08 March 2015

If a Little Is Good, a Lot Is Better?

Cruising on Facebook, I found this photo. I do not want to get into names or anything so I've cut out identifying info. While I own neither photo nor comment, I find both so disturbing I'm posting them here, hoping to attract some educational discussion.

According to the information on FB, this yearling in the photo is a halter winner. An example of near perfection according to American Quarter Horse breed standards. How could this be? I've seen enough AQHA winners to believe this owner's comment is likely true, but how can this be? What's the matter with people, specifically, what's the matter with AQHA judges?

A few years back, I looked at a horse magazine that ran a series on conformation. The article I saw showed three AQHA horses in conformation poses and asked readers to rank the horses and then to check their ratings against those of a breed show judge. I looked at the photos and took a deep breath because I saw so many dangerous flaws in the legs and bodies of all three horses. Judged against all the information in my horse books and against over half a century working with horses, all three animals in that long gone article were too upright in the legs and had major problems with their backs and shoulders as well. And the judge's top selection of the three was the one I put last because of her underpinning. That horse looked the most like the colt here.

The colt pictured here is refined, but the refinement is exaggerated to the point where it's the refinement of a human body builder on steroids.

The heavily sweated neck doesn't bother me much. That's fixable, but the post-legged rear isn't. Neither are the upright pasterns or the shoulder. Poor horse.