Critique possible buy?
I'm going out to see this mare tomorrow, I'm looking for a horse as a "project" this winter. I want to take dressage lessons, and possibly do some very low jumping. Basically, just sort of all around. I don't know how I feel about her hind legs, I guess I need to see them in person.
I think its more of you have to see it in person. Follow what your heart thinks. Is she rideable or hasnt been trained yet?
Could just be me, but she looks fairly sickle-hocked, which I believe might have an impact on her jumping ability (could be wrong about that, but I think that's what I remember hearing/reading). :-/
She looks a bit sickle-hocked to me too. Drafty is right, it does affect jumping ability - sickle hocks are weak hocks and a horse needs strong hocks to be able to jump well and stay sound. My very talented jumper/eventer is a lot straighter through the hocks than this mare.
She also looks like she may be a bit upright through the shoulder and possibly pasterns, but the photos aren't really ideal to tell. Usually an upright shoulder will limit scope in a jumping horse and length of stride in a dressage horse. My horse is upright through the shoulder and pasterns and he is comfortable to ride but doesn't have the length of stride I would expect for a horse his size. He is one of the rare individuals whose jumping ability is not limited by an upright shoulder, but I think with Monty it's a case of heart overcoming conformation.
This mare also looks base narrow behind and maybe over at the knees. She has far less than ideal conformation - HOWEVER. You say you want to do lower level stuff? Nearly any horse can do small jumping and low-level dressage. The worst conformed horse I have EVER seen in person was a D grade (2") eventer and did very well.
I agree.. appears sickle hocked. She also does not have the shoulder angles needed for jumping. She looks as if she would make a great all around sort of riding horse (trails and such).
^^ neither does my horse Monty and yet he's jumped 4' (he is only 15.1hh and likes to take the long spot) - plus the OP says they want the mare for lower level stuff. I don't think conformation is SUCH a huge issue when you're talking about low levels. Sure, it leaves you things you'll need to be more aware of (I need to keep an eye on Monty for arthritis and tendon strain because of his shoulders and pasterns) but pretty much any horse can manage low level dressage and jumping.
With this mare's faults you will need to be aware of arthritis and other concussive issues due to the poor shock absorption of an upright shoulder/pasterns. Her hocks are weak and may be prone to injury but if properly conditioned she will be fine for lower level jumping and dressage. She looks a little over at the knee which may actually be a good thing (decreases strain on tendons, BUT may increase wear on the bones, leading to early arthritis).
Conformation CAN and DOES dictate the maximum of what the horse is physically capable of. Heart matters far more, and if the horse loves what it does it will push itself to be the absolute best it can, given the opportunity. If it lacks confidence, or simply isn't brave enough or passionate enough, all the perfect conformation in the world will not make it good at its job.
I was blessed to have a VERY well conformed pony that LOVED jumping, but that was just too small to really excel (he was 12.1hh and very scopey for his height but would not have taken me where I wanted to go). All the same I was devastated when I outgrew his saddle, which was on the big side for him, and we had to sell him. I now have a "nice trail horse" that excels at jumping and eventing DESPITE his conformation, and all because he enjoys it so much. Yeah, I need to expect that he may become arthritic very quickly, very soon, and I need to be aware of that. I also need to be aware that because of his upright shoulders, he won't be capable of as much lengthening of stride as a horse with good slope. But that doesn't change how much he loves eventing and how good he is at it! I'd rather have a happy horse and retire him early, than a bored witless horse that's good for another 10 years.
I do agree that this mare will never be a world cup showjumper and is highly unlikely to be capable of courses bigger than 3' but there's nothing that should stop her competing successfully at a lower level.
I would love to say something but everything I observed has been said, and I learned a little I didn't catch too, so let me just say she's a looker!
Thank you guys!
She was started late spring/early summer. When they got busy, she has just been hanging out in the pasture.
Thank you Blue Eyed Pony, your post is very informative, you answered questions in my head. I don't plan to do more than low level stuff, I still have plenty to learn. I am hoping she/prospective horse, would be able to be a lesson horse next spring or summer.
I'm going out to see her at 6pm.
Well..I just bought her. :-)
With her weight, she is sound, right? No signs of past founder?
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