That is quite a nice Return on Investment I would say!
Thursday, December 31, 2009
That is quite a nice Return on Investment I would say!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Witness Bob Baffert and Looking at Lucky:
Likely Eclipse winning 2 year old has won 5 of 6 starts out West, all on synthetics. He will be rested and then prepped twice before the first Saturday in May, but BOTH ON DIRT!
Thanks goodness BB has figured it out, training/racing this fantastic colt on synthetics at 2, then changing to dirt at 3. Let's hope he doesnt just ship East for the races, but holes up somewhere like CD with a dirt training surface.
I don't care which surface you prefer, I don't care which is safer for a horse (infrequent breezing will hurt 'em all) - all I care about is winning races.
Perhaps at some point a 'name' trainer will breeze 2x a week and win the big one - so the copycats will follow - then we'll see our breakdown percentage drop nationwide.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Great stuff from an old school trainer in Europe. Nothing like the Tom Ivers programs, which may be a little too much for today's thoroughbreds, in the USA anyway.
This is a nice intro to the IT concept - but I would certainly recommend a heart rate/GPS monitor to keep things safe. Of course, you can get those from me, just let me know if you are interested-
Thursday, November 12, 2009
From a metabolic standpoint, all humans realize the key to athletic performance as far as nutrition is concerned is the consumption of several, small, well-balanced meals per day.
Nice to see a trainer doing the same for his equine athletes and realizing enormous success.
More on Mr. Shirreff's here:
Not to say that simply feeding twice as often as other trainers is the sole reason for his big Breeder's Cup winning double last weekend, but it sure helped.
That is the mission of ThoroEdge - help horsemen figure out several 'edges' that accumulate to a few extra lengths on raceday. Here's one for free-
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"When racehorses are at their best, I am absolutely convinced they are safer on the synthetics than they are on dirt."
Let's say you agree with that statement, I probably do.
But there is a qualifier - 'when racehorses are at their best' how exactly can we figure this out?
Collect reams of data, that's how. Chart heart rate response, body weight, gallop speed, blood chemistry, etc. like a madman; organize the data, and draw your own conclusions.
The racing industry has the subjective data from trainers, owners, grooms, exercise riders, to name a few - down pat. Too much info in many cases, probably.
But they typically ignore a huge part of the puzzle, what is going on inside the horse?
How much oxygen/fuel does it take for him to breeze a half in :49 this week? Next week?
Charted over time, is he reaching an all time peak, or is he flattened out?
Don't wait for several race results to tell you, learn from the training stimulus.
What can you add prior to his gallops to make them easier (i.e. faster speeds with less oxygen necessary)? A food supplement, a different warm up routine, equipment change, rider change, Equissage treatment, acupuncture, HBOT?
Each stable should be treated like its own exercise physiology laboratory - constantly changing variables in order to find the optimal conditioning protocol for each individual, all backed up by quantitative and objective data.
Just my two cents, please call me if you are at the Keeneland sales this month and would like to meet face to face.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Details above courtesy of Jay Privman at DRF regarding Zenyatta's strong effort Friday morning at Hollywood Park.
Of note the timed work was 6F in 1:11.2 which was the best of 10 at that distance by a full second. But notice the final comments where she gallops out a full mile in 1:39 which doesn't maket the official published worktab of course.
Interesting to see her trainer comment that he was more aggressive in order to keep open the option that she may enter the Classic rather than the Distaff, or Ladies Classic. He mentioned were she pointed specifically towards the Distaff she would have simply coasted in with a few 'maintenance' works.
Very cool insight into the mind of the trainer of a superstar, willing to go a bit tougher on the conditioning with the prospect of the toughest race of her life, the first against boys, coming up in a few weeks.
Wonderful approach, in my opinion.
But can you do that same work on dirt?
Remember my data has shown the surface to be as much as 50% harder on some cheap claimers than the artifical stuff...
Friday, October 23, 2009
A great group of presenters is coming together in early December at Rutgers University in NJ for some very applicable info on HR/GPS tracking and lactate testing and how it can help you make your horses faster.
