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shakeytails
Aug. 3, 2011, 12:13 PM
Boomer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/65510230@N04/sets/72157627223822719/detail/)

The pictures are certainly not the best. He's not standing quite square, he's muddy, his mane and tail are gnarly, and he's due for a trim.

He's 2 years old, somewhere around 15.2 (he thought the stick was gonna eat him), and just gelded. He's worn some tack and been lunged 4 or 5 times.

What do you all think of him as a dressage/sport horse prospect? I'm trying to figure out what to do with him.

luvmydutch
Aug. 3, 2011, 12:36 PM
Wowzers he's beautiful!! What are his bloodlines? A dressage prospect for sure!

propspony
Aug. 3, 2011, 03:05 PM
ooooh. Nice baby saddlebred. I love how his neck/shoulder connect. (and I'm still making little squeal noises over his cute little ears!) He looks like he's going to be FUN!

shakeytails
Aug. 3, 2011, 03:20 PM
ooooh. Nice baby saddlebred. I love how his neck/shoulder connect. (and I'm still making little squeal noises over his cute little ears!) He looks like he's going to be FUN!

Darn it, you weren't supposed to tell what he was- like you can't figure it out from my username! :winkgrin:

Anyway, I don't think he's going to work for me as a show horse and I really need to find him a new home.

I was thinking about marketing him as a dressage prospect. I'd love for people that know sport horses to tell me his strong and weak points. Are these appropriate photos - that is if I clean him up, maybe braid him and get similar shots?

out west
Aug. 3, 2011, 03:30 PM
Looks like he won't mind working in a sloppy arena! Always a plus.

RedMare01
Aug. 3, 2011, 03:35 PM
He looks lovely, and a lot like my ASB mare. He (and she) are a bit long in the back and have a flat croup like a typical ASB, but no horse is perfect. I think he would be a great dressage prospect...most ASBs have to overcome their prior SS training, which is a big hurdle to most, IME. My mare was schooling first/second level at one point (before life/school got in the way and she got mostly retired), and my dressage coach was very enthusiastic about her. But getting over the previous SS training took awhile and was a pain the butt. If you start him out with dressage, I predict he will make a very good prospect. :yes:

countrygal
Aug. 3, 2011, 03:50 PM
I'm pretty biased (I own an ASB and compete in dressage) but he looks like a handsome bugger! He looks to have good potential as a dressage horse. I've encountered some breed bias in my area but hopefully shoppers can look past the breed and see the mind/athleticism that makes the saddlebred such an amazing partner for any discipline.

alto
Aug. 3, 2011, 04:18 PM
Clean him up if you like but I think decent videos & additional photos would be a better use of your time - after your lead in, I was expected a filthy tangled mess with no decent shots ...
he is lovely & your poses are better than alot I've seen :yes:

mbm
Aug. 3, 2011, 04:26 PM
ok, here is my honest critique looking at him from the POV of a dressage prospect. remember you asked :)

he is cute, but the very first thing i look at for a dressage prospect is the hind end/back/hind leg. and that happens to be the weakest part of this guy.

given the above, i would not look at him at all. his hind end is very weak and his back already looks to have issues. i think asking him to work hard from his hind end, over the back, etc. would not be kind and would be asking for breakdown.

i dont know about other disciplines, but for dressage? no.

MunchingonHay
Aug. 3, 2011, 04:31 PM
Darn it, you weren't supposed to tell what he was- like you can't figure it out from my username! :winkgrin:

I could tell by the line in his back end and the neck, and its written all over his face.

I did not even notice your username.

Dressage prospect ! have fun with him.

cb06
Aug. 3, 2011, 04:51 PM
He's lovely... :yes:

He is also a very typical lanky, rangy 2yr old ASB. I do agree his hindquarters look a little light, but knowing how ASB's mature, I suspect that will fill out nicely with maturity. I think, though he is not thin, a bit more of weight would help fill in that shallowness in his flank and put some roundness in his hindquarters ....all helpful if you are marketing as a sporthorse. Also, try to stand him up with his hind leg more underneath him and get a nice video. He appears to be a lovely, free mover that will mature into a very pretty dressage prospect. :)

Lost_at_C
Aug. 3, 2011, 05:02 PM
I think he's lovely for his breed, but to be honest he doesn't do it for me as a "sport horse prospect". I think you might be better off advertising him as an all-rounder or lower level prospect. I don't mean this in an offensive way, but just wanted to point out some things that might affect the way you choose to market him. As mbm pointed out, he has a weak hind end, but he's also a tad "out" behind. When I look for a serious Dressage Prospect I want to see a horse that moves UP through its whole topline and has a general shift of weight toward its hindquarters. Your horse is a stunner, but I suspect from the photos that like most saddlebreds he has some flashy moves but doesn't naturally stretch up through his back and withers. This is not to say that he couldn't be quite successful in the dressage ring, but I don't think the descriptor of Dressage Prospect quite fits. I've certainly brought along enough non-traditional breeds and conformationally challenged horses to never count any of them out, but I wouldn't expect ambitious dressage people to be sold on this one. I'd focus on finding him a great amateur home with a person that will adore him for all his non-dressage-specific assets! :)

shakeytails
Aug. 3, 2011, 10:26 PM
OK guys, explain the "weak hind end" thing as opposed to lack of muscle. (No I'm not offended) He's probably not as fat as most 2 year olds I see advertised, and he doesn't get as much turnout as he should (only 4-6 hrs/day) so not as much muscle either. I'd rather have my babies a little thin than too fat- I think it's better for their joints. And yeah, ASBs tend to take a little longer to fill out. Watching him trot he does seem (to me anyway) to drive off his hind end. I see what you mean by "out" behind. I think it's because he kept trying to get closer to DH and was creeping forward with his fronts- I just looked at him in his stall and he doesn't look that way, but I'll definitely be aware of it next time I take pictures. Does a flat croup really make that much of a difference?

Anybody got pictures/video of a really nice 2 year old for comparison?

