Scot Gillies from The Bloodhorse posted a comment here asking what I thought of their new study on 'The Iron Horse'. I'll have some more comments on it soon, but thought I'd start by sharing the email I sent to him:
Hi Scot. You had asked me (via my blog) what I thought of the Bloodhorse study 'The Iron Horse'. I've read it several times now, and believe that (as the study itself said) it provides a useful starting point, but doesn't really allow us to draw a lot of conclusions. Basically it shows that across many segments of the business, horses race less than they use to. It does not indicate anything one way or the other about whether the breed is actually less durable, or whether training methods have trained. Like Rob Whiteley, I would tend to doubt whether there has been enough time for the breed to change as drastically as many people seem to think. The most interesting thing to me is that even at the lower levels of competition, where there would seem to be financial incentive to race horses more often, rather than less often, racing schedules are much lighter than they used to be. Is it possible that the entire industry has missed the boat on this one, and are making a financial mistake in an effort to copy the techniques of the people at the high end of the industry? It's something I'll be giving a lot of though to, and hope to come up with some answers to.