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Conformation
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jufamarie
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 Posted: Thu Mar 29th, 2007 02:11 pm
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Hi, this is a 8 yr Tenn Walker I am looking at purchasing for endurance. Unfortunately he is 600 miles away so right now pictures are all I have. My main concern (probably should be many more) is his front legs, specifically from the knee down to and including the balance of his feet. . He is not a big horse, has good bone and lots of qualities but what should I be looking at and concerned about. He is a stallion (would likely wind up a gelding with me) and has limited trail riding in his life. I don't know if and how to post more then one view so will start with one of his front legs.

Thanks

Judy

Changing this to a picture of this horses body

Attachment: Dancer__3.JPG (Downloaded 598 times)

Last edited on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 12:31 pm by jufamarie

RaBo
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 Posted: Fri Mar 30th, 2007 05:03 am
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You've come to the right website for infomation on conformation! Dr.Deb rocks! Get her video (probably on C.D. now) 'Secrets of Conformation'. Start by looking at the horses top line, not the legs...it's all on the video.Try to get a picture looking down on the horses back/from above the horse too. Good luck!

Last edited on Sat Mar 31st, 2007 04:48 am by RaBo

StaceyW
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 Posted: Sat Mar 31st, 2007 02:11 am
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Nice looking horse. I, too am interested in endurance and competitive trail riding . I have a 3 y/o Arab filly and I need to be seeing that video again myself. I believe that they have it the local community college library where I live. I saw it years ago and need a refresher.

 If you are interested I just finished a great book on endurance riding written by Julie Suhr who rode in the first Tevis Cup race. She  also rode her 25,000th mile in the Tevis 100 miles in one day race at 75 years of age. Amazing. Makes me sore thinking about it! :) Anyhow the book is an easy read and is called "Ten Feet Tall, Still".

If the Walker doesn't work out  for you how about a nice surefooted Arabian to take you down those trails? They are said to dominate the sport, so I hear. My Straight Egyptian  Arab gelding was never happier than when out in the woods, jumping downed trees and cantering alongside a wild doe. Well...except for when he was left alone in nice field of green grass with no work in sight, that is.

Good-luck & take care,

Stacey


I have edited this post for you Dr Deb. Thank you for your advice .

 

 

Last edited on Sat Mar 31st, 2007 02:39 am by StaceyW

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Mar 31st, 2007 02:26 am
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Jufamarie -- It is part of my personal policy and that of the Institute not to perform conformational analyses for individuals, nor either for commercial purposes.

Our purpose here is to help you learn the PRINCIPLES of conformation analysis. We will begin by learning to spell the word correctly: Con-FORM-ation. "Confirmation" is a rite of the Christian church. "ConFORMation" relates to how FORMS come together or relate in their proportions to make a harmonious and well-functioning whole. I confess that I do get tired of seeing this word mis-spelled all the time, because the mis-spelling implies that the person does not hear the difference between the two different words.

Your question relates to the conformation of the front legs. You may write back in with a specific inquiry. What about the front legs causes you to question whether they are OK? Be as specific as possible in stating your question. When you have taken the time to write a question that really gets at what you are seeing, you will find that the answer you receive back will be clear and helpful.

Also, at the same time, I have a suggestion for you. Have you looked at the proportions of this horse's upper body -- have you noticed them at all? Look at the distance between the point of hip and the point of buttock. Compare this distance to the length of the horse's head, and also  to the length of his body as measured from the breastbone to the point of buttock. Which end of this horse seems "bigger" -- the front end or the back end?

This will be enough to get us started on some productive discussion and learning. Your photo, by the way, is most welcome here; the others in this thread, which are not germaine to the discussion, will shortly be pulled out. This will conserve server space, and also reduce upload time for the majority of users who are on dialup modems.

Looking forward to hearing back from you shortly. Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

jufamarie
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 Posted: Sat Mar 31st, 2007 12:07 pm
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Dr. Deb,

I will start by apologizing to you and the list for the misspelling, but I will add that I realized the error after posting it but when trying to edit it could not, only the message portion not the title areas.

When I look at this horse even without any measurements, yes he looks lacking in the rear quarters. On the positive side to me he has a nice slope from the hip to buttock for the breed but it is shorter then I would like. Is this what you mean?  I like the slope of his shoulder  (scapula) also, rather then being to straight upright. His back is short from his wither to hip. His cannon bones are short and he appears heavy boned for his size. His head is large, perhaps this picture makes it look even more so but the breed is not known for delicate heads so I do not know how to take this into consideration. I am trying to see what is underneath and am constantly trying to teach myself the important  structures to analyze besides the obvious first glance "pretty".

. At this time if we can all learn from his body please continue to show us how to break apart his body parts. When it comes to his front legs it appears to me that the cannon bone does not come out from the knee straight but are slightly offset to the outside,  but I am not sure if it is an illusion on my part. Looking at his feet the coronet bands look very lopsided so maybe what I am seeing is just imbalanced feet.I have been accused of analyzing things to death.

