Thoughts on my Long Yearling - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-11-2020, 08:17 PM
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Easy. You look at the bone structure(Which doesn't really change in the big areas, the proportions just change a little. You can accurately judge a horse's conformation at about 6 weeks.), consider what will change, and what doesn't. Most of the most amazing athletes in the equine world(of ALL disciplines) all have three things in common: a "light" shoulder, a neck emergence above the point of shoulder, and the lumbosacral gap placement nearly directly over or right over the point of hip, which allows for the most amount of flexion possible. The light shoulder allows the horse to more easily travel uphill because he doesn't have an excess amount of weight only resting on the front legs - a horse roughly carries about 60% of their body mass on their front half, but in certain breeds this is less/more due to conformation. The horse with the lighter shoulder can raise himself up better and travel lighter and is all-around more athletic than the horse with the heavy, weighed-down shoulder. The neck emergence above the point of shoulder also makes it easier for the horse to raise the base of his neck and lighten the forehand, in turn - making him even more uphill. Combined, these three traits are what make the superior athlete.

1.) The yellow line drawn through the shoulder is marking the path of the bone structure and where the weight is resting. The more in front of the wither that line emerges from the horse, the lighter on the forehand the horse is due to having less mass weighing him down on the front half that is nearly impossible to shift to the back legs. When the line bisects the wither(as it does typically in a QH), the horse cannot very easily shift that weight back and ligten the forehand as easily, so he is naturally heavier on the forehand. You may note - all of the great dressage horses, barrel horses, and many of the more "English" QH have that line(called the "Pillar of Support") ahead of the wither. Rugged Lark is one of them, Reys Dual Badger is another, Favorite Cartel is another. Negro, the famous WB stallion(sire of Valegro) has a Pillar that is far ahead of the wither, and it obviously shows up in him and his offspring. This ratio and balance doesn't change due to growth spurts, so once a foal is properly unfolded it can be judged.

2.) The two red lines: the upper line marks the neck emergence, the lower line marks the point of shoulder. The neck emergence is quite obviously above the point of shoulder - a trait carries by all jumpers, dressage horses, most barrel horses(at least, the successful ones), and most of the more versatile QH. (Those who don't have it are always heavy on the forehand, and failing the over reach or even track up at times.) High Brow Cat's neck emergence is above the point of shoulder. ;)

3.) The two light blue lines at the top of the hip: the upper marks the location of the lumbosacral gap(the point of most flexion in the whole spine from withers back), the bottom marks the point of hip. This optimal placement allows the horse to easily get underneath himself and shift weight back onto the hindquarters much easier than a horse who's flexion is impeded by having the LS gap placed too far back. Most of the highest grossing barrel horses and racehorses(as well as all the great dressage horses) have a perfectly placed LS gap.

4.) The blue lines on the shoulder merely mark the slope of the shoulder, which is quite lovely. He'll have a great length of stride and agility.

5.) Lastly - the purple line and the yellow line. If this horse was to be set up square, he'd be standing on his toes on the back feet because he is sickle hocked. The purple line marks where the cannon bone should fall, the yellow line marks where it is. Quite obviously sickle hocked.
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post #12 of 17 Old 03-11-2020, 10:08 PM
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thank you for that lovely explanation. The only thing I'm not sure of is how well set up he is, and whether or not he would be 'standing on his toes' if his rear leg were set back a bit.

I'm just thinking that a better picture might be more definitive.
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-11-2020, 10:39 PM
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No problem. ;) Conformation and how conformation plays into part of how horses move and work is a huge interest of mine.

Also - see how his gaskin is a little longer than a typical horse's gaskin? And the hock is a little straighter and less angled than a correct horse? That's a sign of sickle hocks. All sickle-hocked horses tend to have that overly-long gaskin and less angle to the hocks when they're standing in a position like that. And see in the first image, with his back foot out behind him, the hoof is not level on the ground. He's standing on his toe, another sign of being sickle hocked. Standing a horse up "square" like AQHA and other breed organizations like is nice for showing and all, but it actually puts the horse's body in tension and can distort the relationship between certain parts, so it's not ideal for judging conformation. Open stance is better.

Here's kind of a visual of what a sickle hocked horse looks like when stood "correctly" - it's hard to tell with the graininess of this photo, but you can see how upright his pasterns are when he's stood up like he should be. This colt has that same extreme upright-ness of the pasterns in the first image with his leg stretched out a little behind him. It takes a little bit of looking at different horses to pick out just what makes them look sickle hocked when they're set up a little oddly, but with some practice eventually you can just look at the interrelationship between things and pick it out. Then again, I am human so I'm not always right. But I try to look at things closely before opening my big mouth. ;)

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post #14 of 17 Old 03-11-2020, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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I love that well explained explanation! I was told he is Calf Kneed (Back at the knee) by someone, does anyone else see that and can give me any insight on it?
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post #15 of 17 Old 03-12-2020, 12:01 AM
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@lace dWithCreation

It's rather hard to tell from these photos, to be honest. Other things are easily discernable, but for something BATK or OATK we need a photo that's taken straight on like this:

I would say, however, from these photos he does appear BATK(calf kneed). (BATK = Back at the knee, OATK = Over at the knee.).

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post #16 of 17 Old 03-12-2020, 01:22 PM
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You will see a huge difference in another year or two! Right now he reminds me of a kid when they are at the stage of being all arms, legs, feet and teeth. Thank God they usually grow into themselves!

He's a nice looking youngster.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #17 of 17 Old 03-13-2020, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! @Dustbunny
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