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hollyh1125
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« on: August 08, 2014, 05:33:03 PM »

It doesn't matter to me where this conversation goes I just want to let out a little public "sigh".

The game is feeling more like work than play now days.  I understand the push for realism and having more "things" to do than just wait on races to run. However, I think, the game as a whole, is getting a little unbalanced as far as "having fun", and "having to do work".  To have any chance of doing well in a race your horse has to be in peak physical and mental condition, which is a chore unto itself.  It's frustrating to see a once top stable deteriorate into nothingness because the intricacies of striving for "realism" suffocated it.
Taxes are sad to me...they are almost unbearable. Especially if you had a "off" year and slacked off on perfectly maintaining your stable so your horses would, at least, have a chance at placing well.  Maybe the ratio of a horses "natural" statistics and how they run based on mental and physical condition is off?  I understand giving a horse who is slightly less of a "powerhouse" an advantage with a few good workouts but it seems a horse doesn't even have a chance in hell anymore unless they are in perfect condition, which is frustrating.

In a perfect fantasy world I would like to see....
-  Barn size restricted again (yes, I realize I have quite a few of my own, but I wouldn't mind being forced to cut down...even by half). We have almost lost the buying and selling market because of over breeding.  I think if people were forced to sell or retire instead of hoarding and breeding every breathing mare we might get a market back with quality horses.

- Less emphasis put on working out and shipping horses.  It would be nice if more emphasis was put on your horses natural statistics so less time would be required to "work on them".  I miss the GOT's...Is there a happy medium?

- Less nominations.  I understand this is in the works, but we are still required to pay them which is still eating in to budgets needlessly.  If we want a horse to run in any of the important Triple Races we have to shell out still. Therefore, some of the more than qualified horses aren't running in them because owners either forgot to nominate them or just can't afford it.  Then those who do remember and can afford it are getting to run in them with relatively no competition. 

- Less taxes.  Tax, Tax, Tax, Fee, Fee, Fee.  Understandably no one likes taxes and fees but I feel it's getting a little out of hand.  Just because that's the way the real world is run doesn't make it right...

The way things are set up now I get feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, resentment, and sadness when I check on things at my virtual stable.  I want to feel happy and excited when I'm here.  I have a hard time donating time and money to something that I feel isn't fun.  At this point I'm just trying to survive...hoping there will be a change and I'll get that old excitement back...that kept me coming back for years.

These are all things we try to escape from when we enter an alternate reality.  As it is now I'm just being bombarded with real life "crap" in my escape from reality, which is super sad for me because this use to be my most favorite game in the world to engulf myself in and leave everything else behind. 

Sorry for the rant...it's just the way I've been feeling for a while and wanted to see what everyone else thought.  Especially the other "oldbies". ;)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 05:40:03 PM by hollyh1125 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2014, 07:25:48 PM »

I think the biggest thing you point out I definitely agree on is the tax, tax, tax. I also understand the push for realism, but it's a little sad and frustrating to be taxed for horses you no longer own (and in some cases only owned within the first 2-3 months of the year), taxed more on horses who actually do well and break the standard racehorse fee, pay a higher stud fee then be taxed more on said stud fee than the standard broodmare fee -- this can be especially irritating in the case of free LFG breedings, because if the fee is high enough it's not really free in the long run, no fault unto the stud owner of course -- fees based on a weanling or yearling's sire's stud fee (I've heard the argument that you would want to take better care of a high-priced stud's offspring but there's hardly a standard guideline for stud fees. The richest fee doesn't always produce the best offspring, and many times it's the broodmare in question who's better than the stud, but there are too many variables in this situation. There's also the situation of purchasing a foal by a super nice sire and being slapped with the stud fee tax (should 10% exceed 2k) when you had nothing to do with the breeding arrangement). It'd be a little less frustrating if there was just a standard fee for broodmares and youngstock, regardless of who they bred to, who their sire is, ect. I can understand the racehorse earnings tax; I think I'm mostly pointing it out because that's your real legit income in the face of taxes and a stifled seller's market.

That also ended up being a rant. Oops. Anyways, I agree with many points Holly makes. I love FF, I do, especially in seeing a homebred do well, or a claimer suddenly become great, and I have an especially huge love for the foaling season to see what sort of foal will hit the ground. However I think my last nice stakes horse was with the old script; I could actually afford to keep more than 10 broodmares and their foals. I find myself mostly training, training, training, entering races, selling many horses, training, training, shipping, race, sell more horses. I love FF, but I feel I spend half the year selling or leasing to survive taxes, then do likewise to have enough cash to enter races.

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I've been in FF a few years but apparently not long enough to recall barn size restrictions. Can someone fill me in?
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2014, 07:29:59 PM »

I'm not one of the original players but have been going for about 5-6 years now so hope it's OK to add some thoughts here.

Taxes - mine will be (again) pretty hefty this year, although I mostly blame myself for that having hoarded too many ponies. I wouldn't be against lesser taxes but if they stay as they are then I will have to manage things a bit better next year. Money management is not my strongest point, either in FF or RL  :(  And I do say, without fail every year that I will not buy more ponies next year!

Nominations - personally, I generally only nominate weanlings and even then not for many races - as my stable's in England the colts get nominated for the English and Irish 2000 guineas and the fillies for the 1000 equivalent which costs me $2000 per horse. They might get a lifetime BC nomination if they're eligible. I generally don't nominate for anything else as I'd have no money left but again perhaps that's where I need to have less horses. I do nominate my studs for the BC and nominated my foal crop for the BS this year but it was only a small crop. Do I remember Shanthi saying nominations were going in the rewrite?

Restricted stable size - I don't know what the previous restrictions were so can't really offer much of an opinion on this. If there was a limit, would it be up to individual stable owners to decide which horses to sell/retire/transfer to FF? If bigger stables sold off horses to smaller ones and taxes remained as they are could these potentially stunt the development/growth of smaller/newer stables?

