Behavioral / Mental Profiling of Horses

Behavioral / Mental Profiling of Horses

Behavioral / Mental Profiling of Horses

by KERRY M. THOMAS of THT Bloodstock

*THT Bloodstock had the honor of being included in Ireland based Horse Tech Conference’s recognition of innovative and pioneering equine businesses market report. The following is an excerpt of our introduction in the Psychology section.*

“When investing in inanimate objects, you can disregard taking behavioral economics into consideration; horses are not inanimate objects.” Kerry M Thomas, Founder of THT Bloodstock

Welcome to THT Bloodstock,

THT Bloodstock is the only full service bloodstock company in the world that specializes in analyzing the mind of the horse as it relates to class, distance aptitude, performance and breeding. The evaluation of emotional intelligence and herd dynamic level pulls back the veil concealing the operating system of the physical machine. Behavioral Genetics is the very definition of innovative horse technology; the study of herd dynamics and their profound impact on athletics is the core of our behavioral science research and services.

 


 

Physical efficiency and soundness in the horse is only part of the requirement to compete at the highest levels, stress management and the ability to adapt to sudden changes in the environment independently, is also essential. The psychological athlete must be efficient and sound in order to optimize physical talent.

At THT Bloodstock we offer our clients the strategic added benefit of the horse’s behavioral genetic profile; tendencies and herd dynamic juxtaposed with their physical and pedigree information. We like to say that with a horse you’re investing in both “car and driver”, the smart investor makes decisions with all of the information that can be obtained whether it be weanling, yearling, or older horse investments.

Herd Dynamic Profiling is an extremely valuable tool because the psyche plays such a major role in every aspect of the horses’ life from the natural placement in a herd of their peers to the way they will manage the emotional stresses of training and competing. Identifying character and behavior traits, strengths and weaknesses, reveals their inherent environmental dependencies where they exist. Patterns in horses natural behavior reveals the natural patterns in their movement; vital information for not only purchases but also for developing influential training programs.

Because Herd Dynamic Profiling identifies unique information about the psychology of the horse it has applications at every level and at every stage of a horse’s growth and development. Whether used in identifying likely growth patterns in the very young, matching proper character traits and stress tendencies in potential breeding mates or providing performance profiles for competing horses, herd dynamics is next level innovation.

Many areas of the horse psychology are too often underappreciated and our goal is to continue to shed light upon these. Among them is the vital importance of an efficient and high functioning sensory system. On an individual basis the sensory system leads the way in controlling physical movement and within a herd setting it is a determining factor of where the individual ranks in herd hierarchy, influencing where they “finish” when competing against their peers.

By nature 85% of horses on average will fall into the middle ranges of the herd dynamic hierarchy, meaning they have inherent inefficiencies in their psychology which translate necessarily to dependencies within the environment, namely other horses. These dependencies influence movement superseding physical aptitude; the ability to interpret stimuli precedes and dictates the resulting movement thus affecting the horse’s ability to compete on a sustainable level.

The higher you go on the herd dynamic scale the more independent the horse is psychologically, subsequently the more sensory sound and adaptable to situational chaos. Horses with hidden herd dependencies are prone to becoming “herd bound” and have difficulty in separating themselves from the herd and when they do, they have a far more difficult time sustaining this separation. Herd dependencies disrupt performance; affect distance aptitude, compromise potential and impede training. There is a major difference between a horse moving in space, and a horse moving through space.

In nature elite herd dynamic ability horses are a very low number by percentage; in natural environments you will find roughly 3% or less at this level. Matching physical potential with psychological potential in the selection process is the key to recruiting higher and finding that next-level prospect. Mother Nature conceals her leadership in those who adapt and assimilate seamlessly.

Herd dynamics by the numbers. Applying data collection and research to our constant study of the behavioral sciences in equine sport is essential. We utilize our database of unique information strategically in our services as well as in the way it guides us to further innovation.

Our data allows tracking of behavioral traits and tendencies as well as sensory system efficiency during performance which in turn helps us key-in on emotional intelligence markers inherent in the behavior patterns of young horses. Patterns of behavior not only translate to patterns in motion but are also a strong indicator of psychological growth patterns and herd dependencies or co-dependencies that may develop. Tracking herd dynamic data also aids in the matching or avoiding of physical strengths and potential weaknesses with their corresponding mental strengths or inefficiencies; the psychological athlete is the operating system of physical athleticism. When physical ability is corroborated with natural herd dynamic strengths, optimization of total ability becomes a higher probability.

Analytics and technology are useful and important tools for understanding the physical athlete, but the emotional athlete is every bit as essential. The question that must be answered when recruiting “player personnel”; will the psychological athlete be able to optimize the ability of the physical athlete?

If you want to compete at a higher level, you must recruit with a higher standard. Get an edge on your competition by incorporating THT’s groundbreaking research into your program. Visit our website www.thtbloodstock.com to learn more about how we can help you, go panning-for-gold.

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Shayne Heffernan Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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