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TB sport horse conformation for dummies?

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    TB sport horse conformation for dummies?

    Does such a thing exist? I am really bad when it comes to the whole angles and measuring thing.

    I am very, very low key window shopping, looking at CANTER, etc., mostly looking at horses who don't have much training after the track, maybe a video down the jump chute if I'm lucky. Goal is lower levels of some kind of jumping discipline, probably a little bit of everything. I figure most TBs should be able to manage that, but I'd like to pick one who has the best chance of being sound and happy into old age. I'd also like one who is built for at least a little self carriage...let's say a little bit easy?

    PPE would be a final step, but I can't go kick every tire...

    #2
    I've been looking for a show horse prospect but probably with a bit more ambition to move in the A/Os, so I'm in a similar spot. I'm not an expert on TBs or sport horse conformation in general, but I've picked up this book for $20, which has been very helpful when looking at OTTBs. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1570765308..._SuQvFbXMRHJK8

    A lot of things I see that I'd say can hinder ability/soundness in TBs in particular are bad/small hooves, hind legs that are too straight in hocks, downhill build, poor shoulder neck connection, shoulder attached too close to the side, especially if combined with steep shoulder angle. Here someone discusses some of these issues with pictures : https://hoovesblog.com/2013/07/31/choosing-an-ottb/



    Comment


      #3
      Functional conformation is independent of breed or sport - it's a wide set of parameters.

      Within that you get conformation that is more suitable for this discipline or that. This is both breed type, and discipline type. Meaning, the TB isn't going to look like a TWH, but they'd both better fit withing the wider range of parameters of functional confo. And, meaning, the Hunter is not built like a GP Dressage horse.

      Judy Waldrope sort of pioneered the more modern evaluation of conformation. Forget all those old ways of drawing boxes and triangles and matching this line to that line. Some of them still apply, but most of them don't.

      https://www.jwequine.com/functional-conformation/

      TBs really are not widely known for too straight hocks or downhill build (NOT the same as being butt-high, this is really important), or poor neck-shoulder connections. Steep shoulders lessen stride length, so not something they are known for. But don't confuse a shoulder on the more upright side of correct, with too straight.

      That hoovesblog article starts out "A large percentage of racing bred TB’s are downhill built.". No, they aren't. They may be a bit butt-high, but I promise if they are functionally downhill they would not run well. And remember, if they're still racing, they're likely still young and that is usually why they are still a bit butt-high.

      "There is also a large percentage of racing bred TB’s that have low set or ewe necks. " No, they don't. They may be lowER set than horses bred for Dressage, but the typical TB still has the bottom of the neck emerging above the point of the shoulder, as it should be. And for SURE, there is not even close to a large % of them with ewe necks, which are rare as a whole. Don't confuse a lower top neck connection, and a typically taller wither, and the upside down muscling that often comes with racing, with a ewe neck which is structural and cannot be changed.

      And, I just can't even, with the evaluation of the first horse. There's not a valid sentence there. I can't read further, and recommend you don't waste your time going there at all.

      At the top of the chain of things, you're looking at The Big Three for determining functional conformation:

      Pillar of Support - with the front leg vertical, draw a line through the crease in the forearm muscle. It should emerge ahead of the withers, and go through the heel of the foot. The closer to the withers, the more weight in front of the front legs, the less functional he'll be. You want it well ahead. And for the foot, the farther behind the heel, the longer and/or more sloped the pastern. You also don't want it come through the middle of the foot or the pastern is too short and/or too upright. This is why it's important to view this with a very vertical leg.

      Neck emergence - the bottom needs to come out above the point of the shoulder. Too low, and it cannot be used (well) to help elevate the front end.

      Lumbo-sacral gap - this one is really hard to see on horses until you've seen enough. It is the physical gap between the end of the lumbar spine angling forward, and the sacral bones angling backward. That gap needs to be directly over the point of the hip for the most efficient and strongest movement of the hind end. It's pretty easy to palpate, it's really easy to see on thin horses. It sits just in front of the sacral tuber, which is the peak of the croup - easy to see in some horses, harder to see in the very round rumps.

