View Full Version : confo critique for dressage

Dec. 31, 2007, 01:36 AM
Please critique this 6 year old appendix mare. Plans include lower level dressage and some jumping. Thanks!


Dec. 31, 2007, 09:15 AM
Nice mare! I am definitely far from being an expert in the conformation department, but some of the things i noticed are that she has good muscling, a nice long neck, and good hind end. Her back is short and from my experience with short-backed horses and dressage is that they need lots of stetching and long and low warm-ups because they tend to get tight in the back. Not a bad thing, in fact short backs are good for jumping. She looks like she might be slightly downhill, but her front hooves look very short and small. maybe they are in the dirt? or maybe they need some growing out? i would think she will do very well for what you want to do with her.

Dec. 31, 2007, 09:15 AM
I'll bite.

She looks nice enough. I'm sure she can DO a decent Training/First Level test with correct schooling... But I'm not sure she'll ever be great at it. I think she'd start to struggle at Second level when collected gaits kick in.

She's got a lovely head and neck.
While I don't know if I'd say she's technically "downhill", she sure looks likes shes leaning in that direction (although just a bit). Not a crime for lower level stuff, but not helpful either.

She has nice overall balance, but with the slight downhill bent and a relatively straight shoulder, I expect that she's not the world's greatest mover. I'd expect to see a much shorter trot on this mare (but who knows until you see her move?)

My biggest gripe is actually that I think her feet look smallish. Again, not a crime in and of itself, but something I'd want to look at really closely. I'd want her to have a history of proven soundness, and I'd consider getting feet x-rays if I were going to spend any money on her.

As for jumping... based purely on her conformation, I'd expect she could get around at 3 feet, but probably not much above that.

Dec. 31, 2007, 10:04 AM
Plans include lower level dressage

I see nothing in her conformation that would interfere with your plans!:)

Pretty girl. How does she move?

Dec. 31, 2007, 10:14 AM
Nice overall impression, the neck comes out of the whithers nicely. She looks fairly strong in the hindquarters. Her neck is long and back is relatively short. The not-so-good points include the front legs being behind at the knee, heavy shoulder, and downhill impression. I'm not going to comment on suitability for dressage here, since I can't see her move. Some trainers and riders are better than others at compensating for conformation faults. Jumping will help her lift her shoulder and develop her back and hindquarters.

She can "do" dressage but will she be able to score 70%??? It depends. She MIGHT be a frustrating project horse to ride in dressage. I rode one almost exactly like this and it was a long road. It was the one horse of all the various breeds that I eventually stopped riding in dressage. That said, I've seen some excellent QH dressage horses. you just have to start on the journey and see how it goes. I just don't want to paint a rosy picture that it will come smoothly with a downhill horse.

Be especially aware of a trainer who can maximize the horse's abilities and give specific exercises that address the conformation faults. I have a non-traditional horse that shouldn't be doing dressage in some ways but she is really coming together because I have her in the right program. My trainer builds on things that she CAN do, not looking at what they can't do. Did I know this would take me 3 YEARS to do a decent training level test??? Nope. But it's real dressage.

Taking lessons regularly and committing to the program help tremendously. I would say expect at least 1-3 years to do a good training-1st test with contact, impulsion, and the proper muscling...that is if the rider knows the basics of contact and a good seat.

Dec. 31, 2007, 12:05 PM
She's lovely! I don't see anything in this photo that would stop her from doing lower level dressage and some jumping. She is a bit back at the knee, but that shouldn't interfere with dressage. And no she's not downhill at all; she's nicely balanced. :yes:

Dec. 31, 2007, 01:06 PM
I agree with most posters. Nice but not good enough for really athletic performance. I just don't like her shoulder. Verrrry straight, as are the pasterns. That, combined with her almost downhill-ness suggests a mediocre performance beyond training-first levels. Of course, training and first level benefit all horses tremendously, and she'll move her best with that kind of foundation. Need more pics and videos to say anymore.

Dec. 31, 2007, 09:20 PM
I like her! Hope the PPE goes well...

and Jupiter sounds like a great name :)

Dec. 31, 2007, 09:26 PM
I think she is lovely and should have NO problem doing the job. Very well balanced, nice head/neck, nice hind end/hip, nice chest/heartgirth, nice short back. Very pretty girl.

Nice but not good enough for really athletic performance.

This is BS.

Dec. 31, 2007, 09:46 PM
I thought the comments on this thread to be bang on.


Dec. 31, 2007, 10:14 PM
I had an appendix gelding by Raise a Lady that looked a little like her. He wasn't as deep thru the front and he had a little more of a 'backside like a cook' than her.

The picture isn't ideal as she is standing with her head down, and is down a slope a little with her front end lower than her back end (possibly her front end close to the camera too), but she's 'functionally downhill' (looking at mass and proportions rather than looking myopically only at her top line or where the highest point of her hip is in relation to her wither) with a heavy chest, very deep base of neck, and a little bit of a long heavy ish looking neck, and a big hike down from her belly at the stifle to her chest.

