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Why NSS is important: Breeding strategies +more

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Why NSS is important: Breeding strategies +more

#236838 Posted on 2021-03-12 16:47:46

General Disclaimer:

[[[ This guide is written from the perspective of one who views showing horses as a main source of income on EV. There are other ways to play the game, and this is certainly not meant to be the end all, be all guide of how you should play the game. I simply wish to share my experience and advice in the hopes to inspire others, and encourage you to find what works best for you! Sometimes it's a bit hard to find a starting point when you have a lot of options to choose from! ]]]

For starters: What is NSS and why is it important?
NSS stands for non-specific stats, so the 3 stats your horse does not use for their selected discipline. Every foundation horse is randomized from the EC and will start with 100 base stats, which is then randomly divvied into the 5 body stats. We will touch on this a little later, but the general rule of thumb is that horses with under 60NSS will perform better than horses with over 60NSS, due to how show scores are calculated. This is arguably the biggest factor in determining if the horse will be “good” in the show ring. Anything higher will generally be inconsistent at best; unless stats are high enough, or it has a higher training level. You can calculate the horses NSS from their base stats, and they are located at the bottom right table on your horses page. 

BASE stats vs TOTAL stats:
Base stats are the horses ‘pure’ stats and you cannot train them. Total stats (aka current stats) are above the treat box on the left side of your horse's image. These stats reflect any bonuses from breeding, as well as stats gained from treating/showing/training. This will determine what bracket and level your horse is in showing as it accumulates stats throughout its life. When you convert horses training, it will take all of the stats over the base stats, and re-assign them to the two stats specific to the discipline you choose. 

What about the other two stats? The remaining two stats are the "specialty stats" that are used to help indicate what discipline the horse will be good at showing in. [Here] is the handy chart for reference.

To calculate NSS: you take the 3 stats not used for that discipline and add them together. That total number is your NSS. The consensus among most, is that under 60NSS is good, and over 60NSS is usually tossed. The sweet spot to aim for is 53-55NSS, with anything under 50NSS being considered very exceptional. Foundations will generally start with 2 high and 3 low, with a mix in-between; however they can have stat combos that do not fit any disciplines currently in the game.
*note: If you see stats referred to as birth stats, that refers to older iterations of the site before base stats/total stats were independently displayed on the horses page.* 

For the visual folk; you can see that total stats include [tack bonuses] as well (these do not factor in when breeding).
The NSS for this horse would be (16+19+14) for a total of 49 NSS, because the specialty stats for show jumping are SPD/AGI.
208x87 vs. the total/current stats >131x97

How do you reduce NSS through breeding?
Every generation, NSS can drop a maximum of 3 stats. That is it. So if you start off with your lines with 55-60NSS horses, on a good RNG roll, you can drop it to 52-57NSS. Now factor that in for how much time you invest getting those horses to breeding age, so 1 “horse” year = 1 “you” week in real life. Now most generally breed around 17-18, so that is just over 4 months of your time. Now factor in that you can drop a max of 3 stats from each subsequent generation, for a grand total of 9NSS per year. Objectively, if you want to make the most effective use of your time, it is always better to start out with the lowest NSS you can find.

Generally speaking, NSS will average between the highest - lowest, then drop the (0-3) stats, if any are dropped. So if you are breeding two things with NSS stats very far apart, that is what you should kind of expect. When you breed horses with the same body NSS stat (IE: both have 13 endurance), then it is less frequent that they drop the stat. So when you are starting your lines, the biggest boon will be pairing them in an off-set fashion. This is also why foundations with incredibly low body stats (7-10ish) are very useful for dropping NSS. Once you start evening the stats out, it takes quite an effort to continue breeding them down.

By offset or odd/even stats: I mean pair an odd stat (19) to an even stat (16) for the best potential drop the nss. It is not guaranteed but it will greatly improve your odds.