      See the diagram below

      Beyond those things, you get into shoulder length and slope, the angle it makes with the humerus and the humerus length, how short/long the cannons are, how angled the hind legs are, whether he's sickle-hocked (avoid) or camped out (not a detriment for most things unless extreme), and other things. It's really critical to have the horse stood up properly if you're new to looking at these things Near foreleg needs to be vertical. Near hind leg needs to have the hock under the point of the butt so you can see what the cannon bone is doing.
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

      Comment


        #4
        Conformation is a small part of the whole picture. I used to be a stickler for ideal conformation (and I have that book tohorse mentioned, it was a good read), but then I spent a lot of time as a working student and groom, and worked with (event) horses at the top of the sport.. and.. there seems to be very little uniform conformation among them, and good/solid conformation is no guarantee the horse will be sound. There are tons of perfectly conformed horses who are never sound enough to ride - so while it's ideal to have a horse with straight clean legs and a good fundament (hindquarter), the rest can sometimes be arbitrary when you want a "jack of all trades" to do lower levels..

        Sorry, I know that is not super helpful... but most people don't need a perfectly conformed horse to ride - they need a horse with the right temperament. Unless you are planning on breeding the horse, I would personally look for horses that have the temperament and aptitude for what you want, versus having all the right angles.

        I mostly look for a specific specific type, and avoid specific jewelry, when I am shopping OTTBs. Because they are bred to race, conformational charts revolving around sport-bred WBs might not be very helpful. Different horses for different courses, as the saying goes. I look for specific pedigrees. TB sires are prolific, and usually very homogeneous in what they put out, so it's easy to see similarities across offspring even with different dams. There are specific lines I look for in sport, and specific ones I avoid -- and I put a lot more stock in the pedigree and movement, than conformation (exception being: crooked legs and/or crooked spine are always a no for me - everything else Depends On The Horse In Front Of Me)

        I generally look at how the horse moves first, and then the conformation plus their race record. I want to see clean, straight legs with minimal blemishes -- if they raced often, they can have more jewelry (lol) -- but if they had sub-20 races, I usually pass on a horse with lots of fluid or too much jewelry -- especially on their front legs. I prefer to see a horse who jogs openly and evenly - no rope-walking behind, no limp -- but keep in mind most actively or fresh-retired horses are sore and will be bilaterally sore/lame, and that can make hearing or seeing a subtle lameness hard. I like to see good freedom of the shoulder at walk and trot, and an overtrack at the walk. You are unlikely to see a canter if the horse is at the track, but most TBs have great canters if they are comfortable/sound. Keep in mind many will move "tracky" -- especially behind -- with strange hock articulation and/or tightness over their spine and pelvis. I don't mind a little trackiness especially if they raced recently, but ropewalking at the trot is always a red-flag, and I do keep an eye on the tail and neck; if both are super stiff and held to a specific side, or the horse moves crookedly especially at the walk, I might pass. How is their neck when they walk and jog? Is it braced/held stiff (is the handler influencing that?), or is it flexible? Most TBs move uphill, even if they're structurally "downhill" in the neck -- but you have to see them move first. Always take the time to run your hands down all their legs and look at their pelvis/hips from behind - avoid a horse with too much deviation/crookedness on one side.

        How is the LS gap, where is the point of hip in relation to the stifle? I prefer these two be very close, with a generously sloping but short femur -- the reason for that, is you are less likely to find SI trauma in horses with a good LS placement -- and they tend to be very good jumpers and fundamentally better movers. It's common for TBs that raced to have subtle muscling dissimilarities from side to side, but a dropped hip or pelvis is usually a sign of some trauma that might be hard to undo or manage. How are their hock-stifle-fetlock ratio? I am fine with an open hock - this is ideal for jumping -- but I do not like super straight stifle-hock-pastern when it is combined with a goose rump (which also usually means poor LS placement). Speaking of, how does their spine look? Is there a hunter's bump, or SI scarring? How does the horse stand? Is he standing over a lot of ground, or are his hind legs "tucked" under him and forward (past the stifle or to midline?) - this is a sign of back-soreness; sometimes this is treatable, but sometimes it means the horse has been in chronic pain over his back.

