Thoroughbred Databases and Playing The Numbers, or not


Lucky enough to have a horse.


I added Milton and Previous Horse to the Thoroughbred Sport Tracker of the Retired Racehorse Project. I figured, Why not? It’s free, the data might help someone somewhere, and I get a blog post out of it. Turns out I got two posts [Get Off My Lawn, And Take Your Warmblood With You]. Rodney did not race, so he is not eligible.

The hardest part of the whole thing for me was assigning numbers for trainability, flight instinct (reactiveness), jumping talent, and soundness. I ended up electing not to.

For Previous Horse [In Defense of Caesar], I didn’t know which numbers to assign. Trainability? If it was a new activity that he did not like, he would say, ‘No. Not physically possible. No horse in history has ever done what you are asking.’ Two hours later, when we were finally standing in the wash stall, he would give me a look that said, ‘That was easy. Why are you all hot and sweaty?’ And then I never had to ask again. You had to install a lesson with a crowbar, but once he got it, he had it. Is that a 5 = difficult or a 1 = easy?

Jumping talent was a similar conundrum. He was a small, short-strided horse. No Grands Prix for him. OTOH, he was amazingly balanced and athletic. He never took a bad spot. He could jump from anywhere: long, short, whatever. One time, my ground crew rolled out the groundline to encourage a big jump. Caesar put his feet down and bounced the space between the groundline and the jump. Easy. Gymnastics were a waste of time with him. Is that 5 = little talent or 1 = excellent style and scope?

With Milton, I found myself reluctant to wash our dirty laundry in public. Yes, this blog is public, but at least there is context. I’ll let you imagine what numbers I would currently give Milton for trainability or reactivity. Besides, there are people who appear to feel that Milton is not completely irredeemable. That may be me again someday. Do I go in and keep changing numbers as our relationship improves? Like his race record, whatever show record he accumulates can speak for him.

While I was at it, I added Previous Horse, racename Uncanheara Pindrop, to the Pedigree Online Thoroughbred Database, here. Milton, racename Major Conn, was already there.

Previous Horse ran in 14 races over 3 years, including 4 the year we bought him. Won one. Or a stablemate did. Career winnings of $4,128.

Snaps to the Pedigree people. After I messed up my first attempt, they promptly answered my email and fixed the problem. I did check the FAQ first.

FWIW, my two ex-racehorses now each have an updated digital presence.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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