To this question an affirmative answer may very safely be given. In England it is often taken for granted that the sire counts for infinitely more than the dam. If the sire happens to be more impressive than the dam, he will doubless count for most in the characteristics of the offspring; but a sire, however good, can no more make up for want of quality in the dam than good seed can yield a good return regardless of the nature of the soil in which it is sown. To begin with, it is quite as important that the germ cell provided by the dam should be as perfect in every respect as the infinitely smaller sperm cell supplied by the sire. Further, unless before development begins there is stored up an abundant supply of the material needed for the developing embryo, and unless all through the period of gestation the food contains the ingredients requisite for building up the bones and other tissues of the developing foal, the result must of necessity prove disappointing. However perfect the sire, he can no more assist in providing nourishment or suitable conditions during development than he can assist in ministering to the wants of the foal after birth.
But the enquiry as to the rate of growth of the foal mainly shows that from the sixth week of development there is an ever-increasing demand for bone-forming material. This demand, great enough during the later months of gestation, is especially urgent during the first three months after birth; I might almost say during the first five months, for it is during this period that the growth of the bones mainly takes place. It may hence be said that, with the help of the information submitted, the breeder should be better able so to regulate the food of his brood mares that an abundant supply of bone-forming material will be available not only during, but for some months after, gestation, and will be in a position so to treat his colts during their first two years that they may reach either a maximum, an average, or a small size, and, whatever the size, will be provided with the best possible chance of forming large ivory-like bones, and, what is perhaps of equal importance, strong ligaments and tendons capable of withstanding sudden jars and strains.