Conformation is what makes horses better able to perform in a certain
Aspects of conformation include:
To judge a horses conformation you need to view the horse from each side
and evaluate the horse at a standstill and while in motion (walk and gait).
straight legs or crooked legs
the length of the bones
the angles of the joints
the proportions and overall balance of the horse
length of neck and back
straightness of the top line and croup
|The fore and hind legs should be evaluated for:
|The pelvis and croup are evaluated for:
The head and neck are evaluated for:
the teeth and bite
Conformation faults in the horses legs can cause inherent weakness
in the legs and predispose the horse to lameness or injury. There are also
conformational flaws which do not necessarily hinder performance or result
in lameness, but are unsightly.
The hope of this forum is to provide information to the Gaited Horse
Enthusiast to evaluate the build and structure of their gaited horses as
it applies to gait.
There are many factors that contribute to
a horses gaiting ability undersaddle.
It is important to understand "Form to Function" when annualizing the conformation
of a horse to determine how his structure will enhance or detract from
his ability to perform a specific gait. Not every horse should be built
the same, there should be differences in leg types for horses which perform
various gaits. But no matter what the use, correct leg conformation remains
the same. Correct legs produce stable movement, with the horse staying
balanced in all gaits. It s also important to understand that conformation
is only ONE of the contributing factors in gait. A horse that is built
to be predisposition to foxtrot may indeed perform another gait altogether,
especially if his genetics, training, conditioning and rider influence
are all aiming him toward another gait.
It is our hope that by presenting the analysis' people can develop and
eye as to how gait is affected by a specific factor in the structure
and this will lead to a better understanding of how to develop the natural
gaits of our horses. It is important to breed for the strong points of
structure that each breed needs to support their signature gait.
Our Analysis are performed without the individual who is assessing
the photos knowing what breed the horse is. They are sent the same
photos you see at the top of each page, with no additional information.
They are limited in their critiquing by the inability to view the horse
from all angles or in motion. In order to get the best analysis, it is
important that the horse is standing square, and that all hooves can be
clearly seen. Make sure that the light is on the side of the horse that
you are photographing, as shadows can make analysis difficult.
Feedback From Users
|This was so informative, and well written.
Thank you for this. I learned a great deal.
|This forum is excellent. I learn more each time I
|The hindquarter conformation analysis was good. I learned a lot
from the skeletal drawings
|I am finding these articles to be extremely interesting
and informative. I especially like the illustrations and how they
tie in with the text. Please keep them coming.
|This forum is wonderfully illustrated and described.
I am newer to the gaited world. After reading and re-reading these
detailed descriptions, I am able to understand and evaluate my horses (and
others) so much better!
|I was looking at a new horse today and your forum helped a lot. Thanks,
it really helped me to take a closer look at my own horses.
|HI---I really like this type of study. It's
so nice to have different body types shown and examined as to how each
type might or might not gait well. I'll try to send in photos also.
Keep the show going, I know that alot of people are benefiting from it!!!!
|As a trainer myself, I have thoroughly enjoyed this
particular series. I feel it is very informative and I've learned alot
from the analyses that will help me better evaluate horses that I am training
as well as assisting clients in evaluating the abilities of their own horses
when getting lessons, especially on gaiting. Keep up the good work and
I look forward to future installments in this forum.
Michele C. Wayland
|I think that Liz Graves and Lee Zeigler have done a wonderful job with
their explanation on conformation and gait. As a breeder, I learned
things that I should have ALREADY known! <G>
Thanks for including their knowledge! It was very helpful.
|This is great!! I want to go out and compare
my horses and take pictures to send in. Both authors explain well
and it is very educational.
|This forum is wonderful. There is a lot of misinformation
about gaited horses and this forum on conformation is a great step forward.
|I think this analysis is very helpful. We breed and sell Rocky
Mountain horses and appreciate the input on this site. The two conformation
analyses are beneficial in analyzing gaits (why they can or cannot gait
and why they gait the way they do). It is especially helpful when
purchasing horses also. Thank you for time and effort put into this analysis.
|I love it. Keep them coming. It's a great
learning tool and very interesting. I find this site to be the most
helpful and informative site for a gaited horse owner on the entire world
wide web. Keep up the good work. It's a real treat to see new
stuff appearing on a regular basis too. Someone is doing a really
great job of keeping it fresh and