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  • 1. Conformation Anastasia Kellogg
  • 2. Head
    • Facial characteristics and desirable head profile varies from breed to breed
  • 3. Head
    • A concave profile is called a dished face (i.e Arabian)
  • 4. Head
    • A convex profile is called a roman nose, and is faulted in most, but not all, breeds
  • 5. Head
    • Generally, a straight profile, (or sometimes a dished face) is preferred
  • 6. Head
    • Larger nostrils provide for intake of air at speed
  • 7. Head
    • An overbite is called a parrot mouth (lower jaw short)
  • 8. Head
    • An undershot jaw may be called a bulldog bite or monkey mouth (lower jaw long)
  • 9. Head
    • The pronounced bulging forehead of the Arabian is called the jibbah
  • 10. Head
    • Eyes should be bright, widely spaced, and prominent, but not bulging (bovine eyes)
  • 11. Head
    • Eyes that are too small are called pig eyes
  • 12. Head
    • The Exmoor pony is noted for “toad eyes,” and the Appaloosa is noted for a visible white sclera
  • 13. Head
    • Paints, Pintos, and some other breeds sometimes have blue eyes, called glass eyes, while most horses have brown
  • 14. Head
    • The ears should be slender and alert
    • Ears that are too long are called mule ears
  • 15. Head
    • The Arabian is noted for ears that meet, or appear to meet, at a point in the center
  • 16. Neck
    • The length of the neck is said to have an affect on the horses stride
      • The shoulder actually has more influence on stride length
    • The throatlatch should be clean and trim, and the neck long and slightly arched (degree varies by breed)
  • 17. Neck
    • A neck is considered too long when it exceeds the length of the body
    • The ideal neck is one third the length of the entire horse
  • 18. Neck
    • A ewe neck is one concave from withers to poll, and interferes with flexibility
  • 19. Neck
    • A fallen crest occurs when fat deposits in the crest of the neck become so excessive as to fall to one side or the other; most common in ponies, draft breeds, and Morgans, especially stallions
  • 20. Neck
    • A bull neck is short and thick, with a short upper curve
  • 21. Neck
    • A knife neck is extremely thin, with poor muscle development on the top and bottom
  • 22. Forehand
    • The shoulder should slope at a 45 degree angle from the withers to the point of the shoulder; a straight shoulder shortens the stride, causing a trappy, pounding gait
    • The foreleg is attached to the body by the shoulder muscles, and there is no skeletal attachment
  • 23. Forehand
    • 60-65 percent of the weight is carried on the forelegs
    • The forearm should be twice as long as the cannon bone, and its length influences the length of the stride
    • The knee should be flat, wide, and clean
  • 24. Forehand
    • Tendons should be well defined, and should not be “tied in” behind the knee, as this indicates weakness
    • Sprung forward at the knees is said to be buck kneed, or over at the knees
  • 25. Forehand
    • Sprung back at the knees is said to be calf kneed
    • Calf knees are a serious fault and predisposes a horse to lameness
    • Buck knees are a minor fault, and some racehorse trainers prefer a horse to stand slightly forward in the knees
  • 26. Forehand
    • A horse having medial deviation at the knees is commonly called knock kneed
  • 27. Forehand
    • In a bow legged horse, the knees are too far apart, or laterally deviated
    • Bench knees are knees in which the cannon bone is off center, and they predispose the horse to medial splints
    • The pastern should slope at a 45 degree angle to the ground
  • 28. Forehand
    • Short upright pasterns cause a rough gait and can lead to osselets, navicular disease, and other problems
    • Excessively small feet predispose to navicular disease
    • Large, flat feet predispose to sole bruises, corns and other foot problems
  • 29. Forehand
    • Toeing out is standing splay footed, and causes dishing, or winging in
    • Toeing in is standing pigeon toed, and causes paddling, or winging out
  • 30. Top Line
    • The withers should be prominent; thick, meaty withers are called mutton withers
    • Horses are measured at the withers
    • The body should be deep, short, and have well sprung ribs
    • Depth through the heartgirth provides room for the heart and lungs
  • 31. Top Line
    • The back should be short and strong
    • Lordosis, or sway back, is a weakness causing extreme concavity in the back, and is sometimes associated with age, especially in broodmares
  • 32. Top Line
    • A convex bend in the back is called a roach back, and causes short stride and interferes with flexibility
    • A long back can predispose a horse to spinal injury, and interferes with athletic ability
  • 33. Top Line
    • The loin, or coupling, is the connection between the back and the hindquarters (space from last rib to hip) and should be short
    • A horse weak in the coupling will also be shallow in the flanks, and is called wasp wasted, herring gutted, or hound gutted
  • 34. Top Line
    • The croup should be level or slightly rounded, depending on the breed
    • The tail setting also varies with breed, with a higher tail preferred in the Saddlebred, Arabian, and Morgan
    • Too much slope in the croup is termed a goose rump
  • 35. Top Line
    • A smooth top line figures heavily in the judge’s first impression during a conformation class
  • 36. Underline
    • The underline should be smooth
    • A horse that is tucked up below the flanks is said to be wasp wasted, herring gutted, or hound gutted, and usually is also weak in the coupling
  • 37. Hind Legs
    • The hock and stifle are dependent joints
    • The hock is the hardest working joint in the body
    • Impulsion comes from the hind end
    • Hocks with excessive bend are called sickle hocks
  • 38. Hind Legs
    • Sickle hocks predispose to curb, or injury to the plantar ligament
    • Hocks which point towards one another are called cow hocks
    • A horse which is too straight in the hock is said to be post legged
  • 39. Additional External Anatomy
    • Chestnuts are natural horny growths on the the insides of the legs
    • Chestnuts are found above the knees and below the hocks
    • The shape of the chestnut may be used in identification
    • The ergot is a chestnut like growth on the back of the fetlock joint
  • 40. Additional External Anatomy
    • The top of the head is called the poll, and is formed by the summit of the occipital crest (top of the skull)
    • The six joints of the foreleg are the shoulder, elbow, knee, fetlock, pastern, and coffin joint
  • 41. Additional External Anatomy
    • The seven joints of the hind leg are the sacro-iliac, hip, stifle, hock, fetlock, pastern, and coffin
    • Conformation faults named after mammals include: bulldog bite, monkey mouth, pig eyes, mule ears, ewe neck, mutton withers, calf knees, buck knees, hound gut, and cow hocks
  • 42. Additional External Anatomy
    • Conformation faults named after birds include: goose rumped, parrot mouthed, pigeon toed