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NSH/Friesian cross mare!

Breed: Friesian/National Show Horse (Saddlebred/Arabian) cross mare
Age: 3 year old, 15hh
Future job: bred for dressage
Owner: trigger_happy01 (thanks for the opportunity to critique!)
From Conformation Critique

From Conformation Critique

From Conformation Critique

First, starting with overall balance we can see that this mare is pretty well balanced, with her shoulder being slightly larger than the rest of her thirds (purple lines). A body that is well balanced will give more athletic advantage and staying power.

Moving on, this mare has an excellent shoulder, with a very nice slope (around 50 degrees) and a decent medium length. Once again, this will increase her stride length, which is needed for just about any type of performance activity, including dressage. Her humerus also has a decent slope to it as well (green lines). However the humerus is not sloped enough to be really suitable for a serious jumping career (a top-level jumper will have an angle closer to 45 degrees and longer than this mare’s humerus) and is not a very long bone, which will not add to the length of her stride.

This mare has a nice long hip with a good slope, both of which will lend power to her hind end (pink lines). Her hind end is overall excellent! Look at the angle from the point of her buttock to her stifle, to her hock — this level is good and shows legs that are not sickle hocked or overly straight. She will be able to step under herself nicely and have a lot of hind-end power: ideal for just about any sport discipline!

Her back is on the long side, which is fairly common for both her Friesian and Saddlebred ancestry (Arabians tend to have shorter backs). A long back will make her stride smooth but will lend itself to back problems, especially in the loin area. Horses with long backs should tend to avoid heavier riders (or at least unbalanced heavier riders) and need to be worked in ways that encourage them to lift their back or else they will be prone to sway back and weakness as they age. Proper classical dressage will be a GOOD sport for this horse to pursue — if worked correctly through the back she will be able to stay strong.

This mare has a beautiful neck that, if I had to nitpick, I would say it is a little too thin and short for her. Again, proper work emphasizing her topline when she is under saddle will likely improve this trait. She has a lovely clean throat-latch (which helps poll flexion and proper breathing).

I really like this mare’s bone. Her body matches her bone thickness, which is fairly light overall but clean and flat nonetheless. Her legs from the side have nice joints. She has lovely nice short cannon bones, which are always preferable for soundness. She an almost ideal pastern length — not too long and not too short to lend itself to power but also appropriate “springy-ness” to the stride. Notice how her pastern angle pretty much matches the angle of her shoulder? That is what you want to see, assuming the shoulder has a good slope!

With respect to her front-end conformation shot…
From Conformation Critique

A line dropped from the point of the shoulder to the center of the foot should bisect the knee, cannon, fetlock and toe. Here it appears that the left leg has better conformation, with the line bisecting the leg until it reaches the fetlock before deviating out slightly. This is called being “toe out”, and is one of the more common faults. Being toe out puts more stress on the inside of the leg (or in this case, the fetlock). This mare’s right leg appears to have a higher deviation outward from this photo, so that the whole leg appears rotated slightly outward. Horses with these kinds of conformation faults will tend to “wing” when moving, potentially causing interference. Older horses with this kind of conformation are often seen with popped splints due to the strain on the inside of the leg as wells as the potential for whacking themselves. There is some speculation that “winging” makes the stride less efficient (especially at the trot) due to timing and placement of the feet. Overall this fault is not extreme in this mare, but would be something to keep an eye on — especially if the legs don’t match, because more strain on one side of the body will contribute further to back and shoulder issues. Another thing to note is that this could just be the photo (note how the hind legs are not directly behind the fronts?) and the right leg, like the left, is just somewhat toe-out, with the deviation starting in the fetlock rather than higher up.

From the front-end photo, this mare appears very slightly base narrow (meaning there is a greater distance between the forearms than between the feet (green lines). Being base narrow means there is more strain on the outside of the legs. Again, this is not extreme in this mare, but something to note nonetheless.

Overall this is a nicely conformed mare that should perform well at dressage.

What do you think about her?



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 10th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you Lurath! Very informative!
Jun. 10th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
She's a lovely mare — I particularly like how her hind-end is conformed.

Are you still planning on using her for dressage?
Jun. 10th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! Our first classical dressage clinic is scheduled for mid-July. I'm excited to get started! She's shown in the past 30 days under saddle, that she has an exceptional mind and only wants to please her rider, she hasn't played any games or shown any type of nastiness at all undersaddle.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )