09-27-2010, 05:02 PM
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Upright shoulders are NOT common any any breed/discipline. The angle of the shoulder dictates the "reach" the horse will have - or the length of stride in the front he will be able to accomplish. Through common sense, a racing horse needs a long stride to cover more ground with less energy, so a long, sloping shoulder is ideal. Look at any accomplished race horse and they will have large, sloping shoulders.
Long pasterns on the other hand, you are right - very common in racing thoroughbreds, though - not a good thing at all. Those long, weak pasterns are one of the major factors why you see so many race horses break down on the track. Imagine - you have a rubber band and you stretch it as far as you can 100 times, then you have another rubber band and just stretch it a little 100 times. The first one is going to be much looser, and more prone to snapping. This is an analogy for what happens to a horse's suspensitory ligaments with long pasterns. Each time it takes a step, it stretches the ligaments much farther than a horse with shorter pasterns would because it doesn't have the support like a shorter pastern'ed horse would. So, they are more prone to ligament injuries. But, then - on the flip side; a horse with short, upright pasterns will also have injuries because while their ligaments will be safe - they will be taking the concussion of their strides up through their bones and joints, so they will be prone to bone fractures and joint stress. It all just depends - your horse does have long pasterns, and you should simply be aware of that fact and take it into consideration while you train. I wouldn't say you CAN'T jump, just that you will need to pay close attention to your horse's tendon/ligament health. If you see any swelling or heat in his legs, you know you are going too far for his conformational limitations.
As for your comment on roach backed horses - I personally don't believe your horse is roach backed. You are just seeing a dip in his back because he lacks topline and a strong loin coupling (which will improve with conditioning and strength training). But, I can't say for sure without seeing him in real life.
If you have any more question, please ask - I'm glad to help! :)