'Cut or Keep' Breeding Quality test - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 09-24-2010, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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'Cut or Keep' Breeding Quality test

I always noticed some confusion on the forums when it came to breeding quality animals. This 'test' is to see how well one can identify 'good' quality from 'bad' quality. It will include stallions, mares, and geldings. Just think of it as practice, and remember, not every stallion and mare used for breeding will be perfect.

The idea of the test is to look at the group of three horses and decide if you would 'cut' that horse (i.e, remove it from your 'breeding program') or 'keep' the horse (retain it for offspring). Not every picture will be a perfect conformation shot either!
The catch is that you need to include why you would either cut the horse, or keep it. It can be as simple as 'that one is too downhill' or as extensive as 'He has a beautiful sloped shoulder, stunning topline, and fine muscling, but his head is very unrefined and doesn't tie in well'.
There will be at least one successful (shown with winnings) animal in each grouping. At the end of each 'test', they'll all be identified so you can see who you decided to cut or keep.

Working Breeds
QH Group

Draft Group - Haflinger

Spotted Group

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #2 of 38 Old 09-24-2010, 08:57 PM
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QH group: Keep#1
Haflinger group: Keep #1
Appy group: Keep #2

This was a really cool idea! It would be fun if people did this more often. :)

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post #3 of 38 Old 09-24-2010, 09:04 PM
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QH Group

1) Depends. His conformation is average, nothing horrible but nothing spectacular either. If he had a wonderful temperment paired with good bloodlines and good work ethic, then I might keep him around for breeding.

2) Cull. Shoulder is too steep, pasterns are way too upright, croup is steep, hind end is underdeveloped, he looks over at the knee, and there is something wonky with his back. In all honesty, that horse looks like he is in pain, like the middle of a bout of colic or something.

3) Probably cull. His entire hind end just looks wonky. He is clearly a halter bred horse with the posty hind legs and diaper butt, however, if you were to cut him off at the withers and put a better hind on him, I would for sure keep him. His shoulder angle is beautiful and his head is nice and refined.

Draft group:
I don't really know much about Haffy conformation but I would likely keep all 3, depending on temperment and ability. They all appear to have nice solid conformation.

Spotted group:
1) Depends. Has same issue as the first QH, nothing horrible that jumps out at me, but nothing really spectacular either. Would depend on termperment and ability. I do like his coloring and his head/neck though.

2) Keep. I don't know much about how dressage horses are supposed to look/move/ride, but I find him to be appealing. Eye-catching for certain.

3) Cull. Sweet looking horse but kinda fugly confo. Straight shoulder, goose rumped, very downhill, mean-headed, short necked, and just an overall weak looking hind end.

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post #4 of 38 Old 09-24-2010, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AQHA13 View Post
QH group: Keep#1
Haflinger group: Keep #1
Appy group: Keep #2

This was a really cool idea! It would be fun if people did this more often. :)
I honestly wish people would critique breeding stock more often I can look at a horse and say, 'Well, I see an unrefined head, steep shoulder, and poor rump'. Then someone else can look at the very same horse and find five more things that I completely missed.

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #5 of 38 Old 09-24-2010, 09:42 PM
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Ok I'm going to give it a shot. Even though I SUCK at conformation. So here is an uneducated point of view.

1. CUT: Looks downhill. Heavy in the back, lighter in the front. I think he lacks chest or chest muscling. Definitely looks un-proportioned. If I put my hand over his hind end it looks like it belongs to a different horse and the same with his body to his neck. He doesn't have an attractive face. Neck doesn't tie into his head well.

2. CUT: I don't like his head, his neck is too long. His back looks off to me. I don't like how he is holding his front legs under him. Looks like he is leaning forward. Don't like his small nostrils and muzzle.

3. KEEP: She looks more balanced than the other two. Nice wide nostrils. Attractive head. Looks like she is a halter horse from hermuscling. I don't like her hocks but I'm not sure why.

1. KEEP: I don't like the way they stand some Haflingers. The stance throws me off. He's got the lighter build of the original Haflingers which is what breeders are now striving for. Nice back.

2. Uh.... CUT: I don't like her (I'm assuming) hocks, either that or she's standing funny.

3. CUT: I think he (?) would make a fantastic gelding. He's got a nice light build. I don't like his small muzzle and nostrils, don't like his long head, don't like the way his head ties in to his neck. I do like the rest of him.

1. CUT: Doesn't look proportioned to me. Downhill. Don't like his neck. Don't like his front legs. They look like toothpicks compared to the rest of him. The only thing attractive about him is his color.

2. KEEP: Looks like he is a good performer. Can't tell much by his pic. Lovely color, lovely head, lovely shoulder. Looks balanced.

