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Conformation - What do you think of this horse?

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  • Conformation - What do you think of this horse?

    I would love to hear what you think of this filly, besides "she is cute!". Be honest. She is three and would be used for dressage and eventing down the road. THANK YOU!

    Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
    View my blog: http://standardbredexcellence.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    I think she is beautiful. I'm not a confo person but I don't see anything horribly wrong with her.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


    • #3
      Her topline and her bottom line are the same length. Personally I don't care to train horses w/that conformation fault as they usually struggle to step under. The topline should be shorter than the bottom, even in a horse who is not short backed. Combined w/her straighter back legs and short hip, posty front legs and tied in elbows, I would pass. Is she a mustang? QH/Arabx? At least her neck is not incredibly long too, that would really make getting her balanced even tougher. Her throatlatch looks clean, it's hard to see the rest of her neck under her long, flowing mane but it looks like she has a dip in front of her withers.. something that doesn't bother me in a horse who is underweight but I don't like to see in a horse in good weight. If she does't have a great middle, a great rear end or a great front end.. well... maybe it all matches up in the averages, so the question is

      how does she move?
      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


      • #4
        Are her tendons clean, they look funky but it may just be the pic.

        Cute expression.


        • #5
          Is that an OT Standardbred?

          She has a lovely head with a very kind eye. Very nice, clean throatlatch with a lovely length of neck which ties in cleanly to her rather upright shoulder. Her back is very flat and though her quarters are ample, their lack of muscling indicate to me that she's been out of work a while.

          Her legs show some wear and tear with puffy fetlocks and what might be a low bow on the right front.

          She has somewhat upright pasterns which are echoed through an upright shoulder. She may be a bit of a stiff ride. Her feet can't be evaluated from these photos.

          All in all, she's a nicely balanced, square individual with a very nice neck and head. Her haircoat shows a caring owner and I think that if she is sound, she will make a lovely riding horse who will be very suitable to dressage work.
          "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." ~ Jack Layton


          • #6
            I see short, stubby legs, croup thats too high, a shoulder that needs more slope, and pasterns that appear to be short and upright (partially covered by grass). So I would not like this horse for myself.

            that said, she has a lovely head, a nice neck and a sweet expression.

            If you love this horse and your goals are lower level dressage on a regional level she should do fine. She will not win when the good horses are going well.


            • #7
              I agree with the conformation questions EqTrainer raised. Particularly the straight shoulder, pasterns, posty back legs and long back, specially underneath. I too am concerned about the very puffy fetlocks and what looks to me very much liike a bow on the right front. I'd pass.
              Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


              • #8
                I feel with that conformation she will have trouble lifting through her front end and putting her hind end underneath her and really using it. I think she will be a flat, if not downhill, traveler.


                • #9
                  Any videos?

                  I'm not good at judging conformation -- besides which, I think what a lot of people judge has little to do with actual performance -- but she is gorgeous. Is she a STB, like your black horse?
                  Last edited by grayarabpony; Jun. 23, 2009, 01:22 PM.


                  • #10
                    Definitely a standardbred, I can see the brand under her mane in the first picture. She's pretty, and looks very similar to a stdbred mare I had years ago. She travelled very downhill, and even though she was a trotter and not a pacer I never was able to get a decent canter out of her.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                      Her throatlatch looks clean, it's hard to see the rest of her neck under her long, flowing mane but it looks like she has a dip in front of her withers.. something that doesn't bother me in a horse who is underweight but I don't like to see in a horse in good weight.
                      I disagree with the dip comment - my Dutch mare has a dip (starting to disappear) dues to the fact that she loves to go like a giraffe - which she does NOT get to do when being ridden but she does move that way many times in the pasture. So I'd never discount a horse on that one trait.

                      However EqTrainer asked if you have any video's? That is the best way to determine her suitability.
                      Now in Kentucky


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Valentina_32926 View Post
                        I disagree with the dip comment - my Dutch mare has a dip (starting to disappear) dues to the fact that she loves to go like a giraffe - which she does NOT get to do when being ridden but she does move that way many times in the pasture. So I'd never discount a horse on that one trait.

                        However EqTrainer asked if you have any video's? That is the best way to determine her suitability.

                        Welllllllll... said gently... we usually don't try to buy horses that love to go like giraffe's....

                        one of my friends calls that the Llama Chicken Act.
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks guys for being so honest. She is a STB who only trained for a few weeks and never raced. She is breaking so she will not make the 3 year old stakes. She is free. Plus, low level is all I want. I do see her drawbacks, but I also see a horse that I could work with.....my own STB mare was a broodmare and I did not ride her until she was 15 and she is now 18......and doing things no one thought she could. So........it just makes it all that harder.

