Pedigree Theories and Selection Techniques
"Breed the best to the best and hope for the best".
The soundest theory is also the most basic one: "Breed the best to the best and hope for the best." This statement has been attributed to several people, but seems to have originated out of the genius of John Madden, one of the leading American trainers and breeders of the first half of the twentieth century.
Studies have proven that the best runners generally make the best sires and that the best racemares also make the best broodmares. While not all top male runners succeed as stallions (in fact, the percent of success is very small), it is far more unusual for a poor racehorse to beat the odds and become a good proven sire. It is much more likely for a poorly-raced dam to outbreed her own record on the track, especially when she has a good pedigree and is bred to good stock. On the other hand, statistics have shown that high quality racemares produce an inordinatey high percent of high class runners.
While these findings would imply that only the best stock should be mated, the basic concept is beautifully simple and can apply to the smallest and largest breeders. Breed the best you have to the best you can afford.
Not everyone can breed to A. P. Indy or Sadler's Wells, and frankly, even these stallions are not suited to every mare. But breeders should do everything in their power to approach those far-off goals. This can be done by utilizing the next best and more affordable options, either sons or grandsons of these sires or close relatives.
This theory translates into another basic concept: Strive to upgrade. Keep up the quality of the broodmare band and breed to the best stallions available. This also requires culling of unsatisfactory stock, animals with major undesirable faults, proven failures, and individuals that fall short of the average already existing in the herd.
Never go backwards by using poor individuals merely because they have working reproductive systems!