Neck placement and functionality
We all love to look for distant future prospects and I am trying to hone my eye to separate what is aesthetically appealing to functionality.
How does neck placement influence the horses movements and ability? Does one neck placement hinder or help a certain discipline. I want to talk about all around riding horses, but used a halter horse as the one end extreme. Here are a few examples of the neck only to start the comparison.
1. In my mind, this neck ties in too high on the shoulder. Something just looks off, maybe his head needs to be a smidgen larger to fit the large body? Is this neck set going to put him on his forehand or make it easier to get back on his haunches?
2. This neck (heck, whole package) is very appealing to my eye. It is visually balanced, but how balanced would he be working? His neck is attached higher on his body. Is this neck set going to put him on his forehand or make it easier to get back on his haunches? Would a horse with this type neck placement be just as likely a jumper as a reiner?
Snips Silver Legacy
3. Another that is visually appealing. Maybe a slightly shorter neck than #2. Neck seems to tie in a little higher in the shoulder than #2. Is this neck set going to put him on his forehand or make it easier to get back on his haunches?
4. It appears his neck is set naturally lower, keeping straight with the topline. Neck is tied in higher at the shoulder, but a nice proportionate head. Is this neck set going to put him on his forehand or make it easier to get back on his haunches?
VS Code Red
5. This one may have answered my question to the ease of getting on the haunches as he is a reining horse.
Big Chex To Cash
Hit me with some knowledge HF. Help me discern from "ooh pretty!" to "oh athletic and functional".
This horse has a pretty decent neck and laid back shoulder. The legs are pretty unappealing but this is the "modern" Halter Quarter horse. Straight through the hocks, over muscled behind, tied in at the knee and over straight pasterns.. and he is a stud. tsk tsk...
Snips is very nice altogether.. looks like a good working horse. Neck is heavy but that is likely hormones.
Mr. Livingston is the best of the bunch IMO. He is correct and built up hill. that being said, he is holding his neck in a nice arch.. but it looks to tie into his chest a tad low.
VS code red has good neck placement but is built down hill. Really nice horse though.
Big Chex to Cash is pretty level. He has a stallion neck and a nicely laid back shoulder. Hocks seem a bit high.
In fact, I bet all these horses are studs.. and that makes for a better neck as they arch and prance for the ladies.
Nice group except for the halter stallion (but each to his own).
How does each of these neck sets influence the horses movement though? I agree, I love Mr. Livingston, and think he could do jumper and possibly some dressage, but he is a TB after all.
Most of these are set well enough so they won't make HUGE difference. They are not all that different really. None are ewe'd, none are set very low or high. When it comes to movement the neck is only part of the equation. Most of these (with the exception of the first horse) are going to move pretty well.. and if they do not it won't be because of their necks.
Neck conformation can be a factor but the way the horse is trained and getting the neck to "turn over" usually has more of an influence. Because these are all stallions, they all have built up necks with the exception of VS Code Red and I wonder if he might be a gelding (or young).
Just looked up VS Code Red. He is simply young. Even he has started to develop a turned over neck (the studliness thing).
VS Code Red is a 2007 western pleasure stallion. I believe they are all stallions, which was just a coincidence when choosing pictures.
I was also wondering if the angle of which their neck came out from their shoulder/withers would have any influence. VS Code Red's eye/ears and dock are the same height, while the others have nose and dock at the same height.
Do you see what I am saying? It's hard to explain without being in person.
I think it may come down to breed/personal preference.
I personally like a low headset. A horse like Mr. Livingston would not give me the same headset as VS Code Red. The lift of the horse comes from the base of the neck, through the withers and back, to the haunches. Once the horse is lifted from the base of the neck (not the poll), it allows the rest of the neck to hang naturally, which may be low or high depending upon the build of the horse.
All Time Fancy, naturally low headset, but still lifted through the wither and using the topline.
My filly, with the low neck/headset.
Lift through the base of the neck, then the natural "hang". If you have a horse with a neck set higher on the withers, his natural hang would be higher. I think the only obstruction of movement comes when people break the horse at the poll, breaking the face, and pulling the horse onto the forehand. The effect could be enhanced, in part, if the horse already carries his face low.
I guess it depends on whatever you want to use your horse for!
Compared to your filly, my own filly has a pretty high neck set.
But she is bred for dressage and driving.
(Pics from a little while ago. Right now she's a pretty fugly, but very cute, yearling.)
What breed is your filly? I know I saw the original thread with her in it.
Her father is a German Riding Pony, which often is a mix between different kinds of german warmbloods, thoroughbreds, arabians and Welsh ponies and cobs.
Her mother was probably a Welsh Cob.
With a German riding pony you want a pony that looks and moves or jumps like a warmblood.
All this is starting to come together mentally for me. I know that the western/english pleasure horses have the lower head set and yet they aren't dragging around the arena on their fore; same with the higher head set dressage and reining horses.
So what combination of conformation is making it harder for some horses to collect and get off the forehand? A longer back makes it more difficult, and I bet a steeper shoulder because they are not going to have the longer gates. A flat hip is going to hinder the ability to bring the hind legs under it.
Did I just answer my own question?
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