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Downhill horses?

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  • Downhill horses?

    How can you tell if a horse is really downhill or just stiff? Sometimes I see horses whose front legs look a little shorter than back legs and was wondering if that's really "downhill"? I know a lot of downhill horses have croups higher than withers, but some have high withers but still appear downhill. If anyone knows of videos of downhill horses, please post it. Thanks!

  • #2
    If the croup is higher than the withers, then the horse is considered to be built downhill.

    I own a horse like this. However, when she engages her hind end, she can lift her withers enough to appear to be traveling uphill.

    A horse that is built uphill can look like he is going downhill, because his hind end is traveling out behind him. In other words, he is not engaged and pushing through from behind.

    I do not have a video, but I hope this explaination helps?
    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks! That's perfect.

      Comment


      • #4
        I use another measure for downhill. If the stifle is lower than the elbow, the horse is uphill and vice versa. On geldings, I'd want the stifle to be lower than the penis and completely clear it when viewed from the side.
        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
        Thread killer Extraordinaire

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        • #5
          Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
          I use another measure for downhill. If the stifle is lower than the elbow, the horse is uphill and vice versa. On geldings, I'd want the stifle to be lower than the penis and completely clear it when viewed from the side.
          My gelding says "I can lower my penis waaaaaay below my stifle and I do so quite frequently, especially when a new mare arrives at the barn. My enormous manhood is a thing of beauty."
          RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

          "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

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          • #6
            Sheath! I meant Sheath!

            Originally posted by Eventer55 View Post
            My gelding says "I can lower my penis waaaaaay below my stifle and I do so quite frequently, especially when a new mare arrives at the barn. My enormous manhood is a thing of beauty."
            "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
            Thread killer Extraordinaire

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            • #7
              I've been "taught" that the uphill horse has an easier time jumping and collection (esp. for dressage).

              Throwing out the question - do others find this generally true? I'm sure there are exceptions - but trainers I know look for an uphill conformation for eventing -- as a general rule of thumb when looking for prospects.

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              • #8
                I just looked at a stand-up shot of Totilas. His stifle is higher than his elbow.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My horse is slightly downhill. He will be perfectly capable of competing at prelim, maybe beyond. It's just on me to make him work as correctly as possible.
                  Yes, I ride a pony. No, he would not be ideal for your child. No, he is not a re-sale project...

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                  • #10
                    My favorite resource for confirmation stuff:

                    http://www.jwequine.com/conformation.html


                    Judy did a clinic at a local barn and it was amazing!!
                    Susan
                    http://community.webshots.com/user/ss3777
                    www.longformatclub.com

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                    • #11
                      Whatever else you might think of her,

                      I am a big fan of Dr. Deb Bennett's conformation books and her series in Equus; she is a PhD and explains horse physiology in a comprehensive and thorough way, explaining what is "under the skin and muscle" (and how and WHY functional conformation affects both the musculature of the horse and its performance capabilities, whatever its job might be! )

                      I found this to be way more educational than the superficial evaluation of other "conformation gurus" whose opinions I've read, but be warned--Deb Bennett is a scientist (she designed an exhibit on the evolution of horses at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, using skeletons of fossil horses to show the changes and adaptations of the horse as it evolved, over time), and is extremely detail oriented and scientifically inclined. She uses medical/anatomical terms for all equine body parts (sometimes I have to re-read things for clarity, and my brain becomes a bit overwhelmed ), but it is a "real education."

                      FWIW, her assessment of "uphill, downhill, and level conformation" is based on comparing (with an imaginary horizontal line) where the base of the neck is (a point which is in front of the scapula and in the middle of the lower arch of the cervical vertabrae of the neck), *relative* to the point of hip, since the height of the wither bone vs the height of the croup can be be deceptive when it comes to measuring this. As can the stifle vs the elbow. The "body balance" is best measured by evaluating the internal structure of the horse, not just "what you see" when you look at the horse standing there. They eye is almost always going to be influenced (and deceived) by the horse's stance and how it carries itself! I have learned a lot from reading her work, and encourage others to do the same (it was a real eye opener!)

                      As for the downhill horse question, as the other posters have said, it "depends on what the horse does with his God given conformation" (though of course we would all ideally like to start with a more uphill horse, since it just makes the horse's job that much easier!)
                      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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                      • #12
                        There is a very interesting article by Daniel Marks that was presented at the AAEP Convention in 2000. It's somewhere on the internet still, I'm sure. It's called "Conformation and Soundness" and is well worth reading.

                        Having the stifle lower than the elbow makes it easier for the horse to "sit". Certainly Dr. Bennett's line would work, but it wouldn't affect the operations of the underpinnings, would it?
                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                        Thread killer Extraordinaire

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                          There is a very interesting article by Daniel Marks that was presented at the AAEP Convention in 2000. It's somewhere on the internet still, I'm sure. It's called "Conformation and Soundness" and is well worth reading.

                          Having the stifle lower than the elbow makes it easier for the horse to "sit". Certainly Dr. Bennett's line would work, but it wouldn't affect the operations of the underpinnings, would it?
                          Yes, that makes logical sense--and is true in most cases , but the distance between the elbow and the withers and the distance between the stifle and the point of hip can vary (in the individual horse), meaning that that is "one way to measure how uphill the horse is", but not the only way. A horse with a long scapula and humerus might have a lower elbow, but a more closed hind limb configuration, making the stifle appear higher, and be functionally higher as well--BUT, this particular horse may still be able to "sit" when in motion. When body balance is measured higher up on the horse, it becomes easier to see how the *internally* uphill horse can use its pelvis and hind end power to "sit", and to lift its front end through skeletal leverage.
                          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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