3. CUT: Ugly head, neck is too short for it. Long back, looks like it might sag. Don't like her hind end.
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post #6 of 38 Old 09-24-2010, 09:46 PM
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For the QH's,
1) Keep, of the three, he is the best looking. He isn't spectacular, but he looks like he's got a good hind end. Bloodlines would definately play a part in keeping him or culling him but he is the best of the three.
2) Cut, he's got funky conformation, I agree with smorbs that something just looks wrong with his back, and he does look like he's in pain. His shoulders are too steep, and his front legs are set way underneath him.
3) Cut, he's also got some funky conformation. He does have a pretty nice head, and good neck. His hocks are a bit too straight, his hind legs sit a bit far underneath him, and his neck doesn't tie into his body as nicely as horse 2.
Really depends on what type you want.
1) Cut, he is definitely nice looking, but his back looks a little bit weak, not quite as nice as horse 2, his butt slopes a little too sharply, and his tail is set a bit weird.
2) Keep, he's got a nice level top line, he's got that nice round butt, good leg bone, looks like he's got a nice wide chest, and he just looks a little bit thicker which I think a draft horse should be.
3) Cull, he's a bit too refined, got thin legs, his butt isn't quite as nice looking, though he does look like he's got a nice back, he just over all looks too long and lanky, though I might keep him and see how he fills out if he is young.
1) Cut, even though he's clearly a baby, he has a huge butt that does not fit in with the front half of his body. His neck ties in a bit too high to his body, and he looks a bit ewe necked.
2) Keep, he has a nice shoulder angle, good hind end, looks like he's got a nice topline, it looks like he has a nice amount of curve from his hock to his butt.
3) Cut, he is a plain looking, his hind end is clearly higher then his withers, making him extremely down hill. He is lacking muscle, has a week looking back, and a short neck. His shoulder angle is too straight, and just lacks in a lot of places.
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post #7 of 38 Old 09-24-2010, 10:58 PM
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Ok! Heres Mine!

1.The only I would keep. He looks like a good using horse. Nice roundness to him. From what I can tell of all three horses, he has the best pastern length and angle. Hes certainly got a speedy, youthful look to him. His head isn't the most refined but you rarely ride up there! LOL

2.This horse looks like his legs come out from his belly. Very straight hind legs. Very straight shoulder. Downhill a bit (can't be sure with that pic) and has a roach back. Not severe but enough. His pasterns seem quite upright. I betcha hes got a jack hammer pony trot.

3.Very attractive horse. It was a tough call for me between this horse and #1. I prefer a more compact horse so #1 won. I don't like the way his croup slopes off. Good shoulder, pretty face, pasterns are nice but not as nice as #1. Deep in the girth though. He is a bit long backed and could probably cover some ground. Would probably make a nice english horse.


1.While I find him the most attractive, I believe he is what is considered a 'modern' haffie. A lighter build, a more refined face. He doesn't have what I look for in a haffie but he sure is pretty! I like his look. Very balanced. Nice clean straight legs. Good shoulder, back and pasterns. I just don't know that he is the 'breed ideal' I would keep him before I kept the others

2.First thing that jumps off the page at me is his front legs look off. His pasterns in the front seem very upright. The back doesnt look much better. Hes got a longer back for a compact draft. Very pretty face and a double mane that I believe is desirable in haffies. I think he would probably make a decent gelding.

3.Looks aweful young. I dont find his face particularly attractive. Nice big trot to him eh? Its hard to give a critique when you cant see his natural stance but I would probably cut him. His chest looks weak and his back seems a tad long.


1.Is young. Would probably keep this boy intact though. Very nice build, pretty head, nice straight legs. His neck looks thin but I guess him to be around 18 months. That will probably change. He looks like he could excel in just about anything.

2. While this looks to be a very talented horse, Its hard to judge without a squared up shot. I would probably keep this horse intact but...I cant say for sure. Something seems a bit weird about the legs...

3.Cut, for sure. Ugly head, poor shoulder, long slightly roached back, long upright pasterns. Of all the horses, I would let this one pass me up.
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post #8 of 38 Old 09-25-2010, 07:07 AM
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I wouldn't know the first thing about what horses to keep or cut. My redeeming feature is that I know this =P

IMO all the people that come on here asking "should I breed such and such mare?" need to realise that there is a LOT more to it than 'should I'. If you can't tell if your mare is of breeding quality, then I am sorry, you should not be thinking about breeding anyway. You just don't have the knowledge base.
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post #9 of 38 Old 09-25-2010, 07:43 AM
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QH group #1
Halflingers ??? as I don't know anything about them but I would keep #2
Appy #2

I just read that I am suppose to say why I would keep or cull
I have no reason... I am not a confirmation expert but those are the 3 that look best to my eye. My judge friend tells me that I have a good eye for quality :) even if I don't know what to look for other than the overall picture.

Last edited by WickedNag; 09-25-2010 at 07:45 AM.
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post #10 of 38 Old 09-25-2010, 01:30 PM
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1-keep. decent confo nice honest useful looking horse not fantastic but seems decent.
2-cull-built soo soo downhill that would throw a dodgy foal.
3-cull-actually horrific!

1- keeps-lovely flashy looking horse look like you would get a nice foal out of him very decent conformation
2-nice but to me i wouldnt breed just keep him as a riding horse
3-cull-could be nice but is still to undeveloped for me in a few years might be lovely

1-cull- he is just hrown together with various differnt bits that are obvious for start his neck is very unattractive to me
2-keep-very very flashy horse nice confirmation powerful and strong
3-keep-i dont know why but this horse really attracts me as a nice riding hirse not a top performance horse though

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