        Most TBs have excellent feet growth-wise, but are shod for race track angles that encourage a long toe - this is to improve breakover during striding in races. While it allegedly gives them some speed advantage, it is damaging long-term to their soundness -- makes their soles thin, their hooves unstable, and can cause soreness up and down their lower limbs until their feet are rectified. I avoid over-the-top bad angles and/or NPA with fever rings - while it is fixable, it takes time and the horses are usually very sore. How was their performance record? Any unusual gaps or breaks? How many races did they run? I am more likely to take a chance on a horse with 20+ races, than a horse with sub 20 - because a horse that can race three or four years consistently is sound and tough, and if they can race soundly for 20+ races, they can handle any low level discipline a rider points them at.

        Finally - what do the trainer and exercise rider say about this horse? Most are very honest with the horse and their quirks/temperament.

        I didn't find the "Choosing an OTTB Blog" to be overly informative or correct at all, sorry tohorse -- there really is a dearth of good blogs out there for OTTB retraining, though, and I think a lot of what circulates is from people who maybe have experience with one or two OTTBs and it can be taken as gospel... I would take that writer's assessments of those TBs with a big grain of salt.

        You cannot look at a picture and know if a horse moves uphill or downhill until you watch them move. The blogger was incorrect about a few common "myths" about TBs and racing -- TBs do see plenty of turnout in the off-season, and most of them grow up in some sort of herd environment. Their feet are rarely too small for their bodies, it is the way they are shod on the track (and they are awfully shod, they really are). I also disagree that most of the TBs come off the track "underweight" -- they come off of the track fit if they are racing, but I have gotten plenty of plushy, fat Tbs off the track too. I rarely ever see a TB that is underweight here. YMMV.

        Regarding an OTTB.. is this your first one? The biggest hurdles IME, are you are always buying a horse that is sore and it takes time - anywhere from a week or months -- to unravel that chronic soreness. They're sore because it's hard work -- not because they were owned by bad people or abused. These horses are highly trained, but not in the discipline you are putting them into -- it can take time to "reset" their training and condition them to their new jobs, since they are unlearning all that they learned at the track.

        Do you have someone who is experienced with looking at TBs that has a good eye and can help you? A trainer or friend? If you post your location, you may be able to get some suggestions for good TB resellers here, or connections that might have what you are looking for.

        Here are some horses that fit my type, that would be in my barn if I had the room. I buy for me, so I want a horse that can do LL eventing, hunt, hunterpace, hack on trails -- just an all around horse partner for an amateur. I am not shopping for UL:
        http://fingerlakesfinesttbs.com/gust...h-bay-gelding/
        http://fingerlakesfinesttbs.com/fros...hestnut-filly/
        http://fingerlakesfinesttbs.com/visi...3-bay-gelding/ *note -- I really like this one
        http://fingerlakesfinesttbs.com/mill...15-h-bay-mare/
        AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

        Comment


          #5
          I REALLY like the last mare!!! She is well put together and has a nice pedigree as well as lovely nature! Hope she gets a great home!

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by beowulf View Post
            Sorry, I know that is not super helpful... but most people don't need a perfectly conformed horse to ride - they need a horse with the right temperament. Unless you are planning on breeding the horse, I would personally look for horses that have the temperament and aptitude for what you want, versus having all the right angles.
            I do have a very long list of personality traits that I want, but I feel like I'm at least a little qualified to recognize a good personality (vs conformation I am hopeless). I also have some oddball things that I want, like I very much prefer a horse who enjoys being brushed (or at least doesn't hate it) which already rules out a lot of horses. I just find it so much easier to build a good relationship if you can offer the horse something of value besides food.

            Comment


              #7

              Regarding that blog which I found enormously incorrect, I had to circle back to it because I couldn't let someone pick apart Colonel John like that --

              The first is Colonel John.
              The second is Sea The Stars ($150,000 stud fee).
              The third I admittedly did not recognize and had to do some googling, that is Towkay

              Interestingly enough, all three of these stallions have sires/dams or grandsires/dams that are in UL event horses.

              Colonel John is a Tiznow son, out of a Turkoman dam -- you will see lots of Tiznow in tall, dark, andbeautiful event types. The OTTB flippers love Tiznow and sons (including CJ) for nice, attractive horses that make good resellers and eventers.

