Downhill Conformation? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Downhill Conformation?

What does someone mean when they say a horse is "downhill"? What is the difference between downhill, uphill, and normal conformation? Is a downhill built horse unfavorable for the hunter ring? Can young horses have a downhill built, but "grow out of it"? Thanks! :)
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 04:14 PM
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Babies usually get to te butthigh stange, and they look downhill. But eventually, the front catches up.

I see downhill horses for cattle herding and such. Saddles can slip forward on these horses.

I've seen a few high stepping horses that are uphill, couple jumpers, where the front end is taller than the hip. Saddle slipping back can be an issue.

IDK any more technical issues, as I haven't owned a horse with any obvious or bad confo structure, so never really researched it. Others can say more on it.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 04:19 PM
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Downhill is easiest to spot, uphill confuses me some on what actually qualifies for uphill and not just shark finned. =/

Google horses for both.
Downhill


Uphill
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 04:43 PM
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Downhill build is not counted against a horse, until he is at a certain age of maturity.
For stock horses, in halter classes, a horse is forgiven downhill build until he is two, due tot he fact that growth rates often vary between front end and hind end.
All good conformation horses, when they are mature, are built up hill, far as the withers being higher then the back end. The degree of this up hill build varies, with some horses having very high withers, which really does not do much , far as saddle fit
Also, many horses with a very high whiter, have adip, where that back ties in, which is a negative aslo
Downhill build makes it harder for a horse to engage behind correctly, and often has that horse heavy on the forehand
In the pictures above, the downhill build id not truly representative of a horse that is truly build downhill, as that horse appears to be a yearling, which very well can level out as he matures. It only becomes a fault and true conformation defect, if that horse is built that way as a mature horse
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, ok. I understand it now. Thanks for you help! :)
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 05:50 PM
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When evaluating, look at the horses elbow and stifle, rather than wither and croup. I've got a horse who is rump high, but not downhill. I've got another with a huge wither, but he's not uphill.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 10:22 PM
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I only used that picture to show what it generally looks like. So at a glance, someone can see what the word meant.
=)

Also, sorry for the typos, I was using my phone before...

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post #8 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ApuetsoT View Post
When evaluating, look at the horses elbow and stifle, rather than wither and croup. I've got a horse who is rump high, but not downhill. I've got another with a huge wither, but he's not uphill.
Can you post a picture of your horse that is rump high, yet not downhill?
I have taken quite a few judging clinics, and looking at the topline, with horse standing level, was always used to determine if a horse was built downhill or not
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-10-2016, 10:37 PM
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Here is some good info, with the link it was taken from, following below:

'1. Uphill or downhill?
Building on "Conformation 101" think about what you want to do with your horse. Do you need a horse that can execute fast starts (e.g. barrel, racing, eventing), or one that can carry most of his weight on his hind end (e.g. dressage)? You can choose a horse that is predisposed to certain talent by looking at the levelness of the horse's spine relative to the ground. The terms "uphill", "level" and "downhill" are used frequently, but not often fully understood. What surprises most people is that most horses are built downhill because of the avid interest in crossing thoroughbreds and quarterhorses with many other breeds. Both thoroughbreds and quarterhorses need fast takeoff speed, and to be successful at that, they are built downhill.

Question: When is a horse built "downhill"?
Usual Answer: When the croup is higher than the withers
Response: Correct. When the croup is higher than the withers a horse is ALWAYS built downhill.

Question: When is a horse built "uphill"?
Usual Answer: When the withers are higher than the croup.
Response: This is where the theory breaks down. A horse that is high in the withers is NOT always built uphill. A classic example is the racing TB. They are ALWAYS built downhill, but because the TB has a prominent wither, the wither is often higher than the croup or equal to it. Because they are built "downhill" they are able to dig in and execute fast starts. Any horse required to execute fast starts needs to be "shorter" in the front end. Picture a greyhound in your mind. If an animal is shorter in the hind end and takes off fast, they will come "up" in the front end like a speedboat, because it will be the the hind end that will "dig in". This causes the animal to lose valuable start time while he tries to lower his own front end.

https://sites.google.com/site/apples...nformation-101

Thus, I can see the high whither horse not necessarily being built uphill, but I have never heard of a horse that is rump high, not being downhill
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-11-2016, 01:43 AM
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I always believed also that you looked at the withers and croup to see if a horse was downhill or uphill. I think that's most often the case, but I believe there are some horses that can be built differently. I would submit that this horse is functionally level but with a high croup.

With horizontal lines drawn to show how the horse's main body masses are level, even though his croup is high.

It could be that horses like this have a level bony structure, but appear higher in the hind end due to extra muscle or soft tissue development there.
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