Equine Pedigree Analyst
Equine pedigree analysts are advisors that plan breedings for the horses owned by their clients.
Equine pedigree analysts evaluate potential matings between specific sires and dams, presenting their clients with specific recommendations on how to improve the next generation of their bloodstock. Pedigree analysts meet with clients, research pedigrees, assess progeny reports, evaluate horses in person to gauge their physical characteristics and write reports that explain the reasons for their recommendations in detail.
Pedigree analysts may interact regularly with clients including owners, broodmare managers, stallion managers, farm managers, and other industry professionals. A large part of their work is conducted in an office setting, though some traveling to view horses in person at the farm is not unusual.
A large percentage of equine pedigree analyst positions are concerned with the analysis of horse involved in the Thoroughbred breeding industry, though there are certainly opportunities to be found working with other horse breeds as well. Many pedigree analysts do choose to specialize in one or two breeds in which they have expert knowledge.
Pedigree analysts may work on a freelance basis, as part of a bloodstock agency’s staff, for large breeding farms, or for pedigree analysis corporations (such as TrueNicks or Equineline). They may also write pedigree analysis books or submit articles for publication in industry journals.
Education and Training
While no specific degree is required to secure a position as a pedigree analyst, most successful professionals in this field have extensive equine industry experience. A degree in genetics, biology, equine science, or animal science would add strength to a candidate’s resume. Computer skills are increasingly important, including word processing and database skills.
Practical experience working with horses is also a big plus for those seeking entry to this field, so equine internships may prove a solid form of training as well as provide a valuable way to network with industry professionals.
Equine pedigree analysts must have a good working knowledge of equine breeding and genetics including areas such as line breeding, inbreeding, heritability of desirable traits, pedigree nicks, prominent sire and dam lines, market trends, and successful progeny performance records. Pedigree analysts must also have a good eye for conformation, and be able to take into account the ways that certain physical traits from particular sire lines or broodmare families may be expressed in the resultant offspring.
Yearly compensation for equine pedigree analyst positions can vary greatly based on the specific industry in which an analyst works (i.e. racing or show breeding), the geographic area in which they work, years of experience, number of matings planned per breeding season, and their reputation in the industry. The most successful analysts will be those that have developed a strong client base over the years, with a solid record of recommending pairings that result in foals able to perform at a high level.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track pedigree analysts as an individual category in their salary surveys, but similar areas that they do track include categories for animal scientists and biological scientists. According to the latest information collected by the BLS salary survey, the median annual wage for all animal scientists was $58,250 in May of 2010. The lowest 10 percent of all animal scientists earned less than $33,980 per year, while the highest 10 percent of all animal scientists earned more than $117,150 per year. The BLS cites a similar median annual wage of $68,220 for all biological scientists, with earnings ranging from less than $38,780 for the lowest 10 percent in the field to more than $102,300 for the top 10 percent in the field.
Growth patterns for the field of equine pedigree analysis should fall between the growth rates of the similar occupational categories of animal scientists and biological scientists.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment survey, career opportunities for the category of animal scientists and other agricultural scientists are projected to grow at a rate of approximately 13 percent from 2010 to 2020. This rate of growth is slightly higher than the average rate for all positions monitored in the BLS employment survey. Employment for the category of all biological scientists is expected to grow at a much swifter rate of 21 percent over the same period, which represents a much higher rate than the average for all positions surveyed.
Individuals with extensive experience and industry connections will continue to enjoy the best job prospects in this field.