12-10-2013, 02:12 PM
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***First post on the site woohoo :)
Always open to critique of my critiques!!!
I would just like to start off by saying that I am in the process of learning horse conformation, however I believe learning is a never ending process. I try to provide evidence to support my claims, but if you sense that I might be off PLEASE don't hesitate to critique my own critiques! It's how we learn, how the owner gets more opinions, and it is greatly appreciated. <3
Beautiful horse! I am a huge clysesdale lover but besides my bias I'd say that overall you will have a sure and sound horse. Now his plates are closed and you have a long working life ahead, but because he is a draft breed I think there's a few things you can look out for in the future to keep him happy and limber and strong.
Looks like his back is longer or as long as his underline. As mentioned there is a weak coupling in the croup. Starting with his L-S joint, I see the steep slope and so the balance of the lower leg is not as ideal. He's got the long stifles that makes him a bit "camped under". This is what causes the "dip" in the hocks that you are noticing.
I can tell right off the bat that he is not over used or ridden because of the slender even neck, and not a lot of tension or tone in the butt. So you have a nice healthy horse, good start. Watch for over tonus/tension because it might be easy to tie this horse in knots. For example I sense a slight upward curve in the crest of his neck, to me this indicates a potential for pretty high head carriage or undesirable pigeon head. Also by the look of his long back and upright well built yet heavy shoulder, he's going to want to throw up his neck to engage his hindquarters, and you may be tempted to pull him down (don't!). Right now neck not too thick but it doesn't telescope over the back like some horses do, mostly due to his being a clydesdale. His neck may not be the swooping definition of an Arabian stallion but it can be strong. I think the best plan for you two is to avoid a hatchet neck in the future. That would elongate the back even more. I would suggest a very careful, diligent and slow progressing training schedule. Don't hang on this one's mouth and look into lots of stretching and gradual development exercises!
Finally, I think the key to this horse's conformation and every horse really is strengthening those horsey-abs! I'm talking core work. A strong core will help this guy's forward movement. With routine excersises he will eventually show you the strength of his conformation, and with his well placed shoulder hopefully he'll hike his knees and look really pretty in the hunter ring like clydesdales do best!
PS it would be easier and far more accurate if the picture was on more solid/flat ground, and out of the grass. Grass + feathers = some guesswork, not too big an issue, but while you are training you may want to consider having a good reference photo to see the before and after development of your work. Also, the more angles the more informed of a position we have. It's nice to see the front and back of a horse too. When you take a picture, mount your camera on a tripod, leveled with his underline, and aim your focus on the hairs of the underline of his belly.