good fortune to consult with some top thoroughbred organizations. Progress is slow, but sure.

      Money is the root of all problems, along with vets and their drugs. We need to get back to the times when conditioning horses was for sport, not for lining your pockets with day rates and stud fees.

  2. Phillip Haycock

    I’m trying to get my head around the idea that an elite fit horse can be raced so lightly.
    What are the jockeys saying about these horses?? Are these horses able to settle in a classic race, or are they devouring calories pulling the arms off the jockeys.
    Its difficult to explain the concept of a horse pulling the jockey but its basically a situation where the jockey has got the brakes on via the Bit, but the horse keeps accelerating and fighting back against the jockey through the reins. This is a multi negative scenario.
    Ill never forget the scene in sea biscuit where Smith see’s the unruly desperately frustrated horse and immediately understands that the horse isn’t in need of a pat on the neck , some kind words and a sugar cube. No, the horse wants to do what horses do. Run free of a controlling bit, hard and fast. He needed some space and respect.
    What’s this got to do with the issues I’m reading about on these pages?? Lots.
    Preventing a horse from running a reasonable mileage is like telling one of your great musical artists that they can only sing their own songs every second Sunday for an hour, and then only nursery rhymes on the days between. This will destroy the artist

  3. Phillip, I liken it to what we in America call ‘weekend warrior’ athletes. When you are 20 and in college and playing basketball 5x a week you are in top shape. You graduate at age 22 and get a job in an office behind a desk, now you can only play on the weekends.

    Our sports medicine industry is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise treating the injuries that result from such a practice.

    Similarly, starting baseball pitchers only perform every 5 days and usually only last 6 innings. They throw no faster than the old timers, yet they get injured much more often.

  4. Phillip Haycock

    No sorry I just dont get it. But Im going to do some research and find out.
    Is the horse with natural ability too valuable to train so runs on that ability. If you do train him, it has to be at 1. 40 mile times or the horse will slow down. The trainers dont want to train at those speeds because the risks are too high. Downward spiral.
    I absolutly understand how money as ruined the horse, the lack of knowledge about the hoof and advent of bog has had a devastating affect on the breed. (Bogged up horses can go on to breed)
    I know that for a long time Ive been suspicious of American blood in a horse. Ive seen two much speed and bad feet. (For Hunting).
    Ill be back.
    Ill take you up on the Lactate/HR monitor purchase before to long

    • Phillip Haycock

      I said Id be back and here I am.
      The two issues that I have focused on are –

      (1)The practice of running a horse in a race that is so taxing on that animal, that it requires up to 14 days to recover.

      (2)The possible reasons why the Thoroughbred racehorse is no faster over classic distances than it was decades ago, and in some cases slower.

      (1)In regard to the 14 day recovery, There are in my view a few possible explanations here. This statement may be a misunderstanding, mistake, mischief , misinformation, gamesmanship, false or 100% accurate.
      From my viewpoint, the best option is to question its relevance. If it is occurring, well “more fool him” whose involved. There’s no sense in crashing into a fence while looking back at fool in the bog.

      The possible reasons why the Thoroughbred racehorse is no faster over classic distances than it was decades ago, and in some cases slower

      (2)Im going to qualify this next idea with the introduction,
      “ If I were to invest resources into the study of Thoroughbred distance times through history, in particular the lack of recent distance / time records,
      I would start by examining the respiratory system, its limitations, its development through the generations of the breed, the level of understanding of the “dynamics of air movement” amongst trainers and breeders. Also a comparison of the airways, head shape, length of rein, position of neck and head relative to the chest while under extreme workloads of different Thoroughbred horses and also the Standard bred.”

      There is enormous scope within this aspect of the running horse to explain significant variations in athletic ability and also the inevitability of an absolute limit to that athletic ability.

      Most lay people simply do not understand how air moves. They understand about fluids and pumps because we all experience these fluid principles every day in our lives.
      However air is full of mystery. Eg If I stated that a yacht was not in fact blown along by the wind and a horse doesn’t suck in air to breath, a lot of people what right me off. But from a scientific point of view both these assertions can be shown to be correct.

      Old stockman will sometimes say “ A horse isn’t a machine” This is incorrect and the people in everyday life that that can best understand the limits of the Thoroughbred Respiratory System are the men that design and build Naturally Aspirated race car engines. There are beautiful parallels between a race motor and a set of lungs.
      One concept is the fact that air has mass, it stretches and compresses, its slow to accelerate yet continues to move, even after the forces acting on it dissipate.

      To conclude-
      My money is on the limits of the respiratory system as being the reason the Thoroughbred horse has hit the wall in terms of Distance/speed.
      As for recent times being slower than previous, maybe some damage has been done by attempting to breed for what cant be achieved.
      Id rather try and breed a good horse that can be built onto rather than a magic one that in practical terms cant exist.

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