From my own stable's performance this year I had noticed that although our OTB % is the best it's ever been, on the whole stakes level performers have been few and far between. I'd put this down to not having such good quality horses in the barn and my best racer perhaps being past his prime. I never thought it could be because the energy balance (or something) has more emphasis - perhaps Shanthi could confirm if there's been any changes.

In terms of selling, up until recently I would have said it could be quite difficult to sell horses but then I've just held an auction where all 60 horses sold and the majority for far more than I ever dreamed they would, especially since I felt I was letting go of mostly the "weaker" members of the barn. Some of the new owners seemed to think otherwise! However, there's been a number of horses on the sales board (and leases) for several months. Perhaps there could be a limit on how long a horse could be on there for, maybe 3 months, and if the horse didn't sell in that time they couldn't be reoffered for another month. I think if you are selling a horse, you know in your mind how much you want to sell it for but if it doesn't sell at that price you have to make the decision to either reduce the price until it does sell, keep it and possibly reoffer at a later date or retire. There was certainly a few in my auction that I would have retired had they not sold.

I have been actively trying to increase the calibre of mares that I breed from but I'll hold my hands up and say I have got a couple of mares that I'm breeding from for sentimental reasons rather than their stellar race records. Maybe there could be tighter restrictions on mares allowed to breed although plenty of unraced mares or those with relatively poor race records turn out to be excellent producers. Also, if newer/smaller stables couldn't breed any foals unless the mare had performed at stakes level that could take an awful long time and put some people off.

I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling a bit fed up with things. At the moment I still get excited about and hope it stays that way but it can be frustrating when it seems like only certain stables seem to be winning the stakes races week in, week out and the majority of mine seem to struggle beyond allowance company. I'll keep trying though and I'm hoping that as the better bred horses come through we might be more competitive in the bigger races. Quality over quantity is the way forward for me I think :)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 07:35:02 PM by imagine » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2014, 01:57:51 AM »

Just thought I'd chime in because I've been thinking about some of these things myself as well as some other things

**I think taxes need to be approached a little differently. I believe all animals should be charged minor flat fee for care, if taxes were run each three months or so this would lower them by taking into account selling horses early in the year etc.
 And then there should be tax brackets for overall stables earnings.
Thusly any stable earning one million or less would pay say 2%.
Any stable between 1 & 3 million would pay 5%
3 & 5 million would pay 10%
5 to 10 million 13%
over 10 million 18%
Etc or be tweaked to be better this is just off the top of my head. But it seems like it would be easier on stables earning low for the year and hit the stables with huge amounts harder. But is also more realistic. Especially as the tax seems to cap at $100,000 earning for each horse, which is unnecessary as if they're earning that much you can afford it. There is a LOT of money to go around when you consider the purse sizes and the relatively small amount of active stables in the game and this seems a better way to level it out some.

I'd like to add that taxes will slug me pretty hard as I spent a ridiculous amount on Stud fees and shipping broodmares so it's all my fault and I accept the responsibility should I go belly up. But I tend to keep a 'float' I check my after tax budget frequently, if it's going to be under a certain amount I don't do any unnecessary spending. I.e bidding, buying, breeding until we're back in shape

**I spend almost no time working my horses out, I use a schedule for all of them. I spend almost no time shipping either, my good horses are usually in America so i just board them. The majority of my time is spent deciding who to enter in what and when

** I think you should be able to sell horses over a certain age to FF OR any age if YOU bred them. The amount you should get for them is enough to cover the flat rate for owning them so that it can't be abused. I would hope barn sizes wouldn't be enforced as I enjoy my hoarding and what else is there to spend our money on except caring for horses. There's no way to know if a mare is quality until she's had several foals anyways. Many multi-millionaires are average producers and some poor runners make great babies. I have two gold rated broodmares, one unraced create and the other won a few times but flopped in stakes level races. There is always going to be duds or over the hill horses, in real life they would be sent to become meat or retrained for other professions. Selling to FF should be the solution for these. A lot of people have hangups about retiring the crappy runners at their stable. People still seem to pay plenty for good horses at auctions but the sales page is usually full of old or unsuccessful racers that need work.

** Personally I don't think nominations are really necessary but I'm pretty sure they're already on the way out. I like the BC setup though, that horses have to perform well to get in, otherwise there's little point to them.

** Most importantly I don't think there should be less input from players required, but as there have been changes made several times to FF perhaps we need to find out if there a lot of horses with talent going around and some stables are managing them better OR if it is all the management making even low quality horse run well? But I must say that I manage all my horses the same and yet they don't run like Ishka and Devil's Walk.  Also there is a problem with the rest cycle. Almost any horse (but not over the hill) can win a stakes race so long as it hasn't raced for 3+ months. Indeed don't race a horse for 7 months and it will win any race at all you put it in and get a speed record in the process. If same horse is raced monthly it's a total dud. This needs looking at

Want to say I love the game immensely as it is, even though i have 130 ish racehorses it is mainly a handful that keeps me afloat and I'm always a good kind of nervous on raceday because I'm never sure who will be successful
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 04:31:55 AM by Steph » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2014, 04:34:24 AM »

Holly, I would have to agree with everything you said. Brianna-Edgewood Stud
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2014, 07:20:33 AM »

Me too holly and I have had some really bad things happen in real,life and I don't even enjoy this now because no mater how much I try I can't make money, I have put up decent horses for sale and sold maybe 3 , I just don't have the time to handicap and it took yrs to,get quality mares and ow I'm going broke , it doesn't make me excited Anymore , m,y once promising stakes horses just one month all decided to not run anymore (ages don't even matter it was all) I am just sad :(
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2014, 07:33:51 AM »

I have noticed after buying horses from several stables that some do not seem to pay attention to their NE/morale which is pretty important and that after some rest these horses pick up significantly.
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2014, 08:16:21 AM »

