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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you think of this mare's conformation and her potential as a general English riding horse? She is a rescued, unregistered Shire/TB cross. I know nothing about her pedigree. I am dabbling in a bit of everything with her, including hunters, jumpers, dressage, and trail riding. I just want to have fun and see how far we get. I know very little about the specifics of what conformation makes a great jumper, or dressage prospect etc. and I'm curious so see what others think of her build and what her potential might be. This mare has been my "project" for three years, and I'm pleased with her and her abilities so far. I just want to hear what you guys think about where we might end up, what discipline she might be most suited for, and what faults might potentially cause trouble.







 

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:| She's stunning!! Absolutely gorgeous horse you have there, OP.
She's very heavyset, so unfortunately it's going to be very hard to get her to really use her body and get up and under herself. Having said that, she's very nicely balanced! Her croup is long and low, typical of a draft/pulling horse. Being the breed she is, and being a draft, she's going to be harder to campaign as a jumper especially. Not that she can't jump, but it's going to just naturally be a harder discipline for her. She's much more built through the front end than the back, so it's going to take some convincing that she should use her hind end to drive rather than fall on her forehand.
I want riding photos, please. She's lovely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks swimminchikin!

You kinda hit the nail on the head there, JustDressageIt! She is definitely on the heavy side and it has been out biggest challenge to get her to engage. It's getting much better now that we finally found a saddle that fits, but I think it will always be a work in progress.

Here are some riding shots as requested:





 

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I'll be no help with a critique but whoa mama! Smexy lady coming through. She's gorgeous.
 

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I hope someone weighs in and gives you a useful conformation critique, because you have supplied beautiful pics for a critique.

Sadly all I can do is join my voice to the people saying what a beautiful girl, have fun with her.
 

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very pretty. she does not have any major flaws that i can see. She does have the draft heavy neck and chest. Is there a photo in another post showing her jump? I would not use her for high /tall jumps. I could see her doing dressage, but not sure how high of level she would be able to do.
 

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Her conformation is typical for her breeding - I don't think its going to be against her if you work on building up muscle in her quarters and because she's very 'up front' with high withers and huge shoulders she shouldn't be heavy on your hands once you start working her into a more rounded outline
Some of the best UK showjumpers like Ryans Son (John Whittaker) who was only about 15.3 were shire x TB and jumped at the highest level there is so never underestimate what these heavier horses are capable of if you get them fit enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
HUBBA HUBBA :cool:

The Commodores said it best:

The Commodores - Brick House - YouTube
LMFAO That is amazing. My next youtube video of Urs will totally be set to this song. :p

Thanks for all the complement everyone!

I'm trying to do some reading and research, draw on her confo shot, measure some angles and see what I come up with. Let me share what I have so far:

According to some googled sources, the angle between the scapula and humerus, for a jumper, should be 90 degrees or more. Ursula's angle is almost exactly 90. The angle between the scapula and the horizontal should be 55-65 degrees. Ursula's is closer to 55.

The pasterns should be angled at the same angle as the foot, and the same angle as the scapula when measure against the horizontal.... and they are. I always thought they were too upright, but according to the sources I've found, that's not true! :) The pasterns should also be 1/2 to 3/4 the length of the canon bone. Ursula's is exactly 1/2. Once again, I thought they were too short, and they are on the short side, but they still fall within the acceptable range.

The canon bone should be shorter than the forearm, and it is significantly shorter on Ursula. Shorter canon bones are supposed to better absorb concussion (for jumping) and make for less action (for hunters). Longer canon bones are more prone to injury but produce nice action (for dressage and saddle seat).

When drawing a line from hip joint to the base of the neck, she is level. Her croup and withers are level with each other as well, so I figured that would be the case. This is ideal for most disciplines, except dressage, where an uphill build is preferred... oh well. :/

Ideal hips, when a triangle is drawn from point of hip, to point of buttock, to stifle is supposed to be equilateral. Ursula's is close to equilateral, but the angle between hip and femur is more open than the other two angles, which is supposed to be better for pulling, racing and jumping (means she can extend her leg further back), but it is a fault for dressage (she will have to work harder to bring the legs under for collection). On a jumper, the stifle joint should be lower than where the sheath would hang on a gelding, and I think it is. The LS joint/highest point of croup is directly above the point of the hip in top level jumpers (something about balance of the hips and reducing back pain). Ursula has this. Ideal hip length is 30% of total body length (from point of shoulder to point of buttock) and Ursula's is spot on.

As far as necks go, there is a debate. The consensus seems to be that ewe necks are bad all around, but it seems that thick/long necks are not bad for a jumper with a heavier body, because it is used for counterbalance over the fence and a horse with a neck that is too short/thin for the rest of his/her body may have balance issues, so I guess her thick neck isn't really a fault either. Longer backs/necks can be desirable for jumpers because they are better able to form a bascule and have good form over jumps, but shorter backs and necks are better at tight turns and speed between fences so there seems to be a benefit to both worlds. Urs is fairly well proportioned, though I think she is a hair on the long side.

My conclusion so far is, Ursula is very well-suited for jumping and hunters, but will probably not get super far in dressage. She has no real faults for jumping or hunt seat, but has several ideal traits for jumping.

I do agree that her muscles in her front end are much more developed in the front than they are in the back, but what I've been reading has been saying that more of a horse's conformation should be judged in the skeleton, as muscles can be rebuilt with proper training and exercise. I do see how this could be true.

Ursula sustained a hip injury as a foal, and it was left untreated. The vet that evaluated her when I purchased her said that the injury has fully healed on its own, but Ursula continued to drag herself along with her front end as if she were lame in the back end, completely out of habit, not because she was actually in pain. Because of this, she was very well-muscled in the shoulder and looked wasted in the haunch. The balance of her muscling has improved greatly since then, and I see her carriage and muscling improving more and more, now that I have a saddle that's not pinching her spinal ligaments. I will have to post more pictures in a few months to see if she's changed.

So, do you guys agree with what I've found, or not, and why?
 

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I don't know anything about jumping, but she's lovely.
 

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I'm sure you heard this before, but she's probably best at driving. She's on the heavier end of a TB/Shire cross, so jumping (although she certainly can :)) would be a waste of talent.

She's very graceful, the TB side gives her more maneuverability than a pure draft, so I think she would thrive in cone driving. If she's

Or of course, you can keep her for a sturdy trail/pleasure mount. I much prefer heavier horses for general riding :)
 
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