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There have been a lot of good threads lately, so I thought I'd open a new discussion!

What do you believe is more important - conformation or talent? Would you forsake a champion stallion that had conformation faults? Would you forsake a conformationally sound stallion if he hadn't proven himself? What do you find is more important?

I say this because I think at times with the equine industry in the US anyway, often a stellar stallion with a lot to offer may be overlooked based on conformation alone. There are definately certain conformation faults we all tend to view as definitive no-no's, regardless of how talented the stud may have been. But is conformation really as important as proven worth? There are a multitude of talented champions in the world today, that most people would probably have looked at as foals and never thought they'd amount to a hill of beans due to certain imperfections. Should that be the deciding factor in not breeding an animal? How many horses have had ideal conformation and yet amounted to absolutely nothing - as a show horse, or as a breeding animal?

Very curious to hear opinions!
 

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i think it all depends on the horse, if i found a great stallion that didnt have great confirmation but passed on his great talent than i would go for that horse more than the confirmationally correct horse bc like u stated a horse can be perfect confirmationally and still have no talent. but sometimes you can have a very talented stallion that either has great confirmation or doesnt but cannot pass on his great talent.
 

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Talent is the result of training as much or more than any genetics, IMO. Before I bred to a stallion with conformation faults, I would really research any "genetic" talent he is capable of passing to his offspring.

If I was buying a horse, I would choose talent over conformation.
If I was breeding a horse, I would choose conformation over talent.
 

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I think that a certain amount of reason needs to be applied. If I used a scale to pick a stud and 50% went to accomplishment, 50% went to conformation then i would look for a horse that was in the 90's giving more weight to accomplishment. No horse is perfect, not Secretariat, not Impressive, not Doc Bar, etc..

90's with 48/46 accomplishment/conformation as an example.
 

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I would go for coformation over talent, but there are a few faults I will overlook, depending on the discipline. For a reiner a horse that is slightly sickle hocked wouldn't bother me. For barrels being slightly cow hocked/sickle hocked wouldn't bother me, IMO it helps get their butt under them. I would choose a stallion that compliments my mare, not because he is pretty or has a good temperament.
 

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For me I want to see a stallion or mare for that matter proven themselves in the show ring and retire sound. This tells me several things. One they can do the job in which I am looking to breed. They have the conformation to remain sound. Both these things are very important to me.

There is a line that I love in the Reining word however I tend to stay away from it b/c they tend to not stay sound. They do win however you rarely see them past the aged events.

I tend to look for the whole package. I can over look somethings and have if everything else is there.
 

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For me I want to see a stallion or mare for that matter proven themselves in the show ring and retire sound. This tells me several things. One they can do the job in which I am looking to breed. They have the conformation to remain sound. Both these things are very important to me.

There is a line that I love in the Reining word however I tend to stay away from it b/c they tend to not stay sound. They do win however you rarely see them past the aged events.

I tend to look for the whole package. I can over look somethings and have if everything else is there.
^This is exactly what I was trying to say. I have a hard time putting my thoughts down. :)
 

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Talent is the result of training as much or more than any genetics,

I disagree with this to a large extent. If this was true then trainers like Shawn Flarada would be training any and every horse he could get cheap and selling them for big bucks. However he dose not do this b/c it dose not work. I have seen him go through 40 horses before he finds one with the talent that he can bring out and win with. If he could take any horse train it and win he would not need to do that.

A good trainer can bring out the talent with in the horse. Some trainers are better at this then others. Some trainers work better with certain lines then others but the talent MUST be there. The conformation MUST be there for the horse to stay sound.
 

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I agree with Allison. I think that if I were buying a horse, I would want talent over conformation. For example, my American Warmblood mare is VERY talented over fences (so says multiple CCI**** event riders) but her conformation is less than desirable. But if I were to breed a mare, I would want her conformation to be almost flawless.

But I agree it really depends on the horse.

good thread!
 

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My Post;

Talent is the result of training as much or more than any genetics, IMO. Before I bred to a stallion with conformation faults, I would really research any "genetic" talent he is capable of passing to his offspring.

If I was buying a horse, I would choose talent over conformation.
If I was breeding a horse, I would choose conformation over talent.


In response to my post;

Code:
I disagree with this to a large extent. If this was true then trainers like Shawn Flarada would be training any and every horse he could get cheap and selling them for big bucks. However he dose not do this b/c it dose not work.

What doesn't work? Is he going through them looking for genetic traits or personal traits? You don't say what he is looking FOR.

I have seen him go through 40 horses before he finds one with the talent that he can bring out and win with. If he could take any horse train it and win he would not need to do that.

I didn't say ANY horse has talent. Talent can be as much from the horse's heart than anything. All I said is that I don't rely on a horse's breed lines to determine whether that horse will have talent, or not. When I see "comes from a reining line" I wonder if people buy the offspring/breeding in the hope that they will exhibit the sires performance more than the fact that this performance is genetically determined. The people who buy this way might then put said horse in good training and produce an offspring with good reining talent. natural talent or genetics? Who can know?

A good trainer can bring out the talent with in the horse. Some trainers are better at this then others. Some trainers work better with certain lines then others but the talent MUST be there.

Well, I think that is what I said. Maybe I didn't say it well. I said "Talent is the result of training as much or more than any genetics, IMO.


The conformation MUST be there for the horse to stay sound.
He may be looking for certain lines because they sell. Ha may be looking for horses with a great heart, because they will knock themselves out for you. I'm just not sure how much "talent" is genetic. Movement? yes, although that can be influenced a lot through training, too.
 

