Visiting Norman G. Hall in Canada

The Pioneer of the Internet Pedigrees – A report by Nikolaus Matzka

With a Hawker Beechcraft 1900D from Halifax to Charlottetown at Prince Edward Island.   Foto: Nikolaus Matzka


A blanket for
at Red Shores Racetrack
& Casino of Charlottetown
Foto: Gail MacDonald

I know Norman G. Hall now for almost 20 years, but only in virtual form via electronic mail (emails actually been around since the early eighties!). It was a wonderful moment when I, it must have been in 1998, the first time opened the site The study of pedigrees of trotters had been all of a sudden a new dimension. Suddenly you could at your fingertips find out everything about the ancestry or progeny of most of the great horses of the big Trotting Nations. The time of laboriously accumulated and acquired – with not insignificant financial effort – from all countries libraries at stud books was over abruptly. Where it is in principle nothing more beautiful than a library, but the Internet is still without doubt a lot more comfortable ...

Pedigree Pleasure Girls 

Origin: An excerpt from the book "Pedigree Matching"
by Norman G. Hall from 1995

In March this year I was invited by a Norman to come to one of his "Pedigree Camps" (formerly usually held every two years) to Canada. I booked a flight from Vienna to Halifax via Frankfurt, from there it should go further to Charlottetown on Prince Edward Iceland. In early May, I received an email from Norman that the camp was canceled due to lack of interest. Nevertheless I was happy to be invited to visit the "Kentucky of Canada“ from June 18 to 21. Well, it should be worth it ...

Thursday: So I flew on Thursday, June 18, to Halifax, Norm had booked me a connecting flight to Charlottetown. The Condor Machine from Frankfurt to Halifax was delayed, the procedure at the Immigration Department required considerable time, also my luggage was misplaced in Halifax - in short, I missed the last flight to Charlottetown (Note: The land route from Halifax to Prince Edward Island takes about four hours, the flight 30 minutes). Short chaos, then the luggage reappeared and Norman had his old friend Bill McNeil called, who owns a farm about 40 minutes from Halifax. Bill, not only because of his beard reminded me to a Canadian Grizzly (but of gentle nature), picked me up unceremoniously from the airport and we took a rickety VW Vento, valued built in 1995, to his farm, Saulsbrook Farms, in a sleepy village called Windsor, where I now spent my first night.

The original Pedigree Matching ´99 CD from 1999

Friday: My flight did not leave until noon, so there was still time for a tour of the huge meadows of Saulsbrook. Quite illustrious horses ladies from the Pacing side came to meet us there, about a daughter of former Canadian top mare Hattie (v. Abercrombie), Heroine Hanover (by Somebeachsomewhere), with a fresh colt by Shadow Play called Saulsbrook Heroine. Furthermore, I met Bill's son Allan, a trainer who works occasionally from a European perspective with quite archaic methods (four horses behind a truck excited and get going; however, in very moderate pace, Allan assured me also that the horses every morning at Stall would already look forward to this exercise or can not wait for it ...), but which are common in North America. A very interesting bred four year old trotting mare named Soft Parade (Chocolatier - Share The Promise - Yankee Glide - Winky's Goal), which is again prepared for racing, was also presented to me.

Now it was but off to PEI, as the locals call their Prince Edward Iceland. With a reliable 18-seater Hawker Beechcraft from Halifax through bad weather, in Charlottetown finally I was caught up from "Mr. Pedigree Matching“ Norman Hall. We drove to his house, where I could make it myself comfortable for two nights and was warmly welcomed by his wife Phyllis, with whom he recently celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary.

Racing Program Charlottetown

Race powered by

The program was further crowded. After a short breather, a lobster dinner was announced, the relevant season had just begun in Canada. The „Canada Rookie", which I was now once (I have traveled to over 45 countries in my life, however, Canada hasn’t been included so far), now had to break the Lobster with a giant knife. Well, I committed ultimately to Norman… The rest of the evening, at which, inter alia, Fred MacDonald from the Canadian Guardian and Kent Oakes, the President of Standardbred Canada, attended, I had the joy to answer many questions about the European or even Austrian trotting sport.

Saturday: Jetlag or not, continuing with the program on Saturday morning. Norman took me to several wonderful places of rural Canadian provenance, to farms, trainers and horses. One of these horses then stood on a rather narrow coupling, so at first I barely gave him attention, a quite well-fed, but some feral fox. Asking which horse that is, I was told, that's Northern Bailey. Well, born in 1998, a son of Balanced Image from one of the strongest North American maternal lines (Mamie), also with a record of 1.53.1 and subject for his owners, he won then stop once CAN$ 773,726! Canadians are just a little more pragmatic with their stars... But the fact is that Northern Bailey, a hero of the Ontario Sire Stakes competitions of 2001, for years, is of one of the most successful Stallions of this region and definitely has a strong hand, such as the gelding Waiting On A Woman with 43 wins and gains of nearly 300,000 Dollars.

Much has been prepared for me by Norman, who is not only the Pedigreeguru, but also plays an important role as president of the P.E.I. COLT STAKES that is immensely important for the development of the sport, in the evening race day on Red Shores of Summer Racecourse Charlottetown. On the one hand a nice blanket and even the name of a race of our website haven been provided, on the other hand the medial hype for me came a little surprisingly, since I had to give an interview ultimately before about 1,000 people in the pop full grandstand of Charlottetown to the local Telecaster, this in a language that is indeed my second, but in the end not my first. I hope to have particularly well represented the Austrian and European trotting sport.

The History of Pedigree Matching

Norman's concern is the fight against autism

On the racetrack of Charlottetown way, there is a nice photo wall in the style of the 1970s, which shows the Stars of the PEI racing. From an European perspective the biggest of which, of course, is Walter Jr. "Wally" Hennessey, legendary driver of richest trotting mare of all time, Moni Maker.

