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  • Newbie Guide Part One

    Ryan’s Opinionated Guide to Starting a Stable at Digital Downs<o></o>


    Introduction
    This guide is my attempt to help new Digital Downs (DD) members get started. This is an unofficial guide that does not contain the views of the DD administration. My goal is to help you master the basics and understand some of the features of the site that are, to put it simply, frustrating and costly to “learn on your own.” If you have additional questions, the forums are a great place to turn.

    Most importantly, read carefully. Read the Help document at DD. And read it carefully. I would suggest the same approach to this document. So many times new members become frustrated with an aspect of the game, only to realize that the answer was right before them in the Help section or the forums. Throughout this document, I will assume that you have studied the Help Document carefully, and I will not waste time simply repeating information that you can find in that document.

    Take the following for what it is – my observations and opinions.

    Getting Started
    Running horses is the fun part of DD. And you’ll get there eventually, but there are several considerations that come first. Where do you get horses? How do you know if your horse is good? What about training? I’ll tackle these questions, and others, a bit out of order to help understanding.

    The meters—an overview
    When you started, you obtained two free horses. For simplicity, let’s name your first horse “Pony,” a 2yo Colt, and your second horse “Lady,” a 2yo Filly. When you first examined Pony, you saw his meters all showing 100. The same was true of Lady. But this does not mean that all horses have the same potential or will perform the same on the track.

    Pony was born with certain inherent attributes: Speed, Endurance, Stamina, and Strength. You cannot see those attributes. That is, you cannot see a meter that tells you how fast Pony is. You cannot see a meter showing you how much stamina Pony has, etc. The meters show you how close Pony is to being in perfect shape. For example, after you work your horse out, the meters will drop lower. The meters represent how close your horse is to its maximum potential--but the only way to determine that potential is by working out or racing.
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    Evaluating your horse<o></o>
    The first step is to get your horse on the track with a TIMED workout to see what you've got (or to run the horse in a race.) Newbie Guide Part 2 covers those matters. After you do that Timed Workout or run your horse in a race, the meters will drop, and you will need to bring them back up. When you first get your horse, there is NO REASON to do regular training -- use a timed work or a race. Your horse is already in perfect shape. After reading Part I & II of the guide, this last sentence should make sense. <o>
    </o><o></o>
    Training—getting your horse in shape
    Think about training in 2 categories: Regular and Timed. Regular training is what you use to make the meters go up – to get your horse in better shape. Obviously, when you first get your horse, you won't need to do regular training--and doing so will do you NO GOOD because your horse is already in perfect shape. After you run your TIMED workout or after you run the horse in a race, then the meters will drop. Regular training is what you use to get your horse back in shape.

    Regular training is what you use to get your horse in shape. The only point of regular training is to move the meters back up. Important: the type of training you do does not affect how fast Pony is or whether Pony will develop endurance. Your only goal is to get the meters moving up. Don't do regular training longer hoping to increase your horse's actual endurance, and don't do short regular trains to increase your horse's actual speed. That is not part of the game at DigitalDowns. Your only goal is to move the meters. One more time--the type of training you do does NOT impact your horses development--it only moves the meters. <o>
    </o><o></o>
    You can only train once per day. As you are experimenting with training, just focus on developing a training strategy that moves the meters towards 100. Generally, long Lead Pony Gallops (LPG) make the meters move the most. So, when your meters are low, a 1 3/8 LPG is what many veteran trainers often use because it makes the meters move the most. Using other training distances (down to 2F) or other types of training like Slow Rider Gallop (SRG) or Fast Rider Gallop (FRG) will make the meters move differently. Again, and one last time for emphasis, don't choose a 5F Fast Rider Gallop because you want to develop a sprinter--training is only about moving the meters; you can't affect your horse's attributes by training differently. Edit: Unraced Horses now have unlimited training.

    Which brings us to the “95s”. When you train a horse in a regular training session, the meters will go up towards 100. For example, when you do a 1 3/8 LPG with Pony and Lady , after their first timed workout, their meters will increase substantially. Read this carefully: You can increase the meters by training until the meters hit 95 or above. For example, if all your meters are 70 (still ignoring fitness) when you train, they will all increase. If all your meters are 94 when you train, they will all increase. But if one meter hits 95,96,97,98, or 99, then that meter is “stuck” there. You can LPG all you want, but if endurance is 96, you aren’t going to budge it towards 100. Thus, if you want all 100s, the key is get the meters to hit 100 without getting them stuck at 95-99.

    So, let’s assume your meters are
    Speed: 100, Endurance 96, Stamina 92, Strength 93. and fitness 100. When you do a regular train the next day, Stamina and Strength will increase, but Endurance will be stuck at 96 and fitness will stay at 100.
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    What’s the significance? There are many different thoughts about how much the different meters affect horse performance. Read Thunder’s commentary and the wisdom in the forums. Trainers' opinions vary about the significance and magnitude of the different meters. While you will develop a more nuanced approach, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that so long as Speed and Fitness are at 100 and the other meters are green, the horse can run. Some horses need higher meters than others. There's no substitute for experience, and don't overlook just how different each horse is.

    Three things can make your meters drop. <o></o>
    • Race your horse<o></o>
    • Perform a TIMED workout<o></o>
    • Overtrain your horse<o></o>
    Racing and timed works are obviously part of the game. But what about overtraining? The easiest rule of thumb is this: three days on, one day off. Trainers differ in their approaches to rest days, but so long as you give every fourth day off, fitness will not drop from most regular trains. When you train your horse a fourth or fifth day in a row, there is a risk that fitness will drop. If you continue to train your horse without a rest day, you might start to see fitness drop even further or the rest of the meters get wacky. When you’re first starting, until you master the meters, the easiest and least frustrating solution is to keep track of your trains and give every fourth day off.

    The fitness creep. After a race or a timed workout, the fitness meter (and all the other meters) drop. Fitness is the only meter that creeps up on its own. It will then start to “creep” back up to aid recovery, assuming you don’t overtrain your horse. So, for example, after you race your horse, fitness might drop to 73. The next day, you will see fitness has creeped up to 82, and the next day to 91 (just an example). This fitness creep is a recovery aid, and fitness is the only meter that creeps.

    There is some suggestion in the forum that meters will begin to “drop” after they have been set at a certain level for a length of time, thus suggesting that once you get your meters set you need to hurry up and race your horse or work him out. This is unequivocally wrong. Meters do not drop unless you make them drop. If you set your horse at all 100s and leave the country for 3 weeks, when you return, the meters will still be at 100. If the meters move, you made them move, with the exception of the fitness creep, which happens automatically.

    Once all your meters are back up to 95-100, you are ready to evaluate your horse. You do this through timed workouts or racing your horse. More on this in a minute. For now, the germane point is that evaluating your horse with these methods will make all your meters drop, and then you are back to trying to build them up again. One important note: do not run a timed workout with your horse with speed below 95. It can cause funny results.
    Last edited by Cold Dog Soup; 03-05-2016, 10:06 AM.
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