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Poopy Jumpers

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  • Poopy Jumpers

    So...curious if anyone can tell me about the conformational angles which are negatives for a horse who jumps...are there any examples somewhere online which shows the shoulder angle and the femur (I think that is the name of the angle I'm looking for...if not forgive me)........I had a friend who used to own a horse that couldn't jump well, yet because of proper training and a careful trainer (who competed the horse), he was able to compete successfully through Prelim...but he was scary with the way his legs looked...he couldn't pick them up well over fences although they were even...

    Anyone buy a horse that really wasn't a good jumper at first but with proper training developed into a safe if not more than adequate jumper?

    There was a horse I saw recently who sparked this thought process in my friend who was looking and I am curious as well....wasn't sure where to look for this so thought someone here could help or give examples...thanks!
    For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

  • #2
    I like a horse with a well laid back shoulder, one that is ideal would be at a 45- 50 degree angle is ideal.
    The neck should be fairly high set, and the area where to foreleg ties into the chest needs to be "open, with the top of the foreleg showing a distinct inverted "V" on each leg. This means the leg is free to rotate up further when the horse jumps. If you look at horses that appear sort of "hammy" around the front leg at that juncture, you will see that the rotation of the shoulder and foreleg are somewhat limited.

    I like a longish neck on a horse I'm going to jump, and if I'm galloping down to a big jump, I like to see it coming through a set of longish ears. It's rare to see a short necked, short eared horse that has much "scope"

    A big, soft eye that sees well, with no "hood" obstructing any forward view is important to me, as is a large, fluted nostril. Horses with obstructions of vision are not able to quickly access the jumping quesitons. Horses with small, meaty nostrils can't gather in as much air as ones with large nostrils, and then the chips are down, they shut down...they run out of air!

    I also like a for the corner of the mouth to come up as high as, or higher than the top of the nostril, when the horse holds it's head perpendicular to the ground, as he would be on the vertical. It's a sign of generosity and bravery.

    The head should set on the neck, at "resting, not grazing, not reaching, just resting" at the same angle the neck attaches on the shoulder.

    Viewed front to back, the front and hind legs , ideally will line up...if I am going to compromise a tad on ideal leg conformation, I'll take a little "over in the knee" but never "back at the knee"
    Deviations from side to side tend to weaken the legs quicker than anything, (there are going to be horses that held up, with really funky front to back angles, but they are the exceptions)

    Pasterns in front match the shoulder angle, and a long sloping hip provides more power potential. I like big well formed hock joints, and for the lower hind leg to drop straight down from hock to fetlock...horses that camp out, or are sickle hocked don't seem to be able to collect as much power from the engine.
    What would you try if you knew you would not fail?

    Comment


    • #3
      Near as I can tell, jumping style is only vaguely connected to conformation. I wouldn't buy one with terrible conformation, and I wouldn't buy one with terrible jumping form.
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        Near as I can tell, jumping style is only vaguely connected to conformation. I wouldn't buy one with terrible conformation, and I wouldn't buy one with terrible jumping form.
        Agreed. I've met many horses with ho-hum conformation. Some of them can jump the moon in good form. Others can jump the small stuff in good form but don't have scope for the bigger stuff. Some of them are poopy jumpers.
        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          I look for a good clean straight hind leg and a reach with the hind leg as they step. I can see this watching a horse walk out of the stall. There is an athletic sway to the way a really good athletic jumper walks. But after that, the sky's the limit.

          If you limit yourself based on what you see in terms of conformation, I think you will miss many a good horse or pony. Jumping ability is sort of within the animal, something that allows them to say to themselves, "I can jump over that - I don't have to run around it." It's an attitude. Teddy had it. He just didn't see an alternative when he came up to a big fence. He figured a way to use himself to get over it. To watch him jump was to watch a horse think outloud.

          Many Irish horses, and American Thoroughbred horses have it, too. To some extent, horses do clean up their form as they learn more in their competitive lives. Some horses get more athletic and more athletic as they jump, and as the jumps get bigger. Some will never actually have superb, classic form - they just learn to jump higher and tuck the legs up closer to the belly. Look at Authentic.

