In my role as a pedigree consultant specialising in Thoroughbred pedigrees throughout Australasia I am reliant on two major tools above all else for putting together planned matings.
The first of these is my own brain ( predominantly for memory function ) and the second is my brain assist ( otherwise known as my Tesiopower thoroughbred computer programme ).
The Tesiopower Thoroughbred Breeding Package ( available via disc ) has been the "go to" tool at the heart of my business. There are alternative computer breeding packages on the market but we prefer to keep it simple and very user friendly.
Tesiopower provides multiple functions and yet some of these are only used on an occasional basis.
The key ones that are used, are heavily used, and we would like to share the use of these with you. In summary these functions are;
7-Generation Pedigree Report ( for an individual or a test-mating )
Tail Lines Function
Test Mating Report
Add Horse Function
Some of these reports can overlap slightly but we will endeavour to briefly highlight the value of each as we work through each of them.
Breeding a top flight equine product is all about maximising it's two principal components; genotype ( genetic match ) and phenotype ( physical match ) between the two proposed parents.
There are essentially three forms of breeding method that a breeder can adopt;
Outcrossing ( for hybrid vigour )
Linebreeding ( compounding one or more favoured ancestors, male or female )
"Breeding To The Best And Hoping For The Best"
Each of these has it's own band of supporters.
The Tesiopower Thoroughbred Breeding Package does not allow us to apply the phenotype test ( Stallion Directories with photos are normally the best source here or better still personal inspection ) but it does have a major role to play in the genotype test.
It is perhaps fair to say that the practice of "breeding the best to the best and hoping for the best" is also largely conducted outside the realms of Tesiopower, but Outcrossing and Linebreeding practices fit firmly within it's scope.
When we first receive a mare from a client to assess for mating recommendations we will run a 7-Generation Pedigree Report on that mare. The value of this report is that it allows us to sight a mare's 7-generation pedigree via a single page.
This report also defines duplicated male forebears ( coloured blue ) from duplicated influential female forebears ( coloured red ). By then utilising the Colour Duplications icon we can then immediately ascertain where these occur in the pedigree hence defining a start point from which we can build a stronger pedigree outcome.
If the mare is not in the Tesiopower database, then we have the flexibility to utilise the Add Horse icon and manually build and load that mare's pedigree into the database permanently. We can do likewise for the new stallions that arise each season and we also have the luxury of adding un-named or unregistered mares to the database by allocating them a bogus name if necessary.
So there is great flexibility with this tool which is one we use regularly.
The 7-Generation Pedigree Report is lifeblood to us as we use this to identify the strengths and weaknesses in a mare's pedigree and to build on both of these albeit whether she possesses an outcrossed pedigree or one leaning towards linebreeding.
This is where we earn our dollars. This is the stage where the hard core analysis takes place that determines what we need to do with the pedigree to improve upon it for the maximum benefit of her foal.
There are a dozen or more breeding techniques that apply in this process. These particularly come into play where it is deemed that we can improve the linebreeding componentry of the mare ( there may be a number of things that she is deficient on from sex-balancing lines through to sire or sireline traits and attributes and beyond ).
We also look at the mix of forebears ( both male and female ) to see if these can be built upon ( if required ) and also that which is missing that may add complementary traits or attributes to those already present,
The aim is to build a pedigree that equips the foal with a full genetic arsenal of positive attributes that complement one another especially with racetrack battle in mind.
It is at this stage that we also run a Linebreeding Report that is particularly useful as it confirms not only the percentage of linebreeding that a mare already holds in her pedigree but also repetitions to each of the duplicated forebears ( male or female ) and by what generation and sex they occur so we can instantly tell if these are already sex-balanced or otherwise as well as determining the percentage componentry of each individual forebear in the mare or proposed foal.The value of Linebreeding Reports also lies in the fact that they can be re-run from a test-mating to ascertain the same information for the proposed foal.
For an already heavily linebred mare it may be considered an appropriate time to mate her with an outcross stallion ( i.e. a stallion offering very little in the way of common forebear duplications within his first 4-5 generations ). A heavily linebred stallion may also realise best results with an outcross pedigreed mare.
Next step is to heavily peruse the mare's maternal bloodlines including any duplications to broodmare gems and in particular at the mare's direct maternal ( tail female ) bloodlines also noting the Family Number to whom she belongs.
By utilising the Tesiopower Tail Lines function we can actually identify her tail line descent literally back to the taproot female founder of her Family. These may present development opportunities as we begin to construct the foal's pedigree. They can also reflect the strength of a mare's direct maternal ( tail female ) bloodline and if it may have a common denominator with any of the available stallions for linebreeding opportunities in particular.
Once we have ascertained the key "missing links" it is then time to run the more time consuming job of the Test Mating Reports with either all the available stallions or as tailored by the client. These may be Commercial stallions only, or limited to a specific State or Island, or determined by having a financial cap i.e.stallions up to the value of $10,000.
We fit in with client's requests here.
Tesiopower offers a Test Mating which we utilise extensively, printing out all matings that at first glance appear to meet a number of the identified criteria that we are seeking to complement the mare's pedigree, a shortlist if you like though sometimes it can top more than a dozen.
It is from this list that we determine our most suited consorts for a mare. Here we can once again use the Colour Duplication icon to quickly define possible "building blocks" for pedigree matching purposes.
Tesiopower also offers a function called Stallion Finder. By inserting a mare's name, you can assess a mare against all the available stallions in the database by individual country. It allocates points for duplications on a scaled basis ( CDT or LB factors ) but we find this aligns heavily with linebreeding principles and makes outcrossing look less desirable ( lower scores ) when that option should be pursued in certain cases.
So our use of this function is more limited but we do concede that it can be useful on occasions as a pointer to a mare biased to a certain sireline through her own pedigree makeup.
We also find the Stallion Finder tool can date very quickly as a new wave of stallions appear each season hence limiting it's use as a "go to" function.
The above provide the "tools of the trade" but may not produce a top racetrack performer on their own.
They say "knowledge is power" ( we refer here to the human brain and memory specifically ) and it is this analytical component that completes the making of a good horse.
Whilst the Tesiopower package can play it's part in the process of designing a good horse, it does not know the individual traits and attributes of sirelines or individual stallions or of influential male ancestors or superior female forebears and it is knowing these that allows one to piece all the individual components of the jigsaw together.
These are our "secrets of the trade" and the ones from which we earn our living.
And this is a world away from "Breeding To The Best And Hoping For The Best" which is suggestive of a lack of homework and more akin to buying a Lotto ticket.
We acknowledge that there are no guarantees in breeding horses but there is a lot of satisfaction to be gained from a thoughtfully constructed pedigree every time success is met on the racetrack be it a maiden victory or one at elite level.
Finally, we would also like to dispel the myth that a good horse cannot have it's beginnings from a computer. It simply can.
We believe we have proved this multiple times at Premier Pedigrees and we are extremely grateful to Tesiopower for the role it plays in each and every one of our successful racetrack productions.
Part 2 of Working with Tesiopower and it's role in planning matings will focus on the more controversial topic of Dosage Indexes and likely Aptitude Profiles and how these can be used as a possible indicator of your foal's likely racetrack prowess.
Premier Pedigrees was born out of Ken Mackay's passion for horse pedigrees to offer a very affordable pedigree matching service and valuable recommendations to new and existing Australian and New Zealand clients for both thoroughbred and standardbred mares.