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.