Conformation concerns

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Jan 14, 2020
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Recently a 14YO TB mare became available in my area for purchase. This mare on paper is my DREAM HORSE! She is the affordable version of the horses I cared for growing up.

I met her today and she appears to have several obvious conformation issues. There are so many that I can understand why she was retired after only a couple races and she was NOT used as a broodmare. Some are preference others are structural.

-masculine head.
- ewe neck.
-too short of neck.
-withers are considerably higher than her hindquarters. Conditioning and weight gain would help but it is obvious that she has a very sloped race body type.
-needs serious muscle conditioning. She is a healthy weight but her shoulders and hindquarters need about 50+lbs of muscle between them to help with her proportions. From looking at her she should be about 1.5x wider than she is at her shoulders and hindquarters. I think this muscle gain would also make her short neck look more proportioned.
-back legs are VERY cow hocked! When she stands still her hocks twist in and touch. Her hocks also occasionally hit depending on the position her back legs are in right before she starts walking/trotting. (structural)
-pasterns are very long and and at a bad angle. She is VERY "coon footed." (structural)


With all her conformation issues aside from gentle hacking are there any disciplines that this mare could do?


I really enjoyed the article I have listed in this post. If I am understanding this article correctly it does appear that this mare could be used for dressage, which is what I would want to do with my "dream horse?"

This mare has a fantastic personality and a great mind! She appears to have no vices/triggers that commonly afflict retired race TBs. I know that unless I purchase and ship a mare from the east coast I will never have this opportunity again but at the same her conformation issues are SO obvious I don't think I can look past it.

I would like to suggest to the sellers what sort of owner/home they should be looking for due to her conformation. I know that sounds odd but the owners would appreciate that feedback. This mare is very special to them but they have never had the time to do anything more than arena riding with her/their other horses. They would like her to learn a new discipline at her next home and compete (specifically jumping or dressage).

Am I worrying over nothing? Is there a discipline this mare would be able to learn that wouldn't do a lot of damage to her already compromised body?
 

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
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...la la land
If her body is that bad i certainly would not want to be jumping her as it would put a lot of strain on joints. She could probably do dressage but might not be the most elegant or may find it difficult.
 
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Jan 14, 2020
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She could probably do dressage but might not be the most elegant or may find it difficult.
The mare likes to GO! But I definitely want to consider the longevity of my horse and I worry that with her confirmation "longevity" just isn't there. Maybe if there was only one structural issue, but her back legs have at least 2, I wasn't paying attention but after researching it online apparently "sickle leg" occurs at the same time with cow hock in TBs. I went back and looked at the pictures I was sent before seeing her and it does look like she has "sickle leg."

I had the sellers walk/trot her in the arena and then I did the same. I was a bit disappointed, her trot wasn't really anything special, I expected power from a horse her size.
 

Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
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If she really is as conformationally challenged as you describe I wouldn’t be buying. Power comes from behind, so if she’s no real muscle plus the other issues I imagine she would have a weak trot.
 
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carthorse

Super Moderator
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Jan 6, 2006
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Some of those wouldn't be an issue and some could probably be worked around, but the hind legs, pasterns and coon footed would stop me buying. Why buy problems, particularly ones that are going to make it much harder to do what you want to do, or indeed even keep a horse sound? It really isn't worth it, there are lots of horses out there that would be more suitable.
 
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Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I’ve become much more critical of conformation, longevity is high on my priority list as I always want a forever horse and conformation faults will eventually catch up with them.
Having said that I know some very conformationally challenged horses who have lived long lives, despite it, but generally they have had low mileage lives doing low level work.
Low level dressage is attainable for most and often a benefit for a horse with a physical problem as it helps strengthen the body correctly.
I’d be loathed to make any recommendation on future prospects to a seller, if they want an assessment they should seek the opinion of a local professional.
 
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