Conformation critique for QH - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-18-2011, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Conformation critique for QH

I used the guide for all the angles on her pictures, but I'm not sure I was doing them correctly because...well, everything came up almost ideal, which can't be right.

So someone help me out here. I'm trying to figure out mostly what discipline(s) her conformation would make her most suitable for. English only, I don't do the western thing personally, not to. I had originally wanted to do dressage with her. But my vet as well as the barn manager who is pretty experienced have told me, basically, she's not going to do well at it.

While I understand that a Quarter Horse isn't necessarily going to go out and do Grand Prix, I don't see the problem with doing lower level. The barn owner, I suspect, thinks that only Warmbloods are made to succeed at any level of dressage. This I highly disagree on, while I can agree that competitively, they are more successful at higher levels. I understand where the *vet* is coming from. Amber got a hock injection today, and while the prognosis is very optimistic, the vet's point of view is based on what's going to be harder on her hocks. But I was aiming to do first, perhaps second level with her, and I was thinking that wouldn't be any harder than making her a lower level jumper or even a hunter under saddle. But then again, I realized that it probably won't take me long to "max her out" if I plan to stop at first level. Then what? No matter what I will use it as a basis for my training, but I'm kind of torn about actually competing at this point. I guess my goals haven't shifted to the horse I have, and I'm still trying to move forward like I'm working with the Sport Pony I had - which, until his owner decided to sell him for more than I thought he was worth at the time, I intended to take up as far in the levels as I could.

Dressage is my passion, and while I understood full well Amber wasn't necessarily the ideal dressage horse, the other qualities in her are what attracted me. I wouldn't change my decision to buy her whatsoever. But I think I might just be clinging to something that my horse might not necessarily be good at (or be able to enjoy healthily). I just have no idea what direction to look to if dressage *isn't* going to be our competitive discipline. Really we are waiting to see how she responds to the injection before making any serious decisions about what to do with her, but assuming she DOES respond well, I'd appriciate opinions on what her conformation has strong, what it lacks, and what these factors indicate might be a good disicipline for her. And yes, I know it's difficult to make a choice without seeing her move. I wish I had videos of her moving, but the ones I have are inaccurate because they were months ago and her hock injection is going to change things. I'm just asking for a "well reasoned suggestion" for now.

Just to note, what I was thinking of most was perhaps, as I said, hunter/jumpers.

Cinnamon Whiskey 11 y/o 15hh Chestnut AQHA mare, 2'6 Jumpers
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-18-2011, 02:12 PM
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Dance, I apologize that I did not read your entire post but went straight to the critique. Your horse is really nicely porportioned in her body. Nice short back , good slope to her pelvis , hock angle is a bit open (posty) but not severe by an means. Good pastern length and angle, nice feet!
Her shoulder is very typey for QH and good. REally the only thing even slightly negative is her neck , which is under developed on the top. That could be changed , tho.
Hve you done hunters with her?
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-18-2011, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I always look at her conformation pictures and think she looks pretty good, but I hesitate to take my own opinion of her too seriously...because, well, she's mine and of course I see her with different eyes than others do, so I always feel I'm too lenient towards her conformation. Obviously, I can't even be honest to myself about what discipline she's probably going to do well in.

Her neck is under developed for two reasons. The first, being that since I got her, her hocks have gone to poo, and I haven't been able to train and condition her at all really. I did get a pre-puchase exam on her, and the vet gave her a clean bill of health, but looking back, although my current trainer recommended him, I question his veterinary skills...

She was not lame when I first got her, but she was toe dragging. This lead to a series of mis-diagnosed lamenesses, seemingly fixed by things we did.

I now know that she was avoiding flexing her hock due to hock joint irritation. According to the vet, it's not severe, but she did inject her. But Amber hasn't really had much under saddle work in the last 6 months, so she's a butterball with no muscle. I'm just happy that should be coming to an end soon. During the small amount of time I have been able to ride, I have taught her how to stretch down and soften, at least.

As for hunters, I haven't even had the chance to show her yet unfortunately. I had plans to start introducing her to it in the spring, but she was of course lame. My original plan was eventing, but I just don't see that being feasible with her hocks. I wouldn't say she's going to be "limited", but I personally want to be attentive to the fact that she does have some hock issues and that the only way they will stay healthy is if I take care of them and use her sensibly for what her condition is.

What I do know is, she is a good mover when she gets round, and she loves to jump. She tends to rush fences, but that was mostly due to pain and unbalance I suspect.

Cinnamon Whiskey 11 y/o 15hh Chestnut AQHA mare, 2'6 Jumpers
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-18-2011, 10:40 PM
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I would think that highly competitive jumping would be harder on her joints than dressage? But that's just my thought. I own a grade QH mare who has much less than the ideal conformation, but both she and I enjoy dressage. With a weekly lesson for a couple of years, we went from Training Level to Second Level. We'd just debuted at 2nd when I left her at home to go and do this internship, so I'm not sure how much higher we could have gone if we'd continued. I think she'd probably max out competitively at 2nd, but she'd be able to do the movements called for in the higher levels, just not in the quick succession called for in the actual tests. So yeah, just wanted to share what was possible with my homely QH. :) I'm just partial to dressage. My horse isn't a confident jumper, and I never got the chance to work very much on that with her. I'm no conformation expert, but nothing bad stood out to me about your mare.

"He doth nothing but talk of his horses."
~William Shakespeare
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-19-2011, 12:21 AM
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By the way, when I said hunters, I meant hunter under saddle, non-jumping. Due to you sayinhg her hocks are bad. Wonder what caused them to go bad.? Her back doesn't have a hunter's bump that I can see and she doesnt' APPEAR to be standing in the way that some horses stand who have back/pelvis issues and so stand camped under with their hind legs.

Just out of curiousity, does she kind of "roll" her hock outward and kind of pivot on her rear shoe when completeing each stride? I forget what they call this, but my friend's horse had hock trouble and walked this way.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-19-2011, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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As far as everyone has been making out to me, she will be okay for jumping below 3'. Which, personally, I still think jumping would be tougher on hocks than lower level dressage. Not that I think she can't handle some little 2' stuff, because her hock issues are not severe. Certainly the beginning of a problem that could have gotten bad, hopefully the injection and the Cosequin I'm starting her on will insure that she has healthy hocks for the rest of her life, although she may likely need injection in the other eventually.

I'm fairly certain it was the owners who had her from a yearling to a four year old. They bred her at 2 if that gives you a hint to the responsibility they had with horses. I have a hunch they rode her very hard while she was young. She's only 7 right now.

I'm likely never even going to have the money to show her at anything rated. My desire is to simply show her on the little local circuits we have. Just for fun. Probably every couple of months. To be honest, I almost wonder if people have been mislead and think I want to try to take her to higher levels at rated shows, haha. I keep her in immaculate condition all the time - clipped, mane pulled, tail perfect, regular baths. That with the level of seriousness I come off with about her future, it's not inconceivable. That's just me wanting the very best for my horse though.

As for the pivoting, I believe the vet said she was sort of doing that. What the vet said she was mainly doing when she did flexion tests was actually swing her leg outward and around, to avoid moving it straight forward, thus not having to flex the hock joint to do so. If that's what you're talking about, then yes.

Cinnamon Whiskey 11 y/o 15hh Chestnut AQHA mare, 2'6 Jumpers
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