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not a critique, just a general question

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Sara
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not a critique, just a general question
This is a general question for everyone here. Do you have a conformation flaw that automatically disqualifies a mare from being bred? I guess I got kind of used to seeing the truly horrible examples on FHOTD and then it's obvious they should not be bred. Then I see people's horses here and the flaws are generally so slight that it seems most could be taken to a carefully selected stallion and still produce a good foal. If you have a mare who has competed successfully and stayed sound with a slight flaw, do you take that into consideration when deciding whether to breed her? Do you think that this "what's inside?", as Heidi puts it, can be passed to her foal? I've never been a student of conformation. It's something I'd like to learn and I'm trying to piece it together, but until meeting people here I always just looked at each horse as a whole animal and either like her or I don't. I have a hard time pulling the pieces apart to actually do a critique. For me, I think the only thing (other than a FHOTD-type example) that would knock a mare out of consideration for breeding is an inability to track up, which is only partly related to conformation. Oh, also, poor form over fences.
accphotography
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

There are several for me (no order):

Significant cow hocks
Badly offset knees
Significantly back or over at the knee (wouldn't touch either no matter what)
Excessively steep croup
Excessive sickle hocks (slight is acceptable if bred correctly)
Very post legged
Very long and/or weak back
Poor neck (be it excessively thick, tied too low, ewe-necked, too thin, etc.)

Probably more. Guess you could say I'm picky. But honestly, none of those are negotiable for me.

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Sara
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Right, but in each example you said "significant" or "very" or "excessively". With that qualifier, I'm picturing a horse that even a novice would be able to say "there's something wrong there". Am I reading this wrong?

I thought of a couple that would disqualify a mare from my broodmare herd even with a stellar performance record; parrot mouth (or any bite deformity that requires special dental care) or feet that need special shoeing.

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accphotography
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Well I'm one that believes proper hoof care can take care of most feet. I don't have much experience with parrot mouths, but I understand your point and agree.

I'm not sure the average person would see some of those faults, especially since it subjective. I've already been torn to pieces by people because I said a horse was very sickle hocked and they said it was only slight if at all so it's hard to say who would see my interpretation. Lacy is sickle hocked, but it is very, very slight IMO. I even have to really look and calculate to see it. That's not enough for me to say "nope, not breeding". Now a horse as sickled as my Classy was, especially when combined with her other faults, nope. Not a chance. Now I've taken photos of her that someone would have to *really* look to see her sickle hocks, but for those that really know structure (or those that really know photography and how it effects a horse's appearance) it's still clearly there.

In addition to that, I know people that would breed horses with apparent sickle hocks, cow hocks, post legs, steep croups, etc. Some people even breed specifically for those faults (halter people for instance). Now things like badly offset knees I think can be missed ALOT. It's not relative IMO, but it's just something some people don't notice. Some people don't notice back and over at the knee either. Poor neck is very subjective too (and also somewhat dependent on discipline).

I'm rambling. So overall, no. I think there are some things that would throw a horse out for me that wouldn't for other people, and even some that would go unnoticed by them. I would show you some examples of what would say NO to me, but likely wouldn't for other people, but I don't have permission to post any such horses.

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Sara
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Can you post a photo of Classy that disguises the sickle hocks?

The trouble with some flaws is that they can sometimes be caused by work or training and will not be passed on. For example, being over at the knee can be caused by riding too early. Cow hocks can appear in a young horse or a horse out of work, but when the horse is put into work and the hindquarters start to muscle up, the cow hocks straighten. I've noticed this one with horses in my own barn.

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accphotography
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Sure. It's on my old computer so I'll have to do some digging, but I'll try to get to it tonight.

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NZ Appaloosas
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Here's the thing, and it is something that I think many breeders today have lost...and that is the knowledge to see how a horse is put together and to weigh out what a particular mare and stallion bring to the pairing. Too many people go after the pedigree (and I think MP's farrier's horse is a good example). Because Stallion Y is gorgeous and Mare X is gorgeous and they both have winning records, the foal should be gorgeous...yet the stallion and mare may have the exact same faults which stand then to be exaggerated in the foal.

