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Conformation and your breeding program

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ontherisefarm

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I would like to know for all of you breeders out there what conformational flaw are you willing to overlook the most when buying new stock and why also which part of conformation is a definite must have and why ?

This post is meant to be educational for everyone. I do not want others critizing people for thier choices. As the subject of conformation has been at the top of reasons on alot of posts about over population, low sales etc... Please just be considerate to others and be honest with your responses...

Thankyou very much...
 

Jill

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I don't feel I'm willing to over look something I see as an actual conformational flaw. Good bites, good legs, good feet, some things are not negotiable in a breeding animal when I'm the one in charge of deciding.

BUT, I do / will compromise on some "type" issues. I may go for a horse with an awesome neck but a plainish head. I may not mind a broodmare who's a little longer in the back (since my stallions are short in the back), things along those lines.
 

Leeana

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I have learned to be very picking ..

The first thing i look at is legs and hooves ...legs MUST be straight and set well enough apart and hooves straight, that is MUST ..if the horse is out or in or close ...i dont look any farther and walk on by, MUST have good legs. Then i look at topline/croup/back, then hip/shoulder ballance and depth, neck length, shoulder set, neck set, throat, ears, face, eyes, BITE deffently needs to be there for me, and as silly as it is ..i like nice big arabian tear drop nostrils, so silly ..but i love that trait, not the dwarfy upside down nostrils ...the arabian type, ears and nostrils are just icing on the cake for me. Must have a long neck, clean throat, and pretty croup/hip/shoulder. Actually, after i look at the legs the next thing i prob look at is neck set ..nice high neck set a must. I cannot stand a neck with a buldge ..just cant. Need short cuppy ears with a pretty tip, like the saddlebreds...just shorter. I have really become quite picky
.

I guess i just try to find the best correct and typey horse i can ...i guess for a broodmare i like them built wider upfront and back but still have that refinement to them.
 
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ontherisefarm

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Thankyou Jill and Leeana.. That is what I am talking about...
 
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Riverdance

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I agree with Jill. I am in the position now, that if I bought another horse, it would have to have just about everything that I like in a Mini.

It is a given that they should have a good bite, straight legs and feet. Why would one want to breed a horse that did not have these basics? (plus two testicles)


My ideal horse should also have a long upright neck, the longer, the better. A pretty head is also a must for me. A good shoulder layback and a deep hip with a high tail set and a level topline, plus refinement. I also personally like to see them be able to use themselves too with lots of leg action when trotting. I too will forgive a little bit longer back. My feelings are that if you get too short a back, then the Mini no longer looks like a perfect Miniature horse. A full size horse with too short a back does not make for a very good riding or driving horse.
 
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RockRiverTiff

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I agree with everyone else! While my process for choosing horses is pretty detailed, first and foremost come the legs. I agree with Riverdance that this should be obvious, but unfortunately for some people it is not. While others will sacrifice for type (not the small sacrifices Jill is talking about), I'd rather have a plain but all-around correct horse than a horse with a couple exceptional features that nevertheless lacks good basic conformation. That said, I think minis are finally getting to the point where when it comes to conformation vs. type you can have your cake and eat it too.
 

Miniv

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I DITTO both Jill and Riverdance.......... Between the two of them, they said it.

BTW, for a broodmare, I definitely shy off a short back. It doesn't give enough room for a foal to maneuver as it gets bigger and a foal needs space to turn to foaling position at the end of gestation.
 

Fantasia

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My must haves are pretty much in line with the others - legs, bite etc.

What I won't forgive - too short in the length of hip, too low in tail set. I believe the power comes from the back end!

I will compromise head - plain head on a well put together horse is still a well put together horse. I think too often people get "hung up" on a pretty head on a horse with no back end!

Type - more of a preference, like Jill conformation over type.

Not worried by longer back length so long as horse still balances.

Still looking for that perfect mini! :
 

Joanne

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My first priority is a great leg to body proportion. The horse should look like a full size horse that has been shrunk down.

In the right photo you should not be able to tell it is a miniature.

Here is an example of what I look for to buy and strive to breed. She is one of my broodmares.



If they have short legs, that are more pony like, that is a fault I cannot live with.
 

Bluewater Minis

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Since we just started up our program in 2006, we've been able to incorporate a variety of bloodlines and talents into our little herd. I'm admittedly a 'head-hunter' after loving Arabians all my life, but for minis, I will compromise on a head IF the horse's good points far outweigh the head and any other flaws. We have four mares that we adopted several months ago that are not yet on our website. One has a very plain head (and hubby and I occasionally will lovingly refer to her as Jug Head -- although not where she can hear us and get her feelings hurt). It's not a huge head, but compared to some of our lovely heads, well, it isn't as pretty. But boy, does she ever have NICE legs! And hip, etc. One of her companions that we also took in does not have an especially attractive head either, but boy her legs, body and movement are nice!
She's produced a 3-time AMHA National Top 10 halter stallion and an AMHR National Champion stallion, and we're looking forward to how she'll produce on our Redboy son.

I'm certainly more willing to overlook certain minor faults if I can look at their offspring and see that they do not pass it on IF IF IF they have some really nice qualities that I think they will contribute (like overlooking a thicker neck that can occasionally run in certain lines in exchange for an exquisite head, or a neck that ties in a little lower than I prefer but WOW! what a trot from that rear engine). So many farriers hate trimming minis that some crooked legs can be due to improper trimming. Conformational faults that I can't overlook though (again, MY personal preference) are locking stifles, weak hips, goose rumps, low tailsets, cowhocks, necks that tie in completely horizontally to their body, a really steep shoulder, and legs that are shorter than their barrel height (at the girth line). Extreme over/underbites are another thing I can't do. No cryptorchids either. A slightly long back for my broodmares is fine, and I have one of those -- the stallions she's been crossed with shorten up the back nicely on her offspring.
 

OhHorsePee

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Since we intend on staying down in numbers being very picky is a must do. We will end up with a total of 4 or 5 mares that will be our breeding stock. I have learnt to not over look anything. I have a couple of mares that will be re-homed so we can concentrate on double registered. We have, what we feel, is a great start and plan. We not only are breeding for conformation but also temperament. So we want to breed for a result of a very correct, easy to handle foal that still has pressence. Since we want our foals to be correct, well tempered and upheaded we have to have breeding stock that is the same. We feel if we would allow for faults then we would probably get faults. Since we are keeping our numbers low so we can continue to enjoy them then we can just pick stock that are correct to begin with. We have one more filly on order
and are hoping she will be born this next Spring. If not we will wait till she is.


I also can't wait to see Crunch's and Lacie's foal next year. We are already anticipating this one.
 
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