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Selecting a Mate for a Mare


By Roger Lyons
This article is excerpted from Part II of the CompuSire FirstCross User Manual.

       The design and program flow of the CompuSire FirstCross module has the structure of a research process oriented towards answering questions that are pertinent to mating decisions, whether in regard to selecting a stallion for a mare or in regard to selecting mares for a stallion. The following is an account of that process as it applies to the former task.

The performance of the sire
       You want to breed your mare to a stallion who either 1) has been successful with other mares bred similarly to your mare or 2) is bred similarly to stallions who have sired stakes winners out of mares bred similarly to your mare. In order to identify such a stallion you must first identify a group of stakes winners out of mares bred similarly to the subject mare so that you can make observations about the sires of those stakes winners.
       The first step in the process of selecting a stallion for a mare is to check the record of her sire. Do this by selecting FirstCross-->Broodmare sire line. Then enter her sire at the prompt. A window will open displaying a list of stakes winners out of mares descending from the sire you entered.
       In some cases, no stakes winners will appear, or there may be only a few cases. In that event, there are two things you can do: 1) You can check the record of her sire’s sire, and 2) you can check the record of her dam’s sire. You will probably want to look at these lists in any event.

Scan the list of stakes winners
       The list of stakes winners includes the name of the stakes winner, year of birth, highest level of attainment (G1, G2, G3), the sire of the stakes winner, the sire’s sire, and the broodmare sire of the stakes winner, which corresponds with the sire of your mare. Since you are actually concerned with a broodmare sire line, some of the broodmare sires listed might be male descendents of your mare’s sire.
       Look at the sires and sire lines of these stakes winners to determine whether or not certain sire lines are associated with a relatively large proportion of the stakes winners listed. Be especially attentive to any branches that might occur frequently.
       After you have formed an impression of the list, then close it by pressing the Esc key or by clicking on the browse window control area in the title bar directly to the left of the title “Current group” within the browse window. Then select Close from the menu.

Scan the ancestries of the stakes winners
       The next step is to inspect the ancestries of the stakes winners, looking for methods of inbreeding or recurring ancestors that might be pertinent to the ancestry of your mare. Do this by selecting FirstCross-->Pedigree. When you do this, the ancestry of the first stakes winner in the group will appear on the screen.
       You can browse the other ancestries by holding down the Ctrl key and striking the letter N or by selecting Pedigrees-->Next. Also take note of the other control keys under the pedigrees menu affecting the display of lists
       You can print any given ancestry or all of them at once by selecting Files-->Print.

Analyze a cross
       While scanning the ancestries of the stakes winners, you may see a specific cross that you want to investigate further. If so, select FirstCross-->Current pedigree (meaning the pedigree that is on the screen). This opens the sire-line selection window, from which you can display a “Profile,” generate an “Analysis,” or “List” a new group of stakes winners bred after that particular cross.
       Keep in mind that, if you generate a new list, you have the option of switching the pedigree batch to this narrowed list. To do this, close the list, cancel the sire-line selection window, and select FirstCross--Pedigrees again. Each time you select FirstCross-->Pedigrees, the batch of pedigrees for display on the screen will correspond with the last-selected list.
       This enables you to focus more specifically on a certain sire or sire line.

Select a stallion
       The determinations you can make using FirstCross will vary from one mare to another, depending mainly on the ancestry of the mare and your powers of observation. In some cases, a specific stallion may stand out. In other cases a particular sire line will be prominent. In some cases, unfortunately, you may not be able to make any satsifying determination at all. This latter circumstance may affect your future acquisition of broodmares.
       If you find a specific stallion that you want to breed to, then the process is finished, but, assuming that you have narrowed the search to a particular sire line, then there is one more phase of research.
       First, reset the menus by selecting Files-->Clear.
       Next, make sure your mare’s ancestry is in the database by selecting Pedigree-->Dam. If her ancestry is not in the database, select Files-->Add pedigree, and enter her ancestry.
       After selecting Files-->Clear to reset the menus, select Search-->Tail male, and enter the sire line that is of interest to you. While the FirstCross menu is used to select groups of stakes winners, the Search menu is used to select groups of stallions. What you want to do is select a sire line, such as Mr. Prospector, Danzig, etc. to find out what sons or grandsons are available (See the CompuSire manual for use of the Search menu features).
       When you are finished selecting search parameters, start the search. A list of stallions will appear on the screen. Select the first one by pressing Enter or by double-clicking on the stallion’s name, and then scan the prospective matings, looking for the best match.

Check inbreeding
       If you find a stallion you like, then you might want to check the inbreeding that results when crossed with your mare. Do this by selecting FirstCross--Inbreeding (female or male, depending on sex of the duplicated ancestor). Be sure to take into account the specific strains involved.
       Suppose a prospective mating has inbreeding to the female ancestor, Grey Flight. Select FirstCross--Inbreeding--Female to find out what stakes winners have inbreeding to Grey Flight. The list that comes up will show you not only what stakes winners have such inbreeding, but what generational distances and specific strains are involved.
       If, on the other hand, you have a prospective foal that would be inbred to Northern Dancer. There are a lot of stakes winners inbred to Northern Dancer, of course, so, instead of putting in Northern Dancer at both the sire and dam prompts, enter the specific strain through which Northern Dancer occurs in the sire side and the specific strain through which he occurs in the dam side, provided both strains are male. This way, you can find out whether or not the two male strains involved--say, Danzig and Vice Regent--have previously been combined in the ancestry of a stakes winner.
       You can also use this feature, of course, for any two male ancestors, whether or not they are related on either the sire or dam sides. For example, you might want to find out in what stakes winners Mr. Prospector has occurred on the sire side and Blushing Groom on the dam side. Keep in mind, though, that, whether you are checking for inbreeding or for any two male strains, this feature searches back to only four generations.

Copyright © 1998 Roger E. Lyons.
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