 

 Thanks and I hope we all learn from this about "conformation". You can believe I will never spell that word again without thinking of this..ha

Judy

Attachment: MVC_009F.JPG (Downloaded 576 times)

RaBo
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 Posted: Sat Mar 31st, 2007 03:03 pm
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On ESI homepage there is a tab headed Knowledge Base which opens to a list of articles/papers, the last one called 'The Ranger Piece' would be an excellent source for you to find more information and direction with looking at a horses conformation. Best of all, 'Ranger' is a Tennessee Walking Horse! The Ranger Piece might help bring up some good points & questions & get any members involved 'on the same page' a little more...I'm looking forward to learning from this thread!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Apr 1st, 2007 08:39 am
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Dear Jufamarie: OK, let's begin with the legs since you have posted another useful picture.

The picture you provide, like most that you see in this sort of context, has been taken straight from the front of the horse. In other words, the photographer was standing directly on a line in front of the horse's breastbone.

Now, if we were taking a picture of a truck -- and I am thinking here of the kind of truck that some guy has done a "lift" job on, so that the body of the truck stands way high off the ground so as to show off the big tires. If you were standing square in front of the hood ornament at an appropriate distance back, and you took a picture, that would show not only the grille of the truck but also both front tires, right?

Would the picture show either tire square on? In other words -- would the view you saw in the photo taken from a position ahead of the middle of the grille show a directly square front view of either tire? Or would it instead show an oblique view of either given tire?

Getting this idea firmly in your mind will be of crucial importance to your ability to ACCURATELY analyze a horse's front legs. In a photo taken from square in front of a horse's breast, do you see either front leg square on? Or do you instead see an oblique view of either given leg?

If the view is oblique, how can it tell you anything about the symmetry or "squareness" in the construction of the leg?

Now one more question. In the case of the truck, if you had to decide about the symmetry of either front tire -- maybe the truck is for sale and you are considering buying it "as is". But tires sometimes show uneven wear. If you wanted to document whether there had been uneven wear, it would be important to stand square in front of the left front tire, take a photo of it, print the photo, and then see if you could run a ruler straight down through the midline of the tire -- if the tire had even wear, then you would see as much tire to the inside of that line as to the outside of it.

Moreover, for this purpose you would need to take a photo of EACH front tire separately, would you not?

It is important to realize here that a photo is printed on a flat piece of paper. So when we say, "run a line down the middle of the tire", what we really mean (that is, in real life, where the tire is a three dimensional object) is that what we want to do is run an imaginary PLANE through the tire. Nothing else will really do -- because the tire turns, we need to run a plane through it to see how the symmetry is not only on the part of the tire that happened to be facing the camera when the photo was taken, but on the back, the top, the bottom, and all parts. A mathematician or a physicist would say that only a plane (a 2D object) is sufficient to analyze a tire (a 3D object). "To analyze the tire" means "to get enough accurate information about the tire".

Likewise, once again, when we apply this analogy to the horse, it is not sufficient to "drop a LINE down from the point of shoulder". You must work instead with an analytical PLANE. You create the plane (in your mind's eye) at the FACE OF THE KNEE, and then run the plane upward toward the chest and downward through the hoof/bulbs of heel to see if it splits all parts of the leg into equal inner and outer halves.

With this information, where, Jufamarie, would you need to stand in order to take a USEFUL photo of a horse's front legs in front view?

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

 

Sally
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 Posted: Sun Apr 1st, 2007 11:47 am
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Forgive me for maybe being a little pedantic here, but as I understood it Dr Deb from many many prevoius posts over the last year or so , you have never encouraged postings of photos of horses that people didnt own and in that case have always insisted on a tracing instead to take the "personality" out of the horse and render it into a pure discussion on conformation. Is it now ok to post real photos? The rules get mighty confusing at times.

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Apr 1st, 2007 06:42 pm
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Be of good cheer, Sally. Fortunately, you are not the one who has the responsibility for moderating this forum. Conditions currently are still temporary, if you've read the post I put up last night regarding help for those having trouble registering. Quicker, I figured, to just let Jufamarie work on this without making her do a drawing, and no harm done to the horse's owner. It may be that this Forum has to be scrubbed in another few days.

Sally, what have YOU learned from the questions I have posed above? Perhaps that learning will remove any need you might have had to post a particular photo. Or, if you have something you want to ask about, since you know what the rules are, then just be sure to post a photo of a horse you actually own. Life is simple, really. -- Dr. Deb

jufamarie
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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2007 12:17 am
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I have read this discussion over several times. Some of it is clear after dissecting the "question" but I have a feeling there is more to it still then I am getting. First I believe you are saying each leg must be photographed separately, straight on and I would think mid height (knee) because shooting down or up could elongate the object being studied. Then would you need the same type of shot from both sides and maybe from the rear. In my mind I am trying to imagine it like a fence post which can look straight from the front but be crooked from the side. The forearm (radius)  and cannon bone(metacarpal bones) might line up from the shoulder down to the foot viewed from the front but viewed from the side the cannon for instance might meet too far forward or too far back of the bottom of the knee. I don't know if pictures from the rear of the leg would be necessary or even very possible to get correctly. Before I make a complete fool of my self am I on the right track. If I am it shows all of us that a simple leg is complex to analyze and we should not assume it can be done with just "A" picture, if not I blame it on this "bug" that I caught and cannot get rid of.

