Sunday, October 9, 2011

Potential buys and a few thoughts

I have seen two horses so far on my quest to find the right mount for me, a mare and a gelding.  I know that I probably have a long way to go before I do find the perfect horse {my instructor said that she saw a good 30 horses before she found her current one} but I have fairly high hopes for the next one considering that it was actually recommended to me. 

Anyway, some thoughts on the two I just saw:

The mare was advertised as an Andalusian type but seriously?  She looked like a TB.  It was another case of a horse turned out in the paddock and never looked at. 

She was ribby, skinny and not just ‘in paddock condition’ ~ I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a belly fully of worms because the grass was up around her hocks but she was still so thin.  Her feet were ridged and bumpy; a classic sign of malnutrition.  Like the picture below, although her toes weren’t turned up:


Still, she had a pretty face and sweet look about her.  She also had really nice clean legs.  Unfortunately the clincher for me was that she was lame.  Not badly, but enough to notice on the lounge rein.  Apparently she did something to herself four months ago when she got out of her paddock.  They found her wandering around on the road{!} and she’d strained something. 

After four months of paddock rest ~ she’s not going to get better by herself.  The sad thing about it is that I reckon it’d only take a quick visit from the chiropractor to fix her as I suspect she’s just got her left hip or pelvis out of joint.  Nothing serious, such a quick fix, but it still hasn’t been done. 

I so wish I could have taken her: I really liked the look of her, and she seemed sensitive, but I think if you took the time to earn her trust she would really preform for you.  I told them to call me if they got her fixed up and she came up sound, but I have a funny feeling I’ll never hear from her owner again which sucks.  At one time she was with someone who loved her and had trained her well.  She knew what she was doing.  It’s such a waste, but I really don’t know what I can do in that sort of situation. I can’t afford to take the risk on her or I totally would have…    *sigh*

The next fellow was again in paddock condition, but he was shiny, healthy and happy.  He was a seven year old TB x QH; very quite.  He had the TB head and the QH neck and haunches.  He was quiet and had REALLY good brakes!  

He didn’t really strike me as a performance horse though, and I don’t think we really clicked.  He was too sluggish and just didn’t seem interested.  I don’t know if he’d pick up with consistent work, but as the owner didn’t want to trial him{which I understand, but there are ways to make that work} so I can’t really judge. 

And he didn’t have the greatest conformation ~ his left fore turned out slightly, so his movement was a bit weird from the front at a trot and I am pretty sure he has downhill conformation {ie ~ his croup is higher than his whither} which means it’s harder for him to get his hindquarters underneath him.  Like so:


Apparently that is quite common among the QH ~ downhill conformation is not necessarily a drawback in Western riding.  However, good collection is essential for any level of dressage or show jumping so I personally found it pretty easy to nix him on that count, and then add the backward type personality and well, he’s not the boy for me. 

So on with the hunt; which is fine with me.  : )

See ya!


P.S ~  This thread puts it nicely concerning conformation and the downhill-uphill differences.

It's rather a matter of horses for courses. A downhill built horse is designed more for short sprints, quick turning on the hind quarters, sudden stops (not the reining kind the one where they bounce around on their front legs in the oh so attractive and comfortable way, lol). However they will sustain more concussion on their front legs, and often suffer more from both interarticular and periarticular ring bone. Downhill built horses are good for short distance racing, cutting, sporting etc. However for the "English" disciplines it's going to fall short.

A horse built uphill will be lighter and more balanced, less likely to fall on the forehand and there is noticeably less concussion on the front legs. The reason a downhill horse will have less balance is because horses naturally have about 60% - 40% to 75% - 25% of weight ratio front to back (meaning the front legs carry more weight naturally) so imagine trying to lift this and shift the centre of balance back off it, it'll be substantially harder. A horse that's built uphill will have more ability to place it's centre of gravity back and "sit on it's haunches" during high levels of collection. A horse built uphill will also have an advantage in the show jumping ring because they're already angling up and find it easier to lift their front end out of the way. A reining horse will also benefit from an uphill conformation because it's easier to drop their hind quarters and tuck under themselves while lifting the front end out of the way.

So depending on what you want to do the conformation that is ideal will vary. Because I ride English I'd never consider a downhill built horse because it just doesn't work for what I want to do. But if I was cutting or a sporter then it'd be different.

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