Keep the 70 day test!

Wierd how I seem to have a knack for foretelling controversy. I just read about the recent German Verband 70 day stallion testing. This test, for all German warmblood stallions, is to test them for suitability for breeding. This test is what makes the Warmblood what he is today-the best performance horse in the world.

The tests aren’t easy. And many American breeders are ferociously barn blind. So much so that they are questioning the testing, rather than their ability to objectively look at their own skills as a breeder. 

 As is always the case in this country anymore, money blinds a lot of people to ethics, morality, quality and self honesty. Constructive criticism is taken as a personal attack rather than what it truly is: a critical, unbiased evaluation.   Instead of accepting the fact that their stallion wasn’t quite as good as they thought he was, these numbskulls want to do what they’ve done to the education system in America……dumb it down. They want to lower the standards, so that their substandard stallion can be licensed.

I heard it from a German Hanoverian breeder years ago, when I lived in Germany. He said “We sell America our culls.”

Is that what we want? To be the dumping ground for culls?

But these idiots who lose don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to admit they aren’t the best. They don’t want to do the work, the research, the objective self criticism, the critical eye, that produces quality horses. Quick, easy, get the money. Money and winning is all they think of. Thank god the German’s aren’t so weak kneed. They stood up to some ferocious criticism and refused to lower the testing standards.

In the March/April 2011  issue of “Warmblood Today“, Ann Daum Kustar wrote a fabulous article about the test. She interviewed many folks, getting their reactions of the recent test, held in Broken Arrow, OK. One said, “We sent our boys to the test this time with the philosophy that we’re just happy if they pass! If the scores are low, well, that’s life. We try to be objective, although we really thought the pony was a rockstar! (italics mine).” 

That’s barn blindness. Like grandchildren, their pony was the only one out there.

Everyone thinks he has the next Totillos. Everyone thinks they have the test nailed. And the folks who bitched about the scores they EARNED showed they’re rather stupid. They can’t do statistics, which is how the German’s calculate the scores. They claimed the number of horses tested was too low. Well, no. That’s not how statistics works. They were hoping for a bell curve, but that isn’t how it works. It’s median, not average. If you can’t do statistics, don’t bitch when someone who can, does.

Although some folks DO understand the necessity, and the fairness, of the testing. “”We’ve had the dubious pleasure of one of our stallions earning one of the lowest scores ever received at a 100 day test-Waterford placed 19th out of 19, with a score of 61 at the 2004 test….he is now a gelding.””

This is refreshing honesty.

Please, to the people who hate the testing: Don’t you see what the test did for Waterford’s owners? It removed the doubt. It REMOVED THE DOUBT. Instead of standing a mediocre stallion for several years, with all the time, money and effort invested in a (excuse the harsh term) loser, the test showed him up for the poor stallion prospect he was. As well, it freed up the mares he would have bred, and freed the mare owners from wasting an entire reproductive year, only to turn out a mediocre horse.

Castration turned a mediocre stallion into a  totally outstanding gelding. Gelding him freed them from the owners from  having to wonder, am I doing something wrong, is it the mare? They were relieved of that trial. In fact, another of their horses, Manhatten, won the jumping portion of the test.

To quote Kustar, “the 70 day test is critically important to the future of sport horse breeding in North America.” She’s nailed it.

 If the sport horse breeders in America wish to produce  quality horses that bring high prices, the folks who don’t really know how to produce a quality animal should be stopped at the breeding shed door. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Another woman said, “Without (the test), we’ll all end up standing teenage stallions. We can’t keep up with the rest of the world if we have to wait until our stallions reach Grand Prix (in order to achieve) their permanent licensing. We’ll have 19 year old stallions finally with a full book of mares, and we’ll be hoping to God they don’t drop over dead before we find out how they produce.”

AMEN. Read my last post. This is what happens in the Thoroughbred industry. They have one test: racing, and most colts only race two years. Then it’s another ten years before you know whether he’s a keeper or a dud. Look at poor Secretariat…the best there was on the track, and a poor stud. He died at 19.  Why waste the time, money and effort?

Kustar said, “…in the end…the true value of the 70 day test…(is) to allow North American breeders to compare and evaluate their stallions against a global standard.”

Isn’t this what we want? To be able to stand eye to eye with the Europeans, who’ve been breeding warmbloods for almost a hundred years? Lowering our standards will only prove them right, that American breeders are unwilling to take constructive criticism. If we don’t compete on the same turf with them, by THEIR standards, then they are right in that we produce low quality horses.

Long live the Test!


About subodai213

Retired U.N.C.L.E agent. Living in Laurasia.
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