I certainly don't think I'll get mega-bucks for him. I was just thinking how to market him to get him into a good home where he can be useful and loved. Lower level prospect is fine with me- besides, how many horses get past 1st or 2nd level anyway? He's got the type of "I'll try" attitude that's definitely amateur friendly.

mickeydoodle
Aug. 3, 2011, 10:50 PM
what would make me concerned about his hind end is the flat croup- it is reminiscent of the older style warmblood (thind Abgar, Pik Bube, D-lines) Compare the croup to more "modern" warmbloods (more hip angle)


That said, who can know about a 2yr old? Some of the horses that looked like they could never do dressage (Flim Flam (Sue Blinks)- narrow chested, not great conformation, etc but a really good GP horse) were wonderful. No one can really know until you are riding, training and showing him. If his attitude is wonderful, that is worth more than anything to those of us who are not pros.

mbm
Aug. 3, 2011, 10:59 PM
:) i am not going to post pics of a "really nice" 2 yo because it isn't fair to compare your boy to a purpose bred WB.

however, i will post pics of my now 3 yo Connemara pony - whom i purchased as a dressage prospect. i specifically looked for a strong hind leg, hind end, loin connection, and back.

i personally am very aware that the back/loin is the weakest link and for a horse to be able to do dressage work well (ie use its back properly etc) it need to be built to do the job - no matter what the breed.

i agree that youngster should be on the leaner side so i dont fault his weight at all. i also looked at his bones and not muscle- altho his muscle on his back looks a bit funky already... a bit tight and tense...

also, if you want some really great info on confo and what is needed to be a good dressage prospect you can rent the video by Hilda Gurney or there are two little books by Deb Bennett that i think are very good - they give examples have confo critiques for each section etc... very educational
"Principles of Conformation Vol 1 & Vol 2 by Dr Deb Bennett

in a nut shell - the lengths and angles of your cute guys HQ do not lend to any kind of power or the type of leverage we look for in a dressage prospect.

especially for me is the weak loin connection, the very short croup, the angles of the bones, the depth of the loin, the length of the upper hind leg, the length of his pasturns and so on.

here is my pony at just 3, he is not a perfect confo example by any means as his neck is a tad short , and his shoulder could be more laid back - but i LOVE his hind end... it is strong, well angled, large in comparison to the rest of his body etc.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=960358&l=c17e23928b&id=100000097655253

my observations of his hind end are being confirmed as i begin to ride him - the power potential that i feel is quite amazing as is the absolute ease in which he is able to do as asked... at less than 15 rides - and all on the lunge - he is already bending, connecting and giving me a feel i have never had before - on any horse.

so i am convinced that the hind end / back is really the important part. the bling front end is not important. the HQ is.

if you read the Deb B books you will get a really great understanding of what i am talking about.. :)

i think if you advertise your guy as an allrounder you will be fine. i would not try to niche him you will get people looking who wont be interested and you will miss a huge section of the horse buying public.

also be sure to price him accordingly.

Liz
Aug. 4, 2011, 12:00 AM
Don't discount a willing attitude. I have seen horses built for dressage with no try. A horse with a decent built and a willing attitude should, with the right training be able to compete locally or even regionally (depending on the region). I saw a fantastic mover at the last rated horse show i went to who had jaw dropping lengthenings but would not go down the long side and spooked at the judges stand. This talented horse was beat by a steady Eddie who went in and just did his job. "Dressage prospect" as in some of the young horse classes....no. Could he be someone's future dressage partner? With the right attitude, sure.

luvmydutch
Aug. 4, 2011, 09:26 AM
I can't tell you how many gorgeous saddlebreds (much like your young boy) I have seen in the dressage arena doing extremely well. In fact, I've seen so many at this point I always say if anything ever happens to my DWB and I can't afford to buy another, a saddlebred is next on my list. Google image some pictures of warmblood stallions and you will see how many successful dressage horses out there have flat croups :).

suzy
Aug. 4, 2011, 09:27 AM
I'm with Liz on this one. Although he is camped out behind, it doesn't mean he won't make a nice lower level horse for someone with modest aspirations. Willingness is key. I rode a 15.2 hand TB mare years ago who was built so much higher behind than in front that we lovingly referred to her as the "dragster." But, her attitude more than made up for her conformation, and she was a joy to ride EVERY day!

mbm
Aug. 4, 2011, 12:18 PM
i agree that a willing attitude is critical. however , a horse can only do what his conformation allows him to do and there is a vast difference between a decently built non WB and one that just does not have the bone, angles, etc to hold up and make the job easy.

why force a horse to do something they will struggle with - no matter what the breed or purpose bred designation?

a fancy dressage bred horse who does not have the confo or an "off breed" horses with same - doenst matter.

market him as a nice family or 4 h horse and find him a lovely loving home :)

Kyzteke
Aug. 4, 2011, 12:30 PM
I like your colt, but I agree that a dressage rider with upper level aspirations would probably pass on him, because, as others have noted, he seems abit light in the hindquarters.

That being said, "Try" is everything in a horse and that is a very important component.

As comparison, here is a pic of my 2 yr old WB filly.

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2086974770104425996Izjkxc

These pics were taken almost to the day of her 2nd birthday, so that gives you an idea. And she has fairly refined breeding: she is by Rosenthal o/o a Rubino Bellisimo/Batido mare....so she is purpose bred for dressage pretty much all the way.

But again, if the horse is sound and willing & you have a talented rider (the hardest part) you'd be surprised how far they can go.

Lost_at_C
Aug. 4, 2011, 01:22 PM
OK guys, explain the "weak hind end" thing as opposed to lack of muscle. (No I'm not offended) He's probably not as fat as most 2 year olds I see advertised, and he doesn't get as much turnout as he should (only 4-6 hrs/day) so not as much muscle either. I'd rather have my babies a little thin than too fat- I think it's better for their joints.