              Sea The Stars is most importantly, an Urban Sea son -- (Urban Sea is also the dam of Galileo, which sport-minded TB people love) -- STS is Cape Cross / Miswaki / Lombardo. Lombardo & Miswaki are common in turf + event pedigrees, Lombard is especially a nice horse to have close, common in GER racing too. No such thing as a Danzig horse that can't jump, although that is further back. Good luck getting a Sea The Stars horse for riding - their talents would probably be wasted on riding pursuits anyway. Interesting that blogger was quick to dismiss Sea The Stars for jumping considering the astounding amount of turf and jump blood in Sea The Star's pedigree.

              Towkay is Last Tycoon / Ahonoora.. He'd be a nice way to get that Mill Reef / Ahonoora blood that is sadly in short supply.. Mill Reef and Ahonoora both wouldn't need any introduction for jumping with the event folks, who are all over both considering that they seemed to consistently produce excellent jump and athleticism for eventing despite being bred to race.

              Ironically, none of these stallions are what I would classify as unsound and/or not suitable for riding -- Colonel John is a very nice stallion, Sea The Stars stands for $150,000 as he should, and while Towkay didn't set the world on fire he is an NZ stallion that has had several good runners.

              In conclusion, I wouldn't take any of what is on that blogger's page as truth -- and I found it absurd you could arbitrarily measure bone density (and thus, conclude 'soundness') from a photo.
              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                Conformation is a small part of the whole picture. I used to be a stickler for ideal conformation (and I have that book tohorse mentioned, it was a good read), but then I spent a lot of time as a working student and groom, and worked with (event) horses at the top of the sport.. and.. there seems to be very little uniform conformation among them,
                I would wager if you lined them all up, all of them would have at least decent Big 3, some of them would have 1-2 of those as great, and a small handful would have all 3 as excellent. They just can't hold up to that sort of work, can't likely even get there, if any of the Big 3 are terrible, or 2 or all 3 are just borderline ok. But they can look quite different because of different angles and lengths of bones

                and good/solid conformation is no guarantee the horse will be sound. There are tons of perfectly conformed horses who are never sound enough to ride - so while it's ideal to have a horse with straight clean legs and a good fundament (hindquarter), the rest can sometimes be arbitrary when you want a "jack of all trades" to do lower levels..
                Yep, and there are for sure some fugly horses who are quite sound at reasonably high levels, though even they have the Big 3 in pretty good working order

                I do think that anyone planning on buying a horse for decent ridden work, even if not even mid-level competition, should at least insist on a very good (or better) Big 3. They are just the foundation of functional use and really help stack the odds in favor of staying sounder, for longer. Longer front cannon bones are less of an issue with an excellent pillar of support, less than great stifle placement is less of an issue with an excellent LS gap, and so on

                but most people don't need a perfectly conformed horse to ride - they need a horse with the right temperament. Unless you are planning on breeding the horse, I would personally look for horses that have the temperament and aptitude for what you want, versus having all the right angles.
                Perfect no, not unless you're breeding (even then perfect is a goal, just not attainable, but aim for it!). But I want those Big 3 to be REALLY good, especially if buying a younger horse who doesn't have 10 years of sound performance to spit in the face of a poor LS gap), and then I could be flexible on certain other things. Tied in at the knee will always be a deal-breaker for me.

                You cannot look at a picture and know if a horse moves uphill or downhill until you watch them move.
                Disagree The Big 3 in terms of functional conformation are there because the dictate how up/down hill a horse moves on his own. Horse A with a low neck emergence, and poor pillar of support will never move beyond level, and that will take work. You can see it time and time again with a horse whose withers are right on top of their front legs (terrible POS), who cannot move with any natural lightness up front, who constantly look like they're travelling downhill, and who are one lump of grass away from falling on their face

                Horse B with excellent Big 3 will naturally move uphill on his own, but at least level, and he can be taught to move even more uphill.

                Originally posted by beowulf View Post


                Ironically, none of these stallions are what I would classify as unsound and/or not suitable for riding -- Colonel John is a very nice stallion, Sea The Stars stands for $150,000 as he should, and while Towkay didn't set the world on fire he is an NZ stallion that has had several good runners.

