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TB sport horse conformation for dummies?

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    #21
    Originally posted by JB View Post
    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.
    JW looks like it was published in the early 2000's, so not that much more recent than Deb Bennett? I'll have to look into it. Obviously horses in motion are different from horses in static conformation shots (would love to see the details on this if they are available - 1000's of high performance horses in which disciplines? Is the study available to read? Are there pics and video?)

    My saddle fitter ALWAYS watches me ride in the saddles (previous saddle fitters just looked at the saddle on the horse, I agree that's not going to provide a complete picture), this is obviously progress

    I still think wither height can be deceptive because some horses have VERY tall withers and some do not, but the functional body balance is similar. It has been observed that horses in UL eventing tend to have high withers; I would love to see more in-depth information on this because it may correlate to other things like how the shoulder ties on, which is definitely linked to performance. I wonder if this also correlates to a LONGER shoulder blade and/or a more open "arm" in most horses? I would love to see comparisons. Looking at horses with different wither heights, I try to identify the top of the shoulder blade since the wither is above that, but sometimes the wither bone is much higher, in other horses not so much. They might otherwise have similar body balance, which is where it gets confusing.
    "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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      #22
      Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post

      JW looks like it was published in the early 2000's, so not that much more recent than Deb Bennett? I'll have to look into it. Obviously horses in motion are different from horses in static conformation shots (would love to see the details on this if they are available - 1000's of high performance horses in which disciplines? Is the study available to read? Are there pics and video?)

      My saddle fitter ALWAYS watches me ride in the saddles (previous saddle fitters just looked at the saddle on the horse, I agree that's not going to provide a complete picture), this is obviously progress

      I still think wither height can be deceptive because some horses have VERY tall withers and some do not, but the functional body balance is similar. It has been observed that horses in UL eventing tend to have high withers; I would love to see more in-depth information on this because it may correlate to other things like how the shoulder ties on, which is definitely linked to performance. I wonder if this also correlates to a LONGER shoulder blade and/or a more open "arm" in most horses? I would love to see comparisons. Looking at horses with different wither heights, I try to identify the top of the shoulder blade since the wither is above that, but sometimes the wither bone is much higher, in other horses not so much. They might otherwise have similar body balance, which is where it gets confusing.
      My 2 cents, that 'higher withers' do usually correlate to a longer shoulder blade. Not always, but usually.

      Taking those two cents further, I think that the ideal (sport horse) conformation is somewhere in the middle of both JW and DB, but that again, there are horses that functionally outperform their conformation. I do think DB is much more accomplished, and comes from a deeper wealth of knowledge/understanding of the morphology/physiology of the horse, personally.

      JW used to have conformation clinics in a few magazines. I always enjoyed reading them, but did not always agree with her assessment[s]. Maybe that's my ignorance showing, or just preference. I stopped reading her publications a few years back because of something she said, and now, of course, I can't recall what it was.
      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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        #23
        Originally posted by beowulf View Post

        My 2 cents, that 'higher withers' do usually correlate to a longer shoulder blade. Not always, but usually.

        Taking those two cents further, I think that the ideal (sport horse) conformation is somewhere in the middle of both JW and DB, but that again, there are horses that functionally outperform their conformation. I do think DB is much more accomplished, and comes from a deeper wealth of knowledge/understanding of the morphology/physiology of the horse, personally.

        JW used to have conformation clinics in a few magazines. I always enjoyed reading them, but did not always agree with her assessment[s]. Maybe that's my ignorance showing, or just preference. I stopped reading her publications a few years back because of something she said, and now, of course, I can't recall what it was.
        and
        "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


          #24
          As a bumbling amateur that’s dreading shopping for a second horse, I appreciate the information, discussion and links in this thread.

          My eye for conformation is limited to the “that doesn’t look good, pass” variety. So this thread is a good resource for me to expand my understanding.

          Before I start a new thread, does anyone here have opinions on TB families known for producing “mellow” individuals? I’ve worked with a fair number of OTTBs and have seen a wide range temperaments. Surely, some behaviors are learned but I’d certainly appreciate avoiding “difficult” genetics.

