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 Caring and Owning Horses
 Horse Appraisal and Conformation
 And now for one not so pretty!
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FLOOPER
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  5:43:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit FLOOPER's Homepage Send FLOOPER a Private Message
Well, so far, the horses shown have been gorgeous. Now let's look at a more average horse. This is Maggie...16 year old registered solid paint...lots of foundation QH in pedigree. Don't be afraid to be honest...I'm not sensitive, and I promise only to tell Maggie the good comments! Really...I'm just hoping to learn...so give me the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thanks...I appreciate learning from all the experienced people here...you people are incredible.


Flooper

"I'm a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess."
The Man's Prayer from the Red Green Show

beccajane
Trainer



USA
985 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  10:36:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit beccajane's Homepage Send beccajane a Private Message
OK...I claim to know NOTHING. Just heard different ideas from several people, so here goes....
She has a long back, but also long pasterns. I would imagine that she is a smooth ride. I've heard if they have long pasterns, it makes a softer ride...like shock absorbers. Her shoulders appear to be higher than her back. Not sure how that affects anything. She is healthy looking and in good flesh. You can see the Old foundation QH...solid build. You can tell Maggie I think she is a beautiful soul and thanks for posting her picture
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Termite
Advanced Rider

369 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2006 :  10:36:51 PM  Show Profile Send Termite a Private Message
A real nice looking mare. Put some frosting on her and she would be a real Cupcake.
Termite
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FLOOPER
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2006 :  09:16:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit FLOOPER's Homepage Send FLOOPER a Private Message
Hey Termite...her name might be going back to Cupcake. My daughter rode her ALL weekend, and the two of them just clicked and seemed to form a bond almost immediately...it was pretty amazing to watch. I have neve seen my daughter ride with such confidence and enthusiasm. Don't know what it is, but they sure seem made for each other. So now I have been informed that she "really, really, really" wants Maggie...er Cupcake...to be HER horse. That kid LOVES that horse. And as a charter member of HAA, I also see a slight opening here for possibly getting another new horse for me!!

Flooper

"I'm a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess."
The Man's Prayer from the Red Green Show
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2006 :  12:30:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
My eval is that her name should be reverted back to "Cupcake"..love that name!

Conformation....I can't begin and get confused after looking at a draft, a pony and a TB....characteristics so different from the QH/paint. I like that she's got meat on her and looks solid, and pretty.
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Saddletramp
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2546 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2006 :  4:22:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit Saddletramp's Homepage Send Saddletramp a Private Message
I am a huge fan of the bulldog look, the old foundation body-type! She's got a kind eye, a nice head (just a wee-bit of a roman-appearing nose, which might be the photo angle) and great foxy ears. If she were younger, I'd like to see her built up a teeny tiny bit more in the haunches to even out the proportion with her shoulder, etc.- but it's not really lacking enough to be concerned with. Nice neck and good legs!

I also vote for her name changed back to Cupcake....cuz she's a SWEETIE! How about a $10 show name...like Pink Cupcake With Icing? hehehe And she's definitely a keeper for Annika!

Here's a thought....every girl with her own horse is a breeze to buy for at Christmas and for birthdays!! Annika and Cupcake need some pretty girly tack and accessories!

-Saddletramp

"She never moved the stars from their courses,
but she loved a good man and she rode good horses"
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2006 :  07:33:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by FLOOPER

Well, so far, the horses shown have been gorgeous. Now let's look at a more average horse. This is Maggie...16 year old registered solid paint...lots of foundation QH in pedigree. Don't be afraid to be honest...I'm not sensitive, and I promise only to tell Maggie the good comments! Really...I'm just hoping to learn...so give me the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thanks...I appreciate learning from all the experienced people here...you people are incredible.





Well Flooper, this is how I would use Conformation basics for an evaluation of Maggie. I copied the outline from my post and pasted it here. Then I will attempt to go through each point with Maggie. The photos is not ideal so we will have to make some educated guess or just not be able to comment on that section.

HERE GOES:
BALANCE
The first impression. A side profile of the horse should present a pleasing balanced picture. The head and neck should flow together into the front shoulders through a proportional back to the hind quarters with no one portion of the body over powering another. The horses general condition should be obvious with healthy coat, good flesh without being excessively fat or thin. A good confirmation horse’s over all impression will be pleasing to the eye of both knowledgeable and casual observer alike.
Maggie presents a pretty balanced profile. The first thing you notice, other than the nice winter coat is that her tummy is larger than than the ideal profile. This is probably partly due to her age but mostly due to some extra groceries. Older horses seem to put on some extra weight over the winter. I think nature makes their system more efficient during the winter to compensate for lower food availability and for warmth. Need to watch the weight. another factor of course is the reduced exercise over the winter. I would consider some sort of conditioning program before you go three day eventing
Her neck, could be the angle seems a bit shorter than ideal for balance. She has a kind eye and in the photo her muzzle seems a bit large for the length of her head.
Her legs look to be of a good size and appear strong with solid hooves.


TOP LINE
A horse’s top line drawn from the highest point to the withers to highest point of the hips should be basically level, or slightly higher at the withers. The neck should join the withers smoothly and be level in appearance.

If a horse is low in the withers they will have more problems with collection that a horse that is balanced.

The distance from the withers to the point were a line joining the point of buttock to point of hip exiting the back should be approximately 50% of the length of the horses under line.


Maggie has a good top line. Her withers are slightly higher than her hip. There is a slight dip where her neck joins her withers but from the photo it is hard to tell if that if the neck or just her very nice mane.
It is a bit difficult trying to mentally draw the hip and shoulder angles due to the position of her feet but my conclusion is she has a back that is slightly shorter than ideal. This is not a defect but should actually result in a stronger back that will hold up as she ages. She will not be able to flex sideways through her back as well as the ideal horse. Update: Mrs. Hook says that Maggie's back is not long but is a good length for her overall body.

