Friday, May 30, 2008

Something to Think About

Sorry I've been such a poor blogger lately; too much going on. But -

Many, are boycotting the Triple Crown. I can't say I'm necessarily boycotting, but I sure don't want to watch. . . Nonetheless, I came across an article today about more hoof problems for Big Brown, winner of the Derby and Preakness.

'The unbeaten Triple Crown contender has a slight crack on his left front hoof. . . (and is) being treated by hoof specialist Ian McKinlay for a five-eighths of an inch long quarter crack on the inside of his left heel. . . McKinlay has repaired injuries much more severe before big races, allowing Touch Gold to fight off a leg injury from the 1997 Preakness and go on to win the Belmont and spoil Silver Charm's Triple try in 1997. . . Foot woes are nothing new for Big Brown. When he first arrived at Dutrow's barn in Aqueduct late last year, he suffered an abscess in the sole of his left front foot, which caused a wall separation and sidelined him for 45 days. In January, he suffered the same injury to his right front foot and missed another 45 days. '

Read the entire article here.

And from another article, here, we find out that 'Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown will head for stud at Three Chimneys after his racing career, which the colt's owner, International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, has said will end with his 3-year-old season.'

Hmmmm.

Part of the reason this got all caught up in my mental cogs is because a couple of years ago, right after Barbaro's break down in the Preakness, there was a thought provoking editorial in the agility magazine 'Clean Run'. I wish I could find the darn thing, but the bottom line of the article was that whether it's horses or dogs, breeding exclusively for particular performance traits, having a closed stud book, and ignoring a trend in physical or temperamental breakdown in your breeding population is a recipe for disaster.

What good are faster and faster race times, if the 'best of the best' have to be put down right on the track because of catastrophic break downs, or if their hooves have to be literally patched together to keep them racing? What good is a border collie with such high drive that they have no 'off' switch? What good is a flashy 'flying' trot, when the conformation no longer allows for an honest days work? What good is a head so big that ALL litters are are delivered via C-section? What performance criteria (or breed ring fad) is so important that we fail to achieve OVERALL health? What is the definition of IDEAL performance? When does specialization go too far?

Case in point - American Grand Victor, 1967

American Grand Victor, 2003.


8 comments:

Traci said...

In your case in point, are you pointing out the size difference? Or what am i missing here? ;-) Good points... and definitely something to get me thinking....

Guppy said...

My complaint with horse racing is riding them as yearlings. And don't tell me they don't. How else are they running barely at the age of two. Growth plates don't close till they are FIVE in equines. And we all know from personal experience that when we find an animal that LOVES to do something, they'll do it till they break down if given the chance. Sad thing about TB is they don't allow AI, only live covers so if a horse can't stand up, they literally don't have a leg to stand on...

But I'll be hoping for the best for that beautiful bay boy...

Jules and Ike said...

Those poor hips! : (

manymuddypaws said...

definitely something to think about...good post

Cardimom said...

Traci, the two things that really caught my eye in the to GSD pics were rear angulation (already leaning to extreme in the first pic, but crazy in the second) and the shoulders. In the second pic, the shoulders are soooo straight!

C-Myste said...

I'm wondering if his shoulders are really that straight or if it's just the angle due to the way he must be stacked for the over-extreme rear.

I agree that his rear looks to have so much angulation that it is unsound.

I'm not sure how you convince people that "more" is not always "better". Though that seems to be happening with the truck & suv market.

Traci said...

alright.... NOW I see the parts on the GSD you were referring to. I've NEVER thought the way they stack them or even how they're built, seems right...
I know squat about horses, but if a horses growth plates aren't closed until they're FIVE, why would someone risk injuring a promising prospect? Granted, they can make money now vs later, but ultimately, they could make MORE money, leaving the horse to mature as it should rather than literally running the poor animal into the ground.
Great post, and great discussion....

Cardimom said...

The point I was really trying to make with the two GSD pics was the change from the late 1960's to the early 2000's. The GSD has changed so much in such a short time. But I bet the written standard still reads essentially the same. . .