          Many a trainer has purchased a good looking, fancy moving, all-things-fabulous horse only to find they did not have the stomach to jump. I think a few less trainers have taken on an ugly, cheap, or slipped thru the cracks horse to find they have 3* or 4* potential! The more years in this business the more you hope you can find these types because - essentially in the short and long run -- a horse that is athletic is easier to teach to jump well, and saves time and effort on your behalf. Saving time - less pounding on the horse's physical structure, less pounding on your body as a rider -- saving the "machine hours" on both of you, is how horses become great over time. Riders, too!
          Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
          Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

          Comment


          • #6
            I had to make myself count to ten....
            Yes, definately there is an issue of "heart" but the OP question was about conformation
            And if conformation is only "vaguely connected" then why is it that the greatest UL event horses have many things in common? (great shoulder angle, good hip, etc, etc) and why is it Denny Emerson has even bothered to develop a breeding program that presents the very best characteristics, and as it has been proven, certain lines of horses keep migrating to the top of the game?
            I can tell you why: they have been bred for conformation (for the job, not for line classes) and they are bred for "heart".
            Yes, you will see a few with funky angles somehow make it into the upper levels of eventing and showjumping, but the majority of the top horses have conformation qualities in common. (like the hind leg and "step" retreadeventer looks for...I look for that "swing" too...I call it the panther walk) It comes from conformation, not atitude.
            What would you try if you knew you would not fail?

            Comment


            • #7
              Knightrider asked

              "are there any examples somewhere online which shows the shoulder angle and the femur (I think that is the name of the angle I'm looking for."

              Here is a formula I was taught in my teens, looking at photos, and it was easy to do wit a ruler and see that it worked. Draw a line from front point of the shoulder, upward through the top point of the shoulder. Then draw a line from the point of the hip up through the top point of the hip joint. They two lines will intersect, on a balanced horse, right about where the rider should sit in a dressage saddle.
              A flat crouped horse's intersection will be further back, a steep shoulder's horse's intersection will be over the withers.

              Another one: measure from the lowest point of the chest, between the horse's front legs...not from center of legs to windpipe on the front of the horse, but visualize where the low point is, from the side, (it's obstructed, in a side view, by a foreleg) and extend your line out parallel to the ground. now go from the that line, up to the place where the low point of the neck ties into the chest. That distance, on a horse built to hold it's head and neck up to gallop and jump, will be equal or greater than the distance from where the bottom of the neck meets the chest upwards to the top of the crest...the lines you draw to measure these distances are perpendicular to the ground.


              Denny....where are you?
              What would you try if you knew you would not fail?

              Comment


              • #8
                Find Bill Steinkraus' book - he's got a wonderful section in the beginning of about 7-8 pages that describes what a good jumper's conformation should look like. It's incredibly detailed, illustrated with photos of a number of the really great jumpers (Riviera Wonder, Night Owl, Sloopy etc), and a wonderful read. I go back to it often when I'm thinking about horses, - his point about a horse being wide through the hips from behind in particular has stuck with me.

                That being said, I suspect we all have issues we can give on if we're horse-shopping. I've known some fabulous jumpers who were a bit more upright, particularly in their hind end, than you'd really want in a conformation hunter, and a slightly longer back than ideal doesn't bother me for an eventer. But the closer to good conformation, in my experience, the easier they tend to be on themselves, the sounder, and the more likely to be a good jumper. Start with the best package you can find/afford and go from there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A lot of the best showjumpers have what most horsemen would consider pretty upright shoulders. There are physics theories as to why this is the case, but basically this construction is conducive to the horse vaulting the mass of its front end off of the ground.

                  Dan Marks VMD has written some interesting articles about conformation myths - if I find any of his articles I will post links to them.
                  Liz
                  Ainninn House Stud
                  Irish Draughts and Connemaras
                  Co. Westmeath, Ireland

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've got a poopy jumper--I mean, he's the first horse I've ridden in 20 years of riding who just doesn't seem to "get" jumping...at all!

                    Every week, I try to do some small jumps with him, basic gymnastics, etc...every week, we crash through fences even when I put him at the perfect distance. At best, he'll super-man (legs out forward) over the fence. At worst, all 4 feets go different directions and he just goes though it.

                    I keep hoping he'll get it and one day, we can do an event, but to no avail. I'd send him to a trainer for a month, but he's SO NATURALLY uninclined... I know I should take him over natural obstacles (that don't fall down), but I'm afraid he'd flip it! Or flip it with a trainer!!!

                    Oh well, he's a nice dressage (we working on 2nd level) and trail horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Waterwitch View Post
                      A lot of the best showjumpers have what most horsemen would consider pretty upright shoulders. There are physics theories as to why this is the case, but basically this construction is conducive to the horse vaulting the mass of its front end off of the ground.

                      Dan Marks VMD has written some interesting articles about conformation myths - if I find any of his articles I will post links to them.
                      On this point (and I believe Gem Twist provides a good example ), the upright shoulder must be coupled with a longish and also upright "arm" (humerus), which is the conformational combination that enables that "efficient push off the ground" with the front end. This is a key part of "optimal conformation for creating a powerful jump" that is often overlooked, since people tend to concentrate on the engine. (Which is also important, of course. I bought my mare--when young and green and unproven--largely based on her hindquarter construction, which is textbook for pure power. It has proved itself over time to be as good a "correct lever arm with great muscular support" as it initially looked like it would be. She has one bad-ass booty--pardon the pun--and has exhibited amazing feats of "thrust" which can only be due to this hind end conformation. )
                      "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")