          Comment


            #25
            Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post

            JW looks like it was published in the early 2000's, so not that much more recent than Deb Bennett? I'll have to look into it. Obviously horses in motion are different from horses in static conformation shots (would love to see the details on this if they are available - 1000's of high performance horses in which disciplines? Is the study available to read? Are there pics and video?)
            I don't know if the studies are actually published anywhere. I'll ask a friend who has much more in-depth knowledge of her research. Her website has tons of info on why the Big 3 matter. Maybe this page will help you find more
            https://www.jwequine.com/about-jw-equine/

            Bennett using the hip to neck line is still using a very old model of conformation, regardless of when she published it.

            nearly every horse will have a downward slope of that line from the point of the hip to the skeletal base of the neck. Some will be much moreso than others, and for those, I'd bet they are either butt-high, or ewe-necked, or have a low point of shoulder, or a low neck emergence, or some combination of all those. That picture of Valegro up there, that line would be downhill.

            I still think wither height can be deceptive because some horses have VERY tall withers and some do not, but the functional body balance is similar. It has been observed that horses in UL eventing tend to have high withers; I would love to see more in-depth information on this because it may correlate to other things like how the shoulder ties on, which is definitely linked to performance. I wonder if this also correlates to a LONGER shoulder blade and/or a more open "arm" in most horses? I would love to see comparisons. Looking at horses with different wither heights, I try to identify the top of the shoulder blade since the wither is above that, but sometimes the wither bone is much higher, in other horses not so much. They might otherwise have similar body balance, which is where it gets confusing.
            Withers provide a fulcrum for the nuchal ligament, so it stands to reason that maybe a disproportionate % of upper level horses have taller withers.

            All else equal, yes, taller withers do correlate with a longer shoulder blade, but you also have to look a how high the point of the shoulder is. Longer isn't necessarily better if it's paired with a really low point of shoulder (which makes the front end heavier and less mobile). But it has nothing to do with the length of the humerus, or the angle with the scapula

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

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              Original Poster

              #26
              I've been reading and trying to apply everything you guys have written, although I keep getting sidetracked by wanting All Of Them.

              I did find this old thread, too, that is very useful: https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/f...racky-movement

              Comment


                #27
                Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                I have had this backfire on me horrendously.

                "track sound" is not the same as sound.
                Sound is sound. I'm not talking about some old warrior that they have to baby long to run. I'm talking about a sound horse. One that can pass a reasonable PPE. Of course, as we all know, even if they are sound Today, that could easily change tomorrow.

                Comment


                  #28
                  Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post

                  Sound is sound. I'm not talking about some old warrior that they have to baby long to run. I'm talking about a sound horse. One that can pass a reasonable PPE. Of course, as we all know, even if they are sound Today, that could easily change tomorrow.
                  I understand your sentiment.

                  However, track sound is not the same as sound. Maybe they won't catastrophically break down, but they can most certainly be NQR and be allowed to race over and over and over again.

                  Comment


                    #29
                    Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                    I understand your sentiment.

                    However, track sound is not the same as sound. Maybe they won't catastrophically break down, but they can most certainly be NQR and be allowed to race over and over and over again.
                    I think the sentiment is that the warhorse is less likely to have physical complications from a second career. However, the physical complications from their first career shouldn't be ignored.

                    One thing that is forgotten about looking at warhorses, is that they often are race sound in spite of heavy jewelry. Very few warhorses come off of the track free of some sort of remodeling; most of the time it's chips and/or osselets, old bows or DFFT injuries. Worst case scenario, it's something that interferes with a new career, like cervical arthritis or KS, which certainly are hastened by high intensity work and routine stalling.

                    Warhorses often need longer to "reset" their body soreness than others, just from experience. Most of them are happy enough to go straight to work in their new discipline, but it takes a long time to unlearn and unwind defensive (from pain) posture/behaviors.

                    That being said, generally if the horse retired because he aged out/ran out of conditions (but was still semi-competitive) and had 30+ starts under his belt, very few things on the amateur/LL level would break him/her.

