Monday, July 6, 2009

At least they are going to Heaven!

Just for fun, I decided to google the term "perfect confirmation" to see what I got!

So here's just one example. This is an underweight, straight-shouldered 3 year old AQHA gelding. His unattractive head is as long as his short, upside-down neck. The whole front half is pretty much fugly. Someone recently wanted an example of straight-shouldered. Here you go. Look at the attachment between the shoulder and the neck and how upright it is. Every time talk shoulders, some purist has to point out that shoulder angle is actually determined by the placement of the scapula. Correct, but that is usually roughly parallel to the much easier seen line where the shoulder joins the neck - so that's what I point to for people who don't know how to see a straight shoulder. Either way, this horse has a straight shoulder. He is not going to be a great mover - that shoulder won't allow for much reach. He is not going to be a comfortable ride - a straight shoulder usually results in a jarring gait that is hard to sit. That can be improved with training, but it's never going to be great. And he will be more predisposed to lameness in those front legs than a horse who has a beautiful, laid back shoulder. I honestly cannot think of a single time I've seen navicular in a horse with a great shoulder and a long, sweeping stride.

Example of a beautiful shoulder for comparison - click. That's an AQHA racing stallion called Hail Corona. I am not surprised he is fast - speed index of 105. He is built for speed and built to last, with good bone, great shoulder and pasterns, compact build and a great hip. There is no actual "perfect" horse, but this is WAY closer to it than poor little gelding will ever come.

It's just a bad picture of poor little gelding in general. He looks camped out because of how he is standing (was he about to pee or what?) and while I don't mind a 2-3 year old being a little ribby, this is
too ribby. He needs some weight before being offered for sale. I will say that little gelding's trainer has a good marketing strategy on him. She is super hot and wearing short-shorts in her video. Her conformation really is pretty exceptional! Guys are going to flock from miles around just to meet her, their eyes easily distracted from the gelding's flaws. I will bet she sells him in a week. :-)

Now, here's a broodmare advertised as having "perfect confirmation." Maybe she looks better in a white dress? It would at least hide her short, steep hip, which resembles that of a greyhound. I don't mind goose rumps as much when they're heavily muscled, but this mare's got about as much muscle as a typical contestant on Celebrity Fit Club. She has a thick, unattractive neck, a plain head and big ears. And unlike the first horse, who I think is just standing funny, this mare really does look camped out, with her hocks far behind her. I guarantee she won't win any halter classes and advertising her as "perfect" is a lot like stating that your used Kia is ideal for drag racing. C'mon folks, just be realistic and you won't wind up here!

The funny part is that I found some horses who are actually super nice advertised with this term. First of all, it's conFORmation - the last time I checked, the Catholic church only permitted humans to be confirmed. Secondly, superlatives when deserved are fine - your halter champion most likely does have
excellent conformation. Your pleasure champion or dressage winner is most likely an excellent mover. But nothing with a heartbeat is flawless in this world and your ads will sound more professional if you keep that in mind.

You may, of course, tell your horse he is the most perfect horse EVER to your heart's content!

The old broodmare I am currently rehabbing gets told she is the cutest thing in the whole world on a daily basis but I am aware the conformation shown at left is not going to win any halter classes. She does have a nice shoulder, but that was not an great hind end even 20 years ago and the age-and-pregnancy related swayback does not help her appearance, ha ha. She is, however, already in better weight as a 24 year old mush-eating rehab case as that 3 year old gelding, which is a pretty sad observation. And she is riding like a champ!