A good example is Bubba--he is, in my opinion, the best conformed out of that season's crop. But if you go back to his maternal great-grandmother, you'd say "why the h*ll did anyone breed HER?" She was so fugly that she shouldn't have been allowed in public without a paper bag (we have her registration photo). But the man who had her saw something, bred her to the right stallion, and produced a mare that was definitely a piece of all right. Hubby then bred that daughter to the right stallion and produced Pepper, who when bred to Wap Spotted, produced Bubba...each generation improving on the previous. It's just a shame he's a colt and he's solid...the order for a spotted filly straw has already been given to the vet for next season. :laugh1

Diane

Jenks
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

For me? I want a horse that can compete at a national level in class A and still come home and be my friend. Sound, and happy. No hock injections. So my order is:

Good legs. Period. An absolute must. Anything else is almost minor in comparison. Then depending on discipline it would vary.

supaspot60
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Acc I dont understand why people would purposefully breed a horse for faults :? why ????

addition to that, I know people that would breed horses with apparent sickle hocks, cow hocks, post legs, steep croups, etc. Some people even breed specifically for those faults (halter people for instance). Now things like badly offset knees I think can be missed ALOT. It's not relative IMO, but it's just something some people don't notice. Some people don't notice back and over at the knee either. Poor neck is very subjective too (and also somewhat dependent on discipline).

RiddleMeThis
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Acc I dont understand why people would purposefully breed a horse for faults :? why ????

For 1 of at least two reasons.

Either 1 because they need those conformation faults to win (post legs in halter for example) or 2. because it makes them better at what they do. Sickle hocks for reining for example. Or severely down hill for western pleasure.

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NZ Appaloosas
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

For example, halter horse people want a horse that "stands up", bull-dog style, with muscles popping on the legs/shoulders/etc. They want straight (and I mean STRAIGHT/post) legs, upright pasterns, etc., as that they believe provides the look.

As RMT points out, reiners look for a slight sickle as that seems to help with the legs getting under them (same as with drafts). And the downhill build for WP gets the horse's head lowered without training...

Diane

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Re: not a critique, just a general question

And because a visual example always helps me

This horse has a ROM in Halter and also produced Champion and Reserve World Champion Halter Horses
IMAGE(http://m.b5z.net/i/u/6122014/i/TouchdownKid_ezr.jpg)

And another big sire
IMAGE(http://www.clarkrassi.com/thetopsecret/Top%20Secret%20Nov%20Chronicle%2008%20copy.jpg)

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Daylene Alford
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

I defiantly think sickle hocks being detrimental depends on what the horse is being used for. Take Tennessee walkers for example. They are purposely bred for long back legs (which mostly equates to sickle hocks) so that they have alot of overstride when doing the running walk. In fact a horse whose rear legs are pretty much square will be tend to do a rack rather than a running walk. Walking horses do tend to have a higher instances of locking stifle but it is generally said that a "loose" moving horse is more likely to have stifle problems and that is independent of breed and includes breeds such as fox trotters that aren't bred to have longer back legs. As far as I know (and excluding "performance" walkers) there is no higher incidence of lameness within walkers than any other breed.

Jenks
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

post legged horses run faster (TBs), sickle hocked horses get under themselves easier (gaited breeds), so those faults are accepted.

vneerland
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

As a general remark:
When I breed, I breed a sound animal for it's working ability. The inside counts way more than the outside. I agree with Jenks that some 'incorrect' traits aid certain (possibly wanted) behavior. I always try to remind myself that the names that people gave in conformation are mainly that. Names and labels, designed to distill an ideal (look) If a breeder can see past what is, into what can (easily) be, that is a good breeder in my book. 8-)

Heather
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

For me? I want a horse that can compete at a national level in class A and still come home and be my friend. Sound, and happy. No hock injections. So my order is:

Good legs. Period. An absolute must. Anything else is almost minor in comparison. Then depending on discipline it would vary.

Even good/excellent conformed animals at some point might have to be injected due the the abnormal sports that we ask of them. Hock injections I dont think = bad conformation. Just oil and lube like I might do to my car to keep it running smooth.

Morgan
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

As far as breeding FOR sickle hocks, that's not right. Breeding for a horse that stands under (which kind of looks sickle hocked if you dont look carefully) is different. A horse that stands under themselves a lot is able to stand correctly if you get them to untuck their bum, but they prefer standing the other way. Like V and her sire. In several of his photos he looks sickle hocked at first glance, but he's actually good. What he really has is slightly rump high which i think make him want to squat more. V does the same thing, it starts up at the angle of their pelvis rather than the hock. She'll never be a jumping horse and probably not terribly fast but that's not what she's bred for.
There are differences in lengths and angles between breeds and disciplines but correct applies to all breeds. A jumping horse does well with an open hock angle but it will be set correctly under the horse. A post legged halter horse might have nearly the same angle but the set of the stiffle completely changes things.
Some of thes terms are so vague too. Like camped out. All it tells you is that either the gasking is too long or the stiffle is too far back (or both). the hock can be any angle at all. And post legged, I usually think of those halter horses with their bums hanging off the back end but even if the line of the back leg meets the butt correctly is no garunteee that the hock isn't too open. Sickle hocked even, you can take two horses, one correct and one sickle and measure exactly the same angle at the hock, the difference really being in the stifle.

