Friday, 05 June 2009

Halter Conformation and What Wins

So what conformational traits do you see in the AQHA, APHA, ApHC, etc. halter horses that you absolutely cannot stand? I know some will say posty hocks and that's a big one for me as well, but what other common traits do you see?

I am a leg gal, first and foremeost. If the horse doesn't have good legs, all the balance and type in the world is not going to keep the horse sound. Before any halter people jump down my throat, I AM a halter person, but I do not agree with the leg confo that passes in the pen and wins. There is no reason why a horse whos knees and toes point east and west should be a Reserve World Champion. None at all. The filly I am speaking of possibly had some of the worst front legs on a halter horse I had ever seen. I'll give you two guesses as to who the sire was. So, what are the faults you are seeing that are being rewarded and perpetuated in the halter pen?


colorisnteverything said...

I hate hate hate horses that have short, upright pasterns. This is the worst really for me. Soundness is key and short, upright pasterns will undermine this.

Second of all are small feet. This is not good. My mare has a half sister who was out of a dam with small feet. Not outrageously small (she's still around and sound at 23), but still pretty small. The sire had big feet, but the mare got teeny tiny feet. She's never been sound for more than a few months at a time and the people who bought her to show her now breed her.

Small feet and short, upright pasterns are aweful and I see them all of the time.

kestrel said...

Obese halter horses. The public no longer has any idea of what fit horses look like, and I've seen more than one well meaning amateur blast someone riding a fit and healthy glowing horse because they think it's being 'staaarved.' The ammi's horse is in much more danger. A horse can go a long way down in weight and still recover, while even moderately obese horses can develop deadly conditions in a heartbeat.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Lack of bone!

It's a trend that moved from the halter horse world to the riding horse world. I just don't understand wanting a 1200lb horse that stands on twigs.

CK said...

Small feet and short, upright pasterns, diaper butts.

Toni said...

The thing that irritates me the most is the one's that can't even lock in their knees. They look like they are about to topple over at any minute.

snaffles said...

Legs, legs, legs - if you don't have the structure to hold the foundation up, what good is the rest of the horse? All of the muscling, and all of the pretty in the world wont do you a bit of good.

Yes posty is a peeve - a little posty isn't the worst, like a little set its forgiveable. No angulation at all is a severe conformational defect that should be judged harshly. Certainly not rewarded with the breeds highest honor - an AQHA World Championship. For AQHA to allow that to happen then to have the QHJ run the Hocks article a couple months later - was truly laughable. If your best judges can't tell the very worst - something that is so obvious that a first year 4-H kid can pick out we have problems.

I love halter horses, we have some exceptionally hocked halter horses, we have great legged halter horses - just as we need to shine the light on our correct performance horses - we need to do the same on the correct halter horses - yet still not be afraid to say why certain traits are not acceptable regardless or not of whether somebody deems it 'fashionable'.

kestrel said...

Bad stifles are the worst. I've seen halter horses that are so tied in at the stifle that their hind legs can't slide up under their belly. Guess what places in the peanut rolling shuffle?

PaintJunkie said...

Off topic. Why aluminum shoes on halter horses instead of regular keg shoes?

Why only front feet?

~*~Lysh~*~ said...

Please stop by my blog to retrieve your "Honest Scrap Award" -

success in the pen said...

I honestly don't have an intelligent answer for you. However, from the knowledge that I do have, aluminum are lighter weight than keg shoes. When you have a 1500 pound animal walking around with crappy legs, tiny feet, and keg shoes, sometimes deviations of gait are more noticeable. Another aspect is wedges. I have yet to see a 3 degree wedge keg shoe. I'm not saying that they may not exist, just that I have never seen one. I have keg shoes on my halter mare's hind feet but I have a 3 degree aluminum wedge on her fronts. She just does not have much heel at the moment. She had almost nonexistent feet when I bougt her and we are working to get her back to the correct angles.

Some halter people also use aluminum wedges to "even" one out that may be a tad butt high. Not that it necessarily works, but some halter people will try and believe in anything if they "think" it has worked for someone else.