BOTTOM LINE
The underline should follow a smooth line from the bottom of the withers to the flank of the horse.
Other than the tummy it covered in the overall impression it is hard to judge due to the leg position in the photo. My guess is that it matches her shorter than ideal back
Update: Mrs. Hook says that Maggie's back is not long but is a good length for her overall body.
HEAD
The horses head should give an overall refined appearance with large bright eye placed on the side of the head. The muzzle should be in proportion to the rest of the head with a flat or sight dish from the nostrils to the forehead.

The head should join to the neck cleanly with trim throat latch to allow the horse to flex at the poll to allow easy response to the bit. A thick throat latch would make it more difficult to give to the bit.
Maggie's head in the photo does not appear to be as refined as the ideal. She has a large eye situated well on the side of her head, her ears are well proportioned for the size of her head but her muzzle is a trifle large. Here head is slightly turned but I think I can detect a slight outward effect which is called a slight Roman nose. Her throatlatch is thicker than ideal which would restrict her ability to flex at the poll. This should result in Maggie to have a slight nose ahead appearance when she is being ridden due a reduced ability to flex to the bit.
NECK
The preferred neck is long and slender and attached to the withers in a smooth line and attached to the shoulder well up on the chest to allow free shoulder movement. The neck should flow smoothly with no or dip in the top line of the neck from the withers to the poll.
Her neck appears short for her body in the picture. It comes out of her shoulders a bit lower than ideal which would somewhat restricted her ability to move her shoulders to give you a long flowing stride.

FRONT
A line drawn from the point of the withers to the point of the shoulder and on to the ground will indicate the shoulder angle of the horse. It is impossible for a horse to bring his leg forward at an angle greater than his shoulder so it becomes obvious that the steeper the shoulder angle the shorter the stride of the horse. A short stride ( steep angle) horse will produce a stride that is shorter and more choppy with more up and down movement than a long stride horse.
Maggie's shoulder angle looks a bit steeper than the ideal. Her movement will probably reflect this with more knee action.

The horse front leg should be placed well forward under the shoulder. A line drawn vertically from the highest point of the withers to the ground should pass behind the line of support of the front leg as indicated by the line through the cannon bone which should also be vertical to the ground. If the line of support angles back under the body or ahead of the body the horse could be predisposed to soundness problems because of unequal stresses imposed on the knee.
Again , Maggie's front leg position in the photo makes it hard to make a good conclusion but it seems to be well placed forward of the vertical wither line. It may be the way she is standing but it appears that the column of support is angled to the rear which over time could give some problems in her knees due to the uneven force distributions here.
The canon bone line should pass though the rear of the hoof. The pastern angle should reflect the shoulder angle. Excessive pastern angle or steep pastern angles would move the hoof ahead or behind the column of support and lead to soundness issues.
The canon bone line extended looks as if it passes closely behind the hoof, and her pastern angle seems to match her shoulder angle

BACK
The withers should be well defined for good saddle retention and extend behind the front shoulders flowing smoothly through a strong back to a well muscled loin to the point of the hip. Excessive dips or flatness in the back will require some type of compensating pad or saddle to ensure a correct fit of the saddle.
Maggie has well defined withers but they look to be placed a bit forward on her shoulders in the photo. Ideally the withers would be placed a bit further back on back to help in correct saddle fitting and positioning.
The hip angle is formed by a line joining the point of the hip to the point of the buttocks. An excessively steep angle would translate into a short hip and would not be as strong as a long hip due to the difference in the amount of hip muscle. A steep hip angle will affect the movement of the horse by limiting the ability of the rear legs to move under the horse as required for proper collection.
This one' hard to call from the picture. I suspect that Maggie has a good hip and angle but the photo would leg would have to be better positioned to tell for sure.

A line dropped vertically through the point of the buttock should ideally pass through the point of the hock. If the hock is forward of the line the horse is said to be sickle hocked. The rear canon bone should also be vertical to the ground and a line through the canon bone should pass through the hoof with a pastern angle that is not too steep to ensure ideal support for the tendons and ligaments.
Again hard to tell but I think Maggie has a good overall hindquarter. I think she would work well from behind an would be able to compensate for some of the short comings of her front.

So my overall impression is that Maggie is a bit overweight and out of shape. ( Just like a few of us). She looks to be s good solid horse that will meet your trail riding need for years to come.



Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Edited by - Hook on 03/12/2006 09:59:52 AM
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FLOOPER
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2006 :  10:38:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit FLOOPER's Homepage Send FLOOPER a Private Message
Wow Hook!!! Thanks so much for all the time and effort you (and Mrs. Hook) put into evaluating Maggie...er Cupcake...for me!!

Although I don't know anything about conformation, your observations seem to be right on with what I've experienced with Maggie.

--She does have some trouble flexing to the side as much as some of my other horses...she tries, but you can just tell it's a bit more of a struggle for her.

--She does have a bit of trouble flexing at the poll, too...her natural head carry where she is most comfortable is higher than my other horses.

--Oh that belly!!! We are going to have to work on that this spring...and it has gotten even bigger during the winter, since she is on free choice hay!!

--She does have some higher knee action...so her trot is a bit rough, not bad, but not super smooth.

--Her lope is okay, but again, not the smoothest in the world...and not very fast!! (A plus in my book).

Anyway, seems like everything you pointed out is exactly what I experience when riding her. Thanks again...that took a lot of time and effort, and I sure appreciate it.

Will definitely work on her weight and conditioning this spring...right now, her big belly and out-of-shapeness matches mine perfectly!!!--

Flooper

"I'm a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess."
The Man's Prayer from the Red Green Show
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