Conformation of horse! – What does this mean?
Horse and pony conformation is the overall shape of the horse, the way it is put together.
These factors will determine the soundness and ability of the horse throughout his life, and to which discipline he will be best suited for, not forgetting a comfortable ride.
General good conformation rules
Conformation varies according to the type and breed of the horse, but one rule remains the same.
The horse should be built in proportion, for example, the head should look the right size for the body.
A small neat head, large clear bright eyes, sloping
shoulders and pasterns, short back, powerful hindquarters, good bone
circumference below the knee, are all considered good qualities when viewing a
This splendid horse is a good example of equine conformation at its best for the show ring.
It’s hard to find a horse with perfect conformation, as many have good and bad points. Despite this, many horses excel even with conformation faults.
How to asses conformation
Horse and pony conformation should be assessed from the ground and when riding the horse. If the horse is unbroken, you can only assess from the ground.
If you are viewing a horse in poor condition you will need a “good eye” to assess the animal.
For instance, the conformation needed for horse racing,reining,dressage or horse jumping would all differ slightly from each other.
Skill is required to decide if the horse has the right shape and make for the work you intend it to do.
At the opposite end of the scale, an obese horse can make it difficult to visualise what it should look like at the correct weight.
If you are knew to horses, it is always wise to take along an experienced person to view a horse.
Not all sellers are honest, and some will convince you that the horse is perfect for what you want, when in fact it is not.
Could you tell if a horse was lame?
Would you know if a horse was “napping” when you were riding it?
Would you be able to feel if the horse had done very little flatwork?
If the answer is no, then take someone else with you.