Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nuances of Conformation

Alright all you halter judges out there! Here's a great exercise that I think would be much more helpful in the model horse world. Below are three photos of horses the same age and breed (3-4 yrs old, Appaloosa). Place them in order as you would a halter class, and explain why.


horsienut said...

How fun! I will take a stab, though I will admit I'm not a conformation expert and don't know current showring/halter "fads" - so I hope YOU will place these and explain what is "correct" after we take our guesses!

My first place is #1, Overall looks balanced and fit.

2nd place for me is #3. I like this guy's color, though he looks a little chubby/less fit than #1. It also looks like he has upright pasterns.

Last place for me is #2. This one has very thin legs compared to the others, weak hindquarters, some kind of neck issue (ewe necked maybe?)

I hope you will do more posts like this, it will be very helpful when judging models :)

Heather said...

Ok, I'll play! Lol.

I'd have to place #3 first. He is by far the most balanced of the three. He has a lovely length of neck for his body, a propotionate hindquarter and nice straight legs. I wish he had a little more angle to his shoulder and pasterns, and more depth to the heart girth, but all in all he is a very nice horse. (Can I have on in dark bay?)

I had a hard time deciding between the other two as I felt they both had equal issues.

I would have to place #1 second. She has a better overall balance than #2. Despite her more upright shoulder, I feel that she has a better overall balance than #2 despite her small hinquarter, short camped out hind legs, and short neck. She is also butt high, but sweeing as she is still growing, I will discount that flaw. She does have a better depth to the heart girth than #3, but still only places second in my book.

#2 has the nicest shoulder and pastern angles of the three, but she has the least overall balance. Like #1, she also has a short neck, small hindquarter and camped out hind legs. Her legs are very skinny in comparison to her body giving the unfortunate effect of looking like a potato with toothpicks for legs. As such, she is solidly in third place.

And yes, I agree, I would love to hear what you think about these three!

hankarabian366 said...

3, then 1, then 2. I like 3 for his balance, nice hip and shoulder, he just seems like he would move nice, and be a good performance horse to me. Number 1 also seems to be very balanced, i dont like his hip quite as much, and he's a little more down-hill which i know has to do with his age, but I still like #3 better. I picked 2 last. she seems kind of stocked-out? not sure if thats the correct word, but just doesnt seem like she'd move quite as nice as the rest. Does have a nice shoulder though! Anyway, I'm not a judge, and not very good at explaining what I see, but that would be the way I would judge it.

crazyhorse said...

I will place it 3, 1, 2....The hocks are much higher than the knees on 1 and 2 which makes for a bumpy ride. 2 is parked out, has a weedy-looking neck and ties in low on the foreqrters. Her hip may be a HAIR better than 1 but 1 makes up for it with more muscle and condition. You can't ride color so it is important for a judge to look under the skin and place accordingly.

Unknown said...

I agree with most of htem 3 then 1 then 2 for the same reasons..

Mackenzie said...

I'll play too!

I'd place this group of 3-4 year old Appaloosas:

3, 1, 2

Starting with the top horse:
The #3 Horse has the nicest overall balance of the group with the best symmetry between the shoulder and hip. The head is refined and the muzzle is small and neat. The throatlatch is clean and the neck ties in well to the shoulder. The shoulder itself is nicely sloped and has adequate substance. The forelegs are correct with flat joints and a nice angle to the fetlock. There is good depth to the heartgirth and the underpinnings are clean. The topline has good coupling and the topline to underpinning length is nearly 2-1. The hindquarters have good substance and the stifle looks strong. The hind legs are also very correct. Overall, the #3 horse shows the best balance and quality. However, I would like to see more muscle definition on this horse.

Moving to the middle horse:
The #1 horse has nicer muscle definition than the #3 horse, however it lacks the same balance and quality. #1's head (what I can see) is thick through the jowl and the eye is small. The throatlatch is clean though the neck ties in well to the shoulder. The angle of the shoulder is steep, which would constrict freedom of motion. The forelegs are clean and the angle of fetlock is good. #1 has nice depth to the heartgirth and the inderpinnings are clean. The topline is somewhat flat though the topline to underpinning length is adequate. The biggest problem I have with this horse is the fact that its camped out. This conformational flaw will impede the horse from properly using its hind end.

Closing with the last horse:
The #2 horse has a cleaner head than the #1 horse, however #2 also has the poorest overall balance. The head is refined with small neat ears. The throatlatch is clean however the neck is thin and ties in low to the shoulder. The shoulder is nicely sloped and has good substance. The front legs are too fine for this horse's build. The heartgirth is deep and the topline is good. The hind-legs are camped out and too fine for the horse's build. Overall #2 has the least balanced of the three horses.

Those are my thoughts. It's nice to know I can still (sorta) whip out my 4-H judging skills lol!