Nope, no contradiction. You can believe confo is important, which I do, and also believe some people take it way to much too heart for your average backyard trail/pleasure horse. For the vast majority of pleasure, trail and amateur horses (I'm excluding endurance horses or serious trail athletes) temperment and willingness trumps confo, IMO. There are many, many examples of horses with serious confo flaws (and my photo album is full of them) who do their job happily and well into their teens and twenties. I think the lovely senior
Appy in the OP's post might well be one of them. Doesn't mean I don't prefer a well conformed horse to a poorly conformed one, or that I don't consider it everytime I look at a horse. What priority I give it depends on the intended use of the horse.
Now, it your definition of "trail horse" is a seriously conditioned athlete who is expected to cover 25 - 50 miles per day, that's a sport horse by another name, and then yes, confo is critical.
However, if you're looking for a safe horse for your average tentative adult amateur, it's best to be forgiving about confo flaws and consider temperment and history first.
Last edited by maura; 07-17-2011 at 08:00 PM.