Tracing Your Horse’s Lineage

Tracing Your Horse’s Lineage

Before purchasing a horse or when looking at a stud farm, there are many decisions to make. The most obvious place to look, which can narrow the field down considerably, will be at the horse’s bloodline. Much like your own personal genealogical history, a Thoroughbred’s bloodline can trace a fascinating path back through time and give you tremendous information about the horse itself. For example, if the horse has gray in him, he is likely a descendant of Brownlow Turk. You can find a wealth of information about a horse you are considering for purchase or as a potential breeding partner this way while also receiving a good estimation on its racing potential and possible value.

Unlike your family tree, Thoroughbred horses can be much easier to trace. Here in England, we keep track of as many of these magnificent beasts as possible in what is known as the General Stud Book.First published in 1781, the book establishes a clear lineage for horses that are Thoroughbreds and separates them from horses that are known as purebreds, as they are two completely different terms. Now, with DNA testing available, it is even easier to establish your Thoroughbred claim and also screen for potential health and breeding problems. It can also solve any pedigree disputes easily without debate. Weatherby’s has been running the DNA lab for 30 years, is more accurate than the old standard of blood-typing, and has made establishing pedigrees easier and more precise.

However, you may not have the time or interest to search through all these records. That is where a bloodstock agent comes in. A bloodstock agent has had extensive instruction in these matters. They evaluate horses, confirm pedigrees, and act as the purchaser or seller on the owner’s behalf. My family has been working with one for years and it has been one of the better decisions we’ve made. A good bloodstock agent will consistently pick winners for you, and their advice can be invaluable when negotiating a stud fee or picking a future champion. There are so many options out there that it can be paralyzing for someone without the benefit of so much training and experience. I highly recommend utilizing the services of one, especially if you are purchasing your first racehorse. Talk to the agent about your budget and what you are looking for in a horse. Be sure to talk about commission costs, too, so that there are no surprises. A good blood agent should be able to find several options for you that meet your criteria and discuss the merits of each. Ask questions, because it is your money and your investment, but be sure to take their expertise under advisement. It will be your finances on the line, after all, if the horse does not produce the desired results.

Keeping meticulous breeding records and participating in the foal registration will help you in the future when it is your turn to enter the buy/sell market. This way, you will be able to establish pedigree if anyone inquires.