                In conclusion, I wouldn't take any of what is on that blogger's page as truth -- and I found it absurd you could arbitrarily measure bone density (and thus, conclude 'soundness') from a photo.
                Agree that all those horses are functionally uphill, with the other aspects of confo at least good enough, most of them very good.

                What way too many people don't understand is that bone density has nothing to do with circumference. Horses bred to be ridden at speed and/or distances have had dense bone bred into them - TBs and Arabians most notably. You cannot say they have "light bone" if you are trying to compare most of them to a Foundation QH.

                Drafts were bred to pull, not carry weight, and they do not have the bone density of TBs, despite sometimes enormous circumference.

                There are some TBs with truly light bone, and they look ridiculous, very out of proportion, but their typical proportion is not the same as a QH.

                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that blog left a lot to be desired.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by JB View Post
                    I would wager if you lined them all up, all of them would have at least decent Big 3, some of them would have 1-2 of those as great, and a small handful would have all 3 as excellent. They just can't hold up to that sort of work, can't likely even get there, if any of the Big 3 are terrible, or 2 or all 3 are just borderline ok. But they can look quite different because of different angles and lengths of bones
                    Probably.. but maybe not for all. The pillar of support seems to be the most common, ideal LS seems hit or miss in many UL eventers -- if you can find a good conformation photo of them, or be present at the jogs (which is probably one of my favorite parts, as a spectator).

                    One thing I am not seeing consistently in UL event horses is an ideal LS placement. It can be tough to get conformation pictures of UL eventers, but while Winsome Adante and Arthur both, by example (and I have seen both in the flesh) were TB or very high TB, they were functionally very different than FischerRocana or Sam.

                    Then you have horses like Valegro and Verdades for UL dressage -- who frankly, would be ruthlessly picked apart by that blogger were it not for their incredible accomplishments. It makes me have less faith in conformation being the end all, when it more likely is but a part of the picture.
                    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                    Comment


                      #11
                      There's a lot that can be done with less than ideal confo of any of the Big 3. Winsome Adante is actually featured in Judy's Conformation for an Eventer. His LS gap appears a bit behind the point of the hip, but it's still really close. And while his POS is just ok, his high point of shoulder keeps his front end lighter. Things definitely do need to be seen as a whole, but it's those 3 which are a foundation for looking at functional confo, and determining if a horse moves downhill, level, or uphill by nature. A great POS can help make up lost ground for a less than ideal LS gap, but a great LS gap can't do a lot for a low point of shoulder and a neck that emerges barely above that

                      Looking at as similar pictures of both Arthur and FischerRocana as I could find, I don't see them functionally all that different. Both are functionally uphill and appear to have good to great Big 3. Their actual movement appears a bit different. FischerRocana looks to have more of a Dressage type movement on the flat, and has a tighter tuck and fold than Arthur over fences, but those are just differences in movement and type, not true function. FischerRocana looks more UL Dressage-type.

                      Valegro is actually well-put together, but because that blogger is going off outdated info that only looks at the static horse and never took into account how those lines and measures actually helped tell you how the horse moved (they don't), s/he would indeed likely tear him apart. But the Functional Conformation model Judy helped define, through actually studying upper level successful horses, he's clearly quite functional - great LS gap, great neck emergence, and great POS.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by JB View Post
                        There's a lot that can be done with less than ideal confo of any of the Big 3. Winsome Adante is actually featured in Judy's Conformation for an Eventer. His LS gap appears a bit behind the point of the hip, but it's still really close. And while his POS is just ok, his high point of shoulder keeps his front end lighter. Things definitely do need to be seen as a whole, but it's those 3 which are a foundation for looking at functional confo, and determining if a horse moves downhill, level, or uphill by nature. A great POS can help make up lost ground for a less than ideal LS gap, but a great LS gap can't do a lot for a low point of shoulder and a neck that emerges barely above that

                        Looking at as similar pictures of both Arthur and FischerRocana as I could find, I don't see them functionally all that different. Both are functionally uphill and appear to have good to great Big 3. Their actual movement appears a bit different. FischerRocana looks to have more of a Dressage type movement on the flat, and has a tighter tuck and fold than Arthur over fences, but those are just differences in movement and type, not true function. FischerRocana looks more UL Dressage-type.

