Breeders improve performance with data-based decisions thanks to businesses like Robin Glenn Pedigrees and Equi-Stat
January 3, 2019
Thirty years ago, breeding performance horses wasn't much more than blind guesswork, but in the last 30 years thanks to databases like Equi-Stat and Robin Glenn Pedigrees, breeders can make more refined and solid decisions. Today, the results speak for themselves, thanks to these pioneers in the industry.
For years, Robin Glenn knew there had to be a better way to produce sale catalogs for horses and in 1982 she started keeping her own extensive database covering western performance horse events. She felt that the traditional paragraph type pedigrees weren't good enough; her idea was to use racing-style pedigrees for performance horses. It took a while for the industry to evolve and it wasn't until four years later, after she produced a successful sale catalog for Carol Rose of Gainesville, Texas, that her idea started to catch on. Today, most major performance horse sales use Glenn's idea of using a more extended pedigree in their catalogs.
In 1985, Zack Wood, the director of the National Cutting Horse Association, and William S. Morris III, founder of Morris Communications and owner of the Quarter Horse News got together and realized there was a need to track performance data so that it would not be lost. They created a database called Equi-Stat to house the major aged events and earnings, along with weekend events and earnings from the NCHA in a way that statistical data could be produced on the leading sires, dams, owners, riders, breeders and even shows or regions. It was also a database for the Quarter Horse News editorial department to use when writing articles that required statistical data. Now Equi-Stat keeps data on a wide variety of disciplines, including cutting, reining, reined cow horse, ranch horse, barrel racing, western pleasure, hunter under saddle, longe line and many more.
"The original purpose of why it started was because that money was just being lost," says Temple Read, general manager for the Quarter Horse News and director of Equi-Stat. "No one was tracking it, and I think that was really the beginning of changing a lot of how the industry looks at performance-type events because of the knowledge in that database."
At the time, nobody really knew that the cutting horse industry was a multi-million-dollar industry until they started tracking the performance data. Breeders soon found that having a database helped them discover what mares crossed best with what stallions, proven by how much money their offspring was winning. More detailed catalogs proved to add value to the animals, although some said too much information would hurt the horses. Both businesses are responsible for shaping the performance horse industry that is today.
Databases are only as accurate as the information they carry, and both Equi-Stat and Robin Glenn Pedigrees are particular about how they receive data.
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"We keep anything that we can get our hands on as long as its provided to us in a complete format and it is official results," Read says. "We don't let people just call us and say, 'Hey I went to this barrel race and won this much.' We do it by show because we need to have accurate, factual information, so it has to be provided officially, whether by an association or producer that put on the event and it has to be a complete show, not just portions, with all payout and all entries."
Although both businesses record data in similar capacities, they offer different services to the industry. Reports that Equi-Stat produces included Detailed Performance Reports for horse, rider, owner, show events, placings and earnings by year; Get and Produce Records including offspring with performance details or by summary of total earnings; and Magic Cross Reports pulled by sires, dams or maternal grandsires ranking the best crosses based on offspring earnings.
No matter the parameter of the statistics needed, Read says that her staff can pull anything together for nearly any purpose.
"We have a lot of people looking to purchase horses, people looking to breed horses or people looking to figure out regions of where shows are held and how much money is paid out in a region," Read says. "Anybody in the industry could have a reason to contact us, along with people that even produce and put on shows."
Robin Glenn Pedigrees is similar in the statistical information provided to customers who order reports. The company offers performance reports that show earnings, placings and AQHA points earned for horses; produce reports give information for all AQHA foals, shown or unshown; best cross reports help breeders choose the best sires and dams for their breeding stock; and the FoalTracker provides weekly reports on a certain sire or dam's offspring. The other part of the company focuses on creating catalogs and pedigree pages, something Glenn has been passionate about since the beginning.
For over thirty years both companies have worked to keep their records up to date and accurate, something Read says she is especially proud of, especially in today's world.
"Say there's an event and two hours later you can go to the website or social media and see who placed and what they money was, but the problem with that is sometimes it's not correct and it's not official," she says. "We get the official results and we might not be the first ones up, but what you get from us is going to be as accurate as possible."