I have found a horse that seems like a good pick but, being a heavier rider, I need the right conformation in a horse. Let's start with me.
I'm a 5'7", 265lb at the last weigh in. I'm currently dieting, and my ultimate goal is 175lbs. I'm looking for a horse, preferably a Standardbred since I have developed a fondness for them (and I hear they carry weight quite well) to ride for pleasure, and possible show in halter and ride endurance in the future.
Now for the horse. He is a 5 year old Standardbred (presumed ex-racer, waiting on confirmation) that isn't broken to saddle, but has had one on his back with no worries. If I was to buy him, we would be spending at least the next 3 months on groundwork for a few reasons - to build our bond, get him some muscle, lose me some weight, and I'm having an elbow operation in 3 weeks time that will have me out of strenuous action for a month. During that time I would be doing groundwork with him, starting the basics of yielding etc. After that, I would send him away to a trainer who works with Standardbreds to be broken to saddle for a few weeks.
As for his looks, he seems to have a nice solid back, a decent shoulder and, although it's got nothing to do with conformation, an amazingly kind eye, which I hold in high regard. My only concern is that his cannons seem to taper towards the knee. Also, it looks like he might toe out on the hind legs. The photos aren't the best, but I want to get as much input as possible. Going to see him would involve a 3.5 hour trip to stay with family, and an hour trip from there. The best part of all this is that he's only $350, which is pretty good considering (for all the Americans with the terrible market - this is in Australia. $350 horses are usually insane or miniature).
So, opinions. These are all the pictures I have, minus his headshot. Also, I don't want to hear any 'you're over 20% of his bodyweight'. Say he was 1000lbs, his 20% would be 200lbs. Until I hit that weight, all I'll be doing with him is short rides a couple times a week, probably only at a walk and trot. I'm aware of all the weight arguments, and all I want to hear is whether or not and why he could/couldn't bear my weight even if I was only, say, 1% over. Right now, I'm around 6.5% over.
How tall is he?
He doesn't look slight or fine in the least. He has a good, solid body and nice bone, good feet and sturdy looking pasterns.
If, at the end of the training you decide he's not the right size for you, for whatever reason, you've given him a fresh start at a new career and you can sell him and buy something more suitable.
Not him. Those legs scare me especially for a horse you're looking for to carry weight. Cannons are far too long, tied in behind the knee, possibly a little bit back at the knee... I am all of 109lbs and wouldn't buy him because of those legs.
Tied in behind the knee is a conformational fault where the bone measurement just below the knee measures as less than the bone measurement just above the fetlock, and it restricts the tendon, increasing the likelihood of tendon injuries.
I had a youngster that's tied in and she's perfectly sound but won't stay that way under a heavy jumping workload, and I jump, so I sold her. I'm in daily contact with her owner, who is more into pleasure riding and wants to dabble in dressage, so she won't be heavily jumping, and I get to see her all the time. It's a win all-round.
Back at the knee, I might just be seeing things, but he looks like he's not quite straight. Only a teeny tiny bit back, if at all...
Tied in and slightly OVER, I can forgive, because tied in increases tendon pressure but slightly over DEcreases it. Tied in AND back, OTOH, both factors increase tendon pressure, and the horse is asking for a tendon injury under a heavy workload - heavy rider, or jumping beyond about 3', or speed work...
Personally I wouldn't be looking at long backed or long loin horses if you are a heavier rider. It may give you more room for a larger standard panel saddle, but it's much more prone to damage than a short strong back & loin.
Also the taller the horse is the more stress on the legs there is (gravity), so a shorter horse with a short strong back & loin conformation, with correct bone for type, is going to handle any extra weight you may or may not carry, far better than a tall, fine horse with weak/long back conformation.
Thanks for the input guys, especially you blue eyed pony. I've never understood what 'tied in' meant, but it seems that's what I saw as the 'taper'. I just learned some valuable information.
He's 15.1HH which is a good height for me, because I can mount horses of that height with just a milk crate as a mounting block. My way of thinking was just like yours Red Gate - give him a bit of an education, and if it doesn't work out sell him on. At the sort of price he is, it wouldn't be hard to make a little profit or break even, even with some training on top.
Surayya, you think he is particularly long? I was going to say that he looks short-backed compared to a lot of Standies. I currently ride in a 17.5 inch Australian Stock, which I think most regular horses could carry. I've never thought about the height side of things before... But it works for me! It also means less distance to fall :D I'm looking for a 14.2 - 16HH, but would definitely refer one around the 15.1 mark. That's how high my last mare was, and she was a breeze to mount/dismount, which is a big plus for someone like me with horrible knees.
I think you guys have convinced me to pass on this fella. He's a beauty, but I really want to avoid any foreseeable problems. It's tempting to buy him and sell him on after some training, but I just learned that the poor guy has already been through a couple homes (was bought as a 3 year old by these owners, beyond that no idea) and I would hate to shuffle him around too much.
As a side note, joining this forum has been the best thing I've done in a long time. So helpful <3
Just keep in mind breeds like the Highland pony & Cob's can easily carry a good 100-120kg dead weight of stag out of the hills, so small, round & robust will suit you better than tall, long & fine :wink: I don't know where the current thinking of getting a massive 17.2hh monster for larger riders came from, as the science & the studies they've done totally contradict it :?
I see this boy as having an acceptable (leaning towards long) back, but it's more he has a long loin- common SB trait :wink: (which is located from the last rib-bearing vertebrae to the sacroiliac joint- so usually from where the hair starts to change direction on the back, to the sacroiliac joint).
I certainly wouldn't pass him up:-)
I don't see a long back, weak loin or long cannonbones at all. His legs look nice and clean, and the toeing out in the back is somewhat normal, since, when trotting fast, hind legs pass fronts by quite a bit.
Somewhere here on the forum is a weight calculation which is a bit more reasonable than the 20% rule.
Weight of horse + weight of rider+ tack : circumference of mid cannon bone : 2
If the result is 75 and under everything is fine. Above 75 up to 80 is still okay. Anything over 80 is bad.( measured in lbs and inches).
If you're dieting right now and get him trained so he will be in shape, I really don't see a problem. Easy to figure out what your weight goal should be.
I do see the kind eye too and he is quite a good looking fella.
I'd say go for it. Gives you motivation for your weight loss too. And, as you probably know, Standies are puppydogs once they have their own human, have a very good work ethic, can be even gaited and are easy keepers.
So, I'd say go see him, do the math, and give him a try:-)
He looks good for the price, kinda like mine does ( the Arab prospect, lol) As the others say, if its not the right fit, in 3-6 months he'll be a well worked, saddle broke horse, and hopefully will sell up. If he is, you have a well worked, saddle broke horse ^^. If he's got a great personality, I would take the opportunity. You won't have a ton of cash tied into it, just time and sweat equity!
Good luck, I love his color too !
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