Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday Rambles

I give humble thanks to another blog: fuglyhorseoftheday for a refresher course in equine conformation. This past week I went to see three horses for sale. I was originally interested in just one, but my newly tuned critical eyes allowed me to see beyond the colors to the structure beneath. Thank you FHOFTD!

The one I thought I was interested in was a young mare. She turned out to be too tall anyhow, but I was able to pick apart her conformation, and I left there mentally scratching my head over how the horse was put together....

First, a plain head. Not quite coarse, but no refinement either. Rather like a short TB head with slightly smaller than normal eyes, not well set. This lead to a very thick throatlatch, which connected to a short, upside down neck. This came to an upright shoulder, with a lousy angle on the lower portion too. Great withers that swept back to a long, weak loin, which dropped off into a short steep croup-which of course was higher than the front. When I mentally drew a line from stifle to point of elbow, she was high in the rear that way too.

The mare was very narrow in the front, and was slightly knock kneed as well. Pasterns were of normal length but upright. Post legged in the hinds, with rear cannons fully two inches longer than those in the front.

Looking at her from the side, I saw a mix of parts that was not harmonious. I tried to imagine what proper muscling would do to improve those faults...but honestly, strengthening the topline, was about all someone could do. I don't think it is possible for that horse to truly engage, at least not easily. She would maybe be okay for tooling around on the trails, but certainly isn't breeding quality and I don't think she would stay sound for arena maneuvers. She's built to travel strung out and head high-and sure enough, that is how she is muscled.

She's "registerable", but is a PMU product that arrived here about four years ago as foal. Did I mention that she had a filly at her side? It seems this youngster was born windswept. From a quick glance the filly seemed to have okay legs (keeping in mind I do not know that much about foals) but on further inspection, she was way off kilter with turned out knee joints. Mentally drawing a vertical line down those front legs revealed offsets. And was back at the knee also, and cow hocked like her dam. She too, had a upright shoulder but at least she had a decent neck, although a long back.

I was offered a good deal (for here) on all three, but honestly I could not get around conformational faults that would lead to soundness issues down the road. The owner thought she was pushy and aggressive, but what I really saw was an alpha mare posturing at the hay trough. I had no difficulty taking her away from it, backing her up, picking up her feet.....she needs hoof care from someone who knows what they are doing, and treatment for thrush too.

So I will pass, and wonder what idiot is going to ruin that horse by improper riding. At this time of the year, the foal has no value whatever, and needs to be out with other babies to mature. The remaining horse was a two year old, supposedly Arab gelding. Ah, nope, not a purebred. More like a stock horse cross of some type. He was actually the better of the three by far, with good bone, no major glaring faults except for being cowhocked-I hope someone works with him as he's less then 14 hands and would make someone a great pony project.

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