Just to be clear, when I mentioned the weak hind end I was referring to angles and proportions, not current musculature or condition. I agree that heart goes a long way, but the conformation and balance a horse is born with are also key factors. I think you'll sell quicker if you market him according to his true potential rather than something that he only might be okay at. Unless this guy has qualities we can't see from the photos, go for buyers that want a great temperament and a fun project, rather than a "prospect". When I hear "dressage prospect" I think of an animal that has credible potential to be genuinely competetive at least through 3rd level. He's handsome though, and I think lower level amateurs might really be attracted to him, especially if he has good basics and ground manners.

Marla 100
Aug. 4, 2011, 01:33 PM
Cute horse! OK Shakey, I'm a big saddlebred fan and a little saddlebred owner who bought a 2 yr. old ASB to do dressage- 10 yrs. ago. My guy was a little larger boned, larger hind end, etc. He tries his heart out but he's simply not built to do much serious dressage work. We play at it. As much as I love the breed I must say a lot of the "old style" larger boned, correct and more powerful hind ends seem to be bred out of them. I would love to find a saddlebred suited to the work, conformationally . They are very far and few between.

I do think you could call your guy a sport horse prospect for someone with lower aspirations. Most asb's LOVE to jump, love cross country riding, love agility training, love trail riding etc. Just don't expect to get much $$ in today's market.
Good Luck finding that special home.

ASB Stars
Aug. 4, 2011, 01:37 PM
OK, here is another two year old

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/bryndewinesfarm/P1010046.jpg

This one, much like the first colt (who I think is dynamite, btw) is really, really immature. He didn't stop growing until he was six, and he didn't really body down until he was seven.

ASBs have a who different kind of hind end set up, much of the time- they have lean kind of musculature, from their TB background, and they do not "bulk up" the way some breeds do, even when correctly worked. The show correct musculature, don't get me wrong, but it is a less bulky kind of look, if you understand what I am saying.

Your colt is adorable- what is his breeding? I love how stretchy and elastic he is. He is a clean slate- teach him to reach down and work over his back, and you will be amazed at what he can do!

Carol Ames
Aug. 4, 2011, 01:46 PM
Where is the link:confused:? Please repost!

Carol Ames
Aug. 4, 2011, 01:49 PM
It is very difficult:mad: to say much from this photo; Is there one withe camera in line with his sholder and his hind legs under?:cool:
Where is the link:confused:? Please repost!

Carol Ames
Aug. 4, 2011, 01:54 PM
Lost at C said it very well; the structure of his hind end, angles of the joints do not promise natural ability to collect, engage the hindquarters:no:

Carol Ames
Aug. 4, 2011, 02:04 PM
Get a better picture with hind end under him; he looks terribly unbalanced:eek: in his one, very open stifle and:o hocks; none of this is desirable:no: in a dressage prospect possibly a pleasure/ trail ;)horse.:cool:

cb06
Aug. 4, 2011, 02:07 PM
We had a really interesting discussion on another board a few months ago about this very topic of 'dressage prospect' and 'potential to move up the levels'. What seemed to come out of it is that most any horse of any breed that was sound of mind and body and had 3 'good' quality gaits can move up the levels (i.e. past 3rd) and that the limiting factor in most cases are the quality of the training and the talent of the rider. We were NOT talking about FEI young horse champion/olympic hopeful type horses, but just a good basic brain, willing attitude and clean, decent gaits can get respectable scores and move up the levels IF there is quality training and riding. Of course, the better the natural quality of a horses gaits are, the more potential there is (given the other factors..)....no matter what 'wrapper' (breed, size, pedigree) that may come in.

So, to come back around to the OP question, what I would look critically at shakeytails is the quality of his gaits, including (most especially) his walk and canter. How does he use that body he has? Any suspension? overstep at the walk? a clean 3-beat, athletic canter? does he use his hocks and reach under from behind?, etc.... Those qualities, almost moreso than static confo pictures, will tell you a lot. He is most definitely a very cute all-around looking horse...to catch someone's eye for dressage, he will need 3 good, quality gaits and that willing, 'can do' ASB attitude. :yes:

cuatx55
Aug. 4, 2011, 02:16 PM
I would certinally try him in dressage, he is very nice. One thing I noticed is although he steps under fairly well with his hocks he doesn't seem to round his pelvis and use his back. I'm not talking collection, just a natural tendency to use his body. His pelvis appears to not be "deeply set" its more croup high. I have a horse like this and its the one thing I wouldn't want if I did it over, even more then the "more obvious" faults. He might be more of a leg mover? Hard to say. He has good gaits, and a nice look, so I wouldn't discount him right off the bat.

Forte
Aug. 4, 2011, 03:06 PM
Agree with the other posters who don't like this horse's hind end. His croup is very flat, his hind leg is too straight and out behind him. He is not really built to collect. If I was shopping, I would pass on him as a dressage prospect. That said, if I already owned him, I would love him to bits, do some lower level stuff with him, and let him decide what his highest and best use is. He has a lovely expression and a kind eye and I'm sure will make someone a willing and pleasant partner.

JCS
Aug. 4, 2011, 03:26 PM
I see what you mean by "out" behind. I think it's because he kept trying to get closer to DH and was creeping forward with his fronts- I just looked at him in his stall and he doesn't look that way, but I'll definitely be aware of it next time I take pictures.

It's not just apparent in the standing photos, but in the trotting ones as well. Look at the last and 2nd to last photos--his hind leg is trailing waaaaaay behind him. For dressage he needs that hind leg to be able to reach up and under. It's going to be hard for him because the whole angle of his pelvis makes his hind legs want to trail out behind.

That having been said, I think he is super cute and would be a great lower level/ammy type horse. I'd buy him! :)

luvmydutch
Aug. 4, 2011, 03:29 PM
Really? You consider this trailing behind?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65510230@N04/6009554514/in/set-72157627223822719

shakeytails
Aug. 4, 2011, 03:52 PM
Your colt is adorable- what is his breeding? I love how stretchy and elastic he is. He is a clean slate- teach him to reach down and work over his back, and you will be amazed at what he can do!

LOL, I don't have the first clue how to teach him to reach down and work over his back! He's HotHalston (lots of Sultan) x Something About Amelia. He's registered but it's not showing up yet.