And I sound like an ass now  :-\ I'm not arguing against holly's point I have no idea how the game used to be so I can't even say if it would be better to go back but I thought these ideas might be useful for the game as it is. And I just keep talking lately   ???
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2014, 01:56:52 PM »

It used to be that you could stable rest 1 month and be good, and 2 months would almost seem to "super charge" a horse and you could run them for 5+ months. Though I have purchased some horses from other stables who hadn't rested in 6-7 months and had been consistently doing well but the instant I bought them they struggled so I send them home for 3 months and they still don't seem to recover. I must not possess the right feed or something, lol. It does seem very unbalanced though.
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2014, 03:50:03 PM »

This system can work, but I understand the frustrations. Because it's a game, it's difficult to ALWAYS race horses consistently. Personally, I've had success with a light stable schedule for ALL racehorses, and resting them for one full month twice a year (I do it by age group so I know who has been). Is it ideal for every pony? Nope. But those are the ones I end up selling, typically. I've seen an increase in injuries in some, which sucks, but at least it's only virtual. My horses end up running less times per year than most other better managed horses, because I hate entering races of all things. :p I've also noticed that for some ponies, jockey comments mean EVERYTHING. Using a stable schedule allows me to occasionally scroll through and see what their jockey has to say (I assign each 2yo a random jockey to immediately start getting someone familiar enough for comment). All I look for is 1) do they know the horse like the back of their hand, and only if so, 2) running style and 3) equipment. The rest is just "filler" to me.

Oh, and when I do enter horses, I sort by energy, which means the horses with A/A float to the top of the list and are typically the only ones that run (unless I get REALLY into entering horses, which rarely happens).

I've also tried to self impose stable sizes over the years, so that's always an option. I would set a goal number (broodmares based on the number of 2yos I wanted to try managing each year, for example), and have sold several great horses based on this. I don't think the game needs to "control" this, personally. I like it to be personal preference.

I do think the idea of a flat stable care fee per horse plus a "tax bracket" on overall income could work, and soften the blow on the years where real life just keeps you from being active for whatever reason.

I do think people are breeding horses with the goal to sell some off, which obviously doesn't work in FFs current market. I do wish there was a way to "donate" horses to FF if they don't sell, for little or no money. But those young broodmares with 2-3 foals on the ground (and no runners yet) have too much potential to go ahead and retire. We need to consider skipping a year or two before rebreeding. But then the alerts will be fun. Maybe a "put to pasture for a year" status button would work? Ha. That's just my OCD.

Ultimately, I think people expect to make money from the breeding side, which used to work, but doesn't anymore. We have to breed horses WE want (and are able to) manage. Sure, we might still sell a couple, but we all probably buy just as many to fill those slots.

Sorry if I've offend anyone...but I wanted to offer my real opinion...

Now I just wish we could enter more than 2 race days, because sometimes there isn't a good race. But that's just the lazy me who wants to knock it all out at once when I do it...
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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2014, 02:04:50 AM »

To be honest, I think the only reason I've been sticking around for so long is because I want to see how Eighteen Karat does as a sire. I own a lot of his babies so if they turn out to be nice runners, well, I can get steady-ish income from them.

I don't think I play very well with this particular game's system, especially since after several years I still haven't found a system that works for the majority of my runners, but my real problem is the current tax system. For me, new horses = more taxes that I can't afford to pay so I just end up racing the same group of horses that just lose me money race day after race day. I don't think I claimed a single horse this year because of that. I know we're going for realism and I actually don't mind being taxed on the horses but the way I'm being taxed is sucking all the fun and challenges out of the game.

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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2014, 07:33:07 AM »

I want to wait and see what other thoughts come from this thread, but regarding taxes...

I haven't even considered how to write them in the beta. That tells me that 1) they're not very important 2) they should be rethought. ;)

Taxes were setup initially as a money sink when racing was cheap/easy (no shipping, no jockeys). Likewise breeding was also cheap/easy (and at a lower volume so there were fewer stillbirths). A lot more fees have been introduced since then, making it harder to make a profit from horses, so taxes seem a bit irrelevant.

I quite like Steph's suggestion above about how to rework taxes. I'd need to run some numbers to see how what makes the most sense, but I've been thinking for a while about how to rework taxes and Steph, your suggestions make sense.

I don't know when the rewrite will be done (lack of time/energy to work on it really slows me down), but until it does, I'm going to disable the tax script on the current system. Hopefully it'll just be for this one tax season. ;)

Yes, that means no taxes for 2018. Don't spend your saved money all in one place. (Or do, if it's on one of my consigned ponies in the Select Auction next month :P)
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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2014, 10:46:45 AM »

Yaay no taxes!

I didn't like one thing about them, especially; that if you bred a mare to a relatively new/unproven stallion for a cheap fee, and then that stallion suddenly became Gold rated and his fee grew significantly, you would pay for the weanling/yearling the higher % of his current fee instead of % of what you paid for the breeding... which I felt was unfair because that breeding was a risk when the stallion did not have his rating yet.
But, it doesn't happen that often.
I also blame myself for claiming not-so-promising claimers from FF... I didn't have to!
But I got better at retiring ponies... I even retired a 2yo after four races... :D because I thought that his pedigree is not that awesome, so if he's not brilliant from the start it probably means that he will not be brilliant later... and I have other 2yo's with better pedigrees and starts...
I'm also planning a new approach to selling this year's yearlings when they turn 2 in 2019: instead of picking the ones to sell, I will pick the ones I really (but really) want to keep, and sell the rest... the idea is to sell more than I will keep, but we shall see ;)
I still love the game! And I'm sure we'll all enjoy it better with the new horse pictures  :D
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 02:57:58 PM by Hilda with Clicker » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2014, 03:04:53 PM »

I agree that something like what Steph suggested might be better all round, although maybe lower rates would be sufficient.