It's hard to have a foot and lower leg that stays sound under hard work, with that sort of front end. There's a lot ot mass on that front end. But the question is, how hard are you going to work her? Are you going to really stress her with a lot of higher jumps and galloping on hard or poor footing? Are you really going to sting her legs alot? Also, let's face it...this horse is pretty fat. She might look a lot more balanced with some fitness and a little of that lard off of her. Horses like her usually give a much better impression when they're fit.

She doesn't have a world class back end, she has what at first looks like a nice long hip but like most quarter horse and quarter horse crosses, her stifle isn't quite positioned far forward enough and her hind quarters could be longer from back to front as the tail set is high and some of the apparent length is just the pins. There is a little hint of sickle hocks, just barely, and that may be the photo.

She isn't over at the knee. She's actually either cut in in front of the knee, calf kneed (back at the knee), or has an enlarged knee, I can't see clearly enough from the photo what exactly is going on with that, but it doesn't give the impression of being a perfect front leg. If she was back at the knee I'd be worried about a lot of galloping and jumping, if she has a cherry knee (enlarged from injury) i'd make sure a good sport horse vet saw the video and let me know what the risks are with the knee.

I can't really see her feet clearly. They might be a little small, the hind feet ARE small, but again, it's hard to have big enough feet under a 'well topped' horse ('well topped' being a little of a euphemism). When a horse has small feet, light small cannons (being cut in or tied in is the same as having light small cannons), small joints, it's good if they don't have a lot of mass in their body. A slim, narrow, light body is best on that sort of leg.

I can't see if there's something black behind her hind legs or if she has a capped hock on the left hind. Some horses with capped hocks get them from kicking and kickers have problems staying sound if they kick really badly and bang their legs up alot...or they might kick you, LOL. I wish I could see her legs and feet more clearly or that there were several photos with different poses.

But I made do with not perfect horses for a long time by conditioning and schooling them carefully.....and I don't know... there is just something about this horse....she just has a nice look to her face- ears listening to things, looking forward at her handler like she wants to do what the handler wants...I don't know what it is, but I like her style. You can pick and pick at things, and still have a horse that you just get along with, can train and enjoy being with, and .... that is just everything. If she moves clean and likes to jump, and the price is right and your vet likes her, how can you go wrong?

Dec. 31, 2007, 11:50 PM
I'd love to see a picture of her not standing over her front end like she is. I think she's got a bit better slope to her shoulder, more sloped pasterns, not quite so front-heavy as this picture makes her look.

Jan. 1, 2008, 07:07 AM
If you put any top dressage horse on here (identity disguised), some people would write several detailed and nit picky paragraphs on what's wrong with them and why the horse will never hold up.;)

If you can find confo shots , you will see how very true that is! No kidding.

To the OP, I hope you take comments like " It's hard to have a foot and lower leg that stays sound under hard work, with that sort of front end." with a giant truckload of salt. I think that's an irresponsible comment to make based on that photo. To observe that the horse is a little heavy in the front end is one thing but to predict that it won't stay sound is quite another. The rest of that spiel seems to be part imagination, part I don't know what, to put it politely.

Remember that many people on bulletin boards believe that all (other peoples'} horses must be perfect and all (other)riders must be perfect and hold up to some ideal. :lol:

Ask your vet for a more realistic assessment and remember the old saw,

:)pretty is as pretty does:)

Jan. 1, 2008, 07:16 AM
you took the remark out of context and twisted it, egon.

i said the horse is stood up poorly, is overweight, and also read the last sentence, 'you can pick and pick'......

this is one photo, and as another poster said, the horse is standing downhill. my comments are on ONE PHOTO, and i stated the limitations of doing so. no one can possibly get a realistic idea from 1 photo, i stated what i saw, and this IS a heavy topped horse on a small foot, and you will hear champ hough and anyone else evaluating conformation stating that that in principle isn't ideal and why.

Jan. 1, 2008, 08:57 AM
It was a QUOTE and there were SIX paragraphs on everything that is 'wrong' with the horse in nit picky detail, so no, I didn't twist anything or take anything out of context.. :)

Happy New Year, everyone!:)

Jan. 1, 2008, 09:43 AM
I agree with *most* posters here ;) but wanted to add my knee-jerk reaction. She's cresty. Without her standing in front of me so I could poke her in the shoulder with my finger to see what jiggles, I would be a little wary of that crest.

I would also want bloodwork done to see where her thyroid and ACTH levels were.

Could be she's just on the chubby side, but the bloodwork should clear that up.

I really like her pic!

Jan. 1, 2008, 12:24 PM
Eggy; why so selective? I notice you don't take your comrade AR to task for this comment, but more than happy to take slc out of context, huh? This has to be one of THE dumbest comments I have read on here.

