Our goal at Equine Analysis is to improve thoroughbred management practices through the application of scientific data in day to day decision making. Continuously since the 1980s we have been blessed by having access to and gathering data on some of the most outstanding horses in the world. We have developed tests to measure most of the key athletic determinants; biomechanics, conformation, locomotion, breathing, cardiovascular, metabolic, and finally genetic factors.
With more than 40,000 horses in our database, including more than 1000 individual Grade/Group 1 winners, we can provide our clients with quantitative information which can be applied to almost any of the daily decisions they need to make. Most farms start from a position of top quality horsemanship but whether it be in breeding, culling, or buying at the sales, EA clients have the ability to outperform the industry norms through the addition of scientific data.
Traditional horsemen use their eyes and experience to judge a horse’s shape. Their goal is to identify the best athletes by relating form to function.
FotoSelect® applies science and mathematics to this concept. The data source is a digital photograph taken under a strict protocol. The methodology has its roots in the PhD thesis of its founder, veterinarian Dr. Mikael Holmstroem. FotoSelect® is able to use mathematics to derive skeletal measurements from the photograph.
With more than 30,000 photos in the database, mathematical modeling of all the data allows us to achieve, with a degree of statistical certainty, the goals of the traditional horseman. Through this detailed data analysis, we can determine a horse’s overall quality along with detail about it's natural cruising speed and likely distance and surface preferences.
Although genetic testing has the potential to be almost revolutionary in scope, it is nevertheless still in it’s infancy. To better understand racing and breeding, Equine Analysis has taken a unique approach of looking at genetic mutations as the causation of different outcomes in similar phenotypic groups.
Our current genetic testing procedure provides pertinent information on a number of specific genetic mutations. These genetic mutations are then interpreted in light of phenotypic data to give the most accurate overall assessment of an individual horse. The analysis is performed in our own genetic laboratory so that results can be provided in just a matter of hours if needed in a sale environment.
The Wind Test®
In the past, measuring breathing at high speed, both in health and disease, has proved quite difficult and usually involves large complex equipment including treadmills and scopes.
In conjunction with veterinarians at Michigan State, Dr. Deborah Boehler and Dr. David Lambert developed and patented what is now known as the Wind Test®. Rather than using video like traditional or dynamic scopes, The Wind Test® uses audible cues and a highly sensitive microphone to diagnose respiratory pathology.
Through these sound files, Equine Analysis is able to measure amplitude and frequency patterns generated by breathing that define the flow of air, timing intervals, and the characteristic frequencies we know to be diagnostic for the most common pathologies.
A top professional jockey can tell a great deal about a horse when he rides him at racing speed. He knows and recognizes that a Graded Stakes horse has a characteristic way of moving. At Equine Analysis, consistent with our overall philosophy, we have discovered a way to turn this “feeling” into numbers.
The Motion Efficiency test utilizes accelerometer data to get a three-dimensional overview of a horse's gait. As technology continues to advance, efforts are underway to further miniaturize the hardware and to develop ways to generate force related measurements which we hope will contribute to the improvement of the welfare aspects of thoroughbred racing.
In the early 1980's, Dr. Norm Rantanen pioneered the use of ultrasound to measure heart size in thoroughbreds. His methodology was adapted and modified by the veterinarians and technical staff at Equine Analysis so that now, under these strict scanning and measuring protocols, EA has precise data on over 40,000 horses.
Our present understanding is quite different from our early assumptions. We now know that the widely held belief that, a great horse must have a big heart, is simply not true. The athletic ability of a horse itself must be understood before the suitability of the heart type can be judged. The heart type has to match the biomechanics of the horse. Our cardiac evaluations identify elite athletes as those having “appropriate” heart types rather than “big” hearts.
Metabolic Response to Exercise
The Metabolic Response to Exercise (MRE) test is based on the analysis of a horse’s blood after exercise. We analyze the blood looking for certain key bi-products of the biochemistry involved in intramuscular energy production. From these numbers we can tell clients how much effort the horse exerted to complete the workout in question.
Combining MRE results with the Wind Test® and Motion Efficiency, we can give our clients a complete scientific overview of their horses' on-track performance.
A horse sale is deliberately a high pressure environment. This environment can often lead to hasty decision making. With a lot of horses presented, there is but a short time to inspect them as well as only moments to place bids.
However, a buyer using Equine Analysis does not have to be in this negative situation. Our extensive testing, eliminating many horses from consideration, provides focus while relieving pressure through our early detailed reporting process. Our clients are better able to make informed, thoughtful, and unhurried investment decisions. Having the logistical competency to achieve this goal is a unique skill set of our team at Equine Analysis.
We have developed special and trusting relationships with most consignors at all major thoroughbred auctions which allows us to gather data on hundreds of horses each day. Our sales protocol involves FotoSelect®, Cardiovascular, and Genetic testing to statistically isolate the top prospects in an auction and present them to our clients for possible purchase.
Herd management can be quite a challenging endeavor for thoroughbred owners and farm managers. Management decisions for stallion and mare selection, culling or retaining to race, and possibly even trainer selection and race management can often prove to be quite a challenging processes, especially when selling or keeping one horse can be the difference in success and failure.
Data from each individual can be combined to give owners and farm managers a unique overview of their entire herd. With an owner’s goals and risk tolerance in mind, our veterinarians and executives are always available to work with a farm management team so as to make the most relevant and accurate decisions possible.
Our homebred program, taking place up until a horse is sold or sent to his respective trainer, involves FotoSelect®, Cardiovascular, and Genetic testing. Once in training, the Wind Test®, Motion Efficiency, and MRE tests can be applied to assist trainers and race managers in planning a horse’s future racing career.
Through our unique relationships with most major thoroughbred farms in central KY, we have been blessed to gather data on a majority of the top stallions of the past 30 years. We have also been fortunate to work with some of the top breeders, some of whom have been awarded Eclipse Awards as a consequence of their breeding success. Associations with breeders of this caliber has allowed us to gather data on hundreds of Graded Stakes producing broodmares.
By using advanced data analysis on the historical records of all these elite stallions and broodmares, Equine Analysis has arrived at a unique understanding of the most valuable physiological traits common to them all.
Using this knowledge, we have been able to create scientific models for predicting stallion potential, broodmare potential, and mating compatibility. This informed breeding program assists EA clients in achieving the highest levels of success in thoroughbred breeding operations.