For example, looking at my Taxes for last year, my overall Taxes came to a little over $5m. If I had been Taxed a straight 10% of my Total Race Earnings alone (not including extras like Stud Fees received and Horses Sold), my Taxes would have been just under $7m.

Then, add on say 5% of all Stud Fees Received and say 5% of the value of horses sold, plus maybe $1,000 for all unraced & unretired horses in your Stable (although, a racehorse that raced even once but had zero earnings for the year, would escape having to "pay Tax"). I don't know where Broodmares and Stallions would fit into this latter category, but they probably shouldn't be included. After all, if the broodmare owner is already having to pay a Stud Fee, why should they have to pay a Tax on that expense? A flat $1,000 per foal Tax for all live foals should cover "feed and care" for the foal. A Stallion would already be covered by the Tax on Stud Fees.

The Tax on Racing Earnings might be easier to code than how it is being done currently because, instead of the current system (having to work out what each individual racehorse earned, Taxing a percentage of its earnings, working out if this Tax came to less than $5,000 or more than $100,000), Shanthi would just have to figure out the Stables total Earnings (which shouldn't be too hard, since that is shown on each Stables Information page and must be stored somewhere in the system) and apply the relevant Tax Rate to that figure.

This should be fairer so that a larger stable whose racehorses all decide to have an off year at the same time, wouldn't be penalized for this and, a large stable, like mine, whose horses are "running out of their shoes", will definitely pay their fair share of Taxes.
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2014, 07:13:03 PM »

I totally agree with the game become more work than fun. Taxes crush me every year. I've been in the game for 7 years, and granted I've been in school that entire time so I don't have a lot of time to devote, but at this point I would like to think I'd have at least won some caliber of races that would allow me to survive. CW was always my stable savior because it allowed me that extra income I simply couldn't get from my ponies. So thank you Shanthi for cancelling for this year! It means I will be able to race at the beginning of next year instead of trying to sell or lease my ponies in a flooded market.

As far as breeding and selling, I've always wondered if there should be a standard for BMs, but at the same time there are stallions now that are from mares that were practically duds. If there could be any evaluation of sorts that mares could go through, great, but I'm hesitant to restrict some BMs because they are wildcards in so many ways. What if there was a "if the mare hasn't produced a winner in 3 racing foals she retires" kind of rule? I'm nor sure how to give everyone a fair shake especially since some horses are terribly late bloomers. I've had a number of mine that have just come to their racing style at 4 or 5 (though this may be due to the fact that I have a very lightly raced stable because of school).

I've also thought about retiring being more standardized. Especially for the FF horses, since FF has so many. There are a lot of older horses running 1 minute+ for 2f in their races, which is so slow. Those horses are just over the hill to me, and it would be great to see them retire and give the other FF horses that have barely been raced a chance. Even if there was a notification that came up on stable pages like injuries/births/deaths/retirements. Maybe something that says "the FF trainer has noticed x horses has been performing poorly. She suggests this horse be retired." or something like that?

Also, when we get new members, is there anyway that we can give them FF stock horses instead of making more created horses? Especially since so many of the new stables seem to disappear after a couple races.

Just some thoughts.
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2014, 09:06:15 PM »

Oh wow, this thread has said it all, I thought it was just me! - I don't find the game fun anymore, I no longer look forward to seeing the race results as i already know they will be poor. I have never been very succesfull in the 9 years I have been a member but the last 18 months or so have been appaling and I simply don't understand why. surely I must have had some good horses but I seem not to be able to get them to win. I have tried different methods but nothing seems to improve matters. I especially can't understand why the few promising 2yo I have fail totally at three and almost no horse has more than a few months of running well anymore.

I always used to look forward to the big FF auctions to see if I could pick up a bargain. The last two years I have not bothered as I can't afford any more poor runners.And I did find them so much fun in the past.
I only want to sell now as I hope if I get the numbers down I can give more attention to the ones I keep. But there are so many horses selling is almost impossible. I have retired a lot of horses this year and will retire more at the end of the year.
When I first started there were about 8,000 horses in FF now there are 27,000, how many of these are retired or deceased I don't know but thats still an awful lot of horses for the number of active stables. Perhaps earlier retirement would re balance the numbers and make buying and selling a bit more competetive.

I'm not looking for a game where I don't have to put in any effort to play but having to spend so much time working on "balancing the books" spoils the fun. I want to concentrate more on getting the right horse in exactly the right race, rather than missing races because it's too expensive to send them to a distant track if its only a low level race. (getting rid of nominations would be great too if it could be done.)

I do want to continue with the game, I used to enjoy it so much, and I'm so glad there will be no taxes this year as I would almost certainly be bankrupt at the start of 2019. So perhaps next year will be a bit more successful.
And thank you Shanthi for listening and helping.
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« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2014, 02:20:19 PM »

So, first off, I hope this post won't sound too defensive. I understand that there are challenges with the game, and opportunity for tweaks/improvements, but at the same time I've devoted the majority of my free time to creating/running this game for most of my life, so it's kind of my baby. ;)

That said, if anyone truly doesn't enjoy the game or finds it too frustrating, please leave. I don't mean that in an offended "it's the best, if you don't agree you're out!" sense, just a "life is too short, don't spend time on something that's not positive for you" (especially if you're counting the hours until code gets better...I am, too, but as I've said before it's a very slow process to get things to the point that the Beta can be used for real). I want the game to be challenging, but fun.

Having said that, I'll try and hit all the points raised so far...

-  Barn size restricted again (yes, I realize I have quite a few of my own, but I wouldn't mind being forced to cut down...even by half). We have almost lost the buying and selling market because of over breeding.  I think if people were forced to sell or retire instead of hoarding and breeding every breathing mare we might get a market back with quality horses.

I don't want to do this on a game-level because what's a "big" stable? I might say that 50 racehorses is plenty, someone else might only want 20 (or 200).

