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Post about sickle hocks got me thinking

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js1arab

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That it seems some of the best performance horses actually have minor conformation faults. I have always found this amusing. We all try so hard to breed a horse for what we consider to be "perfect" conformation. Yet if you analyzed the top 10 athletes in any discipline, I bet you find many if not all of them differ slightly from what is expected in conformation. A perfect example (although a bit variant from our breed) was John Henry the great race gelding. He was at one point almost given up on because he just wasn't "built" to be a race horse. He was short legged short backed, eyes and nostrils not quite placed where breeders thought they should ideally be. I read an article about this years ago. They did all kinds of studies about this and found that in his case at least, all of his supposed "faults" in conformation were what actually combined to work for him and helped make him a winner. Of course he had a great heart too, but that's another story LOL. I've also noticed in the Arabs, Morgans and Saddlebreds, the best English moving horses are slightly cow hocked like Verticle said. I guess my point in this post is -other than to point out an obsevation I've made through the years - is that if you have a horse that doesn't always place so well in halter, don't write them off because they may be the next driving champion!

Also, I sure am glad we people don't have to stand up to conformation tess. I'd be picked dead last as I have a terrible way of wearing my shoes down on one side. Actually, I don't know a lot of people that are truly "straight legged" LOL
 

Jill

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I'm afraid saying this might make me sound ignorant, but I actually think that some conformation faults enhance what we appreciate in performance. I beleive that toeing out can enhance the knee action in a horse. I could be wrong, but this is what I think. I'm not saying a horse needs to toe out to have this at all, but I think that many horses who do toe out have a lot of front end action...

And, I don't feel this is right or wrong (don't know) but I have been told that being slightly cow-hocked adds to jumping ability.
 

Cherokee Rose

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Well I too have to jump in on this one
I also beleive and find it to be true that your best moving horses are not bulit like a brick out house
:it all needs to roll smoothly and I think some of the conformation twiks help that
but I also beleive it's a fine line exspecially if you want to show a horse in halter and performance and it can be done. I know some halter horses would never make it in a driving class or; performance horses that would never make it in a halter class. I like to see a horse travel straight, set up straight, but standing around doing their own thing you might think humm.......not very straight. I like to call it flexablity or freedom of movement............that comes together to produce a horse who will have the freedom, the power and the stamina to to make a winning driving horse.........all that after they just handed you some Blues in halter
............thats what I call the fine line..............hope I made sense here
...................Carrie
 

wcr

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You would have a hard time finding the perfectly conformed horse; they all have faults. Having the best conformation in not an indicator of athletic ability. Look what they have done to big halter horses. They are so bulky that the can't move to save their life. I also wonder if by breeding these refined minis that at one point we don't start compromising the driving ability.
 

Fred

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Yes a slightly sickle hocked horse can get under himself a little better than one that

is "correct". I know the best performance horses that I shoe I am told to shoe

them as they "stand"! I have horses that are both competitve in halter and driving

but my gelding {who I was told would NEVER be a halter horse has his halter HOF.

I personally look for a horse's "presence" or attitude. If a horse does not have

the drive or attitude it will never be a good driving horse. Conformation faults

can be hidden in halter. Believe me I know several "top" trainers who win all the

time and I would not own the horses they show because of their faults!!! Toeing

out does not bring up higher knee action the horse has it or doesn't. Linda
 
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kaykay

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another one i disagree with is flat toplines. I do like them but i dont like them to the extreme. My stallion Tamale has what some would consider a bit of high butt. But what he really has is a nice big hip and man can this guy move. . So in turn he does not have a flat topline. But because of that he can get up under himself. Another one i talked ot someone at congress about is length of neck on a driving horse. Yes we all like long necks (that are so hard to get) but more important i think is where the neck ties in and if they know how to use it. Tamale is only 30" so his neck is in proportion to his body but not a long neck by any means. But he naturally curls that head in when hes out moving and playing. A natural headset for driving that doesnt have to be trained. Patches also has that.

And your so right there are no perfect horses. You have to decide on your own what is an acceptable fault and what isnt.
 

Marsha Cassada

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I copied the pictures showing good and bad conformation to keep in my files. My miniature horse vet book is getting bristly with great forum "loose leaf" information!! What would a "camped behind" hind end do in driving? Would there be a special way to trim for this, such as being sure to keep toes short? Would keeping heels short cause stress on the ligaments? Just looking at the hoof flat might not lead to correct trim.

Also, I second the idea that it's a good thing people aren't judged on perfect conformation! I might be comfortable in a "senior brood mare" event...

