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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:01 pm 
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Rarely is a horse deemed "perfect". More often then not there are flaws in their conformation. It's interesting to look at young stallions who have found success at the race track. Some of these stallions have earned in excess of millions of dollars and you can usually fault their conformation somewhere, if not all over!

This just had me thinking, everyone is different and some people wouldn't care if a horse had long pasterns, toed out or was over at the knees. On the other hand there are people that wouldn't touch a horse with any of those issues.

What would you over look and why?

Signed Ever curious :)

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:55 pm 
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Restricted Stakes Winner

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Every stallion has at least 2 flaws that hang between his hind legs. If he has any more than those 2 he doesn't deserve to have them. At least 97% of all stallions don't deserve to be a stallion, regardless of their race record. Good stallions make great geldings, those great geldings never make worthless offspring.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Chef de Race: Classic

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Casallc wrote:
Quote:
Every stallion has at least 2 flaws that hang between his hind legs. . .


That's funny, but not quite accurate. Some have one and still become studs.

The racehorse conformation debate may last until the end of time. Here are two interesting articles that might be of help.


http://www.breedingracing.com/pdfs/ARCH ... mation.pdf

http://www.ker.com/library/EquineReview ... e/SU36.pdf


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:52 pm 
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Shammy Davis wrote:
Casallc wrote:
Quote:
Every stallion has at least 2 flaws that hang between his hind legs. . .


That's funny, but not quite accurate. Some have one and still become studs.

The racehorse conformation debate may last until the end of time. Here are two interesting articles that might be of help.


http://www.breedingracing.com/pdfs/ARCH ... mation.pdf

http://www.ker.com/library/EquineReview ... e/SU36.pdf


The second article demolishes the conventional wisdom we've all believed. :shock:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:59 pm 
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Shammy Davis wrote:
Casallc wrote:
Quote:
Every stallion has at least 2 flaws that hang between his hind legs. . .


That's funny, but not quite accurate. Some have one and still become studs.



Still 2 flaws, maybe 3 (depending on how you look at it). Cryptorchidism could be called the flaw of all flaws in a stallion. Though he may only have 1 "hanging" he gets the conformation hit anyway for the deformity and another (unseen) flaw that is not producing live sperm but still producing testosterone.

“There is a fine line between wrong and visionary. Unfortunately you have to be a visionary to see it" - Sheldon Cooper


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:04 pm 
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OK, to get the conversation on the ball (or off one as the case may be) :wink: I have heard that toeing out slightly is OK, and slight cow hocks may actually be more stable than very straight? Conversely, toeing in and back at the knee are very undesireable.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:12 pm 
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Chef de Race: Classic

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Casallc wrote:
Quote:
Still 2 flaws, maybe 3 (depending on how you look at it). Cryptorchidism could be called the flaw of all flaws in a stallion. Though he may only have 1 "hanging" he gets the conformation hit anyway for the deformity and another (unseen) flaw that is not producing live sperm but still producing testosterone.

:? I'm not a visionary, so I really don't know how to respond.

Toccet2 wrote:
Quote:
OK, to get the conversation on the ball (or off one as the case may be) I have heard that toeing out slightly is OK, and slight cow hocks may actually be more stable than very straight?


Yes and maybe.

Quote:
Conversely, toeing in and back at the knee are very undesireable.


Maybe and sometimes.

Glad I could help. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:22 pm 
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I'm new here...but I'll jump in anyway.

What would I over look in a stallion? Whatever I felt was excusable in his offspring and (hopefully) correctable by my mare's conformation. I'd be more likely to use something with dodgy front legs if the mare had exemplary ones.

Mostly he should look like what he is....a sprinter, stayer or middle distance horse should fit that profile!
Slightly over at the knee (less so in a sprinter)
Would always prefer to see slightly toed out over toed in.
Long pasterns put me off a horse.
Really dislike seeing loaded shoulders, particularly when coupled with weak/long pasterns.
Base narrow would worry me re: potential soundness of offspring.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:39 pm 
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welcome!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:28 pm 
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My question was targeting what you would overlook in a race horse. I only brought up stallions because typically they only remain stallions if they have been successful racehorses. Most of these successful racehorses have conformation flaws of some degree. Each year I have the pleasure of working with many foals who then grow to be weanlings and then yearlings. I record conformation notes as they grow. It's fun to look back upon these notes after they have begun their racing careers. Obviously you never know what they are made of on the inside ;)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:35 pm 
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There's a big difference between what I'd look for in a using animal versus what I'd look for in a breeding animal.

For a horse that is already on the ground, my no-go flaw is upright. Straight shoulder, upright pasterns, post legged behind, little feet---no ability to absorb concussion in front and the post legs behind is asking for stifle and back trouble.

Toes in, toes out, offset, all the rest--it depends on how the horse moves. If it's crooked but moves nicely, doesn't interfere, and has good feet, corrective shoeing and fitness will make up for a lot. Back at the knee depends on the horse and its breeding. A turf horse will last a lot longer than a dirt horse with that flaw.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:13 pm 
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This is a very good question with no right or wrong answer, because its all up to the individual...horse and person.

