When Does the Horse Itself Outweigh Conformation - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 39 Old 11-03-2018, 12:22 PM
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Her pasterns scare me more than her knees... for a pasture pet/occasional trail horse, she's probably fine if you are a lighter rider. For an endurance horse or eventer, I wouldn't chance it.
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post #12 of 39 Old 11-03-2018, 12:40 PM
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In an earlier century I did some endurance. If I had any doubts about a horse for this sport I would pass.
Several years ago we bought a Paint gelding for my husband. He was the most wonderful guy with really not-so-good legs. But his attitude and personality made him worth the chance...which turned out to be an excellent choice. All he had to do was be a hubby packer on short trail rides at which he excelled. We lost him to cancer and I miss him to this day.
My opinion...pick the best horse with the least possible problems for the activities you want to do. It will save you and the horse in the long run.
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post #13 of 39 Old 11-03-2018, 01:09 PM
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As long as you aren't doing endurance or eventing for her, she should be fine.

Conformation does not mean a horse will stay sound, unless you do x rays of everything. Just because a horse has perfect conformation doesn't mean they don't have navicular or kissing spines or some other serious problems. And the opposite is true- a horse that has bad conformation might be very sound in the long run.

Until we can identify the genetics associated with arthritis, we cannot predict which horses will have problems and which won't. Yes conformation is a predisposition, but it is not a guarantee. Lifestyle and environmental factors play a huge roll. If you take a sound horse with decent conformation and run that horse into the ground every time you ride, you will end up with a lame horse.

You know her conformation is bad so as long as you don't over work her and consider her limitations, you may be happy with her for many years to come. Although you may want to discuss her limitations with your vet- as to finding a guideline as to what work is okay and whether you should do extra maintenance in her case.

Set up a fund for her retirement and for extras like pentosan injections or supplements, routine x rays to monitor for early signs of arthritis later on.
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post #14 of 39 Old 11-03-2018, 03:43 PM
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Haven't read further, only initial post. The thing to remember is there is a big difference between unchangeable conformation and posture. Tho posture, if it remains the same for many years can become unchangeable. A lot of what people call 'conformation' is but a moment in time, that can be changed with different management, chiropractic work, etc.

What I see here is a horse who is high heeled. Likely also weak heeled. To lower her heels appropriately & protect(pad) the back of the foot as needed in order that she may comfortably use them, land heel first & rest on her DC's will greatly change the 'conformation' of those knees.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #15 of 39 Old 11-03-2018, 07:03 PM
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They donít look bad to me, either...unless she is bench kneed, adjust her feet like @loosie said, and she should make a decent riding horse!
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post #16 of 39 Old 11-03-2018, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
She may be sweet as pie but she's not a good example of the Arabian breed. Probably the reason why she isn't registered.
With respect, I disagree - IMO this is a far better example of an Arabian than the kinds of mutants that win led classes these days, with their benchtop backs, unsuitable leg conformation, and ridiculously overdished faces - nothing like a working Arabian. For those, I look to Crabbet and Polish lines. I love seeing Arabians like @phantomhorse13 's (or @bsms 's and his acquaintances, I've loved the photos of those) still in the gene pool - thank goodness the endurance and working lines are preserving proper, decent riding type Arabians, instead of those odious showring poodles, some of which actually have breathing problems due to their excessive dishing - and some of which have undershot jaws, genetically linked to the same breeding fashion... similar to what happens in Bulldogs, and other squashed-face dog mutants that are nothing like the ancestral (and fully functional) wolf type - poor creatures brought into existence by human vanity, and lack of biological understanding and compassion... same with the broiler chicken breed, who all have arthritis from a few weeks old because their mutated oversized muscles can't be supported by their feeble skeletons... and so many other domesticated animals bred away from the functional, healthy wild types...