When do I breed my horses? What do I look for?:
I think this might be a point of contention amongst some, as some people prefer “clean” offspring lists with fewer total offspring, while some don’t have any preference. However, if your main goal is to lower NSS/raise conformation every generation, you will generally benefit from breeding earlier (I start at 16) because it will give you the most offspring to choose from. On average you will see NSS decrease by about 2 stats, though it is most commonly about 1 stat, rarely 0,+1,or -3. Conformation will generally be in the same range of the parents, rarely lower or higher, but it can happen. It is always easier to lower your % than it is to raise your %. The more foals  you have, the better chance to roll on the higher end (statistically speaking).

disclaimer: This all comes down to your personal preference, and what you are willing or wanting to personally invest into horses! There is no right or wrong way to doing this!!

Here is an example showing you how widely everything can range (it reads nss/confo/gen). 
For context: 
the stallion has 60 NSS with 57.38 confo.
the mare has 58 NSS with 54.38 confo.

Why pairing horses with the same discipline is important:
When you miss-match and pair horses from different disciplines, not only will the base stats be higher than desired, but the foal won't receive the discipline breeding bonus. Simple as that. You will end up with a foal that is generally unsalvageable, and will have no particular use for breeding or showing.

Selling horses will probably not be your main source of income.
The best, and most unbiased advice I can give, is to only breed what you are willing to put in the show ring. That is, without a doubt, the most effective way to earn a large profit. It is hard to breed a horse that will meet everyone's personal expectations, and it is even harder to move horses fast enough to offset upkeep costs. Studding horses can net some money, but 'overbreeding' horses can also be seen as 'de-valuing' them in the eyes of potential buyers; so you should price your horses accordingly. 

There are some older posts, that mention a metric of pricing along the lines of 10k per 1k stats; this is not really the case anymore, though some do still use this as a rule of thumb. This pricing metric was used before when total stats (all of them, not just NSS) weighed into show scoring. With the current showing system NSS is more heavily weighted, and you are better off showing Novice through Nationals, than in International; though it is greatly dependent on how popular your targeted discipline is. While stats are generally perceived to be important, your showing options will narrow as you progress up the ladder; the main bulk of showing takes place in novice/local/regional as that is where a majority of the foundation horses will be. 

Pricing horses for sale and stud is currently mostly dependent on NSS and personal evaluations of stats/colour/rarity/etc. Conformation is seen as kind of icing on the cake, where lower confo can detract from the sale/stud potential. 

NSS is directly tied to your horses ability to do well in the show ring, not just their 'potential'.
If you desire to breed horses for sale and show, your best bet would to be make sure they can actually do well (aka win $$$) in the discipline they're intended for. Breeding down NSS takes a lot of time and effort, and while they will usually cost slightly more (sometimes much more), they can make most of that investment back in the showing ring. If you see horses with breeding stipulations such as "under ##NSS only" or "this discipline only" it is because some people put a lot of time and energy into breeding these horses and have spent years getting them to that point. As pointed out above, horses with a mish-mash of base stats are effectively rendered useless for anything else beyond riding school at this current time. 

Breeding strategies: Cubing vs. Treating.
Cubing is when you give your horse Sugar cubes or Hay cubes. This gives them a chance to get multiple random stats every day. Cubed horses are generally very poor at showing, and are put in riding schools daily instead.

Treating is feeding your horse treats specific to their two discipline stats, usually alternating every so often to keep them even. Treated horses can show effectively, and be put into riding schools while waiting for stats to raise before showing again.

What is the difference you might ask? In reality, the treating method will probably add a few extra minutes to your daily routine, as you will have to show/school multiple horses. Cubed horses are just tossed into riding school and that is that. On a good day, you can net about 10-13 stats from winning shows, but only for the small window that your horse is at the top end of their stats for that showing level. At the end of the day, especially for foundations, you will end up with a similar quality horse (stat wise) for breeding. Yes, there are small factors such as having limited showing pools, or rolling well/poorly on your treats for the day, but they tend to be more of an outlier in the general scheme of things. A "good" result for a foundation horse is usually 700-800 total stats, anything past that is truly exceptional, and can top out at 1000-1100 total stats.

