Con­for­ma­tion Clinic

Judge these ju­nior Quar­ter Horse mares.

Horse & Rider - - Contents -

IN A CON­FOR­MA­TION CLASS, I look at the horses’ pro­files for an over­all pic­ture. I’m search­ing for the one that looks like ev­ery­thing fits to­gether smoothly, rather than the one made up of ran­dom parts. I won’t talk my­self into choos­ing one con­tender or out of choos­ing an­other. When I walk around a horse, I’m look­ing at struc­tural com­po­nents. A horse can have a mi­nor fault such as a lit­tle more com­mon head or a foot that turns out just a bit, and that won’t change my plac­ing based on my orig­i­nal as­sess­ment of over­all bal­ance. Over­all bal­ance over­rides small flaws, as we can see in this class of mares.

A ma­jor flaw, such as toe­ing out a lot, can take the best-bal­anced horse off the top of my list. How­ever, I would take her only to the bot­tom of her group­ing, not the bot­tom of the class. That means if there are three well-bal­anced horses in a class of eight, the best bal­anced with a ma­jor flaw would be placed third, not eighth.

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