So, to come back around to the OP question, what I would look critically at shakeytails is the quality of his gaits, including (most especially) his walk and canter. How does he use that body he has? Any suspension? overstep at the walk? a clean 3-beat, athletic canter? does he use his hocks and reach under from behind?, etc.... Those qualities, almost moreso than static confo pictures, will tell you a lot. He is most definitely a very cute all-around looking horse...to catch someone's eye for dressage, he will need 3 good, quality gaits and that willing, 'can do' ASB attitude. :yes:

Definite overstep at a walk (I thought that didn't matter?). Yes to suspension, but my idea of suspension may be different than yours! His canter is kinda neat- he's light on his front and just sorta pushes off his hind for a slow canter at liberty(not all the time, of course), he'll often canter smallish circles for fun. If it wasn't so dang hot I'd try to get a video.

I added a couple more pictures, one more trotting, one just standing in the mud by the gate.

I'm beginning to see the angle/proportion differences from the links you guys have posted. Like I said, I don't think he's the next dressage sensation- just wanted an honest critique.

katarine
Aug. 4, 2011, 04:09 PM
He's very cute but he doesn't have the backend to be taken seriously as a 'serious' horse. That said, there's a market for sound, sensible, fun, and attractive- I wouldn't promote him as a dressage horse, but as an all around horse.

JCS
Aug. 4, 2011, 05:08 PM
Really? You consider this trailing behind?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65510230@N04/6009554514/in/set-72157627223822719

Umm... Yes? Not sure how it would be possible for that LH to be any farther back!

ASB Stars
Aug. 4, 2011, 06:36 PM
Yes, but he is also reaching way up underneath of hmself with his right hind. In addition, the angle of his left hind matches that of his right front.

It is interesting- I posted the picture of the bay, because he, too, is camped out behind in the picture, and has a fairly flat croup in that shot.

cb06
Aug. 4, 2011, 07:19 PM
Judging conformation from pictures can be difficult...and assessing potential on top of that fraught with inaccurate assumptions...this is why it is so important to see the horse in-person.

IMHO, THIS is a much better picture...THIS would make me want to get in the car and go see him.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65510230@N04/6009004801/

From this picture alone, although his stifle still looks a bit shallow and I'd still like to see more development/muscling/maturity in his hind end, I see a lot to like, dare I say even more so than some of the other horses pictured for comparison. He looks uphill, a fabulous front end and sloping shoulder, deep heart girth, a strong topline (short back and strong loin...yes, I said it..in this picture this is what I see), low set hocks ...and from his owners description of his movement it sounds like he has shoulder freedom, reach and some innate ability to canter and sit, and overstep (if that is important?).

A flat croup does not equal an inability to collect. The Lipizzaner is another prime example known for flat croups and sometimes straight or camped out hind leg...
like here:
http://www.horsechannel.com/images/horse-breeds/Lipizzaner.jpg

BUT, they are ALSO well known for an innate ability collect and to piaffe and passage (go figure). So...while I understand why that 'form to function' connection is often made, in real life, it is just not always true.

and from an expert in analyzing conformation:

"Dr. Deb Bennett, PhD., recently analyzed the American Saddlebred in her Applied Conformation series (Equus 225), and states: “For more than 100 years, American Saddlebreds have been produced for the purpose of carrying a riders weight comfortably and efficiently…I have never seen any Saddlebred horse – even a part bred – who did not readily perform the passage …Most have incredibly comfortable and coordinated canters as well … I think they are the most neglected of all breeds suitable for dressage.”"

...just saying, though I understand confo pics are a good place to start and 'form to function' is a great jumping-off point, there is so much more to it than angles and making assumptions from static confo pics...how a horse USES it's body is VERY important. So many examples of lovely conformed horses that just don't move great and visa versa...

ASB Stars
Aug. 4, 2011, 07:44 PM
Thanks for posting that- I have read Dr. Deb words before, but they always brighten my day!

And yes, horses can *look* like they could move, and then, not be able to get out of their own way. I think that the OPs colt has real potential.

And the bay colt is a two year old Borealis.

rcloisonne
Aug. 4, 2011, 08:08 PM
Wow! I think he's dynamite! His neck, shoulder, and legs are excellent. I particularly like the well letdown hocks. Looks like he could seriously "sit" if properly trained.

Kaluna
Aug. 4, 2011, 09:33 PM
Really? You consider this trailing behind?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65510230@N04/6009554514/in/set-72157627223822719

I'd say yep, that's trailing. His hind leg is way out behind. The other leg is forward for sure but he's very VERY wide to avoid that front leg. He's not lifting his front and coming underneath himself enough to avoid that front leg. If he learns to move that way he's going to have problems in dressage. Yea, he's only two but look at his topline for a horse in the mud (horses typically really flex their joints and use their backs in mud) truckin' along in an extended trot sort of trot. He's using his legs and articulating, not his pelvis or back. In my opinion. Could that change? Sure. But I don't think he has the build for third level or higher based on these pictures. The weight of the rider is going to influence this horse, I think. His saddle position is pretty far back on what seems like flat topline. Just won't be easy for him even if he has great try.

You can call him a dressage prospect but those who really want to climb the levels in the sport will likely pass on him. Doesn't diminish his quality or worth, though. The rider who wants him will probably REALLY want him. He's a nice horse, definitely.

luvmydutch
Aug. 4, 2011, 11:15 PM
Kaluna i respectfully disagree wholeheartedly. Either way...best of luck to the OP! If I were in the market for a second dressage horse I'd snatch him up...I'm such a sucker for a fancy chestnut :). Best of luck and I think your horse is just dreamy

Fillabeana
Aug. 5, 2011, 02:55 AM
OK, another few things from what I think I've learned from Dr Deb Bennett:
1)there is no way in these photos to judge whether the horse is camped out behind/sickle hocked because this must be evaluated with the cannon bone vertical, or perpendicular to the ground. In no standing photo, here, is the cannon bone perpendicular. Looks to me like the horse could be a bit camped out...but can't tell for sure without his rear cannon vertical. Once the rear cannon is vertical, drop a line from the point of buttock downward- the back of the cannon should be plumb with this line.

