Margo Ball

Eval­u­ate and place these breed­ing stock Paint geld­ings. Then see how your choices com­pare to our ex­pert judge’s.

Horse & Rider - - Practice Pen Conformation Clinic - Horse­

Ball holds judge’s cards with the Paint, Quar­ter Horse, and Palomino breed as­so­ci­a­tions and NSBA, as well as with the Na­tional Rein­ing, Na­tional Reined Cow Horse, and World Con­for­ma­tion Horse As­so­ci­a­tions. From her Ball’s Quar­ter Horses in Fort Collins, Colorado, Ball breeds all-around horses; trains Quar­ter Horses for hal­ter, Western plea­sure, and ranch rid­ing; and shows in NRHA and AQHA rein­ing events.

She’s trained and shown horses to mul­ti­ple AQHA cham­pi­onships and su­pe­rior event ti­tles in hal­ter and per­for­mance, as well as to PHBA and IBHA world cham­pi­onships. She also coaches a se­lect group of ama­teur com­peti­tors.

Iwant good over­all bal­ance and struc­tural cor­rect­ness. A horse’s shoul­ders should be long and well-laid-back and com­ple­ment well-sloped hips of equally ad­e­quate length. He should have a short, strong topline; good depth to his heart­girth; and a long, trim neck. The topline of his neck should be twice as long as the bot­tom line of his neck, with a high tie-in to his shoul­der.

While some vari­a­tion from text­book struc­ture is okay, too much de­vi­a­tion from ideal causes un­due stress to other body struc­tures, re­sult­ing in poor per­for­mance and di­min­ished longevity. Ide­ally a horse’s hocks should be ad­e­quately an­gled so that a straight line can be drawn from the point of his hips through his hocks and straight down through his can­non bones to the heels of his hind feet. His pastern an­gle should be sim­i­lar to his shoul­der an­gle and not be ex­ces­sively long. Long or overly an­gu­lar pasterns can lead to soft-tis­sue is­sues.

A geld­ing’s over­all at­trac­tive­ness is based mostly in his form to func­tion. In terms of muscling, the main dif­fer­ence be­tween a hal­ter-only horse and a per­for­mance horse is the ex­pres­sion of the mus­cle. A rid­ing horse will have a smoother look to his muscling. →

To sub­mit a photo of your horse to be eval­u­ated in Con­for­ma­tion Clinic, send us a left-side pro­file photo of your horse (for dig­i­tal pho­tos: high- res­o­lu­tion, 300 dpi, in at least 3" x 5") to with your con­tact info and your horse’s breed, age, gen­der, and height. (We wel­come all breeds!) Visit for ad­di­tional in­struc­tions.

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