                          Here is a video

                          Last edited by Dreamspark; Jun. 23, 2009, 06:39 PM. Reason: links don't seem to like me!
                          Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
                          View my blog: http://standardbredexcellence.blogspot.com/


                          • #14
                            how does she move?

                            She is very straight in front, check flexion of knees and ankles; hind leg is VERY open, combined with a very peaked/ steep croup make me wonder about ability to engage the hindquarters; check this on the ground with a "pelvic tilt; hope it works out for you"
                            breeder of Mercury!

                            remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                            • #15
                              She could certainly do lower-level stuff and she does have an incredibly lovely expression. First impression is that she looks like she could have a great mind and heart.

                              That said, she definitely doesn't have ideal conformation for this sport. One thing to keep in mind is that the purchase price of a horse is in reality a small drop in a very large bucket. There's nothing wrong with free, but from then-on you're looking at the same very spendy bills, whether on a horse that is naturally going to excel or one who isn't.


                              • #16
                                Not to go against what others have said (I'm learning too)...but I heard Anne Gribbons comment once that conformation doesn't mean a whole lot to her....she was giving my trainer a lesson on my horse (she was four at the time)...she was really impressed with the mare and asked the trainer to take the saddle of the horse so she could show the audience something. She says to the audience..."Looking at this horse's conformation, you would say..NO way can she do this....and look, you just watched this horse do it. That's why I don't put a lot of stock into conformation"

                                Horse is croup high...but even the current BNT thinks she has potential to go pretty darn far. Is she an international horse..absolutely not......is she an amateur safe, fun horse...yes....which is more important to me.

                                I haven't watched your video....but just thought I'd share that piece of information. Sometimes a horse's attitude is worth so much more than conformation.


                                • #17
                                  In her case, she moves the way I thought she would from the still shots. Honestly, she has a very cute head and throat latch. Dressage will help her to move better as it will any horse, but i dont see a horse that will ever be competitive in dressage. I think she'd be a very suitable mount for someone with low expectations and a love for trails.
                                  chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thanks everyone! The dip in her withers is from the fact that she has always been worked with an overcheck....being a STB. That will go away with proper training, as it did on my own mare. Legs are clean, flexions are normal. Vet said her knees are still open.

                                    The free thing is unimportant to me. That is simply because she is being offered to me since the owners know me, so it is not like I am looking for a free horse. Actually not looking for a horse at all! I completely understand the STB's limitations. My aspirations are truly First Level, with any horse, seeing as I am an AA and I just love puttering around. I don't think I have the time or commitment to go higher than that. I show for the fun of it. LOL!

                                    Well, I am going to sleep on it. Any other comments, please add them!
                                    Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
                                    View my blog: http://standardbredexcellence.blogspot.com/


                                    • #19
                                      I wanted to add a comment first after going over her conformation in the photo in such detail.

                                      Because after I did that, I looked at her jogging for the handler in the little video clip.

                                      And I have got to tell you, I about dropped my dentures. Suddenly I really like her. You're looking at a free horse, here, right? Something to have fun with and do a little jumping and dressage.

                                      I wouldn't spare the xrays, and I'd have a vet go over her very carefully. Most stb trainers don't sell youngsters out of training if they are sound. Caveat emptor. Make sure she's ok. If you get a 'free' horse you have years of very not free expenses, and that adds up.

                                      As my cowboy friend would say (he was very charry with praise of any horse), 'you could do a lot worse', LOL.

                                      This happens, but it always surprises me. For this one it is really extreme. That photo makes her look a hell of a lot worse than she looks in the video.

                                      Keep in mind, I am going over the photo to tell what I see in the photo, the photo is the photo,and this horse looks far, far better in the little video clip. I'm going to leave the photo comments up as it was good practice for me, but I really feel like I am critiquing a photo and not a horse.

                                      She looks better proportioned overall, stronger in the back, more muscled in the back and not so slab backed, not as long in the back, not as high in the wither and with a better saddle piece, and while she still has a steep croup and has limitations, she doesn't look as extreme in the video as she does in the picture. She STILL is not a big mover, or a very fluid or supple mover, though a slow slow jog on pavement is good for showing if the horse is footsore, it isn't the best place to showcase a horse's movement. Even so, I wouldn't say she's a great mover.

                                      Note that she took a few pacey steps in the walk, and then jogged clean. I also noted that she looked a little stiff behind, but that could be because she was on pavement. Be sure you get a prepurchase xray done on the hocks, though. Hocks, ankles, more views if you can afford it.

                                      I'd want you to see the walk and canter and really look at it. The walk should look like a slinky, like a tiger, really loose and stretchy, and you should hear four evenly spaced beats, not 12....34. And see each leg moving by itself, not the two legs on one side swinging forward together.