That said, in the beta this could be a user preference. You could decide to enforce limits on your stable, and set the limits to be X/Y/Z. Would need to flesh out what happens if/when you exceed those limits (previously the game would just steal random horses until you got down to your limit, that seems a bit harsh for something you decide) - maybe you'd just get alerts on your stable page or something, telling you to sell horses.

- Less emphasis put on working out and shipping horses.  It would be nice if more emphasis was put on your horses natural statistics so less time would be required to "work on them".  I miss the GOT's...Is there a happy medium?

The only "emphasis" workouts have is keeping your horse fit (if you choose to do that between races). Workouts are not mandatory (people above have mentioned they never use them) - the can help maintain fitness, and let the jockey get to know the horse a bit better, that's it. If you like them, use them, if not, don't.

Regarding shipping, that's staying. I hope to add more races (and possibly racetracks) so that you have to ship less, but that also depends on how many races fill up (and getting everything else on the to-do list done). Boarding should help with shipping as you can just keep a horse at a racetrack and ship to the next track when you enter them again.

- Less nominations.  I understand this is in the works, but we are still required to pay them which is still eating in to budgets needlessly.  If we want a horse to run in any of the important Triple Races we have to shell out still. Therefore, some of the more than qualified horses aren't running in them because owners either forgot to nominate them or just can't afford it.  Then those who do remember and can afford it are getting to run in them with relatively no competition.

Nominations are going away with the rewrite. I'll see if I can kill them sooner - no promises, though (it depends on how much time it would take to kill them).

However I think my last nice stakes horse was with the old script;

What do you mean by "old script"? Aside from the bug fix for the margins that I did last year, the race code hasn't changed in at least 4 years.

I've been in FF a few years but apparently not long enough to recall barn size restrictions. Can someone fill me in?

There used to be limits on how many of certain types of horses you could own (I believe it was 150 racehorses, 10 stallions and 150 broodmares). If you went over the limits, the game would take horses away until you were at the limits again. I removed it because most people weren't hitting those limits anyway.

From my own stable's performance this year I had noticed that although our OTB % is the best it's ever been, on the whole stakes level performers have been few and far between. I'd put this down to not having such good quality horses in the barn and my best racer perhaps being past his prime. I never thought it could be because the energy balance (or something) has more emphasis - perhaps Shanthi could confirm if there's been any changes.

Nope, no changes to the code. (As a side note, I've noticed this trend as well - my horses kick butt in maidens/allowances, put the same set of horses in a stakes race and they flop. :P)

However, there's been a number of horses on the sales board (and leases) for several months. Perhaps there could be a limit on how long a horse could be on there for, maybe 3 months, and if the horse didn't sell in that time they couldn't be reoffered for another month. I think if you are selling a horse, you know in your mind how much you want to sell it for but if it doesn't sell at that price you have to make the decision to either reduce the price until it does sell, keep it and possibly reoffer at a later date or retire. There was certainly a few in my auction that I would have retired had they not sold.

That's planned in the rewrite - sales/leases will expire after a certain amount of time (probably 1 month) and you'll have to relist for a lower price if you still want to get rid of them (as obviously there's no interest at their current price).

Maybe there could be tighter restrictions on mares allowed to breed although plenty of unraced mares or those with relatively poor race records turn out to be excellent producers. Also, if newer/smaller stables couldn't breed any foals unless the mare had performed at stakes level that could take an awful long time and put some people off.

I'm hesitant to do this because mares can have so few foals, and each breeding has a chance to produce a crap foal or a superstar foal (higher quality mare/stud combos just have a higher chance of superstar relative to crap). Stallions get restrictions because they can have up to 30 foals a year (and to prevent people from retiring every breedable male to stud), but if you retire a mare after 2-3 years because her foals have been "meh" you might miss out on the MSW champion she would have produced next.

Thus, I leave it up to stables to decide who to cull. Personally, my rule is that a mare has to be stakes level herself, or have produced stakes level foals, to stay in my program. I make a couple of exceptions to this (mainly for rare-to-me bloodlines), but that rule helps me a lot when I'm waffling about whether to keep or sell a mare.

** I think you should be able to sell horses over a certain age to FF OR any age if YOU bred them. The amount you should get for them is enough to cover the flat rate for owning them so that it can't be abused.

Just a question - do you need to sell them? You can retire a horse at any time (and any age). If you have no interest in the horse and don't wish to/don't think you can sell it, you can retire it.

(I'm just wary of anything that hands you money from the game, especially if taxes go away ;))

** Most importantly I don't think there should be less input from players required, but as there have been changes made several times to FF perhaps we need to find out if there a lot of horses with talent going around and some stables are managing them better OR if it is all the management making even low quality horse run well? But I must say that I manage all my horses the same and yet they don't run like Ishka and Devil's Walk.

There's only so much management can do (positively - if you overrace your horse like crazy and never send it for a rest it's going to run like crap no matter how nice it would be potential-wise). There are probably more successful management techniques than others (using workouts to learn desired equipment/running style from jockeys, keeping fitness optimal, resting for the optimal time and no longer, etc), but perfect management shouldn't turn a claimer into a MSW.

Also there is a problem with the rest cycle. Almost any horse (but not over the hill) can win a stakes race so long as it hasn't raced for 3+ months. Indeed don't race a horse for 7 months and it will win any race at all you put it in and get a speed record in the process. If same horse is raced monthly it's a total dud. This needs looking at

I'll look into it - like I said, you shouldn't be able to turn a claimer into a MSW. Personally I haven't noticed this with my horses - I've given plenty of them lots of time off (inadvertently due to lack of time to enter them :P) and they may win a race but the next race (where they still have lots of morale/natural energy) they flop.

It used to be that you could stable rest 1 month and be good, and 2 months would almost seem to "super charge" a horse and you could run them for 5+ months.

The way I designed the code/stats is that - in an ideal world - a horse should be able to run ~10 times and/or spend up to 3 months at a racetrack (not a farm) and then its morale would be 0. A month at home should be enough for most horses to get morale crom 0 to 100.

