Conformation Tutorial

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Conformation Tutorial

This is a discussion on Conformation Tutorial within the Horse Conformation Critique forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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    11-26-2010, 04:57 PM
Conformation Tutorial

Since there's so many of you who seem interested in having their horse "disected" I was thinking maybe it would be best if I did a tutorial which allows you to see how to do it yourselves... might be more educational that way.

What you'll need :
A Paint Program, or any photo editing program which has an option to "draw" on photos. I'm using a freeware program called Paint.NET
A good conformation shot - for now lets use a side shot, we'll cover front and backs later. (I think there's a sticky on here somewhere about what makes a good conformation shot)
A Ruler and Protractor. I'm using two computer programs for this, but "the real thing" will work too. It doesn't really matter what measurements you get - it's their relationship to each other that really matter. The ones I'm using are BitRuler (Freeware) and Screen Protractor 4.0 (it's a bought program... I think there are freeware ones though!)

Step 1
Open your photo in the paint program, and draw a box around the horse.
Your box should touch the top of wither, the point of buttock, the bottom of the hooves and the point of shoulder. Like this : (I've tinted the inside of the box... just for creative kicks)

What we want to see is the general shape of the horse. The "ideal" riding horse is a square.

Tell me what you see about the shape of your horse.
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    11-26-2010, 05:01 PM
I see him being a bit Butt High?
    11-26-2010, 05:02 PM
Step 2
Now that we've seen the shape and how the horse is balanced, we're going to make some spots on our horse.

Place Dots (I've color coded them so I can more easily see which are which) on *the Point of wither, the point of shoulder and the point of elbow.
*Center of Knee joint, center of fetlock and center of coronet
*LS Joint (it will be that slight depression just before the croup.. on the horse you'll find it because it's a little squishy spot)
*Point of hip, Point of Buttock, and Point of Stifle
*Center of hock, center of fetlock, center of coronet

    11-26-2010, 05:05 PM
Originally Posted by MIEventer    
I see him being a bit Butt High?
Your horse or mine? How about we have everyone post their steps as they complete them... that way I can help if someone's stuck. (Use photobucket or attach directly to post... doesn't matter I guess)

Yes, mine is bum high - or "downhill". In this photo she's 3, and in the middle of a growth spurt... so I'm not going to hold it against her - we're 3 years in the future (I just couldn't find any other decent confo shot on my computer) and I know that "weakness" goes away
emoBaby likes this.
    11-26-2010, 05:10 PM
Step one response: somewhat butthigh for mine
    11-26-2010, 05:13 PM
    11-26-2010, 05:18 PM
Hmm kind of confused. Where would the point of the butt be on Arthur? Is it the highest part of the butt, outside the box?
Quarterhorse88 likes this.
    11-26-2010, 05:20 PM
OOOOH! DUH! I thought you asked what we saw....dur. Sorry - continue
    11-26-2010, 05:21 PM
Step 3

The Body Length Line. This line is going to be pretty critical to the rest of your critique. You will join the dot at the point of shoulder to the one at the point of buttock with a line - most horses this will be a slightly downhill sloped line.

Step 4
The shoulder.
Join the dot at the top of wither to that at the point of shoulder. Then join the point of shoulder to the point of elbow with another line.

Now, measure the first line - it should run along the scapula of the horse (the shoulder bone).
What did you get? :
Divide that by the body length - and turn it into a percentage. :
We now have the shoulder length, the ideal shoulder is no less than 1/3 of the body length.

Measure the second line.:

This is the humorous length. We're going to divide that by the shoulder length... and turn it into a percentage :
The ideal humorous is at least 50% of the shoulder length, longer is better.

Now, Shoulder slopes and angles.
The shoulder slope is found by measureing the angle between the scapula and a horizonal line (don't use the body length line, because it's usually slightly sloped, but a straight line running horizontally from the point of shoulder across the photo.) The "ideal" is between 45 and 50 degrees, though some sources will say between 40 and 55.

The shoulder angle is found by measureing the angle between the scapula line and the humorous line. The "ideal" is 100 degrees.

What do the angles mean? They will tell us if the horse is going to be more prone to having short choppy strides, how high it'll be able to lift it's knees... the scope and flexibility of the horse's front end.

They don't stand alone though - a horse is the sum of all it's parts, so we're going to connect the angles with the lengths. The longer a scapula and humorous the more compensation there is for less than ideal angles.

What can you tell me about your horse's shoulder?
    11-26-2010, 05:23 PM
Equiniphile - the point of buttock is the "longest" point of the buttock - you can see the end of it with the orange body length line. My Point of buttock dot is green - to match the other hindquarter dots I'll be using in a little while

I'm going to have some lunch, and I'll check back in a bit

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