Thus everyone was happy, the evening a complete success, the buffet delicious. Back in Norman's house, on the terrace we then could finally talk a few words concerning his pioneering work in online pedigree change. How did it happen?

Norman Hall, born in 1941 in England, moved in the early sixties of the 20th century to Canada, where he married his life love Phyllis (50th wedding anniversary in 2014), was a highly decorated engineer in energy for major corporations in use and was retired in 2003. Then he found the time for the very thing that made him long interested: pedigrees! In collaboration with one of his four sons, Charles, he founded the Pedigree Matching Business in in 1997.

In fact, this was an enormous breakthrough for the international community to the horse breeding interested. 16 years ago, the first desktop computer program called PM 99 was released. Previously, it was available at the auction of Harrisburg from 1998 as CD, shortly afterwards online at, 2005 mutated to Pedigree Matching Globetrotter. Since then, the program has developed steadily, from around 30 countries data on the different types of horse breeding are fed. Norman gets since then a lot of inquiries about various tips when it comes to farming, this would, however, return it to its breeder. "I cannot answer for lack of time already the many requests. I want simply that my clients due to the possibilities of my site to do their homework and due to this the right decision, no matter whether it regards now the breeding or buying. "

We do not want to go back and too far at this point; The fact is that those horses that are proven (and very many of them are, of course, emerged without having to ever know anything about it) were conceived on the basis of, certainly are impressive:

Lis Mara (Cambest - Lesheen - Abercrombie), Pacing Stallion, sold by 12,000 dollars, winner of $ 3,200,000
Hyperion Hanover (Camluck - Hattie - Abercrombie), Pacing Stallion, winning $ 1.2 million
Valvec (Mr Lavec - Duo Val Car - Garland Lobell) and Indiana Hall (Striking Sahbra - Inverlochy - Speedy Somolli), both trotters and sold as a two-year-old less than $ 20,000, to $ 1.5 million share
Judith Farrow has strictly abided by the formulas of PM and with Intimidate (Justice Hall - Tagliabue - Fabulous day) bred a horse who has won $ 1.25 million
The fantastic Canadian Pacer Mare Invitro (Camluck - Keystone Trinidad - Albatross) won $ 2,300,000 and was one of the first breeders advice this website for a great article about it in the American journal Hoof Beats
Many other successful horses, especially the conclusions on the island Saulsbrook Alana (Western Paradise - Atlanta Girl - Real Artist) and Saulsbrook Balance (Nikes Image - Animated Lady - Workaholic) were also successfully after the PM-teaching.

"It's fine to register these successes," says Norman, "but it would be better, to see much more Judith Farrows, who, with their own decisions, stimulated by Pedigree Matching, have been successful.“

Now what is the doctrine of Pedigree Matching? Also a great visionary like the legendary Italian racing set-breeder Federico Tesio, who as a breeder of Nearco – grandfather of Northern Dancer – has revolutionized the Thoroughbred Breeding from scratch, refused to be really looking at the cards; only students who his main work "Breeding the Racehorse" accurately analyzed came to the conclusion. The answer is still quite apparent to everyone. It's about the blood merging the mother's side of the sire to those of the mother's father (or quite well on the second or third nut) located ideally in the third or fourth generation. This combination has brought groundbreaking achievements and apparently it does not seem a priority, whether about the stallion is a top sire. However, where upon the majority of breeders can agree on is the quality of the maternal line, otherwise it will be difficult or just pure chance.

Let's just take a typical example, the fastest trotter of all time, Sebastian K. His pedigree:

The world's fastest trotter ultimately has a probably insignificant French father, that, however, leads Super Bowl in his mother's line, he´s the second dam sire, thus there is a 4x3 on Super Bowl, plus the great US line of Mamie. The amazing thing about it: It is proven not to one or two or three horses that follow this breeding patterns, but, talking about 2014 (we need to exclude France of the great trotting nations more or less, but also there you can see the influence of American stallions more and more, getting this patterns successful, recent example is Bold Eagle), one arrives at an astonishing wealth of trotters this type of breeding patterns. Whether breeders have known this or not is another matter, ultimately, for the statistics but beside the point.

Nothing else is therefore the mystery of pedigree matching. Basically just a continuation of long-known breeding rules, only in modern, virtual form.

Sunday: Early we started, Norman drove me halfway around the island and those beautiful places. Also during those four hours he talked like a clockwork of his program and his horses – not less than 5 million in number in its database! Back in Charlottetown, I said goodbye to Phyllis, Norm brought me to the airport, without any problems, I got from Charlottetown via Halifax via Frankfurt back to Vienna.

A laborious Trip ultimately for a period of less than four days, it has nevertheless been worthwhile. Norman Hall's work can be duly appreciated in my opinion, barely, many of today's existing sites of this type are based on his pioneering work. (At this point, one must state that many freely accessible websites that offer a graphical work-up and also a percentage division between North American and French horses have such high source of error, that they should actually be taken from the net immediately.) Hall wants his website offer for free in the near future also (currently at a fair subscription price), if there are sponsors for supporting his charity regarding autism.

Finally, maybe a quip from the mouth of Norman Hall. We talked about yearling auctions, and there especially of the largest in North America, Lexington and Harrisburg. Norm tried as always to provide the Pedigree on the appearance of the yearling, but without success; Buyers were dazzled by the beauty of the horse. Two years later, when the horse had still not set a hoof on the racetrack, he went to the buyer, and said: "Have you ever seen a Miss Universe, who won an Olympic medal?!"

Please visit also our Photo Album of this journey.


© Nikolaus Matzka 2014–2019