This is nothing personal, Dreamcatcher - I know you and I are about as far apart as they come with what we like in our Arabians - but I am a biologist by training and inclination, and I feel very deeply the pain and the wrong of the deliberate breeding of what amounts to animals with fashionable and/or profitable physical liabilities and disabilities, and its enshrining into so-called "breed standards". This is an ethical issue for me, and ultimately about animal welfare.

(/end rant)

And when I look at the Arabian presented here, I'd far rather work with her than with what's fashionable in the show ring. My Crabbet/Polish mare had two conformational issues - she was cow-hocked (but travelled straight - not such an issue, and I saw it in a lot of other endurance horses at the time), and she had the long back of the Autumn Sunshine line - that was the main issue, especially as I'm not a lightweight rider, and required me to work on her back muscles with a lot of supplementary lunging and liberty work etc, and even cart driving. But, she was a very successful endurance horse and all-rounder, and retired without arthritis after being ridden into her late 20s, with God only knows how many miles in her legs.

That's a horse and rider who both had conformational issues - but whose conformational issues didn't stop them having a long, productive working life together...

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Last edited by SueC; 11-03-2018 at 11:21 PM. Reason: Had to put a :hug: in.
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post #17 of 39 Old 11-04-2018, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by 4horses View Post
Until we can identify the genetics associated with arthritis, we cannot predict which horses will have problems and which won't.
Arthritis is primarily environmentally produced - excessive bodyweight is one of the main factors in domestic dogs these days. In horses, it's often due to working horses too hard too early (both too early in terms of horse maturity, and in terms of the stage of training), and/or on surfaces too unyielding, and by putting excessive loads and strains on them for their constitution or conditioning. Do any of those things and you're going to produce arthritis down the track, sooner or later. There are many horses with textbook conformations on the harness and TB tracks who wind up with functionally impairing arthritis before they even turn ten - because of what people do with them, and not because of genetic weakness.

Likewise, there are horses who retire fully sound from those pursuits, because they were worked sympathetically, and with an understanding of horse anatomy and physiology, and appropriate conditioning and fitness training (no short-cuts), and sufficient rest and recovery - coupled with good nutrition, hoof care, and an eye to a horse's enjoyment of its life.

Granted, poor conformation is one of the genetic factors contributing to arthritis - but unless there is a significant deformity, probably not as much as poor nutrition, and in the majority of cases, certainly not as much a poor conditioning and general management.

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post #18 of 39 Old 11-04-2018, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 4horses View Post
Until we can identify the genetics associated with arthritis, we cannot predict which horses will have problems and which won't.
I don't agree. I dont know about genetics associated(tho I thought it was more a mechanical prob - bony changes happen when mechanics/damage is chronic), how much part that plays, but I'd say there's a very big likelihood of early & significant arthritis in that horse, IF it were left high heeled & over at the knee.
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #19 of 39 Old 11-04-2018, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by SueC View Post

This is nothing personal, Dreamcatcher - I know you and I are about as far apart as they come with what we like in our Arabians
We're actually not as far apart as you might think. I would not have said that the horses you put up in pics were "not good examples of the breed" as I did with the OP's pictured horse. That horse, IMO, is not only not a good example of Arabians, she isn't even a conformationally good horse. There's so much I don't like about that horse, but especially with her legs, for someone who wants to do eventing or endurance that I just focused on the legs/feet issues and let all the rest go. I'm NOT comparing her to today's overly extreme halter horses, just against breed standard. I freely admit I do like the look of a lot of halter horses but not so much for hard use.
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post #20 of 39 Old 11-04-2018, 10:12 AM
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There is a genetic aspect to arthritis, just as there is for anything. Why does one hirse have sharper teeth, why does one have more sensitive skin, why is one more likely to get X. In the same conditions some horses will more readily develop pathology or disease. There's no single gene that could be identified, but you could look at lineage.
Some horses are used hard and retire with barely anything in those joints. Some are used hardly at all and are crippled by the time they are 15. It's not all conformation and care, but it contributes.
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