Discussion of Horse Conformation

May 12, 2017 3:25 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Discussion of  Horse Conformation
My slogan listed below is first based on a overall assessment of our athlete; you as an athlete and your mindset.
Today- I would like to start by giving an overview of some common conformation problems that may effect our horse and his ability to carry out what it is you are asking of him.
Does this mean we have to have the perfect conformation? Absolutely not, But we should have an overall awareness when deciding what discipline our horse is most suited for, This would be very important.
This blog is not to discredit our horses we love, rather to be fair in our training and what we are asking of our horses.
This blog is also geared to those looking for a specific horse to purchase and what qualities would be beneficial to help him perform that which you are looking to accomplish. We certainly can realize that if you can identify some very important conformation problems, then you can now make a well informed purchasing choice, Right? This in turn will bring your training to a more successful outcome faster and much easier.
It’s always important to evaluate conformation and teach the importance of Sport Psychology, not only does one affect the other but by understanding we realize where and how to accomplish the goals we set out for the team ( You and your horse).
“No matter what discipline you ride- when you find center, you will find the athlete your horse was born to be.”© (Linda Ketter)
That being said… I will get right to the point of the norm and ideal structure for both the forelimbs and the Hindquarters. When evaluating your horses a vertical line measuring his forelimbs, you take a measuring tape from the point of the shoulder through the center of the radius the carpus which is the knee, his cannon known as his metacarpal, down through the pastern right down through the center of his toe to a level ground surface. If in any way the angle changes or deviates as you reach the ground surface, it is showing you that there is a incorrectness in the lateral balance of his foot. If it reaches the ground center, you are clear to go you are on the right track.
If you were on the other end where the center moved outside or inside off the center line we would see improper alignment of leg resulting in incorrectness.

When identified we start evaluating and there should be a couple of questions that trigger in your mind. Is the anatomic structure something that would hinder him in the chosen discipline? Is the conformation issue so incorrect he would be overly penalized for it in his particular discipline, and is it something we can overcome in his development and training?.
Other questions to consider- If it is a pleasure horse to enjoy out on the trails, will it cause any safety or lameness issues? These would be obvious to consider when purchasing a new horse. If it is a horse you already own, is it something I can correct to the best of his ability? Can I effectively use him without putting strain on his ligaments, and/or if it’s a young horse will it put unusual strain on his bone and development formation? If these are in question, a consideration of a sport horse might be a bit more questionable?.

Incorrect conformations have some negative developments that could show themselves more often than not and you should be careful if purchasing a horse that has them. If a horse you already own has some of the incorrect angle of limb deformities don’t be disheartened as many of these horses can overcome through some tracking and development exercises, shoeing, as well as conditioning. Many develop to be amazing horses.

In everyone who already owns or has that nice minded horse, but have some conformation challenges. “where there is a will, there is a way to make him find CENTER and be the athlete you intended him to be.” If you are purchasing s new horse as stated beforehand, be in check with your observation as it will only make your experience easier and all that more promising.
Listing a few of these deformities and knowing many of them thought to be contributing factors of development. Many are a genetic predisposition that can be  caused by a nutritional deficiencies, There are several other causes such as mineral deficiency, immune disorders, stress as some types of viral infections all can trigger these types of outcomes with deformities in young developing horses.
Narrow horses in the front may in many cases may cause leg misalignment.  Some horses with knock knee or back at the knees  can cause a negative stress on the limbs. In most, you will see a variety of issues develop. One common problem would be splints and  wind puffs which seem sometimes minor, sometimes  it can however lay a horse up for several weeks. Suspensory problems are common and relevant to narrowness in horses. A narrow base in the rear can also cause balance issues. When deformities or abnormalities are present this would then be the time to consider the horses discipline consideration that may or may not affect his abilities for a athletic career. This will give you development ideas for his future training program.
On the other hand your wide based horses tend to be heavy with the potential of stress points to the leg, and back issues. A lot of people perceive a wide based horse as attractive based on the appearance of his width and bulky structure . On the contrary, in many cases they possess a muscle mass greater than that of the rear hindquarters. This causes muscular tension through the spine. Keep in mind that we are looking for relaxation through the back and spine in order for our horses to develop soft and supple movements, as well as soft beautifully executed upward and downward transitions.
Other related problems causing inflammatory conditions around the hip and other joints would be that of the horses who may be abnormally long through the back. These ligaments can become strained and stressed over time, and in many cases can cause hyper-extension and  small tears. This can cause soreness in his pelvic, hip, and back areas. In your training, be aware of these discomforts and the attitude being presented.
These are just a few of the common combinations that reflect the horses response to his training
( Take a special note of mental mindset of the potential athlete)

I hope you have gained a little insight to some of the conformation issues, and also learning what to expect from your athlete. Stay in check with Linda Ketter and her blog until next week where we will be discussing the execution of beautiful transitions. Sign up for your lesson today. or connect with me for CLINICS with your farm or organization.
Till then All the best to you and your horses; Linda Ketter

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