supaspot60
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

I can see your point but its due to breeding animals that are too exagerated which leads to the strains and injuries , I agree with jenks - I want my horses sound and happy. Im stunned at those pictures :shock: thats not to my taste Im afraid , Im not surprised they have problems like locked stifles (are the hock injections you mention some sort of anti- imflammitory ?)
I just wanted to add that although I breed miniatures now Ive bred/ridden/trained sport horses for over 35 years and whatever discipline they were being aimed at we always looked for a correct and balanced animal that could withstand hard work

NZ Appaloosas
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

post legged horses run faster (TBs), sickle hocked horses get under themselves easier (gaited breeds), so those faults are accepted.

I dunno if I'd call TBs "post-legged"...at least not in the sense I use the term in connection with halter horses. If you look at the picture ACC put up, you'll see that there is no bend in the back leg--no hock angle, very upright pastern--that's post-legged cuz the leg can be used a fence post. Not something I can recall seeing in TBs. Can you show some examples, Jenks?

Diane

NZ Appaloosas
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

As far as breeding FOR sickle hocks, that's not right. .

There's an article that came out in the past year that shows why breeding for a SLIGHT sickle is/can be beneficial, and that breeding for straight legs might be causing harm...I'm doing what I can to see if I can re-find the article, but it may take me a few.

Diane

Jenks
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Re: not a critique, just a general question
post legged horses run faster (TBs), sickle hocked horses get under themselves easier (gaited breeds), so those faults are accepted.

I dunno if I'd call TBs "post-legged"...at least not in the sense I use the term in connection with halter horses. If you look at the picture ACC put up, you'll see that there is no bend in the back leg--no hock angle, very upright pastern--that's post-legged cuz the leg can be used a fence post. Not something I can recall seeing in TBs. Can you show some examples, Jenks?

Diane

Perhaps I should have said "postier" ? LOL but most of the TBs I see that are famous for it, are on the posty side. Here's one - there is a famous TB in this class (from the old board):
Replacing photo with my own mare's posty rear end! Just because those photos were on the old site don't make me the owner.

Daylene Alford
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

The last one... I actually have his pic saved on my computer but not his name...

Jenks
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Ya, and the second to the last one is posty too. That's my mare Lacy's butt! She's 24. Never showed nationally or anything, but she's been a kids western show horse, a kids hunter show horse and a lesson horse. Still going - we don't do much anymore, but she's been a fantastic mare.

accphotography
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

I actually thought your Lacy looked dead on perfect in that photo IMO. Of course I also think that racehorse's build is to die for. I like a specific type. So shoot me. :lol:

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NZ Appaloosas
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

See, to me, the last two look like they're in more of a parked position, which is going to throw off leg angle...the first two, the hind legs are more directly underneath the hip, and thus give a truer view of the hock angle.

Diane

Jenks
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Well lets draw lines to be sure. If you remember, the second horse, -the stallion- had the best hind end angulation. Maybe we'll be able to better see why if we locate all the points and draw the lines?

RiddleMeThis
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Well lets draw lines to be sure. If you remember, the second horse, -the stallion- had the best hind end angulation. Maybe we'll be able to better see why if we locate all the points and draw the lines?

Im curious why you think the second horse has the best angles.I wouldnt touch that horses back end for any type of breeding with a ten foot poll.

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Jenks
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

As I said, we should show the why.

Sara
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Would this mare be considered post legged?

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Jenks
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

I'd say so in the hock...

I did Lacy's lines, and she too is just inside the line on the hock making her a little posty:

IMAGE(http://i694.photobucket.com/albums/vv309/Hijenks/LacyrearPosty.jpg)

NZ Appaloosas
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Re: not a critique, just a general question

Would this mare be considered post legged?

I wouldn't judge this mare, based on this photo...the tail hides the one hock, which is stretched back a bit, and the other leg looks to be more under the mare to compensate for the stretched out leg, which "distorts" the natural angle of the hock. Pasterns, on the other hand are definitely slanted, not upright, so that part of "postiness" is missing.

Diane

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