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2 year old conformation
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Lee
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 Posted: Mon Jan 3rd, 2011 08:08 am
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Hi
When looking at yearlings or two year old arabs, which conformation rules still apply? In particular
the humerus to be at least 50% of scapula length? Shoulder to be at least 90 degrees? Femur longer than gaskin? Hip length in relation to body length? Straight legs? Short loin?

Obviously the balance can be out ie going uphill or downhill looking, but i'm not sure about the aforementioned.
many thanks

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Jan 3rd, 2011 08:37 am
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Lee, where did you get the idea that there are any "rules" of conformation?

There aren't any, of course....just think: what would our society be like if we had "rules" about how human beings were supposed to look?

Do you stop being a human being if you don't look like some kind of ideal you got from a magazine? And it can come from far worse sources than that. Let me tell you, Lee -- some of the most evil and dangerous beliefs and political systems ever to plague mankind came straight from the same idea: that if you had a certain shape of head, or a certain shape of nose, that made you less than a human being. What did you think Hitler was doing?  

Thank goodness we don't have that system in this country, and thank goodness that we don't have that system in conformation study, either. Does your Arab stop being a "good enough" Arab if it turns out he doesn't have a 50% humerus or some other thing you think he is "supposed" to have? Of course not.

So your body is just what it is, and your horse's body is just what it is, too. In other words, by thinking there must be some "rules", you are working the science backwards: trying to dictate TO the animals what they "should" look like, rather than learning FROM the animals what they "do" look like.

The latter is MUCH more interesting, because that will wind up provoking you to learn more about horses. By looking -- if you do it the right way, and practice enough -- you may become able to actually see. This is the whole purpose of my "Principles of Conformation Analysis" books. So if you got the idea from those books that I was putting forth rules, you completely misunderstood what I said there.

And as to horses that aren't skeletally mature yet: neonates look like neonates, weanlings look like weanlings, yearlings look like yearlings, and two, three, four, and five year-olds look like they look at the ages they are. This is why, when we go to a horse show, we have separate classes for foal-at-foot, weanling, yearling, and so forth. In the championship class, if there is one, it is fairly rare for a weanling or yearling to beat a two or three year old, and the reason for this is that horses change so much after they go through the "uglies" at about 18 mos. that comparing the younger animal to the older one is fairly meaningless. They aren't really comparable.

More useful to you is probably this: a horse of any given bloodline will tend to look like its sire and dam, and will also tend to look like its more remote ancestors. So again, instead of trying to impose from the outside some arbitrary rule or other, what you need to do is LOOK at the sire and dam, and look at the sire's sire and the dam's sire and so forth, back as far as you can get good photographs of them. From this you have the best chance of predicting what the foal will look like when it reaches maturity at the age of six or more years. -- Dr. Deb

 

Lee
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 Posted: Sun Jan 9th, 2011 07:46 am
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Hi
Thanks for your reply, but I guess I was asking it the wrong way then. I fully understand you can't change a horse re 'rules' etc. Maybe another way of putting it is, how does a young horse mature body wise. I know they go up at wither, then bum high, then wither high etc. But i'm not sure about much else. For example if looking at a yearling and it's lumbosacural joint is way beyond its hip, giving it a long loin, could the two points come closer together as it ages, or will it always have the LS joint way beyond the hip line?

Also for some strange reason, I am not getting emailed the reply, even though the box is ticked to get this
thanks again

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jan 9th, 2011 08:17 am
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Lee, the Forum software does not send replies (i.e. content) to private EMail addresses. What it does is merely send you a notice that a reply has been posted to whatever thread or threads you have ticked. You then have to come back here to read the content.

OK, now I understand what you're asking a little more clearly. And the first thing I'm going to tell you is, to click on the "Home" button above, and then go from there to our Knowledge Base page. Then, click on "Ranger/Skeletal Maturation" button and it will download a PDF document to your computer. I'd like you to print this article out and study it, because what it tells is exactly how horses mature through their skeletons.

As to the specific question you ask, i.e. about the lumbo-sacral joint, I don't understand what you mean by 'its lumbosacral joint is way beyond its hip'. Do you mean it is behind the point of hip in the young horse you're looking at?

For clarification, go over to the "Camel Skeleton" thread and look at the pictures of skeletons posted there, particularly the horse skeleton. Find the lumbo-sacral joint on the skeleton and see how that relates to the pelvic bones, particularly to the point of hip, which is the anterior superior corner of the pelvis.

You could also post a good, clear side photo of the young horse you're concerned with (so long as you own the horse yourself, i.e. it is your own property). You can use your photo processing software to put arrows on the photo and so forth, so that we can all see what it is you're referring to. -- Dr. Deb


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