Before and After, Conformation Critique
This mare is 4 years old, off the track and I've had her since August. The first picture is what she looked like when we got her in August. The rest are from tonight. What do you think about her conformation and/or muscles. What should I change to try to improve these things? She gets worked 5-6 times a week mostly dressage, but starting to jump more. Sorry- this is as square as I could get her.
February (Almost exactly 7 months later)-
Not the best shoulder angle in the world, but not terrible. Her scapula has some room to move back for a jump, but the tighter angle (indicated by yellow dot) shows she probably doesn't have quiet a free movement. Pink line indicates that her wither is just about level with her hind end, no nasty downhill build there, you still need more work to raise the back so it isn't such a V-like dip.
There's something about her hind end that bothers me, can't really put my finger on it :P
I think it's that she could be cow hocked or toed out in the back.
That's just what I see at a glance. Cavalletti are great for topline building. Raise trotting poles and always incorporate them into the routine. I like to keep a set of four shorter stride trotting poles on one side of the arena and one set of three larger stride trotting poles on the other. If you have a lake or river nearby, ride or lead her through it, this would help loosen tight muscles.
She is actually toed out in the hind right. I couldn't get her to stand norammly and also square, so she looks like she is going to pee in the middle pic :) I know she has super tight hamstrings, so maybe that has something to do with what you are seeing?
Her movement in the walk and canter is okay, but not superb, but her trot is so amazing. She has so much reach and suspension. I will start doing more raised poles, and see if that helps her back- I'm also getting my saddle re-fitted because I'm not sure that it fits anymore.
I'm pretty sure she is still growing a little bit, so she will maybe end up a bit more uphill, like when I first went to try her. She has grown almost an inch since I've had her!
Thans for the response- anyone else?
She needs more groceries I think. Not a lot.. but some. And the work as mentioned. Her neck is very thin and not even started to "turn over."
Her cannons are long and her hocks are quite high off the ground. She is also tied in at the knees a bit.
Keep up the good work. She is improving. It takes a lot of time.
* And take a mountain load of pictures! Try to get her to stand good from the side and snap one every week or at least every month to track her. I wouldn't know what my arthritic horse has been reacting to if not for frequent photos.
It'll also give you a nice feeling a few years from now to look back on a scrawny horse but have a muscular Prix St. Georges level horse in the stall... and know it's the same horse ;)
Speaking of groceries... She gets 14 lbs of grain/day (that's COB and sweet feed), supplements to help with wieght and muscle building and free choice hay. She also has grass in her field. I think she is just going to be naturally slim, but we'll she how she does when it gets warmer.
I'll take as many pictures as I can :) Maybe if there were less distractions in the barn, I could get her to stand still so I could get some good ones :)
What can I do for her neck? I know it's "throughbred skinny", but we do dressage 5 times a week, so I'm not sure what else could be done?
What level of Dressage is she at right now?
I've heard of carrot stretches before- I'll try them :) We are currently working on Novice Test B, soon to move onto the Training tests Here is a link to the one we have just about mastered:
For 1, if she aint a racer anymore, she doesnt need that much grain. Her required energy levels are low - feed fibre not starch. 14 lbs of grain is about 6 kg. thats a lot. 500 kg horse needs about 10 kg dry matter feed per day - 6 kg in grains and mixes is too much..
also, grains are very high in starch and their stomachs cannot handle big portions, 3 lbs of oats already has enough starch for one meal.
with good quality hay, sugarbeet pulp, soybean meal, or even sunflower meal, some alfalfa etc she would get lots of good quality fibre that will help with weight gain. ok, for weight gain the food should be about 2.3-2.5 % of the body weight, but not all grain..
sorry for the rant, but 14 lbs of grain made my eyes pop.
Otherwise, WELL DONE. She looks very unhappy in the first picture, and very "dry" as in plain muscle around the bones. the muscles needed for running.
overall she looks much better, just need to work a lot more with her neck. keep working with dressage and should be fine :) Takes time to build good muscle on the horse when they are used to working in a different way.
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