Dear Mr. Thomas, after reading many of these questions and your essays, especially the breeding essay, I thought I would write. A good friend of mine and I have been considering options in regards to a re-shuffling of her stable and I thought I would ask you your opinion on where the real emphasis should be in one?s breeding program? She is not a big name breeder; and needs to optimize her funds to stay in the game. Does she focus on developing the "herd" with a new stallion/sire for breeding, or keep a few sires and find a few good girls? There are lots of "formulas" for this I think, do you have one?
Thank you Maria for writing in, I really loved your question because this addresses something very important, that I myself call the Economics of Behavior. Optimizing resources is a good way to put it, and staying in the game, so to speak, demands more information for better decisions.
A formula for me is more of an equation: Successful breeding is taking the Now Properties of proposed Sire and matching them with the Emergent Properties of the proposed Broodmare.
While I will certainly agree that the importance of the Sire and his pedigree cannot be overlooked and is indeed an important factor, in my opinion far too much emphasis is placed upon the Sire. The broodmare has more influence in/over the foal because it is the esoteric emergent properties of Emotional Conformation, (indicated for me by the P-Type as discussed here on the website in Making The Grade) that allow the Now Properties of the Sire to be advanced.
Competitive survivalism mandates female superiority over foal tendencies. In other words, if you like formulas: Now Properties (m) + Emergent Properties (f) = proportional advancement of competitive survivalism in the result (foal).
Now Properties means that which is self evident in the stallion during his life, and not so much his ancestral propensities. That is not to say that his pedigree is not important because it certainly is, it just means that it is less important than the horse himself, actually is. This is why there are bachelor herds in the wild but no true bachelorette herds. If nature deemed one sire line, once patriarch of the herd, to be forever suitable for the herd?s continued survival through time, it would have had bachelorette herds and also allow the law of averages to birth more males than females. Males come and go so to speak, breeding is then much less discriminatory for the boys.
Emergent Properties of the female are those things that are being advanced into the foal that are latent at times, in the broodmare. This is natures? key to sustaining a species that evolves in a changing environment, which will be forced to continue to manifest itself by virtue of assimilation; to both herd social structures as well as environmental demands.
Any species that adapts well is a species reliant on continued advancement by emergent properties.
It is a battle of attrition that breeds mediocrity and even weakens a species by selectively mating horses by way of role-reversal. The horse did not evolve on the course of evolution because of a scattering of individuals and indiscriminate mating strewn across a beach like some sea turtles hatching out; rather the horse survives because of careful selection in a contained social unit. Indiscriminate breeding here would have been genocide.
The question is; how do you take the-what is to the next level-up towards what could be? What exists can only be advanced when influenced by what is yet to be, represented in the horse by the ongoing development of Emergent Properties; which are themselves born out of continued assimilation. Evolutionary processes thus become self sustaining that life can emerge. Because the broodmare is the foundation of a herd group, she is the one responsible for passing on and advancing the properties that allow the Stallion to lead and protect in his lifetime. He only need be great now, while the mare has to pass on greatness later to maintain the herd. This is done in the form of passing on and nurturing mental capacity/ Emotional Conformation- within a species that requires social dependencies for its continued growth.
In an artificial breeding environment it is most important to do all that is feasible to apply or rather, allow some natural selection into the picture. Nature applies proportionate breeding, Now to Emergent, because of the mating rituals and the entire process a stallion goes through to earn the right to breed, advancing the notion of competitive-survivalism. To achieve this artificially, one should have a good comprehension of the Emergent Properties within the broodmare, which does embrace her lineage. These principles also have great importance in the development of an athlete because it allows for a true nurturing of what is in existence and not a forced-march training ideal, for things that just don?t exist. For me here at THT it is the indicator of P-Type based on Emotional Conformation, which reveals the Emergent Properties of the individual.
Nature, in order to protect itself from the enemy within, often creates an illusion of truth. For the horse, the trophy stallion in the barn, while truly and undeniably awesome and beautiful, is in affect the illusion. Booked for 100 mates you may eventually brag about only 5 black-type winners. This is because he passes on far less of the emergent properties than his girls do, and thus only 5 out of the 100, (example only to make a point) were fairly proportionally matched. Yet, these are just my personal opinions. But if I were consulting on your developmental breeding program, I know where I would start my investigation.
Kerry M. Thomas