Evaluate and place these performance Paint geldings. Then see how your choices compare to our expert judge’s.
Curl started judging in 4- H. After her success as a youth at state- and national- level events, she was hired to judge local shows. She’s made a career of it, holding cards with AQHA, APHA, NSBA, PtHA, ApHC, and PHBA, among others. Curl has judged at national and international world shows, and other premier events.
She and her sister own a boarding facility where she teaches multi-discipline riding lessons. Curl is a 4-H team coach; her husband is a farrier; and her daughter, Shannon, trains horses. Curl says she “has the perfect life.” She enjoys judging great horses, meeting new people, and traveling.
Iassess balance and quality fi rst, but I also look at the flow of the entire picture. There are three essential characteristics: balance, smoothness and flow, and gender-/ breed-specific traits.
Good balance means the length of a horse’s neck, back, and hip are all equal. The neck should tie into the shoulder high. The throatlatch should be clean and thin to allow the horse to flex easily at the poll. A well-sloped shoulder, with close to a 45-degree angle, can swing forward to maximize front-leg reach. Shoulder angle should match the pasterns’ angle to absorb concussion. Too-steep shoulders and pasterns allow less freedom of movement. A horse should have prominent withers for best saddle fit and rideability. A strong, short back is also a must. Lack of back strength will cause a horse to break down over time, and collection will be difficult. The hips are a horse’s driving force that bring his hocks far forward. The knee-to-hock alignment should be level. An unlevel horse is always going to travel downhill and will be heavier on the front end.
Aesthetically, a horse should be pleasing. The head should be proportionate to the body. Muscling and gender characteristics are the least important, but nevertheless, a horse should have adequate muscling to move and carry itself well. →
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.