2)This horse, as per Dr Deb's analysis, is VERY uphill- she judges not from top of croup to top of withers, but from 'core of loins' (where the spine joins with the pelvis, you can't see it b/c it is inside the pelvis, but approximately level with the point of hip) to the thickest palpable point of neck vertebrae. Obviously, this measurement will vary with the horse's posture (neck/head up or down) but if you look at how the horse usually carries himself, it will present itself. (If you want to understand this better, look at an Equus magazine...I don't remember the date but it should be about two years ago- Dr Deb has reworked her conformation series for the magazine, and you can subscribe specifically to get those back issues. Her articles are about two years' worth.)

3)While the horse may be trotting with a leg left way out behind, in EVERY 'trot' photo he is carrying himself with more weight on his rear quarters. He will hit the ground with his diagonal rear leg first. He has his front end elevated.
4)Going with the elevated front end, is one huge facet of true collection- the BASE of his neck is raised. (A collected horse, as per Dr Deb, has a coiled loin and the base of neck raised.) I love the canter photo, where he is quite balanced taking all of his weight on his right rear leg, with his back and base of neck up. It is no surprise to hear from Shakey that the horse is able to, and likes to canter slowly-this takes a lot of balance-and this horse is naturally able to assume a posture that makes it easy for him.

I hear such nice things about how smart and fun Saddlebreds are. This one hasn't been funnied up with training to get him to 'break back at the base of his neck', or put in bungie hobbles. If I were in the market for another horse, I'd have a trailer at Shakey's farm tomorrow.

But I do get how he doesn't look like a WB with the level croup and the lanky look- so he might not be as marketable to those who like to look at photos of shiny warmbloods. So my own critique must be taken with a grain of salt.

staceyk
Aug. 5, 2011, 07:00 AM
I love his shoulder, and the overall harmony I see in this horse. Photos are very hard to judge, even though you offer us a nice sampling. Movement will tell the tail, er, tale!

How tall do you expect him to get? He's a doll.

HappyTalk
Aug. 5, 2011, 08:43 AM
Two years can be such an awkward age, but this horse looks really good. I like him. :yes:

katarine
Aug. 5, 2011, 10:58 AM
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65510230@N04/6005737342/in/set-72157627223822719

Once the rear cannon is vertical, drop a line from the point of buttock downward- the back of the cannon should be plumb with this line.

Bring those hinds forward a titch and it'll be easy to verify he's a little camped out/sickle hocked. Easy as eatin' lettuce. It's not like conformation judges get to wait until the horse can be measured with a level ;)

You evaluate what's in front of you, as it's presented to you.

Shakey can drop him off at my barn, 8 days a week. I bet his mind and overall good build will serve him well: but he's not going to catch the eye of the person looking for 'the' dressage physique'.

LOL I dare anyone to say they can't spot the weaknesses in this gal's conformation...she's mine so I feel free to post her as a sample of poorly stood up, but hey, she's still goofy behind ;)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/31281399@N06/5110393749/

mbm
Aug. 5, 2011, 11:52 AM
OK, another few things from what I think I've learned from Dr Deb Bennett:
1)there is no way in these photos to judge whether the horse is camped out behind/sickle hocked because this must be evaluated with the cannon bone vertical, or perpendicular to the ground. In no standing photo, here, is the cannon bone perpendicular. Looks to me like the horse could be a bit camped out...but can't tell for sure without his rear cannon vertical. Once the rear cannon is vertical, drop a line from the point of buttock downward- the back of the cannon should be plumb with this line.

the books i mentioned earlier are the book form of the articles you are talking about.

you did not mention that one of the most important factors for a horse is the rear end. and that as per DB this horse, as presented, has a weak hind end on almost every point. but especially the lack of depth and the fact that the LS joint is so far back and not over the hips as it should be for good and correct power ability.

every point i made are direct points from DBs books as i happen to be reading them right now.

any serious dressage rider - whether a lower level rider - or an upper level one - will look for a horse built to do the job - no matter what the breed. the hind end is the most important part. uphill does not matter if the horse is too weak behind to carry iut without breaking down.

there are MANY well conformed animals out there. why pick one that isnt? it just is not fair to the horse. and there is no glory in taking an ill conformed animal and forcing it to do something that it isnt built to do.

i *still* vote for finding him a home where he will get light use that does not require power usage of the hind end etc.

question for OP : why will he not work out for you as a show horse?

Carol Ames
Aug. 5, 2011, 11:54 AM
Willingness and attitude will take a horse only so far; imagine an old style "bulldog" Quarterhorse; How would they work as a thre gaited horse or plantation walker?; NOT at ALL!:no: they are not bred in conformation / central nervous system to move in the way necessary; they do NOT have a flat back

Carol Ames
Aug. 5, 2011, 12:11 PM
The "flat back" I am taking about is not the croup; yes, some Hanoverians do have that, but, they are trying to bred it out; The flat back I mean is the reaction of the cns to hold the muscles of the back tight , level, rather than allowing them to round up ,bascule, as part of the circle of muscles along with lowering the hindquarters and elevating the forehand; all of which are sought after in dressage , so, I'm afraid that a rider with goals to do upper level dressage would not find him suitable:no: That does NOT mean that you could not do lower level dressage with him; if, that is what you are doing with him, advertise him that:yes: way but, don't expect a BNT/ BNR to be interested:no:

Carol Ames
Aug. 5, 2011, 12:34 PM
to develop an eye, I highly recommend Susan Harris' books and videos:yes:, especially the "visible :cool:horse" btw. I am still looking for someone to organize a visible horse/ rider, or Centered Riding clinic:cool:c as a fund raiser for me; any ideas? the two people who, had agreed initially:yes: have fallen by the wayside ( too much life happening, new baby, possibly marriage:cool:, etc.so, I 'm still looking.:confused:.