Nice but not good enough for really athletic performance.

Jan. 1, 2008, 12:53 PM
Eggy; why so selective? I notice you don't take your comrade AR to task for this comment, but more than happy to take slc out of context, huh? This has to be one of THE dumbest comments I have read on here.

Sorry but the point of a forum is to put up each of our opinions. I will selectively pick up on one point of a post to either expand or disagree with it.There is no specific protocol to answer every point that is in another post and with SLC's posts the is just too much "core dumping" to make it feasible (but I have tried when I have the time and will to do so).

Why don't you simply put up your own posts and not worry about what other people are doing,

The comment on the UDBB pretty much reflects what is being said here so I hope the OP realizes that the main point of concern here is the smallish feet on a large bodied mare with a bit of a straight shoulder.

Jan. 1, 2008, 12:57 PM
Why don't you simply put up your own posts and not worry about what other people are doing,

Well, I could say the same for you.

And I did comment on the inane comment. Just commenting on another poster's comment regarding another posters' post. Make sense? It's done all the time.

Jan. 1, 2008, 01:17 PM
Well, as a trimmer, I will say that her "smallish feet" don't concern me that much. If she is sound on them and they land flat, I would find something else to worry about. Big ole' honkin' platter feet are much more concerning to me.

I think she is a nice mare. I would not be worried about her shoulder for dressage, who cares if she doesn't have a lot of reach in the front end or has some knee action? This is not hunters. Regarding her legs/bone, again, who cares? She didn't say she wanted to breed her, she said she wanted to RIDE her... and do lower level dressage and a little jumping. Not the Tevis Cup.

The horse has a nice proportion. Her conformation will challenge her rider.. ALL CONFORMATIONS CHALLENGE THEIR RIDERS. The horse who is "built perfectly for dressage" with the modern short back and high set neck provides his OWN set of challenges for the rider.

The only thing I would keep in the back on my mind about this horse is that her shoulder is indeed a bit heavy. If I started jumping her, and she jumped over her shoulder, I would stop jumping her rather than try to fix it - or waiting for the crash.

Otherwise, I'd enjoy her. And whoever said she looks cresty, I agree.. I'd be looking to her diet!

Jan. 1, 2008, 01:57 PM
As I know LJ, and I have seen this horse go...

I will give you a little more info on her.

The mare is intended for low level dressage (up to 1st Level in several years) and low, local showing in either the hunter or jumper ring. NOT A rated shows. Those of you in the PNW, think Lake Washington Saddle Club Fun shows. The mare has some knee action, more than is desired in hunters, but not so much that she looks rediculous for dressage. She is kind, sweet and forgiving of a novice, and packed LJ's daughter around a 2'6" course and a 3' grid on the first two trial rides. (BTW, 3' was the highest daughter has jumped, AND they did it safely).

Mare has decent feet (in the picture you can see that, although half the polish has worn off to give her crazy small looking hooves). She was bred once and has a yearling at the time of these pictures. Her sire, a bulldog-type QH, added the heft to her frame.

LJ, good luck on Friday!

Hampton Bay
Jan. 1, 2008, 02:39 PM
She reminds me quite a bit of my mare as far as balance and proportions. You will face some challenges with the heavier front end, but a good trainer should be able to teach you to work with her to get the best out of her.

My mare is certainly no WB, but with the right riding is a very nice looking mare. When ridden well, she looks like a completely different horse, as in I have had people who know her ask who she was when my old trainer would ride her. If she really has a powerful hind end, she should do just fine for you.

And the small feet/upright shoulder/heavy front end means nothing in terms of soundness. I've not had any issues with soundness with my mare, even when in hard work, and she is quite heavy through the front end. The difficulty with collection comment is also BS IMO. My mare has a lot of natural collection. Extension is her issue, though I suspect I could help her out a lot more with that.

If you like her, I think she will be perfectly suitable for your intentions. Does she look like a mare who will be jumping 5'? No. Does she look like a competitive 4th level horse? No. A good all-around lower-level horse for you to enjoy? Sure, if the personality and soundness are also there.

Jan. 1, 2008, 02:45 PM
I think it would have been fun to post this pic and not identify the breed :winkgrin:

Jan. 1, 2008, 03:42 PM
Well I think she will be fine for lower level dressage and some jumping, but if you decide to do more with her, than you might want to re-evaluate her and what you are looking for? She looks like the perfect low level horse to me? I say if the price is right and you really click with her go for it!
Most important Have Fun!

Jan. 1, 2008, 03:49 PM
Her sire, a bulldog-type QH, added the heft to her frame.

I would take a good hard look at her pedigree. If there is any suspicion of her HYPP status, have a DNA test done.

Jan. 1, 2008, 04:12 PM
There is no Impressive blood in her that we can find... Sire is "The Black Bomber", and is King bred top and bottom.