Air and breathing: Notes from Becker at Elevage Y Turf blog

6 thoughts on “Air and breathing: Notes from Becker at Elevage Y Turf blog”

  1. Umm. Not exactly. Becker – whose bookwas published in the 1930s – had some interesting ideas, but also some wacky ones (look up Telegony).

    This is one of the wacky ones. I think further on he attributes the defeat of the excellent Royal Minstrel by the brilliant filly Tiffin in the July Cup to Royal Minstrel having exhausted his air supply at five furlongs, and bobbling while he sucked in another lungful. He concludes that Royal Minstrel would have won at five furlongs, and therefore didn’t stay. That’s despite his victory in the Eclipse at 10 furlongs.

    Anyway, this is definitely a red-herring.

  2. Alan, I think the scientific information today explains the process of breathing in the racehorse fairly well and certainly better than Mr. Becker’s rudimentary grasps of its technicality, but the quote i have reproduced above from the Martinez blog and Mr. Becker’s attention years ago to this air issue is interesting and profound today for many reasons: one, air intake, breathing physiology, respiration rates, etc., are accepted parts to the puzzle today, when Lasix and bronchodialators such as clenbuterol are such important parts to racing management, and equipment such as tongue ties, Fig8 nosebands, Sure-Win bridles, nasal flairs, etc., are used to manage air; and, second, and just as importantly, the lack of attention paid by breeders in breeding for “sound wind.” Perhaps visiting the issue as caricature, or as hyperbole, or as sci-fi, will bring the topic back to center stage.
    Certainly it caught your attention to comment on it, and perhaps from here we’ll get a discussion rolling that will illuminate better what has happened and needs to happen to improve air.

  3. Alan, I think you have Becker and Lowe mixed up. In Mr. Becker’s book his chapter on saturation and congestion
    he calls Lowe’s work a Theory. I can’t find any mention of Telegony. If its not 100% its a theory.

  4. Jughead,

    I admit, I’m going from memory, as I’m in the U.S., and the bookc is in a loft in England, and it would probably be about 20 years since I read it.

    As far as I recall, I don’t believe that he ever mentions telegony, but I think he talks about successive siblings sort of reaching a peak of the stallions influence, and then getting too much. Also a mating with a different stallion being influenced by one that went before, which is very similar.

    The basis of the idea had actually generally been discredited a fair while earlier than the book, which I think was published in about 1936.

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