cuatx55
Aug. 5, 2011, 12:40 PM
Carol Ames:
But I thought "lower level" riders need/desire a swinging/lose back.....even at intro the horse needs to allow the energy to flow through the whole body.
I get tired of so much being reserved for "upper level riders". Dressage at any level requires a certain level of composure, fitness, suppleness....I'm not talking about just wtc but actual connection, reach, and contact (what ever that level requires). A truely gymnastic horse not just a horse going through the test movements.
The saddlebred is very cute but guarded in his body. and trailing out, croup high. I have a horse with a tendency to a stiff back and its been a pain in the a$$. Seriously. I would think twice before getting a horse with a stiff back and weak croup/hocks. Most horses can get to a halfway decent test but a heck of a lot of work! there are horses of all breeds with nice hock and pelvis placement so its not that you need a WB.

shakeytails
Aug. 5, 2011, 01:14 PM
i *still* vote for finding him a home where he will get light use that does not require power usage of the hind end etc.

Your typical ASB does require plenty of power usage of the hind end. We want them light in front and driving off that hind end. Think about a five-gaited horse (and this horse has plenty in his family)- they're absolute powerhouses.


question for OP : why will he not work out for you as a show horse?

I prefer saddle seat and he just doesn't have quite enough raw leg-waving talent, not quite enough neck, and not as game as I like. If I keep him, he'll probably be my western pleasure project.

D_BaldStockings
Aug. 5, 2011, 10:31 PM
First of all, here is a two year old, an age most horses do not look their best.
Someone find me a picture of Totilas, Jazz, or Donnerhall at this age -good luck!

Second, here is a horse with a similar hock:
most of you will know who the top sire Don Federico is, scroll down...
http://www.foals.com/thesires.htm

Third, 3/4 of the pictures do nothing positive for this nice youngster. I'm not talking condition, but there are phases of the stride that make a horse look more appealing to a dressage buyer.
this for trot:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HHyUhFh8s_E/SInaoJSo-lI/AAAAAAAAAXw/xw1tX-9d6Bo/s400/bag+web.jpg

this for canter, both hind hooves grounded:
http://www.wbfsh.org/GB/News/2009/20(x0x)10(x0x)2009%20KWPN%20takes%20a%20strong%20l ead%20in%20dressage.aspx

Never a photo with neck raised and back dropped / croup flattened (two yr olds are noodles!).

Try to avoid taking pics where the photographer is at the elbow or further to the front, makes hq look decidedly light. Place the photographer behind the girth or as far back as the stifle; the horse at right angles or perhaps slightly stepped away on the front end.

Think about how you would entice the horse to 'look down' and reach under as he moves, rather than 'look up' and pick them up high; take many shots and have someone who does dressage pick through them.

This pose is closer to a pic that would attract a dressage person if the left hind was a bit more forward, scroll down to Heir Delivery (no chain over the nose, please, however)
http://www.mveh.com/stallions.html

If you ever do a video, think the same way. And emphasize the canter and a reaching, back flexing walk, don't show oodles of trot and little if his back isn't rounding up and flexing with each step behind.

For a real 'sale presentation' he would need to pack on some muscle on topline and through the HQ and he is young for that; Euro imports are very advanced physically at 3 yrs old while Saddlebreds don't outgrow the stringbean stage for another 2 years.


He may well resemble this in a few years time:
http://gayladrivingcenter.com/driving-training/featured-clients/

Or this:
http://www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net/?page_id=145

You have a nice horse who is very young when people are confident looking at foals and mature animals. Few will see how nice without visual proof.
It is there and catching it is tough with the young ones.

Great prospect with a will do attitude!
Hope that gives a few ideas.

shakeytails
Aug. 5, 2011, 11:09 PM
DBS- Thank you for the photo tips. It definitely helps to know what part of that stride to show. I've been playing with my new camera at horse shows- a top ASB can sure look like a different critter if you catch the stride wrong. Just a hair late can be OK, but just a hair early is blech! I wish I had a fit teenager to run with him in hand in a bridle. Some things I can't change, of course, but I can get views that are more appealing to the target audience. Gotta love digital technology- it doesn't cost anything to take more pictures.

Halter Alter
Aug. 5, 2011, 11:25 PM
I like your colt, but I agree that a dressage rider with upper level aspirations would probably pass on him, because, as others have noted, he seems abit light in the hindquarters.

That being said, "Try" is everything in a horse and that is a very important component.

As comparison, here is a pic of my 2 yr old WB filly.

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2086974770104425996Izjkxc

These pics were taken almost to the day of her 2nd birthday, so that gives you an idea. And she has fairly refined breeding: she is by Rosenthal o/o a Rubino Bellisimo/Batido mare....so she is purpose bred for dressage pretty much all the way.

But again, if the horse is sound and willing & you have a talented rider (the hardest part) you'd be surprised how far they can go.

I see long weak pasterns on this horse. Is this normal for a 2 yr. old?

mbm
Aug. 6, 2011, 09:41 AM
First of all, here is a two year old, an age most horses do not look their best.
Someone find me a picture of Totilas, Jazz, or Donnerhall at this age -good luck!

Second, here is a horse with a similar hock:
most of you will know who the top sire Don Federico is, scroll down...
http://www.foals.com/thesires.htm

fwiw, my crtique of this horse is based on his bone structure - his angles and palpation points. those are not going to change dramatically as he matures.

and, i just want to say - i am not trying to be tough on this horse, but Don Fredirico? what do you see that is similar?

here is a pic of my off breed, non dressage bred Connemara pony at just 2. he is very immature, is bum high, but you can still see the angles of his hind end the ration of bum to rest of body, back length etc and again , my pony is not perfect - he has a short neck and does not (yet) have flash movement - but he has a very strong body/hind end/back/and huge bone (9")

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=318183&l=431a6daf38&id=100000097655253

here he is at 1.5

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=291902&l=9671fc095f&id=100000097655253

obviously your guy appeals to some.... and i agree better pics would be beneficial.

why do you think he would make a good dressage prospect and why do you want to market him there as opposed to say western pleasure which is what you might use him for?

eta: as i mentioned, i am reading the Deb Bennet books lright now and they are very interesting. She says the single most importnat factor for a horse is their hind end: specifically the SI joint placement. she says it needs to be as far *forward* as possible; right on top of the hip bones would be ideal - you notice on my pony it isnt right on top but a little further back; however he does have a very long bone from hip to point of buttocks - on the OPs horse you can see how far back it is placed and how short the bone is between point of hip and point of bum.

