Con­for­ma­tion Clinic With Julie Winkel

Place these horses in your or­der of pref­er­ence. Then turn the page to see how your choices com­pare to sporthorse judge Julie Winkel’s.

Practical Horseman - - Features -

Which Thor­ough­bred hunter has the best con­for­ma­tion? Com­pare your plac­ings to our judge’s.

Whether judg­ing a model class, eval­u­at­ing a prospect for a client or sizing up the year­lings at home, I first stand back and look for an over­all im­pres­sion of bal­ance and sym­me­try. My ideal horse “fits” in a square box. By that, I mean he is de­fined by match­ing and equal parts, both front to back and side to side. This al­lows for ath­letic abil­ity, sound­ness, train­abil­ity and longevity in the job.

A horse who fits in a box will have a body made up of one-third shoul­der, one-third back and one-third hindquar­ters. I like to see the withers and point of croup at the same level. The horse’s stance, from point of shoul­der to but­tock, should equal the dis­tance from the height of the withers to the ground.

I also al­ways look at the eyes be­cause I want to see a horse with clear, alert vi­sion. From the head, I move down the neck to the shoul­ders and along the back to the hind-end and leg con­struc­tion.

For jumpers, the em­pha­sis should be on hindquar­ters with a good length from the hip­bone to the point of the but­tock for power off the ground. For hunters, the em­pha­sis should be a level topline from ears to tail, a well-sloped shoul­der for fluid move­ment and abil­ity to lift in the air. For dres­sage, a more up­right build and a shorter neck are de­sired.

12-year-old mare Thor­ough­bred DIS­CI­PLINE: Hunters/Dres­sage

18-year-old geld­ing Thor­ough­bred Hunters DIS­CI­PLINE:

5-year-old geld­ing Thor­ough­bred Hunters DIS­CI­PLINE:

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