                    Unsound horses are not fast, so there's very little reason to keep them in the shed-row if they can't earn their keep. Sometimes, you see a trainer keep a "campaigner" in the shed-row - lots of tracks offer some sort of bargain/discount for multiple horses, and it can be worth the trainer's time and money to keep a steady Eddie in their shed-row just to keep cost[s] of stalls down, even if the horse isn't making them money.

                    With any OTTB, Caveat Emptor - you are buying a horse that was used hard, very young. Just about every TB off the track comes with some physical complaint.
                    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                    Comment


                      #30
                      A technique I picked up from an article somewhere was to draw a line from elbow to stifle as a better measure of uphill/downhill compared to the withers to top of hind end line. I've known a number of horses over the years with deep shoulders with an uphill line from withers-top of hind end that were functionally downhill and it was more obvious with the elbow to stifle line. The method worked very nicely with my OTTB.

                      I also zoom way way in on the eye and the mouth in multiple photos. What I'm looking for are pain wrinkles around the nostrils, triangular eyes, tightness through the mouth for additional information
                      Last edited by Synthesis; Oct. 1, 2020, 04:38 PM. Reason: Adding another idea
                      The stories of the T-Rex Eventer

                      Big Head, Little Arms, Still Not Thinking It Through

                      Comment


                        #31
                        Originally posted by Synthesis View Post
                        A technique I picked up from an article somewhere was to draw a line from elbow to stifle as a better measure of uphill/downhill compared to the withers to top of hind end line.
                        Neither determine up/downhill in terms of movement. Withers to croup is only looking at butt-high or not

                        I've known a number of horses over the years with deep shoulders with an uphill line from withers-top of hind end that were functionally downhill and it was more obvious with the elbow to stifle line. The method worked very nicely with my OTTB.
                        I'd love to see some examples, as I suspect 1 or more of the Big 3 was less than adequate.

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

                        Comment


                          #32
                          This is all very information and appreciated.

                          While educational, I was always suspect of the conformation analysis of performance proven jumpers/dressage horses as, somehow, the end conclusion is always that their conformation is in alignment with their success. Sometimes I think champions have something else added that makes up for some physical imperfections.

                          Comment


                            #33
                            That first blog was a train wreck.

                            Find an educated open minded friend/professional to help you.
                            One of my students has been bugging me to teach her what I look for when I pick one off the track, we get a handful of them every fall. Usually buy off pictures, video, and race record/pedigree. I cannot put into words what attracts me to a horse. I know what I do not like, and each of mine have a lot of physical similarities.

                            Client just bought one, her dressage friends all told her not to. Retired steeplechase horse. Bowed at 3 flat racing, rehabbed, went back and successfully steeplechased. Bow is cold and set, and it was a darn nice horse for a nice price. He is going to be a 3' hunter and dressage horse. Pretty sure we aren't going to break him at this point.
                            Got one in last week, had an accident at 3, he has a scar on his stifle-they had to pull chips out. Had someone look at me like I was cra-cra. horse started (successfully) 44 times on it after it was rehabbed. So he may need some extra upkeep in his later years, he's a tough brave boy. Walked off the trailer, across the field with me to investigate why there was a loose tarp on the other side of the property. I knew when I saw his pictures, he was going to be up for an adventure.

                            100% correct, the good horses just have something about them. It is not easily described-but you know when you know.
                            "The Friesian syndrome... a mix between Black Beauty disease and DQ Butterfly farting ailment." Alibi_18

                            Comment


                              #34
                              Originally posted by omare View Post
                              This is all very information and appreciated.

                              While educational, I was always suspect of the conformation analysis of performance proven jumpers/dressage horses as, somehow, the end conclusion is always that their conformation is in alignment with their success. Sometimes I think champions have something else added that makes up for some physical imperfections.
                              There is definitely a mental aspect to the upper level horse's success.

                              But looking at enough upper level horses, the ones with conformation outside the general parameters as a whole, or a single component well outside, are a small %.

                              Why? Because combining enough smaller faults, or having a giant single fault, will prevent most of those horses from holding up to the amount of training it takes to get to the upper levels. A very small % will hold up and be mentally capable enough.

                              There's a reason you're not going to find a GP Jumper with a really poor pillar of support. There's a reason you're not going to see an UL Eventer with major sickle hocks
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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