DB also states that the further back the SI joint is teh longer , in general, the lower back will be - and that is the weakest part of the horse.

it is *really* a fascinating book for anyone who wants to understand more about why horses move as they do , their potential based on their bodies etc.

also, one thing DB does say is that a good temperament is key for beginner/most lower level riders.... :)

RedMare01
Aug. 6, 2011, 10:00 AM
I don't think the OP is asking if he's a future FEI prospect; she wants to know if he could be a capable lower level mount so that she can advertise him or start his training as such (shakey, correct me if I'm wrong). IMO, I think that's perfectly reasonable. Should he be capable of doing second level (which the vast majority of people show at or under)? I don't see any reason why not.

The best thing about horses is that they don't read the book and don't know what they "can't" or "shouldn't" be able to do.

Liz
Aug. 6, 2011, 10:14 AM
In addition to attitude, one of the biggest factors in producing an upper level horse is having an upper level trainer and an upper level rider. You can have the most well proportioned horse in the world never amount to anything without the right training. I don't understand why some of you guys seem so harsh. The vast majority of "dressage" horses, never get over 3rd level. He is cute and could make someone a lovely partner.

alicen
Aug. 6, 2011, 10:15 AM
First
this for canter, both hind hooves grounded:
http://www.wbfsh.org/GB/News/2009/20(x0x)10(x0x)2009%20KWPN%20takes%20a%20strong%20l ead%20in%20dressage.aspx.

I just spent a lot of $ for a new pair of glasses. Would someone please tell me that both hind hooves are not grounded.

alicen
Aug. 6, 2011, 10:41 AM
Willingness and attitude will take a horse only so far; imagine an old style "bulldog" Quarterhorse; How would they work as a thre gaited horse or plantation walker?

That's a very funny image, Carol.

Gestalt
Aug. 6, 2011, 11:59 AM
OP, he is a very nice boy! Why market him to the dressage crowd? He'd probably be much happier as an eventer. :) Your boy looks good to me.

Conrad Schaumacher (sp?) had a video that talked about horses conformation and he was not bothered by a high tailset/flat croup if there were other good features to offset that. And measuring from the point of hip to the rump muscle, your guy has breadth.

Am I the only one that thinks the Connemara in the pic that was posted ealier looks long backed and earth bound? (I love Connies, I'm not picking on the breed) Given a choice I'd take this ASB over the Connemara.

goodpony
Aug. 6, 2011, 01:00 PM
Judy Wardrope has some very nice articles on Functional Conformation:

http://www.jwequine.com/pdf/conformation101-dressage.pdf

and this:http://www.jwequine.com/pdf/Conformation-Dressage.pdf

And this is also pretty good:http://tinyurl.com/3bdzzvn pg 58

There is a whole series of free articles available at the above site.

netg
Aug. 6, 2011, 01:20 PM
Conrad Schaumacher (sp?) had a video that talked about horses conformation and he was not bothered by a high tailset/flat croup if there were other good features to offset that. And measuring from the point of hip to the rump muscle, your guy has breadth.

Besides the fact, tailset is different from hip angle. There are quite a few good horses with much flatter hip angles than I typically prefer, and this two year old doesn't have an excessively flat hip.

I do prefer a longer hip - but I like a massive motor really pushing me. It can often end up with a horse who is less typically ammy friendly, and I'm on my second horse in a row who had a habit of terrifying people before I got him when his motor would kick in.

I quite like this horse, and while I refuse to compare him to specific individuals in photos on this thread, I definitely preferred him to some of the other photos. I would love to play with a horse like this and work on him. I absolutely agree that he looks as if he's likely to be more naturally tight through the back, but as far as weaknesses go that's one I prefer to many of the others you can see out there. As expected given breed tendencies, he looks like he'll have to be taught to stretch down - but usually once you teach that, they learn how good it can feel and do it themselves.

Most of all I'm impressed by how balanced he looks at an age when a horse is usually off-balance and awkward, especially from the later-developing breeds.

I do agree about marketing toward a more general audience and not narrowing him down purely to dressage, but I think for most people's purposes he could work as a dressage horse.

Remember that you can't see the SI joint from photos, necessarily. Experts can estimate fairly decently, but the typical layperson usually gets it wrong when they can't feel its location on their horse. This horse *may* have an SI joint farther back than ideal, but I have no idea just from the photos.

shakeytails
Aug. 6, 2011, 01:56 PM
He'd probably be much happier as an eventer. :)

Well, I have no idea why because I wasn't watching, but he DID jump out of the round pen one day...:eek::eek:

Liebe-ist-Krieg
Aug. 6, 2011, 02:41 PM
I second trying him a bit as an eventer. Most sound, reasonably proportioned horses can do the lower levels, i.e. up to Training, and thats the level most riders are at as well. Plus, he has such a pretty head,neck and shoulder, that´s what will set him apart from many other lower level eventers. Having a good mind really matters as well. Now we could take the engine from the little connemara horse and the neck and shoulder from your guy, we´d be in business

Fillabeana
Aug. 6, 2011, 05:08 PM
What I see? Myself? A horse that would have great talent in upper level dressage because he has NO PROBLEM picking up his back and elevating his front end.

I see a flat croup but a good angle to the pelvis, in what Dr Deb describes as an 'arab triangle', wherein the croup angle (good) does not match the pelvic angle (flat), where the horse is perfectly capable of coiling his loins to collect.

I also recognize that the majority of dressage folks will not think that this particular horse will be able to go very far in dressage.
And that he does not look like a warmblood, and as such will not be looked at by most folks after an upper level dressage horse.