Like Toccet said Toeing In and Back at Knees are the two flaws that usually turn me off. But even if I hear that about a horse I want to see it first and I have stories about both.

My first winner was a filly that toed in terribly on both fronts (I rated her a 2+ and 2 out of 3). But she had just won a Maiden Special before I bought her and when I watched her walk she strided right through it and I bought her. She ended up running 22 times from 3 to 5 (winning 3) and retired sound the summer of her 5 year old year. The toeing in eventually caught up to her because she started to travel a little rougher (she was 100% sound, just not as smooth) than when she was younger. All of the foals she has produced so far are very correct in front, but I am careful to breed her to a stallion that is "perfect" upfront.
I bought a yearling filly that was fairly back at the knee, aside from that she was a very nice filly (mind and body) and I had just watched her 2 year old 1/2 sister win a maiden special the day before she sold so I took a shot (I got her for next to nothing). I sent her to somebody to break and the first thing the guy mentioned was how back at the knee she was. Then a few weeks later they said her suspensory is already bothering her said she won't make it to the races and to get rid of her. I put her in a mixed sale and sold her as a 2yo, but this point her 1/2 was stakes placed so I made a few bucks. She started 11 times as a 2 year old, another 11 as a 3 year old and retired at 5. I think they were more hung up on the flaw than they were on her progress. She ran mostley for lower level claiming unlike her 1/2 who ended up winning stakes. But she made more starts than the average horse does.

Finally the best horse I ever owned (who I lost at Keeneland many years ago) was small, narrow, offset at the knees and toed out big time on 1 front. He is still grinding out the wins as a 9 or 10 year old.

The biggest flaw (and this sounds corny) is lack of heart. A horse that wants to run and win will run through anything. The problem is you usually won't find that flaw until you've put many many mornings into them.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:27 am 
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Most any minor deviation can be overlooked if the horse is really well balanced and glides "through" the flaws. One of the mistakes made in this biz is surgically straightening - the horse was made that way and crooked here usually has an offset crooked there somewhere that CAN't be straightened and now you have a horse that can't run at all.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:43 am 
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madelyn wrote:
Most any minor deviation can be overlooked if the horse is really well balanced and glides "through" the flaws. One of the mistakes made in this biz is surgically straightening - the horse was made that way and crooked here usually has an offset crooked there somewhere that CAN't be straightened and now you have a horse that can't run at all.


I'm not sure I'd agree that surgical intervention gives you a horse who can't run.

I do often wonder if we kept our hands off them until 2 instead of making them into sales yearlings whether we'd be doing them better justice. How many grow out straight with some corrective trimming instead of screws, strips and extensions?



Quote:
The biggest flaw (and this sounds corny) is lack of heart. A horse that wants to run and win will run through anything. The problem is you usually won't find that flaw until you've put many many mornings into them.


Can you breed this though? Cape Blanco didn't change leg once in the home straight at Belmont despite having slab fractured his left knee. He led on a broken leg all the way home....is that heart? If it isn't what is? Will his offspring have it? I don't know...


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:32 am 
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Years ago, while still a grad student, I noticed a 4yo filly running cheaply at the California fairs who was a half-sister to a good racehorse named NAVAJO, who was then standing at Claiborne Farm. Her sire was worse than nondescript--a $3000 claimer sired by Prince John.

As a female family nut I decided to invest most of my savings in this filly, named DOUBLE SET, so I contacted the owner and bought her for $5000. Now mind you, this filly's BEST racing achievement was a well-beaten third at Ferndale for m-5,000, so she was far from a world-beater.

When I looked at my new purchase I was aghast. I can state without equivocation that she was one of the worst conformed horses I had ever seen, and was THE worst looking horse I have ever owned in more than 40 years.

14.3 hands, light bodied, terribly offset and back at the knee, badly toed out, sickle and cow hocked, plain head, little feet, etc. You get the picture. Today, you couldnt give me a horse that looked like her no matter how it is bred.

But I was determined to make her a profitable investment. Unable to secure a breeding to Navajo's sire *GREY DAWN II, I settled on the newly-retired VIGORS, who at $10,000 I thought a keen buy.

Certain that I would make a killing with her at the November, 1979 Keeneland sale I was flabbergasted when she sold for only $13,000---a $10,000 loss for me. I hobbled back home and licked my wounds for two years.

I forced myself to forget about this train wreck until the mid-1990's when I noticed that a daughter of DOUBLE SET, sired by VICE REGENT, was entered to run. Named TWICE THE VICE, she later won five Grade One races and almost $1.5 million. Moreover, she was a huge, powerful mare with excellent conformation.

So my crooked little pony mare produced this Amazon filly who was one of the best fillies of her era. She also produced several other stakes horses, and a full-brother to Twice the Vice that sold for $425,000.

I dont know what the moral of this story is except perhaps that there are no hard-and-fast rules in this game. And that those of us who breed horses must be the most insane of all the players in the horse industry.


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