Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A look at the numbers: Older endurance horses

Bootsandsaddles4mel Blog - Full Article

November 21 2015
by Melinda Newton

In the Oct Link Luv post I shared some data that Mike Maul posted on the AERC facebook page... now, instead of relying on your *squirrel-shiny-object-syndrome brains to go click on that link and then come back in some sort of orderly and reliable fashion (this is the modern age after all), I’ll just **reiterate everything here.

*Oh, maybe that’s just me? So says the bad blogger who felt the need to perfect a maple syrup and cinnamon roasted almond recipe prior to actually settling down and writing this post.

**As a side benefit I will have added several hundred words to this post and thus towards my “write a thousand words a day” resolution without having actually applied myself to my book that surely won’t write itself over in that corner.

Here’s what I had to say in October:

On the surface it looks like the mode has shifted “older” about 3 years – from around 8 years of age to around 11 years old. The mean (average) is probably even a couple years above those numbers, meaning that right now your “average” endurance horse is in its teens.

Over the years there has been some changes in the age requirements for horses starting various endurance distances which probably explains the drop off in 4 year olds competing.

As someone with a horse that’s staring late teens in the face and shows no signs of slowing down, I’m much more interested in the right hand side of the graph.

And here’s the thought I had that sent me down this rabbit (squirrel?) hole:

It’s still a fact that in both 2004 and 2014 a horse in its late teens and in its 20’s makes up a very small part of the population. Whether that is because most of these horses are started in the sport as the average horse as an 8-11 year old and that’s just a really long time to stay accident free and genetically lucky, or whether it represents a few folks brave enough to start their older horses in the sport and these horses are relative newcomers, I can’t tell from this data. It would be really interesting to look at each age group and see what their average number of previous seasons was...

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