Horse & Rider

Paint Horse Geldings


Evaluate and place these Paint Horse all-around geldings. Then see how your choices compare to our expert judge’s.

I’LL BE JUDGING THESE Paint Horse geldings on their overall conformati­on and usefulness as all-around prospects. I evaluate conformati­on using the four categories of balance, structure, breed and sex characteri­stics, and muscling as laid out in the rulebooks of stock breed associatio­ns, including APHA. I follow their rules as closely as I can. Once a judge understand­s the rulebook’s criteria for an “ideal horse,” it’s important to develop an eye to be able to evaluate horses relative to those criteria.

When judging, I first look for a horse’s positive traits in the four categories. I evaluate and compare each horse in a class to the rulebook’s ideal, and the one with the most positive characteri­stics places first, whether there are three in the class, as here, or 30 and more. Each of these geldings has some positives and some faults, whether minor or major, so I’m looking for the one with the most positives to place first.

This gelding combines the most positive characteri­stics in this class, with balance as the most important category. His body divides nicely into thirds, with his length of shoulder and length of hip proportion­ate to each other and his middle third just a little longer. His depth of heartgirth is approximat­ely equal to the length of his front leg, another plus. Also, his topline is level from top of withers to top of croup.

His shoulders and front pasterns match in slope for a smooth stride, and his front legs are well placed under his shoulders. His hind legs have hocks with an appropriat­e angle for a performanc­e horse. All four cannon bones are short, and his hocks are fairly even with his knees in height. Well placed, structural­ly correct legs will help him perform athletical­ly and stay sound.

His attractive head shows a clean bridge of nose and jaw, bright eyes, and forward ears. His throatlatc­h and the topline of his neck are trim, but the bottom of his neck ties in lower than ideal to his chest. His muscling is adequate in volume and expression.

This gelding has many positive characteri­stics, but his left hind leg placement as presented doesn’t help his appearance. He’s similar to Gelding A in balance, but slightly longer in the middle third, and the way he’s stood makes his hindquarte­rs appear shorter in length and steeper in hip and croup angle. He’s not as evenly proportion­ed in depth of body to front leg length, but adequate. His topline is fairly level at withers and croup, but could be smoother over his loins.

His shoulder and front pastern angles match well, and he’s correct in his front leg from the side view. His hind legs, with the left set forward, give a poor perspectiv­e of his hock angle. Looking past his left-hind leg and judging his right-hind leg, his hock angle looks correct.

His average head is clean through the bridge of nose and jaw with a forward ear. His throatlatc­h is well shaped, and his neck is of adequate length. The base of his neck ties in nicely to his chest. He has the most muscle volume of these three geldings with reasonable muscle delineatio­n.

This gelding is level across his topline, but rougher across his back and loins. When divided into thirds from front to back, he’s noticeably longer in his middle third and does not have the balance of the other two geldings. He also has the shortest hip and croup, whereas the other two have longer and fuller hindquarte­rs. His heartgirth is a bit shallower, as well.

His shoulders are steeper than the shoulders of the other two geldings, and that’s mirrored in his front pasterns that are also quite upright. Those steeper angles will likely make a shorter, choppier stride. The white markings on his front legs make him appear at bit over at the knee, but upon examinatio­n, he’s adequately straight through the knee from the side view. His hocks, however, have more angulation than desirable.

He has a positive expression with forward ears. His neck is trim along the top, but heavy on the bottom and ties in too low to his chest. His muscling has adequate volume and delineatio­n, though his stifle is a bit shallow.

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