                        Valegro is actually well-put together, but because that blogger is going off outdated info that only looks at the static horse and never took into account how those lines and measures actually helped tell you how the horse moved (they don't), s/he would indeed likely tear him apart. But the Functional Conformation model Judy helped define, through actually studying upper level successful horses, he's clearly quite functional - great LS gap, great neck emergence, and great POS.
                        And yet horses like him routinely fail approvals.
                        AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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                          #13
                          Since the approval process is about so much more than just conformation, I can't speak to why a given stallion fails
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                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                            #14
                            Excellent advice from others. Don't worry too much about conformation. But look for a real warhorse TB; one that is retiring after 35-50+ starts and is still sound. Doesn't matter if all those starts were cheap claimers. If that horse started running at 2yr and stayed sound till 5-6yr nothing an ammie is going to do will break him. Good luck in your search.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                              Excellent advice from others. Don't worry too much about conformation. But look for a real warhorse TB; one that is retiring after 35-50+ starts and is still sound. Doesn't matter if all those starts were cheap claimers. If that horse started running at 2yr and stayed sound till 5-6yr nothing an ammie is going to do will break him. Good luck in your search.
                              I have had this backfire on me horrendously.

                              "track sound" is not the same as sound.

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                                #16
                                Retired Racehorse Project just had an interesting webinar where they had various "experts" (trainers in different disciplines) review photos and videos and provide their comments on horses recently off the track. Hopefully this link works: https://www.facebook.com/equitanausa...49656563007182
                                http://trainingcupid.blogspot.com/

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                                  #17
                                  I'm going to attempt to attach a pic of Winsome Adante, fingers crossed.

                                  He had less than ideal conformation (something that Kim Severson was well aware of and mentioned repeatedly), but he "outperformed his conformation." She was able to ride him more "uphill" than his conformation would dictate, but she is not the average ammy rider.

                                  https://jwequine.com/jwequine/pdf/co...an_eventer.pdf

                                  He is severely "post-legged" behind, has a less than ideal LS placement, is slightly downhill (with shortish front legs), and his pillar of support is just "adequate"; IIRC, he was retired for soundness issues after his illustrious career (I'm thinking stifles or hocks.)

                                  Here's the thing with horses with straight hind legs: if they have a strong HQ (and are not severely downhill), the fulcrum created by the straighter hock conformation can result in a lot of jumping power - though it does come with a number of accompanying soundness issues like hock arthritis, stifle issues, etc.

                                  I have a mare like this (I bred her - her dam has good hind leg conformation, but her daughter inherited a straighter hind leg from her Hanoverian sire's side), and I started her on Pentosan and then Adequan at 5. I make sure she is well shod, well conditioned, her core is VERY strong, and she gets regular bodywork and stretching. So far so good!, and she is a fantastic jumper, though dressage has been challenging because she is also not uphill, and is very long backed Luckily her neck is also long, and is set on well.

                                  In any case, obviously you want to find a horse without any glaring flaws - body balance, leg angulation, neck placement, LS placement, pillar of support - all important! - but if the horse is generally "pleasing to the eye" and looks harmonious, moves well, has a good temperament and is sound, those are the most important things.

                                  Also!! GOOD FEET. A horse will stay sounder longer if he has good feet, and it will save you lots of $$ and heartache.

                                  ETA, Allison Springer's Arthur was an ISH by Brandenburg's Windstar; was 75% blood. I was unable to find any confo pics of him but his conformation was pretty good - he was a long, elegant horse (not particularly short-coupled) - long through the loin and neck - but seemed to have good hind leg angulation and was uphill - and a lovely, lovely mover with suspension and swing. And of course a powerful, athletic jumper (if quirky and spooky - poor Allison! I took a few lessons with her years ago on my spooky, athletic mare - the one mentioned above whose daughter I'm now competing: Allison said "once a spook, always a spook". She was so right! Luckily my mare's daughter is not spooky; the tradeoff for not inheriting her dam's close to ideal conformation.)

