this is a pretty nice horse. He has an open angle at the point of shoulder and his neck is not set low so even though the shoulder is a bit steep, the open angle helps to keep it from limiting he ability to move in front. He has a nice short back but his coupling is a bit long with the peak of croup set a bit far back. He has good bone and nice roomy hocks. He is a little bit over at the knee (same as buck knee'd). This is mostly a cosmetic issue and will not hurt him if he is jumping (tied at the knee and back at the knee horses want to avoid jumping).
In the photos of you riding him and from his physical look, this horse travels a good bit with his head up and his back hollow. He will last a LOT longer if you can get him to loser his head and raise his back by way of strengthening his abdominal muscles.
I also notice something else.. whoever is trimming his feet is leaving him a bit slipper footed.. long toes and low cut heels. This will put strain on his tendons in the front leg and is something you may want to address with your farrier.
Nice horse. Really.
That makes sense about the shoulder - thanks for explaining it so clearly.
He got that butt from his mom. He used to be skinnier, so I thought it was just a matter of rounding out that rump, but after I talked to the breeder (who I purchased him from), I realized it just wasn't going to go away. Now that I look at conformation guides, I realize that's the peak of the croup like you're talking about. Do I need to worry about that? Since he does he does have a short back as you say, is is still strong even though the peace of the croup is so far back? Will it affect his movement or wear and tear?
That good bone is great for endurance! That's one of the reasons I liked him for the sport.
Roomy hocks? I have no idea what that means, but I like where that's going lol.
That's great news about his knees being mostly cosmetic. I've just been told by multiple people not to jump him because of them, and though they are very respected in my eyes, I don't think they've ever jumped. How come those knees don't affect/won't be affected by jumping?
We're working on that high head and hallowed back thing. He came up sore after our first 50-miler in July (he'd done 3 25-mile races before that), partially due to saddle fit but I think it also has to do some with the way I'm riding and the way he's moving. Sure I'm a pretty experienced and decent rider in general, but, after 50 miles, even the slightest thing will show up as an issue. We're in the middle of moving right now, but I'm planning on taking equitation classes when we get to our new home and barn. I've determined that I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to correcting either of these on my own.
He was overdue for a trim in these pictures by about a month, so that explains the long toes. I usually get him trimmed once per month (so he'd gone two months in the picture). My trimmer is very reputable and takes time to explain everything she's doing, and I trust she's doing the right thing. She's done wonders on both of my horses' feet in the last year :) I'm going to miss her when we move!
Thank you so much for your comments and thorough explanation. Since I didn't really have an "expert" eye for confirmation when I bought him on my own, I've always wondered how flawed he really may be. In the end, I love this horse and he makes a fantastic endurance horse, so the confirmation doesn't really matter except for anything that I might need to watch or be careful about, especially as he ages and any wear and tear since he's used for such a demanding sport. The rest is just information for information's sake, but I like to have that information. You made my day be reassuring me I really do as nice of a horse as I thought he was!