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post
                        On this point (and I believe Gem Twist provides a good example ), the upright shoulder must be coupled with a longish and also upright "arm" (humerus), which is the conformational combination that enables that "efficient push off the ground" with the front end. This is a key part of "optimal conformation for creating a powerful jump" that is often overlooked, since people tend to concentrate on the engine.
                        Absolutely - I believe Dr. Marks says that the ideal shoulder *joint* angle (angle between the humerus and the scapula - which is different from the way most people describe the shoulder angle as the angle between the horizontal and the scapula) is in the neighborhood of 105 degrees for many elite showjumpers. And yes, the arse end is important too. That's why I like my Irish horses...and they make my butt look smaller
                        Liz
                        Ainninn House Stud
                        Irish Draughts and Connemaras
                        Co. Westmeath, Ireland

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          why is it that the greatest UL event horses have many things in common?
                          I'd say the things they have in common are wonderful minds, good hearts, and general overal soundness and toughness. Shared conformational traits would come much farther down the list.

                          Winsome Adante has the WORST looking set of back legs, to name one example of "handsome is as handsome does". Exceptions, of course, do not prove the rule.

                          Sure, really and truly awful conformation is not as likely to see a horse sound through the upper levels. And truly wonderful conformation is a great place to start, but is no guarantee either. Which is why I said that conformation and ability are only vaguely related.

                          I'll repeat: I wouldn't buy a horse with terrible conformation and I wouldn't buy one with terrible jumping technique. All the technique and "want to" in the world isn't going to hold a horse together if their body isn't build for the job. But a perfectly-put-together-horse that just can't jump--I'd keep looking.
                          Click here before you buy.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So, if the horse doesn't jump yet, how do you tell?
                            I think of 2 of my horses in particular. One was a nicely built tb that you would have thought could jump well. Well, he was stupid. I mean really stupid. He couldn't figure out where to put his body. No matter how many gymnastics you'd put in front of him. He was okay for a single fence though. So off he went foxhunting.
                            Second horse, I swear looked like a monstrous T-Rex when I first looked at him. He's like 2 horses loosely glued together in the middle. Front part draft, hind part - whatever. The ONLY reason I bought him was based on the agent. I trusted her. Well ... http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/Orde...11&po=11&pc=34
                            Even duct tape can't fix stupid

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by knightrider View Post
                              So...curious if anyone can tell me about the conformational angles which are negatives for a horse who jumps...are there any examples somewhere online which shows the shoulder angle and the femur (I think that is the name of the angle I'm looking for...if not forgive me)........I had a friend who used to own a horse that couldn't jump well, yet because of proper training and a careful trainer (who competed the horse), he was able to compete successfully through Prelim...but he was scary with the way his legs looked...he couldn't pick them up well over fences although they were even...

                              Anyone buy a horse that really wasn't a good jumper at first but with proper training developed into a safe if not more than adequate jumper?

                              There was a horse I saw recently who sparked this thought process in my friend who was looking and I am curious as well....wasn't sure where to look for this so thought someone here could help or give examples...thanks!
                              Gosh -- I clicked on this thread after looking at the title and thinking, "wow, I've never heard of a horse that POOPED while it was jumping...that IS weird."

                              But apparently you are just asking about jumper conformation?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                i'm going to look at this dude this weekend (i posted about him on another thread):
                                http://pets.webshots.com/photo/27516...03309036wRpHnR
                                trot video:
                                http://pets.webshots.com/video/30939...03309036UpEPRl
                                he's still racing...
                                any guesses on how he'll jump?
                                Hillside Haven Farm
                                From starting gate to start box!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  i hope he jumps like LisaB's horse!
                                  Hillside Haven Farm
                                  From starting gate to start box!

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    oh wow...went away for the weekend and forgot about this thread...have not read all the responses...but realized I did have the incorrect bone...I think Dr. Doolittle corrected me with the correct name...am going to read all this tonight when I get home...thanks~
                                    For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Thanks mcorbett! It looks like he will. I wish I had some good conformation shots of Winston as he looks like a nag on the ground. No one looks at him. Then when we jump, we get the looks. Love the little bastard who dumped me AGAIN this weekend at Loch Moy. Hoping it's the sore stifles and it's not between the ears.
                                      This is the only shot I have of him. But you'll kind of see what I'm saying in that he doesn't look like anything. You should have seen him when he wasn't in any kind of shape. Had a total sway back.
                                      http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...02880166QkwUIi
                                      Even duct tape can't fix stupid

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'd love to have a 'conformation gallery' of UL horses and sucessfull LL horses to compare and contrast prospects with!

                                        anyone want to offer up some pictures and i'll put them together on my sporthorse blog!
                                        Hillside Haven Farm
                                        From starting gate to start box!

                                        Comment

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