- There are five main principles to look for when judging a horse’s conformation
- “Balance”- “equal distribution of muscling and weight from the front of the horse to the back of the horse”
- “Structural Correctness” – correct bone structure, especially in legs and feet, for proper movement – related to balance
- “Way of Going” – how the horse moves – influenced by correct or incorrect structure
- “Muscling” – the amount and distribution of muscle on a horse – related to balance
- “Breed and Sex Character” (“Type”) – how well the horse exhibits the characteristics of the breed – this is not always important, depending on what the horse is used for
- There are several angles to consider when looking at a horse’s conformation. These include the topline, the shoulder, the neck, and the hip angles.
- Horses should be viewed from the front, the side, and the back, because there can be flaws in the legs that affect how the horse moves.
- Most lines involving the legs should be straight; crooked or bent lines can indicate flaws in the conformation, but the effects of these can range in severity, depending on which flaw is present.
- A good conformation, or ideal proportions, helps the horse to remain sound (unlikely to sustain injuries and free from any type of pain that leaves the horse unable to withstand work), although some horses that do not have ideal proportions can stay sound for the extent of their lives.
Duberstein, Kylee Jo. “Evaluating Horse Conformation (B 1400).” University of Georgia Extension, 14 Mar 2016. http://extension.uga.edu. Accessed 6 Sep 2016.