However, if a horse has an easy 10 races it might be able to go 15, especially if it can run once a week and be OK for energy (as it would spend less time at the racetrack than a horse that needs 3 weeks between each race). Likewise, if a horse has very tough races, maybe it's at 0 after 6-7 races. Also, as morale can go below 0 it may take a lot more than 1 month to get to 100% morale again.

I do wish there was a way to "donate" horses to FF if they don't sell, for little or no money. But those young broodmares with 2-3 foals on the ground (and no runners yet) have too much potential to go ahead and retire. We need to consider skipping a year or two before rebreeding. But then the alerts will be fun. Maybe a "put to pasture for a year" status button would work? Ha. That's just my OCD.

Both of those things are an option (hand to FF for $0 and don't bug me about breeding mare X until Y date). I'll write them down for the beta.

Now I just wish we could enter more than 2 race days, because sometimes there isn't a good race. But that's just the lazy me who wants to knock it all out at once when I do it...

Also planned for the rewrite. :)

Yaay no taxes!
I'm also planning a new approach to selling this year's yearlings when they turn 2 in 2019: instead of picking the ones to sell, I will pick the ones I really (but really) want to keep, and sell the rest... the idea is to sell more than I will keep, but we shall see ;)

I try to do this every year...has yet to work. :P Maybe you'll be better at it than me! I can always come up with a reason that I have to keep this baby or that one.

As far as breeding and selling, I've always wondered if there should be a standard for BMs, but at the same time there are stallions now that are from mares that were practically duds. If there could be any evaluation of sorts that mares could go through, great, but I'm hesitant to restrict some BMs because they are wildcards in so many ways. What if there was a "if the mare hasn't produced a winner in 3 racing foals she retires" kind of rule?

As I said above, what happens if her next foal could be a MSW? (Technically every foal/breeding pairing could be.) That would need to be a user preference, I suppose - you might be happy with a winner in 3 racing foals, I might expect a SW in 5, someone else may want every foal from the mare regardless of quality, etc. So I'm hesitant to do that - I think it's up to the stable owner to evaluate their broodmare band when breeding and see if the mare fits with their program.

I've also thought about retiring being more standardized. Especially for the FF horses, since FF has so many. There are a lot of older horses running 1 minute+ for 2f in their races, which is so slow. Those horses are just over the hill to me, and it would be great to see them retire and give the other FF horses that have barely been raced a chance. Even if there was a notification that came up on stable pages like injuries/births/deaths/retirements. Maybe something that says "the FF trainer has noticed x horses has been performing poorly. She suggests this horse be retired." or something like that?

Right now FF retires mares when they're 7 and geldings/colts when they're 10 - I'll probably change this in the rewrite. FF entering needs updating anyway as it's meant to pick horses that haven't raced and it's ignoring that...another thing to fix in the rewrite.

Also, when we get new members, is there anyway that we can give them FF stock horses instead of making more created horses? Especially since so many of the new stables seem to disappear after a couple races.

Also planned for the rewrite. :)

I especially can't understand why the few promising 2yo I have fail totally at three and almost no horse has more than a few months of running well anymore.

I've had this (*cough*Bravado*cough*). I blame it on him maturing early, seeming awesome against all the other 2yos who are immature. Now that he's 3 1/2 most of his compatriots are mature so he doesn't stand out as much. I don't know if this is his excuse, but that's my hypothesis.

I hope this isn't too rambly/incoherent. holly, I've also got some ideas for GOT-like feature(s) that I'll outline in another post.
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2014, 02:42:35 PM »

I don't think you sound defensive at all :)

Some good information here and interesting points from the other posters. It's been interesting to see what issues other people are having and how different players manage their herds.

I think I borrowed your idea about only breeding from stakes performing/producing mares a little while ago although I do still have the one or two sentimental "underachievers" ;)

Out of curiosity I had a look at where the majority of my money's gone this year and the majority was on breeding fees and shipping mares, with a little bit of shipping racers outside of the English racing season which tells me I should try to cut back on the ladies a bit more. This year's colt heavy weanling crop should help with that. I probably need to be a bit more selective about which racers get sent overseas and try to only send out the consistent ones.

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« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2014, 04:06:02 PM »

Regarding taxes glad to hear something good came from my ramblings. Having a look at the numbers though the majority of my racehorse tax was due to the flat fee not actual earnings so I don't know if it would be too helpful.

I've studied the faq and n00b guide and spent plenty of time getting a workout system that works and overall it doesn't take too much time anymore but for doing race entries.

Extra entry days will be so handy as well as the multiple shipping option, which are the most monotonous tasks. Like imagine I have quite a few low level horses stuck at home and only the stakes quality horses go to America. This will be a serious handicap when my home breds start running, dangit. And I believe if the option of donating to FF came up it would be popular.

My plan with mares is to alternate breeding years, but as there's no way to know their quality I will be giving them all their fair chance. At least until I realise how unmanageable that is lol

Can I ask what are the GOT's you're talking about?
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2014, 04:15:16 PM »

Can I ask what are the GOT's you're talking about?

Grumpy Old Trainer report. It was a feature in the original race program (not written by me) that was originally used in the game. It had...8?...lines, I think, all describing various stats of your horse.

e.g. This horse breaks slower than molasses!
This horse has bags of stamina.
This horse could take or leave jumps.
etc.

You could read it and get a basic idea of what your horse might like, but they were pretty unreliable (I had horses with terrible-sounding GOTs becoming champions, and spent tons of money on really nice GOTs for horses who couldn't run their way out of a paper bag).
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2014, 04:17:01 PM »

Shanti you don't sound defensive, I think you worded everything very very well :)

I've been sitting on the sidelines reading everyone's comments, I had no idea so many people were frustrated with things. I've been here since 2008 (wow, 6 years already?) and here is what I have found...