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I think it would depend on the horse in my opinion. and the training, and charactor.
this is a good thread! :)
 

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When selecting a stallion I would have to look at the whole package and compare to what mare I had. Most horses kept as stallions will have few conformation faults and they will be minor. Temperment and trainability would be what would tip the scale between one stallion and the other. I don't know that I would worry too much about a stallion being "proven" or a money earner unless I figured on competing at a high level. For most of us quality training is the most important thing.
 

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I think that a horse's soundness is the most important part to the package. No hooves no horse as the saying goes. Once you know a horse is sound then it is talent and finally conformation.

I ride a mare who is very pigeon toed. Her legs are getting better with corrective shoeing (thanks to an amazing farrier). And I would take her over a perfectly confromation horse with bad soundness in a heart beat. Sure we have our struggles with her confromation but they are really worth it in the end. She is very talented and worth the extra effort her confromation because of that little bit extra she gives everytime.
 

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My Post;

Talent is the result of training as much or more than any genetics, IMO. Before I bred to a stallion with conformation faults, I would really research any "genetic" talent he is capable of passing to his offspring.

If I was buying a horse, I would choose talent over conformation.
If I was breeding a horse, I would choose conformation over talent.


In response to my post;

He may be looking for certain lines because they sell. Ha may be looking for horses with a great heart, because they will knock themselves out for you. I'm just not sure how much "talent" is genetic. Movement? yes, although that can be influenced a lot through training, too.
No what I am saying is that if it is all training or even mostly training then a trainer like Shawn who has won the NRHA Fururity 5 times along with the NRBC the NRHA Derby and over $3.5 mill in NRHA earnings he should be able to take any horse and make it a reiner. But he can not. He may ride 40 horses to find the ONE who has the talent to be a top reiner that he can win with. With out talent it dose not matter how conformationally perofect a horse is or how talented a trainer is. They are not going to be great at what they do.
 

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While I think there are alot of conformation disastors out there, and some of them quite talanted, for me, breeding, especially good breeding, comes directly from parents who are well conformed.

Does that mean that there aren't minor flaws? Absolutely not, but if there are flaws that will most certainly get passed on (like long pasterns, sickle hocks-even if minor, or cow hocks, again, even if minor), and hinder the capabilities of the offspring, then the parents shouldn't be bred.

No, talant does not mean a horse is conformationally perfect...he doesn't have to be, but to breed a horse JUST because he's talented? No thanks. I want the foal to be better built than his parents, and you don't get that by breeding a horse who isn't conformationally well built.
 

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No what I am saying is that if it is all training or even mostly training then a trainer like Shawn who has won the NRHA Fururity 5 times along with the NRBC the NRHA Derby and over $3.5 mill in NRHA earnings he should be able to take any horse and make it a reiner. But he can not. He may ride 40 horses to find the ONE who has the talent to be a top reiner that he can win with. With out talent it dose not matter how conformationally perofect a horse is or how talented a trainer is. They are not going to be great at what they do.
Can you not see that we are saying the same thing? We are both saying that talent goes before genetics in a horse on the ground. Shawn is not pouring through pedigrees to pick that horse.
 

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Can you not see that we are saying the same thing? We are both saying that talent goes before genetics in a horse on the ground. Shawn is not pouring through pedigrees to pick that horse.

I can say that he dose go through pedigrees. I have talked to him about training and one of the first things out of his mouth is how is the horse bred.
 

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Depending on what the conformation defects are I think the stallion would make an even better gelding and shouldn't be breeding. There are plenty of talented horses with good conformation to breed to.
 

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There have been a lot of good threads lately, so I thought I'd open a new discussion!

What do you believe is more important - conformation or talent? Would you forsake a champion stallion that had conformation faults? Would you forsake a conformationally sound stallion if he hadn't proven himself? What do you find is more important?

I say this because I think at times with the equine industry in the US anyway, often a stellar stallion with a lot to offer may be overlooked based on conformation alone. There are definately certain conformation faults we all tend to view as definitive no-no's, regardless of how talented the stud may have been. But is conformation really as important as proven worth? There are a multitude of talented champions in the world today, that most people would probably have looked at as foals and never thought they'd amount to a hill of beans due to certain imperfections. Should that be the deciding factor in not breeding an animal? How many horses have had ideal conformation and yet amounted to absolutely nothing - as a show horse, or as a breeding animal?

Very curious to hear opinions!
Talent. I mean unless the horse has really horrible confo to the point where we have health or soundness issues then confo.

I have seen some horses with absolutely horrible confo (some of which causing occasional soundness issues) competing at fairly high levels but they did so because of the enthusiasm and willingness to do it, in other words, their talent for it.

I would much have a horse with talent than correct confo.
 

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IMHO, this is kindof a case of form following function. I agree that a lot that is lacking in perfect confo can be made up for in training; however, a good conformational base for whatever discipline you are looking for must be there. No matter how much training they got or with whom, it would be impossible for Dobe to become a grand prix dressage horse, nor would John ever be a cutting horse.

Allison put it best:
If I was buying a horse, I would choose talent over conformation.
If I was breeding a horse, I would choose conformation over talent.
In buying a horse, I would look for one with the inclination and willingness to do what I want, regardless of whether their conformation was perfect for it. If I was breeding, I would look for a mare/stud combination that would likely produce the type of foal needed for that particular discipline, I can do the rest with training.

However, I don't show at all, let alone top levels at anything. I can take almost any type of horse and make a functional ranch horse out of it. Any breed or type of horse can be taught to track a cow for roping or to cut a cow a little bit; it is only the ones that are bred for it that truely excel. When it comes to showing at NRHA, NCHA, or Grand Prix level, then both the conformation and talent has to be there.
 
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