Conformation on 3 yr old running bred QH mare - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Conformation on 3 yr old running bred QH mare

So I bought this mare in April 2011 and I know I did ask for critique on her back then but I would like some new thoughts. Please be brutally honest as I am wanting to use her to run barrels but not if she wouldn't be able to withstand the pressure.

I had a reining trainer give me his opinion on her recently and he feels like her shoulder is too straight (not giving her room to stretch out forward when she runs) and that her pasterns on her front feet are too straight, particularly the right one.

The couple things that I'm not sure about are the pasterns as well, along with that her heels come so close to the ground. Her hooves haven't grown over summer and I am going to be starting her on a supplement to help with growth. Once I would actually start racing her (couple years down the road) I would be putting shoes on her so do you think the fact that her heels are so low will be a big deal? Her front seems to be quite large compared to her hind end which I don't really like but it's not like she has a tiny hind end so trained correctly, I think she would be alright.. Also, I do know that her neck is a bit funky and am wondering whether you all think that is a big deal or not. I personally don't think her neck will cause any problems down the road.

If I was just keeping her to ride in the occasional race and mostly just for general riding, I wouldn't be worried at all. But I am hoping she will end up being a very competitive horse and will be running a lot in summers. I just don't want to aim for something like that just for her to end up getting injured from something due to her conformation.

The first 2 pictures are from yesterday and the 3rd is from last year. They aren't the best pictures but the flies are horrible and my mom didn't really understand what kind of pictures I was looking for.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 02:43 PM
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Honestly, I don't see a WHOLE lot of improvement...
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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I wasn't really asking if there was improvement, I was more wondering if people think that she might get hurt due to her conformation when doing a sport like barrel racing. :)

I am getting opinions from as many people (face to face and online) as I can because I need to make a decision of whether I keep her and train her for barrels, or if I sell her as a really nice trail horse. I really like her and think she has the potential but my number 1 concern is that I don't want her getting hurt. I know horses can get hurt no matter what their conformation is like but if I know before I even start that she stands a higher chance of getting hurt, I don't want to go that route.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 04:30 PM
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Is she properly trained and conditioned? Are her muscles and joints in hard-working condition? Is she fit enough for daily work? Do you ride her every day?

Only an equine vet- especially one experienced in sports medicine, can tell you this.

We can't tell you how her joints are going to stand up to barrel racing by a picture. We can't tell you if her muscles are really properly conditioned ant fit for exercise.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 04:40 PM
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I think she is looking really good in the third picture. Her Coat seems to look a lot healthier and she is showing some pretty nice muscle definition. Like posted before its hard to tell you from a picture if she will be physically capable to barrel race or not. Only bit of advice I can give is to not push her and make sure that she is physically developed before starting her on the pattern. Barrel racing is very physically demanding on horses when you think about it. Your asking them to run full speed, stop, drive with their hocks through the turn, and then take off again to top speed. Wait till she is 5 years old and then start her on the pattern lightly and I think there will be less chance that she could hurt herself. That said sometimes they just get hurt to.

I think she is a pretty good looking filly and hope that she turns out good for you. Good luck!
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I realize that you can't tell me anything about her muscles and joints. No one could know that from a picture.... What I am wondering is people opinions on her conformation. I would never run a horse without them being in proper shape and condition and I am not asking if she is in shape. I am asking if there are any specific flaws that people think will be detrimental even if she is in shape.

At this point in her life, she is not trained well enough to go run a barrel pattern tonight (she is only 3......) and she is also not in good enough shape to go run a pattern tonight (she is only 3.....). Neither of those are things that I am having problems with.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks HanginH, I really do like her but I also know that there are horses out there that should never be pushed to barrel race as they don't have the conformation to withstand that kind of pressure. I have seen horses that end up ruined from not being built right and I do NOT want that to happen to this horse.
And I totally agree with you that things should be taken slow. There is never a good reason to push a horse harder than they can handle either physically or mentally.
It's actually kind of funny that you say she looks the best in the 3rd picture. She was 2 in that picture and I had been doing groundwork for about a month at that point. This year, I haven't had the same amount of time for her and she has been mostly sitting around. The first 2 pictures don't do her total justice though either as she had been to the vet that morning for a gash under her leg and was sweaty from the heat.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 04:54 PM
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Honestly, no. I wouldnt train her on barrels. I do not like her build. (She is only 3, and could change but she looks so...long and lanky) but i do not like her legs and hooves. Too light in bone and her hooves are tiny. Just my honest opinion though. She doesnt have the conformation i go for in a barrel horse.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 05:05 PM
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Well, she ha upright pasterns, that is pretty muck zero shock absorption, and that can cause joint problems. Imagine where all that weight is going, on a horse with straight up-and-down pasterns? What about a horse with nice, angled, springy, flexible pasterns. It absorbs the shock of the bounce, for both her and you.

She has a knife neck, thin, under-conditioned topline, and flat on top. Work on getting her to bend her neck into more of an arc and lift it up, and really bring her chin in. Make her pick up and round her back and engage her hind end. This will strengthen her body overall and in the long run, you will see vast improvement This is a good example.

She is sickle hocked and posty in her hind legs, this may lead to issues.

She has a decent shoulder, a good shoulder is a big factor in any running horse. I'm not so great at judging shoulders, someone else can narrow it down and specify for me.

Her hooves are small and her legs aren't the best.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-01-2012, 06:09 PM
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She appears to have her Thoroughbred ancestors' front end and her QH ancestors' back end.. and she managed to inherit the Thoroughbred side of the family in feet.

She is going to be hard to collect and get working off her rear end.. something essential for barrels. She is a bit tied in behind the knee and very upright especially in front. Sickle hocks and posty behind...

Will she stay sound? Maybe. It depends on how far you take her and how much you race her. If you race a LOT and really run her hard, she probably won't stand up well.. but only time would tell.

I can say this.. it takes as much time and effort to train a well conformed horse as it takes to train a poorly conformed horse. Fact is, the latter may take more. This horse is not THAT bad.. but she is not that good for the discipline you have chosen.

If it were me training for this I would train a different horse.
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