We are having a very successful year this year, I think our best so far.. We have the highest OTB we have ever had and have the highest number of successful stakes runners we have ever had.. We have been fortunate enough to have bred and acquired some fabulous horses but I do think some planning, training and management play a big role.

Training/Workouts really do make a difference... Initially, when these were introduced our horses SUCKED because I was too lazy to train 100+ racehorses.. With that said, we have a very very light training schedule for all our horses (walk and jog only, and only 1/2 a mile of one or the other everyday) this just keeps there fitness up... I find if I train any harder then that, then their energy tends to bounce back very slowly after a race. The only disadvantage of this training method is that every horses is different and this training schedule doesn't work for all horses... Regardless, all horses are put on this schedule, if it doesn't work for a particular horse they are typically sold. This was really easy to set up, and I really don't ever touch their workouts anymore (unless someone gets injured or I get a new pony of course!).

I also feel that alot of people over race their horses.. Especially at a young age. Most of my 2yos have only run a handful of times because most are not mature enough to be successful yet.. Maybe it is just the lines I have in my stable, but MANY of my stakes runners did not become stakes runners until 4 or 5 years old.. I think that there are alot of late bloomers out there and alot of people race their horses like crazy at 2 or 3 (then giving up) instead of letting them rest/mature and racing them at 4/5. This is just what i've noticed with my horses, again maybe it's just my lineage :)

I also use boarding, ALOT.. My horses in general race every 3 weeks or so and after every 3 or so races I send 'em to the boarding farm (even if its just for a couple days)..  I used to be too lazy to do this, but it has helped ENORMOUSLY!

Just my $0.02 on racing/training


Regarding taxes - they are painful.. The specific tax I find most redundant is the yearling/weanling tax... Because you pay the 10% tax on the stud fee when you breed (broodmare tax) then you have to pay this 10% AGAIN as a weanling and AGAIN as a yearling.... So for example I bred a horse to High Chances, this is a $45,000 stud fee. I get charged a broodmare tax of $4,500. The foal is born and again I have to pay $4,500 has a weanling and another $4,500 as a yearling. All of a sudden this stud fee is really $58,500. I feel that this is a bit of 'double-dipping' in the tax world. I like the idea of having flat rate tax brackets... Kind of like the real world, the more money you make, the more taxes you pay.

I don't think we should be restricted on broodmares at all, i've had so many dud racehorses turn out to be phenomenal broodmares.. But I am one of those hoarders, I need to be better at retiring my broods and some racers... But I always want to see what that next foal will be like or that next race will be.. I guess I have a problem :)

I also don't think stable sizes should be restricted but I DO love the idea of setting a personal limit... Maybe if this personal limit is reached you can't race any more races until you get rid of some horses or something? Instead of taking horses away?



Shanti - I think you are doing a fabulous job with this game, I love it and that is why I keep coming back.. Keep up the good work!
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« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2014, 04:46:24 PM »

No Shanthi not defensive, you just sound helpful and thoughtful. You have put so much time and effort into this game and of course FF IS your baby and it must be difficult/annoying to hear negative comments.

I have to admit I have thought about just leaving for the last 2 years but I really have enjoyed the game so much in the past I kept hoping to do better if only I could work out what I was doing wrong, or not doing right. I feel better knowing it's not just me. Now i know i can afford to keep going next year i'll try different tactics again with what i have learned from this thread.

It has been helpful to know how energy levels work and at what speed they ought change. and good to know that at least some of the jockey comments can be believed (there was a time I believe, when you said jockey comments were possibly misleading) so I have pretty much ignored them.

I will definately be cutting down on broodmares too, ATM it's cheaper to buy them from the auctions (but not as much fun!)

So now my whole stable is resting for the next month while I re plan the rest of the year knowing I'll still be here in 2019.




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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2014, 05:12:34 PM »

Very interesting reading lots of ideas/opinions etc. I really enjoy playing this great game and always look forward to see how mine have done each race day. Taxes are a painful expense each year and I'm happy that we won't have any this year. Going forward perhaps only stables that make a net profit on the year should pay tax?
Most of my time on the game is sorting out which horses should be entered in what races. Also keeping them all as fit as possible with workouts is very important but reading some of the earlier comments from others I could be overtraining mine?? 2 canters over 6f and a gallop over 6f plus walks per week for most of mine tho they do get race days off. I give em 2/3 months rest a year also.
I've looked back at one I gave 7 months off cause he'd been busy last year(winning plenty) he got beat in a 40 grand allowance race first time only to go and win 3 weeks later in a grade 3. Good job we are all different(horses and all) else it would all be easy and predictable and that's not realistic is it!
Keep up the good work Shanthi
Now I will review my training schedules lol

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« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2014, 05:52:17 PM »

Quote
Most of my time on the game is sorting out which horses should be entered in what races. Also keeping them all as fit as possible with workouts is very important but reading some of the earlier comments from others I could be overtraining mine?? 2 canters over 6f and a gallop over 6f plus walks per week for most of mine tho they do get race days off. I give em 2/3 months rest a year also.

I was originally training my workouts like this as well, but I found it was taking FOREVER for my horses energy to pick up, they were always tired... I switched up my training routine which is now (giving away my secret  :P)
Friday - Walk 1/2mile
Thursday - Jog 1/2 mile
Tuesday - Walk 1/2 mile
Monday - Jog 1/2 mile
Sunday - Walk 1/2 mile
I know it seems like nothing, but it (for my horses anyways) is just enough to keep their fitness up, along with racing regularly. With 2yos I sometimes change things up to try and learn a bit about them, but in general ALL my racers are on this schedule and so far it has worked really well for us.
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« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2014, 06:09:03 PM »

I second Kim, my schedule isn't exactly the same but my horses picked up when I made workouts much less  strenuous. My ponies also get boarded heaps and I only pay attention to jockeys once they know the horse 'like the back of their hand'.

