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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay so I noticed a horse online that cantered the same as a horse I used to ride, which I hated the style of canter. So I asked the trainer what the difference was between this horse and her other horses and she said "(Horse's name) is a low mover with a big jump. He is very unorthodox in the way he jumps but at 13, coming 14 we aren’t changing his style as he is very well placed 1.20+. (Different horse who I liked canter/jump) is much more textbook!" I redacted the horses names because the person I asked is very well known and I was worried the names would give away who it was. Anyway I feel dumb because I understand what she is saying in general. But she said in another message you can tell in confirmation if they are a low mover but she didn't say how or what in confirmation determines/shows that they could be a low mover. I am wondering because when I buy another horse I am hoping there is a way to tell if they are a low mover in a pre-purchase exam. If you need more info ask! Thanks!
 

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I am NOT a jumper by trade (more of a western rider) but I would say my Shotgun is a very low mover. He has a naturally low level headset and that is reflected in everything he does. He keeps his head low when running barrels. He also keeps his head low for jumping. That's where he likes it; that's his conformation; and I will allow him to travel in the way that works for him.

So just LOOK at the horse when they stand and when they move. Look at how their neck ties into their body.

For example, here is Shotgun:



And coming over a jump:



And going around a barrel:




Contrast that with my horse Dexter who has a much higher headset due to conformation.



Going around a barrel:

 

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This might be a cultural difference, but a low-mover is a daisy-cutter horse, one that doesn't bend its knees. It flicks its legs through. The complete opposite to the high knee action you see in breeds such as the friesian.

The conformation of the shoulder determines how the horse is able to lift and fold its knees/legs. I'd say that a daisy-cutter may not always make a good jumper as it doesn't fold its legs cleanly and closely into its body.
 

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I would have guessed a low mover was a horse who liked flat strides, and would then transition to a jump without a smooth transition to collection prior to jumping. Not a jumper myself but I'd think that would make a more challenging ride. Guess you'll need to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am NOT a jumper by trade (more of a western rider) but I would say my Shotgun is a very low mover. He has a naturally low level headset and that is reflected in everything he does. He keeps his head low when running barrels. He also keeps his head low for jumping. That's where he likes it; that's his conformation; and I will allow him to travel in the way that works for him.

So just LOOK at the horse when they stand and when they move. Look at how their neck ties into their body.

For example, here is Shotgun:



And coming over a jump:



And going around a barrel:




Contrast that with my horse Dexter who has a much higher headset due to conformation.



Going around a barrel:


A. Both your horses are gorgeous😍😍😍

B. After reading all the comments. I went back and watched the videos and looked at there confirmation shots again and I am 90% sure you are right! (I'm only not 100% because I would like to look up some more horses and see if it is consistent lol) but anyway thank you so much I believe you cracked it! I wish I could have just posted videos it would of been easier but since its not my horse and the owner and trainer are pretty "high profile?" I didn't want people to recognize them. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am NOT a jumper by trade (more of a western rider) but I would say my Shotgun is a very low mover. He has a naturally low level headset and that is reflected in everything he does. He keeps his head low when running barrels. He also keeps his head low for jumping. That's where he likes it; that's his conformation; and I will allow him to travel in the way that works for him.

So just LOOK at the horse when they stand and when they move. Look at how their neck ties into their body.

For example, here is Shotgun:



And coming over a jump:



And going around a barrel:




Contrast that with my horse Dexter who has a much higher headset due to conformation.



Going around a barrel:

I was going to say I think that they might be a little down hill and I found this picture/article about downhill horses having a lower neck carriage then uphill horses. So makes sense now! Lol
1106727
 

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I was going to say I think that they might be a little down hill and I found this picture/article about downhill horses having a lower neck carriage then uphill horses. So makes sense now! Lol
View attachment 1106727
The above illustration is not my understanding of those terms; the first picture shows a horse which is both downhill AND has overall poor conformation. But that is not what downhill means. A downhill horse is simply one with the highest point of its rump higher than the highest point of its withers, and an uphill horse is the reverse. Either one of these can have either kind of shoulder and leg assembly pictured. A typey Quarter horse will be slightly downhill and have a low neck set (these do tend to go together). Uphill horses tend to have more possibility of extension in front, which is a reason why competitive dressage and jumping horses tend to be built uphill.

To the OP: if you don't like your horse's canter, you need to find out what it is about his conformation that makes him canter like that; sounds like you still are in the dark there.

To understand how to evaluate conformation, you really need to compare, in real life, different horses, with an experienced person standing there with you. And you need to do that a lot.

The other thing about gaits is that conformation is only a part of it -- training, your riding skills, their degree of relaxation, hidden pain or stiffness, surface, shoeing -- all those make a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The above illustration is not my understanding of those terms; the first picture shows a horse which is both downhill AND has overall poor conformation. But that is not what downhill means. A downhill horse is simply one with the highest point of its rump higher than the highest point of its withers, and an uphill horse is the reverse. Either one of these can have either kind of shoulder and leg assembly pictured. A typey Quarter horse will be slightly downhill and have a low neck set (these do tend to go together). Uphill horses tend to have more possibility of extension in front, which is a reason why competitive dressage and jumping horses tend to be built uphill.

To the OP: if you don't like your horse's canter, you need to find out what it is about his conformation that makes him canter like that; sounds like you still are in the dark there.

To understand how to evaluate conformation, you really need to compare, in real life, different horses, with an experienced person standing there with you. And you need to do that a lot.

The other thing about gaits is that conformation is only a part of it -- training, your riding skills, their degree of relaxation, hidden pain or stiffness, surface, shoeing -- all those make a difference.
Yeah I agree with all that! Thats what I understood about uphill/down hill too but I thought in this picture maybe it was just harder to tell. Also the horse is not my horse it was a lesson horse I rode in the past.
 
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