                                      I'd want to really see the horse cantering, not doing a 'mixy' canter and pace, where the legs on one side of the body swing forward too much together, look for the horse to WANT to do a nice one-two-three canter when it's loose. Don't expect a three year old to not totally spazz out if it's turned loose. You will see plenty of antelope and pogo stick immitations especially if someone is cracking a whip at her. Look and try to see that she WANTS to canter, and that you can see one two or just a couple real 3 beat strides at a canter.

                                      See if she can canter SLOW on her own, without someone slowing her down. See if she does the hovercraft thing (can canter slow by herself), or the automatic transmission thing (see if she has a lot of different 'speeds' at the trot and canter). That's where you see a good balanced mover. If she doesn't she's a more average mover. If she does, even better free horse.

                                      I believe the photo was taken from more above, and the video more from below. Both give a slightly distorted look at the horse, but my the video looks much better.

                                      The first thing that catches my eye with this horse is her expression, which is so absolutely lovely. Clearly she is well cared for, groomed, and has been taught to stand at attention politely. Someone has done a lovely job with her. The handler doesn't even seem to feel the need to put the chain shank over her nose.

                                      Then I see the basic proportions, which have some issues. She has a long back, and it is long because her coupling is long, not because her saddle area is long. The coupling is the weakest area of the back. If a back be long, it should be long in the saddle area, not behind it. In addition, she has a naturally more slabby and narrow, tubular shaped back, and I wish instead would even at this age show a back with a lot of muscle, especially if the back is so long.

                                      Too, she has a straight shoulder that connects to a high wither that goes quite a ways back into the back, and that is the lowest point of the back which is quite abrupt, then the back rises steeply to the croup from that lowest point; this type of back is difficult to fit with a saddle.

                                      There is a difference between the front of her and the back of her. Her shoulder is deep and heavy, and her hind quarter is slight, narrow, short from tail head to point of hip (highest point of croup), steeply sloped, and weak looking. Her hind quarter conformation is a good example of this sort of conformation. Compared to her hind quarter, her shoulder is remarkably massive, deep and is long from the point of shoulder to the ribs, making it remarkably different from the hind quarters. I don't feel this is 'a matter of lack of maturity', this is more basic proportions. As she matures and the hind quarter fills in more with fat and muscle, this basic proportion will be less obvious.

                                      Another difference in proportions is with the forelegs, which sit under a very large deep shoulder, and are much shorter than her hind legs.

                                      The horses neck and head look like more of a 'partner' with the shoulder than they do with the hind end; but I would be concerned that the shoulder would be going to carry a lot of mass in the adult if it looks like this at 3.

                                      These proportions, the long coupling of the back, small, steep hind quarter, and heavy deep shoulder, short forelegs, mean that she is 'functionally downhill'. Even though her withers are prominent, she may have difficulty balancing.

                                      To go into more detail, all the fetlocks have an indistinct, 'filled' look. This may be due to a poor quality photo rather than actual stress and filling or early 'jewelry' (wind puffs etc) on the fetlocks. Race horses sometimes get filling in these areas due to the strain of training on a hard surface, but it isn't always a bad sign for slower work on a sport horse type surface.

                                      It appears that the horse is distinctly 'cut in below the knee', so that the tendons of the foreleg appear quite narrow just under the knee. This is considered by most horsemen to be a weakness and to make the foreleg less able to hold up under the stress of galloping and jumping.

                                      The horse has a well developed looking stifle that appears prominent due to muscle developing around it, which is good, but overall the gaskin ('thigh') and the rest of the hind quarter distinctly lacks in muscle.

                                      The horse has a somewhat slender neck that makes her head look large, but this I think is something that will change with age. Her head will look more in proportion as her neck fills out.

                                      The horse has a very good eye and a kind, alert expression. She looks absolutely lovely in that department. Very good natural eye with a very open, soft expression.
                                      Last edited by slc2; Jun. 23, 2009, 09:37 PM.


                                      • #20
                                        i have a special place in my heart for standardbreds.

                                        please make sure you have her full history. her back legs are very straight, just like my horse (he's a standardbred). the reason is, their fetlocks tend to drop even if not raced. my guy only had a couple months of training and never raced. even with that amount of work he still had injuries to his suspensory. i had him vet checked but never ultrasounded. turns out, he has multiple tears in his suspensory. i have insurance on him that is willing to pay for prp, stem cell, or shock wave. BUT, with conformation like that he is more likely to re-injure himself again in the future.

                                        i am not trying to talk you out of it, but just please make sure you do your research before taking on a horse of this breed. standardbreds have the biggest hearts of any breed i've ever known. when i bought mine i bought him with the intent of being a riding horse, dressage horse, and trail horse. now he is none of these.

                                        i noticed in the video she is resting her right hind leg-my horse does the same thing. she has such a gorgeous face! it is so hard to look past a great personality and tempermant. but so hard to get over if you have to reitire them early. i thought my horse would be my life partner.

                                        good luck!
                                        be kind to your horses mouth!