Below I will attach the specifics please let me know if you are interested in attending and I will get you some additional details. Thanks!-
This course will be conducted December 4-6, 2009 at Rutgers University, New Brunswick New Jersey in conjunction with FaCT Education of British Columbia Canada and Racehorse Conditioning Systems Inc. of Albrightsville Pennsylvania.
Presentation and discussion topics will include:
* Finding a deeper understanding of aerobic (oxygen dependent) and anaerobic (oxygen independent) muscle fiber development…it’s not rocket science.
* We’ll discuss the new understanding of lactate as potential fuel source for working muscles, and how we can use lactate information to help test fitness and set training intensities.
* You will learn simple and safe testing methods for measuring lactate and understanding the Lactate Balance Point (LBP) system.
* You will be introduced to quick and easy tests you can periodically perform to help measure fitness, with easy to use software specifically designed to help with data interpretation. You will have the foundation for creating your own performance-line tests. These “Fit-Lines” are valuable tools for more in-depth evaluation of a horse’s overall development.
* You will learn more about when, why, how and how often to monitor a racehorse’s heart rate. You will also learn about the newest technology in measuring speed, and use this in combination with the horse’s heart rate information.
* Transferring the information to your computer for in-depth analysis can be easy. Youwill learn about the Polar Heart Rate Monitor System, The Lactate Pro Analyzer and FaCT software. We will discuss how to build an inexpensive and portable, testing lab using these tools.
* Other topics of discussion:
The Central Governor Model for Racehorse Performance
Glycogen Depletion / Refueling
Dr. Andrew Sellars M.D. is the director of FaCT-Education and Head Coach for the Balance Point Racing Team. His recent work has led to the development of the equine equivalent of the FaCT Lactate Balance Point test, which has over the past 20 years revolutionized training programs for human athletes.
Karyn Malinowski PhD is Director of Rutgers Equine Science Center. Karyn is also a racehorse owner, trainer and driver.
Ken McKeever PhD is renowned as one of the top racehorse exercise physiologists in the US. He takes a very layperson approach.
Friday December 4, 2009:
5pm to 9pm - Lecture and Classroom Discussion at Equine Science Center Conference room.
Saturday December 5, 2009:
7:30am Continental breakfast at the University Inn.
9:00am to 11:30am - On track LBP field test at Gaitway Farm.
12:30pm - Working lunch at Rutgers.
1pm to 5pm - Field test LBP evaluations and group discussions.
7pm - Group Dinner and discussions (Location TBD).
Sunday December 6, 2009:
7:30am – Continental breakfast at the University Inn
8:30am to 1pm LBP/Treadmill Testing at Rutgers and group discussions.
1 - 2pm - Concluding discussion
2pm - Departure
Whether you train 2 or 200 horses you will gather practical ideas for day to day applications.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Polar has released the Team2 system, which allows you to outfit several horses with HR gear simultaeously, then send them out on the track and watch how they respond on your laptop.
How does this help us?
Most importantly, we can send out a string of horses for similar workouts, even in company, and gauge their fitness levels immediately. In the image above for instance, there is a 'red' horse and a 'blue' one riding side by side.
Monday, August 24, 2009
If anyone would like to attend or receive a summary of the evening, please contact me and I will make arrangements if possible.
Topics will include most of what has appeared on this blog over the past year, with a big focus on using physiological testing to grade sales stock.
Afterwards, I will get back to some more regular postings in this space hopefully.
Look for a reprint of my Optimal Conditioning article in the next European Trainer magazine, which I believe is released in early September.
Monday, August 17, 2009
If you have any specific areas of interval training that you would like to see addressed here, please leave notes in the 'comment' section.
I should have a more complete blog entry on the subject within the next week or so.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Did anyone catch the Niagra Equissage saddle on MinethatBird from the ESPN Million broadcast?
How about NY outlawing hyperbaric oxygen treatments the week before a race? Interesting.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Pedigree, conformation, biomechanics, heart score, etc. are facts and figures put on paper meant to predict future thoroughbred performance.
But races are run on the track, not on paper.
