Con­for­ma­tion Clinic: Per­for­mance Quar­ter Horse mares.

Eval­u­ate and place these Quar­ter Horse mares. Then see how your choices com­pare to our ex­pert judge’s.

Horse & Rider - - Table Of Contents -

Karen McCuis­tion and her hus­band, Carl, train from their McCuis­tion Quar­ter Horses in Wil­son, Ok­la­homa, and fo­cus on rop­ing, rein­ing, work­ing cow horse, and ranch rid­ing dis­ci­plines. Karen earned her NRHA judge’s card in 1989 and has since added NR­CHA, NSBA, AQHA, APHA, PHBA, USEF, and FEI rein­ing cards. She judges at about 30 shows per year and has presided at the AQHA, APHA, and PHBA World Shows sev­eral times. She’s also judged in 22 coun­tries on five con­ti­nents.

Over­all bal­ance is the first and main thing I look for when judg­ing con­for­ma­tion. A stock-type horse needs to show both ad­e­quate muscling to be ca­pa­ble and strong, but also show re­fine­ment. I don’t care for over­done muscling—so much mass that it ac­tu­ally re­stricts free­dom of move­ment. A horse should ap­pear to be func­tional as a per­for­mance horse if that’s what she’s called upon to do. She should move lightly, rather than pound the ground, and cover as much ground as her struc­tural an­gles al­low. Struc­tural cor­rect­ness is also im­por­tant, and I watch for any de­fects that can af­fect sound­ness. I like a horse to show qual­ity of move­ment in her way of go­ing, and to see that she tracks straight and clean in her strides. I want to see good, solid bone struc­ture through the legs, and some re­fine­ment through the head and neck. Be­yond bal­ance and struc­tural cor­rect­ness, a win­ning horse should have eye ap­peal, too. Good breed char­ac­ter­is­tics make a horse stand out in a crowd. →


For a more de­tailed guide that’ll help you mas­ter Con­for­ma­tion Clinic, see “De­cod­ing Con­for­ma­tion Clinic” at C



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