Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bloodlines in Endurance - Just Curiosity

So I was re-reading the December 2008 copy of Endurance News which showed the 2008 award standings for horses and riders in the AERC, both endurance and LD.

I was surprised at the absolute absence of any Varian bred Arabians. I don't believe I saw a single horse listed with a "V" after its name. I could have missed them, but I looked pretty carefully.

My previous experience with horses was geared towards the show ring. It didn't matter western, hunt, country, english, halter - if it was Arabian showing, I was interested. I've mentioned before that one of my childhood (and teenage) goals/dreams was to be an Arabian breeder/trainer and make it big in the show ring. (I'm glad I've come to my senses!!) Anyway, it is my understanding that Arabians with Varian breeding are the ones that are winning, and have been consistently winning in the show ring. I thought it was something like 40-60% of all winners were Varian bred (obviously I'm too lazy to look up the actual statistic, but they do a lot of winning). I had a chance to go to Varian Arabians out in California sometime in high school for the Summer Spectacular, where we saw the breeding stallions, went on a mare walk, saw the performance horses and prospects for sale, and I was very impressed. I have had the opportunity to ride and work with a few Varian bred horses and liked them very much.

So, I was surprised that none of the horses high in the award standings in endurance riding were Varian bred. Does anyone have any insight as to why?? It's not pressing - I am NOT in the market for a horse AT ALL right now, nor will be in the near future, but I am curious.


Anonymous said...

MAYBE because they are expensive! Most endurance riders don't like to spend an arm and a leg on a horse. Plus, the fastest endurance horses are arabs bred for racing. I personally like the horses that have a mostly racing pedigree with a tail female line to a Davenport mare.

Just my humble opinion.

Michelle Detmer

Anonymous said...

I do believe Farzad Faryadi rode a horse (Hot Desert Night) whose sire was Varian. At least his sire's name is Desert Heat VF by Fame VF. Is that Varian breeding? I just looked on allbreedspedigrees and he's by Bey Shah. So that's some Varian breeding doing well in endurance. But that's the only one I can think of off the top of my head right now.

Michelle Detmer

Endurance Granny said...

Nicole my only comment would be that horse bred for the show ring are bred for different characteristics than an endurance arabian. Some of the characteristics ideal to many lines just aren't an important function. If you look at breeders who are breeding for endurance and endurance only you will notice that the type of horse you see in the photos is obviously different. I don't know a lot about it, but I do know that CMK breeding is what I hear come up in discussion on some of the distance forums. You will hear things about a horse with a lot of bone, and that level topline you see on halter horses isn't necessarily desirable, the slope of the shoulder. Tippy ears, and a dish aren't all that pertinent to distance bred horses, though I do think they look pretty.

Nicole said...

Price: If I remember right, when I went to the Summer Spectacular in 2002, there were a few geldings available in the $5,000 range. And since then, horse prices in general have really gone down a lot! I don't know if that applies to Varian horses, too, but just looking at, there are quite a few horses listed today at $5,000 or greater. So I guess what I'm saying is they may not be THAT much more expensive, but if you wanted a mare, well - Varian mares are pretty pricey!!

Breeding: Makes sense. If you want a race horse, breed a race horse. I just imagined that there would at least be some high mileage Varian bred horses competing, even if they aren't the fastest. The horse you're referring to Michelle does have Varian breeding in there....but I don't think Fame VF would be considered a Varian bred horse - unless she changed her naming system - they have a V only at the end.

Type: When I was out there in 2002, there really weren't any strictly "halter" horses. Well, they'd just bought Jullyen El Jamaal, and I'd say he's more of a halter-only build, but he was just added. Sheila uses at least a few of her horses to work cattle in the California hills. The Varian horses I saw had conformation that was built to move, with the ability to get their hindquarters underneath, not tabletop flat like some of the halter arabs you see. They are also very pretty, but I don't believe they're pretty at the expense of athletic function. Unless things have changed in her program since I was out there.

Attitude: That is the thing that impressed me the most about Varian bred horses - those horses really like you, and are readily trainable and easy to work with. Easy to get along with - I think it would be a true pleasure to have one of them as your partner going down miles of trail. This is the main reason why I would think you'd see more of these horses in endurance.

I think it does have to do with all the things mentioned already, and maybe more, but it still just boggles my mind that oodles of Varian arabians are excelling in the arena, and not a single one is even on the charts on the trail.

Endurance Granny said...'s one at least

Kismet VCF
AHR # 579558
AERC # H43805
2000 Purebred Arabian gelding

My newest endurance mount is proving himself very well out on the trail. He successfully completed two 50’s at the 2008 Fort Schellbourne XP with more rides scheduled later this summer / fall. His incredibly easy going temperament and comfortable gaits makes 50 milers a breeze. It must have something to do with his breeding; Varian bred top and bottom. He’d be a tough one to sell.