Physiological testing of your foals provides you with an inside glimpse of how efficiently all of the horse’s systems work together during the stresses of actual exercise.
You can now rate your foals on athletic performance based on data gathered from real life sub-maximal training.
For instance, here is one example of the data generated by heart rate and GPS monitoring:
V200 is the velocity/speed achieved at a heart rate of 200bpm (beats per minute) and is indicative of the aerobic capacity of the thoroughbred.
This aerobic capacity is a measurement of the foal’s ability to utilize oxygen to fuel exercise demands, higher speeds at V200 will lead to better racing performance.
Research has given us the following values for V200 in thoroughbred foals:
· V200 range for foals at 6 months of age:
8.51mph to 11.93mph
· V200 range for foals at 1 year:
9.94mph to 13.24mph
· V200 range at start of yearling race training:
11.93mph to 14.91mph
How do your equine athletes match up?
Which are the future racing stars?
Which are at risk of lameness?
Thursday, June 25, 2009
A guy I know in Australia is doing fantastic work with his Etrakka heart rate/GPS training device. So fantastic in fact, that one of his charges recently won a Grade One event.
Better yet, he has provided the actual heart rate vs speed chart from the week prior to this huge victory - results that prompted the trainer to enter the horse when he had originally been thinking of races further in the future.
But, when they are peaking you run them, every horseman knows that - the difference is this time the peak was scientifically discovered: making it a concrete fact, not an opinion.
Much more info at:
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009
US - 1.43 - california, kentucky, and florida over 4 year span
AUS - 0.39 - data over a 15 year span
So, a horse racing in the US is 3.7 times more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury than is one in Australia. To be fair, I believe US numbers have come down a bit with the addition of synthetics, but not down to the 0.4 range yet.
I focus on the training process. What follows is my anecdotal evidence of the two countries.
Avg time per day of actual exercise:
US - 15 minutes
AUS - 45 minutes
Avg number of breezes per week:
US - less than one
AUS - 2+
US - every 21 days
AUS - every 10 days
Number of HR/GPS monitors in use nationwide:
US - less than 5
AUS - over 100
I stay away from the raceday medication arguments, but the US allows it and AUS does not. Also, many US horses race year round on dirt, while many in AUS race on turf.
What sticks out to me is that Australian horses are trained more often, at higher intensities, and become less prone to breakdowns. The US school of thought is that these animals are so fragile that they must be 'babied' during the training process.
Who seems to turn out stronger athletes?
Friday, January 30, 2009
Heart rate stuff has been around forever, but two recent advancements have now made this technology a valuable asset to any horseman: GPS functionality, and computer software analysis.
Now you can see objective, quantitative data that illustrates the effectiveness of your training regimens, as well as highlights potential soundness issues. In effect, you have a fitness monitoring system that allows you to learn more about your horses during 3 weeks of training than you typically might learn over 3 months of racing.
Everyone knows that horses are unique individuals, now you can design customized training protocols to fit each horse at any moment in time. Truly allow each to reach his/her potential in the safest and quickest manner possible.
Heart Rate is the best indicator of exercise intensity.
It is the sum total of breeding, environment, and trainer-controlled variables such as gallop speed, distance, and frequency of exercise.
Some horses possess large hearts as evidenced by ultrasound as a yearling, but lack the conformation to move efficiently. Others post modest heart scores but have a way of going that requires little energy outlay. Yet others lack the proper enzyme levels and/or blood chemistry to finish strongly.
All of these factors can me measured, and therefore improved with proper training intensities. To sum up, the lower the heart rate at any given speed, the fitter the animal.
How the heart rate responds with increasing and decreasing gallop speeds allows us to pinpoint the current level of conditioning, and detail precisely what amount of work is needed to improve. Never fall victim to the ‘too much, too soon’ syndrome again.
This forms the basis for everything that ThoroEdge does, because having a system that can prove, on the training track, that these other ‘edges’ truly make a difference in any individual horse, is the core of our service.
Racing is full of so many variables such as trip, surface, travel, rider, traffic, etc. that uncovering a truly improved performance can take quite a long time – whereas in the mornings on the training track, those variables are constant.
