Actually, I think you and are in perfect agreement, except perhaps other than our use of the word "excel." Also, I am only familiar with the American Standardbred, not the NZ one. To me "excel" means succeed consistently at the highest level of a discipline. A STB is certainly capable of doing a respectable 2'6" or 3' course at a local hunter show; but not of competing in a rated hunter competition against TBs and WBs. Capable of doing a really nice Intro, Training or First level test, but will probably struggle with anything over 2nd Level, and I know of none competing at the FEI levels. Capable of being a safe lower level event horse....you get the idea.
That shouldn't dissuade anyone from rehabbing one off of the track and making it into a pleasure horse or all arounder; their dispositions are fabulous and STBs off the track usually have great ground manners.
Originally Posted by Eliz Can you really judge a horse's jumping potential by just conformation photos??
Confo pictures are great, but you need to either see him moving about in person or a video of him doing flatwork and some jumping as well.
No. Only by a video of the horse going over fences.
I disagree, as do Dr. Deb Bennett, Champ Hough, Gene Cunningham, Julie Winkel, Olive Britt and a lot of other professional horsemen who have made their livings evaluating young prospects primarily by analyzing conformation.
Yes, heart and desire have a big effect, and there are perfectly conformed horses who have the ability but no desire to do the job. However, a horse with a short, upright shoulder and pastern, a short humerus, and cannon the same length as its forearm will NOT be a good jumper because they lack the mechanical ability to lift their shoulder and snap their knees. All the heart in the world can't change that. Similiarly, if a horse is built downhill, is post legged behind and has a thick throatlatch, all the heart in the world won't get it past second level in dressage because it lacks the mechanical ability to collect.