Please critique Claymore? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Please critique Claymore?

Hi all!

I'm trying to get better at recognizing flaws in conformation. I always read the threads on here and try to soak up as much info as possible, and I thought turning this to one of my own horses will help me check what I am learning, so I appreciate everyone's help!

I have no misconceptions about my silly "mutt" horses and they are not destined for anything greater than good ol' trail riding. But beyond show and breeding I understand conformation can play a large part in lasting soundness of the horse as well, and a good critique can give you an idea of potential problem areas to keep an eye on later.

So for my gelding, just turned 8 years old. Here are the things I know:

*Uber thick, crest necky with fat deposits and thick throatlatch
*He's overweight and needs conditioning overall
*big body, little head
*No decent withers to speak of
*A bit cow-hocked in back
*He seems to stand under himself a bit too much in front (at least in these pictures)
*In these pics his feet need done BAD (these pictures are from long before I got him. I think he might be a good bit younger in the pics as well, he's much broader across the chest now from a front view.)

We have so many knowledgeable people on this forum, I'd appreciate you cluing me in to what else you can see! Don't hold back, I'm requesting opinions and I want the bad stuff!

I know these aren't great pictures to judge conformation, so if I need to get some different ones please let me know!

Thank you!

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post #2 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 12:57 PM
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i think we need a side-on one. all the side ones are at an angle, which could make him look worse.
Anyway, I LOVE him! he looks like he toes out(??) in back a bit. In case that not the right word(i forgot), but he hocks go inward more and his hooves go outward.

I can't really tell anything else, though I know there is more, but he is just SUCH a cutie! I love his markings,too! Is he fun to ride?
lol i just noticed in the last pic, he dwarfs that little brown horse! He is a giant compared to it!lol and theyre both turning their heads away from each other. lol :)
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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He does toe out in back, that is true. Is that something that can be a concern over long term riding? I know a lot of bred-to-pull horses toe out a bit in back, but I am sure that effects things differently when you are riding as opposed to driving. (he's broke to drive, but I've not got a cart).

The picture with the other horse is misleading *lol* He's a big horse, but it's more mass than height, he's only about 16.2 hh.

I'll try to get some better pictures. Thanks!

ETA: sorry, missed your question! He is a nice enough ride. He's headstrong but learning to be lighter. His trot starts out like a jackhammer, but I've taught him to collect back into a much nicer, soft trot that is great. His canter is glorious, very rocking horse.

Last edited by Indyhorse; 02-27-2010 at 01:07 PM.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 05:31 PM
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I love his color! He's super cute - nothing horribly wrong as far as I can see, and a pretty balanced boy. There's really no standard to judge him to, but he looks like he could handle a lot!

I've got a lovely bunch of Neuticals,
There they are all standing in a row

Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 05:33 PM
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i think his trot might be rough because he has short-ish pasterns..............
i still love him though! :)
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 05:44 PM
Green Broke
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I think you hit on all the major things. Cresty neck, no withers, needs to lose weight, stands under. Is he a draft cross?

You could work on getting the weight off him. I am having to do that with my full draft. Might help with the cresty neck look and would definitely improve his overall look.

He's a nice looking horse though. Great coloring. Love his nice round bum. His head seems small, but maybe with some weight loss it won't stand out like that.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Solon, yeah he's a major mish-mash mutt, he's lucky to be structurally as well off as he is. His dam was a Clyde/Paint cross and sire was an Appy.

These pictures were taken long before I got him, which was in July. Here's a pic of him below about a month after I got him, as of fall I had gotten about 150 lbs off of him. But then I was riding him and working him hard him every day. It all came off his belly and none off his neck. I haven't been riding much over the winter so he still has a ways to go. He's had absolutely nothing but hay and pasture since I got him, he's just one of those way-too-easy easy keepers. I had an appy years ago I used to have HUGE issues with the fatty neck - used to have to use braces and neck sweats all the time to keep him in show form. Since this guy is just a trail horse I worry about it less, but in the summer I ride a LOT, and I ride hard, so I want to keep him in the best shape possible.

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post #8 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Indyhorse View Post
Hi all!

*Uber thick, crest necky with fat deposits and thick throatlatch
Not conformation faults. Personal preference (and of course, a dietary issue which you can and will fix when it becomes important to you)

The thick throat latch thing is a myth that just won't seem to die. Lipizzaners are all thick throat latched and it does not affect their ability to flex at the poll. What IS important is how far apart the jowls are. They need to be a hand widths or there's not enough room for the neck to fit between them, and THEN the horse would have an issue with poll flexion.

*He's overweight and needs conditioning overall
Yes, he is, but not a conformation related.

*big body, little head
Again, not a conformation fault. And in fact, I think your image of your horse is a bit skewed here.

Fault heads would be eyes placed on the front of the head, a face excessively dished that it interferes with breathing, parrot mouth, short mouth, etc...

A 'small' head is not a fault as long as sight, hearing, ability to chew food properly, hold a bit, etc... is not affected.

*No decent withers to speak of
He's has a 'low' wither. Not a fault. As long as the wither can act as a fulcrum point, it's not faulted. A mutton wither is a conformation fault because the wither can't do its job.

We might fault him for the wither not carrying back further into the back, but that would be nitpicking.

*A bit cow-hocked in back
Nope, not seeing that at all on him. Looks fine to me.

Hard to say for sure because the angle is a bit off on that view, but that left hind may be a bit crooked on the third plane. But we'd need to see a few more pictures to confirm that.

And yes, horses ARE SUPPOSE TO TOE OUT BEHIND. It is a fault if they do not. The toe out behind should be equal to the stifle turnout angle. The reason for this is that if the stifle pointed straight ahead, when the hind leg came forward, the stifle would hit the ribcage. So the stifle points out so it can clear the ribcage. This then means for the hind leg to be straight to the stifle, that hind foot better point out at the same angle as the stifle, or the horse is crooked legged on the third plane.

*He seems to stand under himself a bit too much in front (at least in these pictures)
Yes, he does. Not a conformation fault, but a postural issue that you can fix.

This type of stance happens when one or a combination of the follow things happens:

unbalanced feet
sore feet
sore shoulders
sore neck
sore back
sore hips
sore hocks
sore anything
inverted muscling
horse being downhill built
horse being ridden on it's forehand
tight elbows

I'd like to see a new set of pictures, making sure the photographer stands directly in front, directly behind and directly center body for all the shots. I'd also like to see a top view from poll to dock.

From these pictures I'm really not seeing a lot to not like about this horse, but I suspect a couple of things and would like to verify them before commenting.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Mercedes, thank you so much for your reply. It's great, I'm really appreciating you taking the time to explain it to me. As I said before, this boy is in no way destined for the show ring, but I do want to improve abilities in terms of judgement and the way you laid it out is very valuable to me from an educational standpoint.

I will try to get some current pictures of him. His feet, though still very flat soled (still working on that), are vastly improved from when I got him, so I believe posture-wise he has improved, as well as some, though not enough, weight loss. I've been putting off taking current pictures of him for critique because he is in his winter fuzzies and I know that skews the view a bit. However, since he has matured quite a bit from when these pictures were taken, as well as being gelded, a more current and more technically correct (as far as angles) set of shots would serve much better in terms of knowing where his potential weaknesses lie.

Thanks again everyone for your help, it's very appreciated!

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post #10 of 14 Old 02-27-2010, 07:58 PM
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I can't offer anything conformation wise..but I did want to chime in and say that he's absolutely adorable and one of my favorite geldings here!

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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