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Let's just say, all you had was a picture of a horse...

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  • Let's just say, all you had was a picture of a horse...

    ...could you determine if that horse was a decent jumper, or not?

    I'm horse shopping, and quite a few interesting prospects are a looooonnnng way away from me. Just trying to determine as much as I can from a picture, since I'm fairly new at this game (all my previous horses ended up on my doorstep, in one way or another - this is my first time actually seeking one out).

    Thanks for any advice.


  • #2
    You could look for conformation faults in the picture. But I would want video of at least walk trot canter before buying a horse long distance and sight unseen.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


    • Original Poster

      What conformation faults most indicate it would or wouldn't make a good jumper?
      I heard Steuart Pittman say he could tell one of the TB challenge horses would be a good jumper just by the way he was put together. I'm not so sure I trust my eye to recognize that yet.


      • #4
        Looking solely at conformation seems risky to me - they can be built to jump but still be inclined to hang their legs (BTDT). Or they can totally surprise you in the opposite regard.

        Hopefully the owners are motivated to sell and are willing to video some undersaddle or free-jumping for you. What happens if want to follow through and assume the expense of traveling to look at the horse? I would expect the ability to see the horse jump in person before laying out any cash, do the owners have the facilities available?
        When I was looking I had to see a horse jump before I would consider buying it. And I wouldn't travel unless I had seen video. For an eventer the jump style can be an important safety feature. Unless I was able to take the financial risk of acquiring a horse that ended up not being a suitable event prospect I would insist on seeing recent video at the very least. If you can afford the time and expense to travel to look at the horse in person make sure you'll get the opportunity to view the horse over fences when you get there.


        • #5
          In this day and age, I don't think there is any excuse not to have decent video if you are selling horses. A horse can have great jumping conformation and not be willing to jump a garden hose. Or be less than perfect, but a good jumper just because they like to jump. I would not go look at a jumping prospect without seeing video.
          Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts


          • #6
            Originally posted by TBFAN View Post
            ...could you determine if that horse was a decent jumper, or not?

            I'm horse shopping, and quite a few interesting prospects are a looooonnnng way away from me. Just trying to determine as much as I can from a picture, since I'm fairly new at this game (all my previous horses ended up on my doorstep, in one way or another - this is my first time actually seeking one out).

            Thanks for any advice.

            A single photo? I don't think you could make any definitive judgments, but it will likely give you some information.

            First, you need to assume it is the best photo they have of that horse. If its really not very good, I wouldn't travel a great distance to see the horse thinking it will be better in person. You'll liable to be disappointed.

            Second, don't let you hopes get too high. There is always a chance that its a spectacular shot, with form the horse will not repeat for another 48 years. I took one such shot of a friend's old horse and it is not an accurate representation of his usual form! She actually didn't use it for his sale ad because she knew it would set expectations that he could not meet. Heart of gold, safe but not fancy.

            But otherwise, I think a photo can give you a lot of information if you take the time to look at it. For instance, if the spot is perfect and I see the horse jumping over its shoulder, I probably won't be interested at all. If the spot is quite tight, though, I'll probably still be willing to take a look. Most of us can't afford perfection, after all.

            All that said, I really don't think I'd travel a long distance off a single jumping photo. I'd need some sort of video showing the horse's canter. Personally, the canter is the most important gait to me. Good jumpers don't necessarily have good canters. A girl at my barn had the cutest random bred pony years ago. If you saw a photo of him jumping, you would assume he was worth some serious bucks. If wasn't until you saw him canter/pace that you realized he wouldn't set foot into the ring at a big show.


            • #7
              So just post the pictures, and let everyone have at it
              "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George


              • #8
                I didn't read all the posts, but here is what I think...jmho. Any horse you look at should have some pictures, not just one. That would make me weary right from the get go. Too easy today to not get pics.

                Second, if someone isn't willing to send you a w/t/c video, just pass them up. Sorry, but with most phones having the capability, I can't think of a single excuse to not do it. Even if they had to borrow someone's phone they have. And if they aren't willing, then probably something is wrong.

                As for telling from one picture...there are things that make it LIKELY the horse can jump, and hold up, and NOT jump. But obviously, there are exception to all those rules.

                Once we bought a OTTB, and it was built to jump, it was gorgeous, simply gorgeous conformationally. If we could have gotten it to jump, it would have sold for big bucks as a conformation hunter. HA, darn thing wouldn't jump an x. AN X...can you imagine a horse, a TB, not capable of doing an X? NOPE...would just hang his feet over the x, and bring it down. Now sometimes, that is just a sign that you need to jump something bigger, no respect right? HA, yup, not this horse. NO this horse ended up being a pony horse on the track, where he did fantastic. IF you had gone by his conformation, and look, and bought him sight unseen, it would or could have been a disaster. Also, Toadies Mom is right on about putting links, and pics on here. There are a lot of people who are decent with conformation.

                BUT WATCH out for those who won't video. Even if it is just in a round pen being chased!
                May the sun shine on you daily, and your worries be gone with the wind.


                • Original Poster

                  There are lots of pictures, but no video (yet) and no jumping shots. If I get further along in the process with this horse, I might post them. THe horse is definitely eye-catching and well-proportioned. I just thought there were certain things I could look for that would indicate he might make a jumper (shoulder angle, stifle location, etc).
                  I agree it doesn't mean he WILL jump. But buying a CANTER horse would be similiar, I assume. You can't sit on it, and you can't tell all that much from photos online, so its all a bit of a gamble.
                  Man, and I thought the saddle buying process was frustrating!


                  • #10
                    Do you know the history of the horse? Know anyone anywhere nearby who could swing by and take a look? Have any knowledge of the seller's reputation/history? Before I laid my money down, I'd want a little more to go on. What do you want to do with this horse? BN/maybe N or Olympic Games? Remember, even a cow can jump a meter, from a stand still. Pretty much any horse can jump, if you have the wisdom and patience to teach it.
                    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.