I'd be all for GOT's if they could be more reliable, otherwise I'd be pretty skeptical, because you just never know...
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« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2014, 06:13:39 PM »

I'm quite a light trainer as well.

Mine do three days a week:

Monday Walk 0.5 miles
Wednesday Walk 0.5 miles, Jog 0.5 miles
Saturday Walk 0.5 miles, Jog 0.5 miles, Canter 0.5 miles.

Very occasionally I might manually override the day's plan for an individual horse but that's generally if they've had quite a long break and aren't quite fittening up in time for their intended race. When the English season is in full swing I normally try and get them up to full fitness then they ship home after racing and just racing them seems to keep them fit. I'm quite lucky that I can log in most days so I can ship the ponies home on the same day after they've raced. It seems to help them recover energy pretty quickly although the majority of the string are having an extended break until October due to me having RL hols in September - I'm already curious to see how they react to that.

Like Kim I generally don't race my 2yos much - if they've got slow opening fractions in their races they normally get put away until they're 3 even if they win - I've got two who are likely to have more racing later in the year, all the others will have the rest of the year off.

I'm not entirely sure how effective my training schedule is as we're not winning stakes week in week out but I have over 60% OTB this year (and last year) and noticed yesterday that the stable has scraped in at number 10 on the Overall OTB list so something must be working, at the lower levels at least  :P
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« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2014, 08:14:23 PM »

Holiday camps !! Lol
God I think some of mine must be knackered - they will feel better when the work schedules are made much lighter, watch for improvement at littlefield from now on :)

G O T 
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« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2014, 08:21:06 PM »

Joe, I usually work my horses out at 1/2 mile jog/canters if they're pretty fit. Otherwise they get 1-2 mile gallops. Longer/harder workouts shouldn't affect your horses negatively, so if your current workouts are working for you feel free to keep them going.
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« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2014, 08:40:45 PM »

Thanks- have altered a few and will see how they go for now
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« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2014, 10:09:33 PM »

After reading through how everyone works their horses, I finally gave my kids a schedule and we'll see how it goes. I rarely gave them strenuous works but I was going in and doing it by hand almost every day, working each horse a little differently because apparently I'm INSANE. We'll see how this works out!
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« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2014, 10:44:06 PM »

Hmmmm I might try implementing one of these light exercise programs, too. I usually just go in every couple of days and lightly work the horses with less than a B in fitness but a truly hands-off approach might help me a bit more AND tell me how my horses are training.

Also, thanks for hearing us out and for giving answers to the specific questions and concerns, Shanthi. A lot of games I play could use more of your hands-on approach.
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RC Bee Stables proudly stands: Eighteen Karat, What's It Worth (P)-Heart of Gold (S), by Mr. Prospector (S)
2020: $2,500 LFG || Breeders' Cup nominated
Starfish
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« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2014, 04:00:01 AM »

noticed yesterday that the stable has scraped in at number 10 on the Overall OTB list so something must be working, at the lower levels at least  :P

Just out of curiosity, is there a link that we can go to to see things like Overall Earnings, OTB, etc?

I am often asked by other Owners what is the secret of my success. I don't know if there really is a secret, just a couple of routines that seem to have worked well for me:-
I have a regular training schedule that pretty much all my horses follow, not too strenuous but also not too light. The only time they get taken off this schedule is if they are at the Farm (or Boarding) or if they are travelling. I also don't run a horse if it's Energy is F on the Monday or Thursday before it is due to race.

I tend to give my horses around 3 weeks between races (4 weeks for 2YO) and will generally send them back to the Farm (or Board them if they are overseas) after 3 races (for 2 & 3YO's) or at most 6 races (for 4YO's & older).

If there is any one thing that has probably helped the most is that I am Retired and don't have many other hobbies (I hate golf - I always tell people that I wouldn't know which end of the golf ball to hit!!!) and have lots of free time to spend on working out training routines, race entries, etc. I probably average 1-2 hours a day on FF, maybe double that on race days.

Above all, I love FF and am extremely grateful to Shanthi for all the hard work she has put into keeping it running as smoothly as it does. Sure, it does have it's glitches every now and then, but Shanthi is always very quick to figure out where the glitch is and fix it - and she doesn't have the luxury of being Retired.
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Lewis
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« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2014, 04:26:29 AM »

Just out of curiosity, is there a link that we can go to to see things like Overall Earnings, OTB, etc?

It's on the Hall of Fame page which, if you're on the forum pages, should have a link to it in the box at the top where you can go to the Index, Your Stable etc - should be 2nd from bottom, above the Contact Shanthi link. Lots of 'top 10' info on there and OTB is about half way down the page :)
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Emma @ Generous Bloodstock
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Standing at stud in 2020:
ICh Blue Smoke
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hollyh1125
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« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2014, 09:33:29 PM »

Hey everyone! I think all of you had some very useful insight and suggestions.  I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one feeling a little frustrated and this thread has given me new hope for my barn.  I think I'll purchase some new paint and give the place a face lift. :)  I have added a new training schedule which we will see helps.  :)

I am so grateful for the taxes being lifted for 2018.  THANK YOU SHANTHI!! I now will have plenty of cash for stallion nominations and keeping things going next year, though I still will not be making any multi-million dollar horse purchases that I have been known to do in the past. :smacks forehead:

All in all I found everyone's input very thoughtful and helpful and I'm so glad this may have helped others get their barns back into order.

BTW! I will be selling and retiring quite a few of my racers and broodmares in the future so if you are interested in any feel free to inquire because I will be inclined to sell....I think I'm going to decrease my race horse and broodmare count to about 125 ish so that's at least 75 that will be going. :)


« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 09:35:48 PM by hollyh1125 » Logged
Wolfhound
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« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2014, 06:46:57 PM »


If there is any one thing that has probably helped the most is that I am Retired


I retired last Friday - maybe it'll help me too! Oh and i don't like golf either  :)
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Gwen

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