There are 3 main providers of the equipment: etrakka, polar equine, and Vmax. A later post will debate the pros and cons of each.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Hello from frozen Louisville-
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
If I was a horseman I would know that unbalanced Thoroughbred Racehorses breakdown. I would look at finish line videos and see that almost every American trained Thoroughbred Racehorse runs slightly slanted to the left, unbalanced in its action and stride.
If I was a horseman I would know or learn how to balance a racehorse. I would know that it is impossible to produce balanced racehorses training and racing left-turn only.
If I was a horseman I would not allow exercise riders or jockeys to ride acey-ducey; putting their weight slightly off center on my racehorses back, adding to unbalancing my Thoroughbred Racehorses. Nor would I allow exercise riders to hold a neck strap or martingale and a rein in one hand pulling my racehorse’s heads unnaturally to one side contributing to unbalancing my racehorses.
If I was a horseman I would know that the Seven (7) minutes maximum the average American Thoroughbreds racehorse spends on the training track is not enough training time for developing the bone, ligament, tendon densities plus heart and lung strength necessary to withstand racing’s pressures.
If I was a horseman I would know or learn what type of track work is needed to develop the correct bone, ligament, tendon densities plus heart and lung development that produces sound, non-bleeding racehorses able to withstand racing’s pressures. I would study the training schedules of old-time trainers during the days of America’s drug free iron racehorses who started 20 times as 2yo’s and stayed sound for an average 100-plus lifetime starts and the training charts of modern leading Australian trainers who breeze(d) their racehorses 2 or 3 times per week, sometimes their full race distance. I would come to know that breezing only once a week does not provide enough race specific exercise to keep my horse’s race fit, sound and not bleeding. And I would know that harmful unnecessary, legal race day drugs like lasix (salix), glenbuterol, bute, injecting joints with steroids are badly affecting my racehorses health and racing longevity plus they allow owners and trainers to run half-fit, unsound racehorses instead of turning them out letting nature heal them.
If I was a horseman I would walk my horses for 15-30 minutes BEFORE they go on the training track starting a correct and necessary warm up process.
If I was a horseman I would slow jog my racehorses for at least a half-mile before they workout to continue a correct and necessary warm up process and I would slow jog my racehorses for a mile AFTER they workout, providing a correct and necessary lactic acid flush of their musculature systems.
If I was a horseman I would sand roll my racehorses after every workout, before they are hosed off or washed so that they would not roll in their stalls, casting and injuring themselves unnecessarily?
If I was a horseman I would hot-walk my racehorses to the left on the day they worked right turn and I would hot-walk my racehorses to the right on the day they worked left turn to help prevent arthritic back and neck conditions that affect far too many left-turn only American Thoroughbred Racehorses.
If I was a horseman I would know that tree-less exercise saddles cause the sore backs prevalent in far too many American Thoroughbred Racehorses. I would know that when a rider stands up in the stirrups for slow gallops he or she is forcing my Thoroughbred Racehorses to work off the forequarter (pounding the ground), that if the riders sit down in the saddle (as they do in South America) they would help my Thoroughbred Racehorses work off their hindquarter, developing more driving power and helping to keep them sound.
If I was a horseman I would know that a horse (or human) standing unnaturally still and stiff in a tight space (racetrack stall) for 23 hours per day is susceptible to arthritic conditions. I would know that a horse needs an hour afternoon walk in the sun to keep it limbs mobile and to receive some of the vital natural vitamin-D that helps keep racehorses sound and healthy.
If I was a horseman I would provide small sun-yards for my racehorses so that weather permitting they would spend a second hour in the sun, receiving more vital natural vitamin-D that definitely helps keep my racehorses sound, healthy, not-bleeding and helps keep racehorses horses from suffering the terrible boredom of 23 hours locked in far too small unventilated racetrack stalls continually breathing in virus and bacteria laden air.
If I was a horseman I would not overfeed and under work my racehorses.
If I was a horseman I would provide good clean dust free hay, clean water and fresh-cut green-chop for my racehorses.
If I was really a horseman???
E. Abraham Ola