Tuesday, February 26, 2008

All right, back to conformation critiques!

Just because you guys have sent me such GREAT material...and because some of you are novices and really need a refresher on conformation, here are some WORST OF pics from the Internet!

This is what "over at the knee" looks like. Now, this is not a bad horse otherwise, but he does not look like he has led an easy life. This is an aged TB stallion who is a stakes winner and you see the effect that racing his butt off at an early age had on those front legs. I like his neck, I like how deep he is through the chest, and the back is only showing the effects of age...but wow, what a GREAT example of over at the knee that anybody can see!

Now, here we have BACK at the knee, aka calf kneed. See how the front of the leg under the knee actually goes out in front of the knee, almost as if the knee was double jointed and bent both ways?

That's what back at the knee looks like, and it's more likely to impair a horse's ability to stay sound than over at the knee. Every time that leg comes down, stress is put on the knee and tendons because the leg just isn't in alignment. The effect on the knee joint is like you trying to walk with a pair of high heels on backward.

And here we have just a beauteous example of an upside-down neck. Look at that muscle! This little guy is built to spend his entire life straining against a cable tie-down. He couldn't put his head down and go like a pleasure horse if his life depended upon it.

GodAWFUL shoulder. See how it is pretty much vertical? This mare is going to ride like sitting on a jackhammer, and she is extremely likely to become arthritic or develop navicular disease as a result of the concussion on her (equally terrible) pasterns. Of course the "rescue" that owns her has already bred her! They stand an unbelievably fugly tobiano stud for just $100 since "the price reflects todays market for foals sold i dont want people to be out 700-1000 for a foal that sells for 50 at a sale that would be rediculous" Don't want y'all losing money when you sell them foals to slaughter!

And now...another GREAT idea from our bad parent du jour in Illinois:
"I am looking for a foal for my 10 yr old daughter. She has been asking forever. We decided that it would be a good summer project. Would like a colt but would consider a filly. Reasonably priced please. If you have the perfect baby please let us know. We are located in Springfield, Il and would like it to be within 100 miles. Thank you."

You know what, I've been riding and around horses for 32 years and this past weekend, my yearling freaked out at something, ripped the rope through my hands and got away from me. It was not good. I was in the middle of removing his blanket so it went under his neck and I ended up having to untangle him after he hung up a front leg in the neck hole. (I assure you I am totally mortified I lost my grip on him and that he got hurt - radial nerve injury, apparently he'll be fine but it scared the crap out of me as he was dragging the leg like a limp noodle.) However, the point is that this is not exactly unusual behavior for baby horses, and while I was able to unbuckle his blanket and get him free without getting kicked myself, it is highly unlikely a ten year old could accomplish the same. Parents, young horses and young kids don't make a good match! Don't do it! Your ten year old will have WAY more fun with a 20-something horse that she can walk-trot in 4-H this year.