My own opinion is not likely to be the same as the average dressage-prospect shopper, nor the average successful dressage trainer looking for a horse for a client. Y'All can think I'm wrong, and way off base. I have no trouble with that.


I'd still be absolutely tickled pink if he showed up in my own corral- though he'd have to learn to be a cow-pony before he ever got to a dressage show.

Liz
Aug. 6, 2011, 06:39 PM
I read a dressage conformation book, "Selecting the Dressage horse, conformation, movement, and temperament". In each chapter they discussed the ideal conformation and at the end gave an example of an international quality horse who was not ideal but was still successful on an international stage. Overwhelmingly giving an example of how temperament and try (along with good training) trumped a multitude of sins. I have to admit, I agree with Gestalt who said, I kind of like the op's horse more than the connemara pony.

mbm
Aug. 6, 2011, 07:01 PM
i didn't post my pony as an example of the perfect dressage pony - i already mentioned he is not perfect. i also did not say he was "better" ....

OP wanted examples of different hind ends - so i posted my guy as an example of an hind end that "I" like - that has a lot of power innate in it.

it's fine if you don't like my pony... he is a little bit of a tank and def not light with a flashy front end :)

play nice now and dont try to eat the folks that have a differing opinion than yours.

CatPS
Aug. 6, 2011, 07:40 PM
I *personally* like him a lot. That shoulder is so free and his front end is flashy, paired with an elegant neck. He would clearly have to be taught to stretch down, but that's going to be true of 99% of saddlebreds, and is not an insurmountable obstacle. His hind end isn't perfect and doesn't have the power that someone looking for an FEI dressage prospect would want, but it's not bad either and the flat croup is somewhat misleading. But I am one of those people with a soft spot for saddlebreds :winkgrin:

If he has a great temperament and work ethic, I'd snatch him up in a heartbeat. There are tons of people who enjoy dressage but also want to occasionally dabble in eventing, trail riding, etc. and would rather have an easy going, forgiving horse who works hard for his rider than an explosive warmblood that will fly up the levels.

Gestalt
Aug. 6, 2011, 07:46 PM
i didn't post my pony as an example of the perfect dressage pony - i already mentioned he is not perfect. i also did not say he was "better" ....

OP wanted examples of different hind ends - so i posted my guy as an example of an hind end that "I" like - that has a lot of power innate in it.

it's fine if you don't like my pony... he is a little bit of a tank and def not light with a flashy front end :)

play nice now and dont try to eat the folks that have a differing opinion than yours.

Sorry if you think I was trying to "eat you". Definitely was not the case. And I wasn't insinuating that you said your horse was "perfect". It's a very nice pony. My point is that the OP's horses' hindquarters are good. Many people see a flat croup or high tailset and automatically think the hindend is weak. I'm not a pro, but listening to and reading material by pro's about different weaknesses in a horses conformation and how the sum of the whole can be greater than sum of parts. If you get my meaning. After watching Schaumacher I even came up with my "screen name" Gestalt. :)

Arathita
Aug. 7, 2011, 07:23 PM
Do you have a video? A video is most helpful.

D_BaldStockings
Aug. 8, 2011, 04:03 PM
OP:
These are links to photos of Woodlander Farouche, recent winner of the 5 yr old Young Horse Championship (Dressage). That would be considered the best of the best by many; and certainly puts her in the ‘desired by BNT type of horse’ category.

http://www.dressage-news.com/?p=12391

http://www.dressage-news.com/?p=12276

http://www.horseytalk.net/HorseyInterviews/WoodlanderFarouche.html

I believe the last image is of her as a 2 or 3 yr old. Note the back (topline) and hind quarters on this horse. Rather light at this time? SI placement…hmmm? Substantial bone…hmmm?

I am not posting here for critique of this amazing filly, but simply to say –she did it; she can be your yardstick, a good one to compare to.

She has scored as high as 9’s for trot and 10’s for canter and walk, so google her videos to see what dressage movement is to look like.

That is what to capture in a video.

Note the muscling at the back of the haunch above the gaskin on the filly. THIS is one area to develop in the young SB or at least show to it’s best advantage. Believe it or not, walking (up and down hills, even on a lungeline if you have nothing better is a good way to build this up and encourage flexing of the back. (Since this horse is 2, I don’t think cantering small circles is recommended).

There are phases of the gaits where the back is up, the haunch appears bunched and the withers elevated. Pick those.

Nobody is going to have one as nice as her but you get the idea.
++
Sorry about the 2 hind hooves grounded…they weren’t, and I had pulled up a few dozen shots and it was late, at any rate this or just as the outside hind grounds is when the haunch is bunched and back flexed and withers at their highest. Very attractive.
++
Connemara’s have been wonderful sport horses, especially in the jumper arena, plenty of heart there.

Each to his/her own.
OP that is a nice colt. Don’t video him in the mud if you can help it.

TBHunterJumper
Nov. 27, 2012, 11:31 PM
With THAT trot? Dressage!! Could be an Evener since he doesn't mind mud!! haha!! (hey, any one of us who says we've never had a horse come in after a rain thats muddy, is a liar.)

SendenHorse
Nov. 29, 2012, 08:47 AM
why are all these old threads being resurrected lately? its getting downright weird. LOL

cnm161
Nov. 29, 2012, 08:55 AM
I suspect the "Similar Threads" pane (below) is to blame.

wcporter
Nov. 29, 2012, 09:31 AM
Yup. Its annoying too.

RedmondDressage
Nov. 29, 2012, 01:34 PM
It can be a bit annoying I agree, but I'm actually really glad this was re-opened... I had missed this thread and the articles that goodpony linked... I bought a yearling about two months ago... When you have a baby and they're constantly going through ugly stages it's really easy to start doubting yourself... When I bought him I really just looked at the overall picture and how he used himself but the Warmbloods Today article was a nice tool to pick him apart a bit. It turns out I have a damn good eye as he has a pretty damn ideal build according the that article, woo hoo! :D