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In many horse sports, the more successful a stallion is while they are competing, the more desirable they are as a breeding stallion. This is understandable, as many traits what make a horse good at a certain sport, such as conformation and movement are heritable. But not everything what makes a successful horse can be passed onto their offspring. This is why new stallions can be cheaper than older, proven stallions. So how does stallion performance relate to progeny performance.
The best stallions get the best mares
A key thing to remember is that mare owners send nomination forms to the stallions they want to use. The stallion owners can then decline or approve the mares. Unsurprisingly, the stallions who performed the best in competition, are the most popular. They attract the best mares and can decline the poorer quality mares. This automatically means that the best stallions have a better chance of having the best offspring, their own genetics aside. So the stallion’s performance is not the only factor.
Over the years some of the most impressive racehorses have turned out to be mediocre stallions. Secretariat is a great example of this. He is known as one of the best racehorses ever. He won the American Triple Crown and is famous for having an extraordinary large heart. However, while he did produce some top level winners, none of them were close to his own ability.
The same can be said for other legendary stallions. It could just be a case of these stallions were such extraordinary freaks of nature that their progeny will always disappoint in comparison. I had doubts about how Frankel would be as a stallion, especially when his first few crops weren’t as exciting as we had hoped. But he has since gone on to have some really exciting progeny including Derby winners.
Whereas top horses can be disappointing stallions, horses who were overshadowed during their career can go onto be incredible stallions. This shows again that stallion performance doesn’t always correlate to progeny performance.
War Admiral was a great racehorse, winning the 1937 Triple Crown. But he is often overshadowed as the horse who lost to Seabiscuit. He arguably wasn’t even the best offspring from his sire Man O’ War. But he went on to be the leading American Sire and is still thought of as an incredible broodmare sire. His broodmare line still exists today as his name appears 8 times in the pedigree of recent Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Another example is Tredennis. Foaled just before the 1900s, he was out of a 1000 Guineas winning mare and by champion sire Kendal. He was a disappointing racehorse who retired after three races without a win. But he went on to be leading stallion, siring winners of 442 races.
Parents’ Progeny Performance
Sports horse stallions can be really hard to judge. They often start standing at stud before their competition career has really started. Meaning you don’t have competition results or progeny results to look at. But this is when you can look back at siblings. Looking at older siblings, what they are doing competition wise or breeding wise, can help you form an opinion on the stallion you are looking at.
I’ve already talked about how stallions have been known for having strong sire or broodmare lines. This means not only do they tend to pass their good genes onto their offspring, but their offspring tend to pass these on too. If the parent of the stallion you are looking at comes from a line known for producing good offspring, this is a good sign.
Last Updated on 16/07/2021