Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Conformation Critique Part 1: Lex

Let's be honest, y'all. I fell in love with Lex the minute I laid eyes on her.

At the vet school, where horses are not tied safely!
This mare was meant to be a jumper. Let's start with her shoulder. It's big, powerful, and at a great angle for jumping. Jumpers like shoulders a tiny bit more upright than dressage folks or hunters, because we're less concerned about things like extended trot and more with the horse's ability to rotate her scapula back and really get those knees up. A long humerus really helps with this also.

When I'd had her for a few weeks and her mane still insisted on lying to the left.
This picture is perhaps a little better because she's not angled toward the camera. You can see how nicely proportioned she is. After her shoulder, the next thing I love is her back - nice and short, considering she's a mare. She's a short-coupled horse, which makes bending harder (we're dealing with that right now) but will be super helpful over jumps. She'll be more powerful, and there's less of her to get over the fence, so that's always nice from a leaving-the-rails up perspective. Her hindquarters are great, in proportion with her shoulder and with a nice equilateral triangle between the point of the hip, point of the buttock, and the stifle. She can really engage her hind end and push when she wants to. It also helps that her hocks are low and out of the way and at a somewhat more closed angle than one might like in a dressage horse. But it will make her powerful.  From the side, her legs look good. Knees and hocks are low, good bone, nothing crooked. She toes in a bit on the left front, and that means she wings on that leg. I can live with it.

Her neck is fantastic, too.

A week or so ago.
 It ties in nicely to her chest. It's balanced - her underneck is not too developed, and she has a naturally high head carriage, which is my preference. Again, this mare is going to be a jumper, not a western pleasure horse. That said, she can stretch down with the best of them.

One of the prettiest parts of Lex is her head.

Of course, as they say, you can't ride the head. That is true. But a big, heavy head often means being heavy in the bridle. Her head is refined, with nice big ears and a calm expression. Then there's her nose.

This sounds weird, but I really like her nostrils. They pull in a lot of air, and her chest and barrel are also wide. She's got air capacity for days. She'll never get winded, really.

Anyway, not bad for a $150 rescue, huh?

If you want some homework, here's a video on show jumper conformation. I'm working my way through it, because it's quite long, but I LIVE for this kind of thing.


  1. I'm not a conformation expert but I think she's very nicely put together!

  2. Toe in doesn't make a horse wing. I read an article by Frank Madden on conformation and he says he prefers a horse toed in than out. That always stuck with me because Tank is toed in badly and jumps and moves beautifully. She reminds me f Ketel, both are cutie pies :)

    1. Oops I meant to say the article said toed out versus in

  3. I LOVE THIS POST. I'm an amateur student of conformation and I'll definitely work my way through the video. :-) Lex has such a darling face. That just makes everything better.