Thanks and have patience please.

Judy

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2007 07:03 am
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There's no need to apologize, Judy -- you have asked a reasonable question and  you've been willing to approach this not in the lazy way that so many people do -- the lazy ones just want an answer and they are not very interested in learning anything. You are clearly interested in learning and you're doing  your best on the basis of a verbal description.

Yes, it is necessary to view/take a photo of each forelimb separately. Standing in the middle of the chest tells the conformation judge nothing that would be accurate, because if the observer positions herself on a line with the center of the chest (unless the horse toes in from the chest down), she will get an oblique view of both forelimbs. The oblique view distorts the appearance of the structure and obscures the true structure.

Likewise, I am also saying that the old advice to "drop a line down" from the point of shoulder (to assess the forelimb) or from the point of buttock (to assess the hind limb) is useless. You cannot analyze the structure of a three-dimensional object (a horse's limb is a three-dimensional object) unless you use at least a two-dimensional object. What we want to know about the forelimb is whether all the bones that compose it from the level of the arm downward do -- or do not -- lie symmetrically about a plane that splits the limb down the middle.

Since from what you have said it is something of a struggle for you to visualize this, I am attaching an image to this post, and I will make a second posting containing a second image. I want you to study both these illustrations. Other people besides yourself, Jufamarie, will be interested in these because the one showing the "plane of assessment" for the hindquarter is a revised and improved version of an illustration that appears in my "Principles of Conformation Analysis" books. The other, showing the "plane of assessment" for the forelimb, does not appear in the "Principles" books at all, and yet it would be very helpful to know about.

These illustrations represent the anatomically and biomechanically correct STANDARD for viewing, judging, and assessing limb conformation in horses (and all other mammals, including cattle, sheep, dogs, etc.). Once again, these illustrations make clear:

1) You have to judge each limb separately. There's no law that says that structural misalignments present in one limb must show up to the same degree, or at all, in the other limb.

2) You have to visualize a plane splitting the limb as shown, not a line.

3) You have to stand in front of the knee (forelimb) or directly behind the face of the hock (hindlimb) -- these are the "anchor points" for placement of the plane.

This much for review. Now here are some new questions for you to work on:

1) What does it mean when a horse toes in or toes out "from the shoulder down"?

2) What is the NORMAL orientation of the hindlimb plane (parallel to the spine, angled outward from the spine, or angled inward toward the spine)?

3) In a horse with NORMAL and STRUCTURALLY CORRECT hindlimb conformation, where do we expect the hind toes to point (out? straight forward? or in?). Please think about your answer in terms of the relationship of the stifles to the ribcage.

4) In a horse with NORMAL and STRUCTURALLY CORRECT forelimb conformation, where do we expect the fore toes to point (out? straight forward? or in?). Please think about your answer in terms of the relationship of the elbows to the ribcage.

Once you have thought about and answered these questions, we'll go on to what the causes can be for a horse's hoofs, either fore hoofs or hind hoofs, not pointing where they should.

Attachment: Forelimb planes of assessment cprsd.jpg (Downloaded 509 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2007 07:20 am
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Here's my illustration showing the planes of assessment for the hind limb in rear view. Please look at this and think about what COW HOCK is -- and is not! -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Hind Limb Planes of Assessment 4V cprsd.jpg (Downloaded 510 times)

milt
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 Posted: Sun May 13th, 2007 08:46 am
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JUF,your horse looks like a good speciman for endurance riding , in my opion hes well put up in all quarters, his legs look good an sound , his toes pointing out slightly is nothing to worry about , years ago we had a horse whose front feet pointed out slightly , an it never bothered him altho he was 16 years old an had run mustngs a considerable . also his hind end looks good not to big . his front legs come out of a  V  which is a good sign of a good traveler . oldtimers used to say you want both front legs coming out of the same hole . head size is fine  he could be a little deeper in the neck considering hes a stud . my 2 cents

Jacquie
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 Posted: Sun May 13th, 2007 11:07 pm
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Hi Milt

How very interesting that old timers in the US state that they desire that both front legs come out of the same hole. Here in Uk that is considered to be a potential weakness.

I wonder why the huge difference of opinion - I suppose it must be a judgement based on whatever the horses were used for? Is it a conformation shape which is a legacy of a certain ancestral type - Spanish perhaps, which gives those narrow types of horses also the even more desirable attributes like spanish spirit, or is there more to this?

I really find this sort of thing very interesting!


milt
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 Posted: Wed May 16th, 2007 06:07 am
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Hi Jac. yes those spanish barbs , have that confimation , narrow but great dept in the chest .


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