Training yearlings is hard work
I’ll admit I’m feeling old lately. Most of the time, I look fit and feel great—I even went for a twelve-mile hike in the wilderness last week. But when I’m breaking horses for hours every morning like we are right now, really takes it out of me. You can’t take your eyes off them for a minute.
It’s my own fault. I went to the Keenland September yearling auction in Kentucky and came back with three yearlings. Those plus the two home-breds gives us five horses to break this fall. Five. I’m tired just thinking about it.
Good thing they are nice horses. Horses are an expensive lottery ticket, I like to say. You never know for sure.
How to choose a horse at auction
Choosing yearlings at auction means you’re looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. You can look at every horse, but there’s no way to know how they will perform on a racetrack. In fact, choosing the right horse would be easy if all the expensive horses lived up to their cost.
You need a system for weeding though the thousands of choices at a huge auction like this one. Here’s what I do to choose a horse at auction.
Narrow the field: This year I focused on the horses in Book 1 and 2. This brought the numbers down from 4000 possible horses to about 1400. However, I couldn’t push myself to buy from Book 1 as the ones I liked went for more than I was willing to give.
Consult with a veterinarian: If I like how a horse looks, I have a veterinarian radiologist who looks at the x-rays. Sometimes he can see issues with the bone that can lead to problems later. There’s a reason why they’re for sale.
Look at the numbers: Once I’ve narrowed the field, I look at statistics. For example, one of our new yearlings is by Lemon Drop Kid out of a During mare, and this Kingmambo/Cherokee Run cross has produced 24% stakes winners in the past. Incredible!
Using this strategy, I end up with a few options I like and start bidding. That’s how I ended up with this big project.
In other farm news
We’re having more Black Angus calves right now—another one was born yesterday and twin calves last week.
The moms are throwing us off. You may remember the mother who wouldn’t nurse her bawling calf? He’s fine now, drinking off another cow who accepted him.
On the other extreme, the twins’ mother won’t let me even come close to the babies. We were going to tag them, but she headbutted Dagoberto and flipped him over. Don’t come near she seems to say. Mom just keeps them in the fence corner, protecting them.
So we have a lot of projects this fall. All you can do is keep getting up every day and do what needs to be done!