                                  https://www.chronofhorse.com/article...lex-centerline
                                  Last edited by Dr. Doolittle; Sep. 24, 2020, 10:23 AM.
                                  "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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                                    #18
                                    Here's Winsome Adante, the pic used in the JW Equine article


                                    I agree his confo was just ok from a Big 3 functional perspective. He was helped a lot by a high point of shoulder, higher withers which provided more leverage for his neck, and a nice open shoulder angle with a longer humerus. His pillar of support was good enough - not great, just good

                                    He's not downhill though - functionally he's pretty level. He's not butt-high though, it's the curve of is back that gives the illusion, but top of wither to top of croup is really pretty level.

                                    It is important to note that conformation doesn't correlate 1:1 with performance, or soundness. We all know those fugly horses competing at the upper levels But even with some of them, if you look pas the sway back, the post legs, the crooked legs, you'll see the Big 3 is pretty solid, and that's why those are the foundation for functional conformation. You can work past some pretty big issues, as long as there aren't multiple big issues, if the Big 3 are at least pretty good, but especially if they are all great.

                                    But even then, if the horse is performing for years at the top, even a single major fault (ie WA's hind legs) catch up to them sooner, rather than later.
                                    ______________________________
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by JB View Post
                                      Here's Winsome Adante, the pic used in the JW Equine article


                                      I agree his confo was just ok from a Big 3 functional perspective. He was helped a lot by a high point of shoulder, higher withers which provided more leverage for his neck, and a nice open shoulder angle with a longer humerus. His pillar of support was good enough - not great, just good

                                      He's not downhill though - functionally he's pretty level. He's not butt-high though, it's the curve of is back that gives the illusion, but top of wither to top of croup is really pretty level.

                                      It is important to note that conformation doesn't correlate 1:1 with performance, or soundness. We all know those fugly horses competing at the upper levels But even with some of them, if you look pas the sway back, the post legs, the crooked legs, you'll see the Big 3 is pretty solid, and that's why those are the foundation for functional conformation. You can work past some pretty big issues, as long as there aren't multiple big issues, if the Big 3 are at least pretty good, but especially if they are all great.

                                      But even then, if the horse is performing for years at the top, even a single major fault (ie WA's hind legs) catch up to them sooner, rather than later.
                                      Agree with all of this, other than him being not "not downhill"; based on Dr. Deb Bennett's conformation principles (the best education one can get on "functional conformation" is reading her series on book on it), since she measures "body balance" by measuring from the middle of point of hip to the base of neck (I wish I could draw on pictures so I could pinpoint this on "Dan"!), it's not the actual base of the neck, but the point where the cervical spine curves upward - looks to be about C5? Since the withers are spinous processes, a horse with very long ones can appear to be more uphill in its body balance than it actually is - which she points out. Dan is slightly downhill based on these measurements. Not enough to affect his way of going, obviously

                                      And as you say, things like over at the knee (Dan, again) are not soundness issues per se (UNLESS! it's because of a check ligament issue), same with sway back, some degree of crookedness in the legs, etc.

                                      Anyone who is interested in doing a deep dive into the anatomy of structural conformation and how to assess it in detail (evaluating the structure UNDER the skin) should really read Deb Bennett's books. Growing up doing Pony Club back in the day, we relied on the same old books and the same old advice - most of it being pretty sound - but there are details they missed.

                                      I learned a TON from the above books ^ ^ ^, and would highly recommend them!

                                      ETA, as you mentioned, his "arm" has a nice, open angle (many people look only at how laid back the shoulder is and not at the shoulder to humerus angle), and this enables him to function in a more uphill manner because he is able to bring his front end UP and forward as he moves - and jumps. A more open angle also puts the front legs in a more advantageous place in front of the horse so that not only can they open that "lever arm" more easily, but they are able to more easily use the front legs for pushing UP and off the ground in front of jumps during takeoff: something often overlooked WRT what contributes to a powerful jump.
                                      "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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                                        #20
                                        Bennett is old school confo, based on a static horse. JW Equine and forward are much more current on confo, because it takes into consideration how the horse actually moves (because 1000s of high performance horses were studied). It's the same as old school saddle fitting which just looked at how the saddle sat on the horse standing there in the aisle. Knowing better, good saddle fitters also look at how the horse moves and how that saddle works in movement.

                                        The hip to neck line doesn't tell you anything other than being a line.
                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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