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Horses/major and minor conformation points in thoroughbred


hello Lynne. May i know what all major conformation points shall i take into consideration when evaluating a thoroughbred yearling at auction sales. do mention the minor points to ignore.

Conformation is a complicated subject.  What are you going to do with your yearling?  If you are viewing him as a racing prospect, there are some things that fall under the category of "beauty" that can be discounted.   you probably don't need a classically beautiful head, but you do need eyes set correctly, nostrils open and airways unbstructed..  In general, the same qualities of conformation that are considered "beautiful" in a breed are often those qualities that make the horse suitable for use.

Beauty in many cases is the way we perceive balance.  It is very much a matter of understanding engineering.  If you look at a horse's body, legs, shoulder, hip and feet as though you are designing a bridge, you will begin to understand balance.  If you want your horse to stand up to the rigors of racing or jumping, you would like to get as close as you can to all parts balancing.  A horse that toes in will put more stress on the inside line of the leg, a horse with straight short pasterns will lack shock absorption and send more jarring forces up the legs.  A horse with overly long pasterns will have too much give and is more likely to land on a fetlock joint.

I used to study photos that I had taken of the horse from varying angles and ask myself, will any part take more pressure than another part because of this horses basic conformation? (don't really on someone else's photos too much.  Whoever said "pictures don't lie", didn't know much about photography)

I could write a novel on this and still not help you much.  The over all picture of balance and symmetry is more important that the individual parts.  Study photographs of "Secretariat" for example.  People said he was :goose-rumped"....he was, but the slope of his croup in conjunction with all the other parts was part of his power.

I guess I would say that taken as a whole, for a performance horse who will not be entering "beauty contests"  probably the only thing that doesn't matter much is how big his ears are or how pretty his face.  I could even waffle about the face in as that many of the best performers I have known have a look about them and few of them are homely in my eyes,


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Lynne Curtis


I do not participate in shows any more so some of my show specific knowledge could be out of date.


I have been involved in horses for approximately 45 years. I showed hunters, jumpers and stock horses. In the 80's I was licensed as a trainer on the race track. I have run broodmare operations, delivered foals and taught everything from what to feed and which end the shoes go on to advanced jumping. I tend to be impatient with owners who think their horses prefer to be locked up in confined spaces. Even my show and race horses rarely spent more than only the night before an event in a stall...the rest of the time they had room to run. In 1975 I rode a Quarter Horse Stallion and a Thoroughbred Mare solo from Minneapolis to San Francisco.

The Long Riders Guild (an international organization of equestrian explorers who have ridden over 1,000 miles for non-commercial purposes)

"The Long Ride" Published in Women Sports Magazine March of 1975 an article regarding the author's cross country horseback ride from Minnesota to California. "A Horse is a Horse,of Course" An article regarding investigating horse incidents and the Equine Liability Act for investigators and attorneys. published in The Legal Investigator, February 2004 "Investigating Animal Cases:" A chapter written at the request of the editors for a professional textbook entitled Advanced Forensic Civil Investigations published by Lawyers and Judges Publishing June, 1997 "Murder by Another Name:" An article published in The John Cook Fraud Report, December 1994 regarding the intentional killing of horses for greed and insurance fraud. "The Responsibilities of Horse Owners in Rural Communities:" A paper presented before the Regional Seminar of the National Association of Legal Investigators in November 1987 at Phoenix, Arizona. "The Old Gray Mare is Worth $10,000,000 Now." A professional paper on the investigation of cases involving bloodstock and racetracks presented before the National Conference of the National Association of Legal Investigators in Washington, D.C., June 1986.

Approximately 3 years of confined degree. Advanced degree from the university of experience :>)

Awards and Honors
Recepient of the 1st place Anthony M. Golec Editor-Publisher Award 2004

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