Marsha
 
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Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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well one thing to remember is a slightly cow hocked horse doesnt automatically equal a wonderful moving or driving horse. If a horse isnt balanced it wont do well in performance or halter. Now some of that balance can be balancing out its faults very well so that it looks more balanced then say a horse with a great neck and a weak hind end.

It simply goes to form to function and to remember that some breeds call for a more funky hind end so conformation isnt always the same standard for every breed even at its most basic.

And even the closest to perfect horse that has no presense might not (odds are it wont) do as well as a horse with more faults and tons of presense. Some just make you keep going back to look at them
 

Fred

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FORM TO FUNCTION is the key word for performance in any discipline. Minor

faults wont affect it but major ones will. As for a flat topline, pretty much all my

guys are pretty darn flat on top and they move extremely well, especially the

stallion. Fred has been able to take peoples breath away when he moves [and

when he feels like it!]. The horse also has to enjoy what they are doing. A

pretty horse will also pin better. Linda B
 

hobbyhorse23

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js1arab said:
That it seems some of the best performance horses actually have minor conformation faults. I have always found this amusing. We all try so hard to breed a horse for what we consider to be "perfect" conformation.
...I've also noticed in the Arabs, Morgans and Saddlebreds, the best English moving horses are slightly cow hocked like Verticle said. I guess my point in this post is -other than to point out an obsevation I've made through the years - is that if you have a horse that doesn't always place so well in halter, don't write them off because they may be the next driving champion!

Also, I sure am glad we people don't have to stand up to conformation tess. I'd be picked dead last as I have a terrible way of wearing my shoes down on one side. Actually, I don't know a lot of people that are truly "straight legged" LOL
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the conformational outline that each breed has accepted as "ideal" is not the only one that works! If my horse's only "fault" is that he doesn't have a table-top croup and he's got too much muscle for today's refined halter horses, you bet I'm going to snicker if someone tells me he's not good for anything. Are you kidding?!
I wouldn't want to be driving one of those truly twiggy little ones with no leg bone in a marathon, that's for sure. (No, I'm not flaming halter horses.
) Give me my cowhocked, good shouldered, sturdy little fella anyday. That's the problem with judging only for an outline- people start forgetting to pay any consideration to what each of those parts DOES and only look for "the picture" regardless of whether that picture is put together to do what you want it to.

On cowhocks- TRUE cowhocks, according to Deb Bennett, have stifles that face straight forward, hocks that point inward and toes that point out. This gives his muscular quarters a narrow or pinched look, i.e. a line between his stifles would be too short. His toes point out more than his stifles, and he will stand with his cannon bones non-parallel (diverging). A horse with this fault carries his weight on the inside edges of his hind hooves. (I have a great picture which shows what she means, I'll scan it tonight when I get home.) That said, the normal and desirable condition of the equine hind limb from an anatomical standpoint is parallel cannon bones with the toes pointing out to the same degree as the stifle! This doesn't mean with no distance between them, not at all, but have you ever watched a horse move from behind? They move those hind legs by rolling the stifle to the outside and clear of their rib cage and as the leg moves back again it comes back into straightness. A horse whose legs are straight to begin with suffers from wobble during thrust and is more prone to injury. Another place where "text book perfect," isn't. (Again, as someone else said, you can set up a correct horse to look like their hind legs are straight. That's fine. It's only if the horse really stands that way that you have problems.)

People conformation...yeah, I won't go there this morning! LOL. One reason I hate to see a sweet or good horse written off because it happened to be born in a body that isn't what the showring wants. Not its fault!

Marsha Cassada said:
What would a "camped behind" hind end do in driving?  Would there be a special way to trim for this, such as being sure to keep toes short?  Would keeping heels short cause stress on the ligaments?  Just looking at the hoof flat might not lead to correct trim.
I don't know how to answer your trimming question, but camped out behind is basically overangulation according to "Principles of Conformation Analysis." Too much bone length trying to fit between the back and the ground! She classifies it as a "primitive" condition, not a harmful one. A high degree of it however, not a folded up Z in the butt but totally ziggy legs, will predispose the horse to bony and ligamentous pathologies of the back of the hock (spavins, etc.) and to stifle strain. It's bad for jumping as the horse is putting too much strain on a weak part of their body. This is one of those areas I suspect can get really confusing as different degrees combined with other conformation factors causes totally different results in an individual. I still haven't figured my own horse out! I'm settling for dealing with what I have right now and I'll figure out the why's of how he moves later.

Leia
 

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