When I am starting lines, if I have multiple breeds in the same discipline, I will usually choose to cube one group and show the other. It makes it a lot more manageable in terms of distributing tack and creating shows/showing, and it ensures that they won't be competing too heavily against one another. If you use [trail riding] as your schooling option, it is a great way to supplement your showing group with treats so you don't have to buy/grow as many, if any at all.

When you decide to start your own foundation line:
Generally it is advised to pull in even groups, so 2 stallions x2 mares (4 total), 4x4 (8), 8x8 (16), etc... because you will always end up with a pair for your subsequent generations. As for what age you pull from the EC, it depends on what your preference is, but to simplify the difference: foals will have 3 years extra of treats, and receive a larger stat boost upon completing their young horse training.

What is young horse training?

When you first get a foal (any horse below the age of 3) you will be presented with a dropdown list of training choices. These choices vary depending on age, and are in the following stages [0-1yo] > [1-2yo] > [2-3yo]. You will want to choose a different  option every day to progress the bar to 100%, to receive the maximum stat boost when they turn 3yo and complete this training. The easiest way to remember what you have selected is to go down the list each day, as there are 7 options to select from, and 7 days in a horse "year". 

how to keep track of the training days/what day you are on. I personally count down from 7 >"1" to avoid confusing myself.

NOTE: when it says "ages tomorrow" treat it as if it said (ages in 1 day). You are on the last day of training for that bracket, and the next day will be the first day of the next bracket. This always tripped me up for some reason so I felt it worth mentioning.

The text that displays in the green box after you train has no impact on the actual result of the training; it is just flavour/fluff text. 

- [0-1yo] training starts off days 7 and 6 with pre-determined choices, you simply just have to hit "train" and be on your way. Days 5-1 you will choose a choice from the list, so I usually just start from the top and work down.
- [1-2yo] training you will notice there are 6 options for 7 days total, so I usually start from the top, and then their final day of training will just be the first option again so I don't have to open the list (saves time). If you mess up a day and skip one of the options, this is when you would select the one you missed C:
- [2-3yo] you only have the option to [break in], so its pretty straight forward. Once they turn 3yo you will get to complete their training and select the discipline of your choice.

How to cube:
If you choose to cube your horses, you should start when they are foals. Once they hit three, you need to choose their “young horse training” for any discipline they will !!NOT!! be bred for. So if you have a horse you bred for racing, you would choose anything besides racing. When you go to breed them, you need to go to the “covert training” and then choose the correct discipline for their breeding. If you mess up, you will have to spend 2EVC to fix the mistake, so it’s best to be mindful and stick to a discipline you don’t actively show in. For example, I don’t have any driving horses on my main account; therefore I usually choose “driving” as my cube discipline so I can always tell at a glance who is who so I don’t accidentally breed before I switch.

As a 3yo, choose a discipline they WOULDN'T normally go in (aka the opposite of what they are bred for):

example of an older cubed horse @ 14yo:
129x184< total stats 
205x84< compared to their base stats (they are for statted western)

 318x54 < vs the discipline they are currently in.

Now before I breed I would obviously want to switch this horse to western, via the training center > convert training tab:

I hope you find this useful C:

Last edited on 2021-03-31 at 09:33:45 by ᵍ ᵒ ᵃ ᵀ☀

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#236839 Posted on 2021-03-12 17:21:35

Thanks Goat, this is super in-depth with a lot of good info

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#237027 Posted on 2021-03-16 08:38:11

This is really great, Goat!

This will be hugely helpful to so many players! 

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#239158 Posted on 2021-05-12 17:31:26

Do people use peppermint on young horses, select a random discipline and then select the correct discipline? Or even with older horses too? I guess sits the same theory as cubing

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