How can you improve your proficiency and confidence? ACQUIRE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE IDEAL TYPE OF HORSE BY: Studying breed pictures • Looking at live horses and asking a knowledgeable person to point out faults and good points of breed type, conformation, set of legs, action, and unsoundnesses. • Practicing.
Concentrate and train yourself to look critically.
These points and the following clues may help you zero in on the problem. • A top horse has eye appeal.
Eye appeal includes desired type, balance of parts, quality, muscling, and appropriate size. • Remember a horse should be an athlete and his athletic ability is affected by his conformation, set of his feet and legs, the soundness of his feet and legs, and his ability to move freely.
The scorecard shown will help you, in a general way, to learn the amount of emphasis to put on various points.
A more flexible scorecard would include the following: Type, muscling, balance, conformation Feet and legs Action. . . . . . . . . . . . . Actual judging 50% 25% 25% WHERE SHOULD YOU LOOK? The best view of a horse is a side view from about 20 to 30 feet away.
From this view you can observe the overall type, balance, con formation and relative size.
Does he have a trim throat latch, a long supple neck, a high prominent wither, a long sloping shoulder set at about 48 0 , a short back, a heavy muscled coupling, and a long level croup with depth and muscling through the stifle region? In addition, you can see how he stands on his feet and legs and determine whether he is too short and straight in the pastern or whether he has too much set (sickle) to his hock or possibly is too straight and post-legged.
Jordan is a professor of animal science, University of Minnesota. -3 he buck kneed, or even worse, back on his knees (calf kneed)? Are his tendons and bones clean and well defined, or do his legs appear round, fetlock full and puffy with coarse hair? By moving behind the horse (8 to 10 feet) you can get a good indication of the amount of muscling that he has through his stifle.
This is the muscle region that propel s the horse and thus it’s very important regardless of the breed being judged.
You can also see whether the horse is cow hocked (hocks too close together and his feet spread wide and usually with the toes turned outward), Look for unsoundness of the rear legs such as a bog spavin or a bone spavin about the hock, a thoroughpin, curb, or capped hock.
A front view from 8 to 10 feet provides an indication of width between the eyes, the balance of his head, the distance from his eye to his muzzle, and finally, whether he stands straight on his front legs.
Is he too narrow in the chest, are his knees too close, does he turn his toe out or turn it in, and does he stand too wide or too narrow? All of these points would not only have a bearing on whether he would remain sound but on the way he goes or his action.
PREPARATION, PRESENTATION OF AN ORAL SET OF REASONS It’s fun, educational, and satisfying to be able to judge a class of horses and then present a logical set of reasons defending your judg ment.
The essentials of an impressive set of reasons follow.
Presentation of yourself a. Confidence-as reflected by the way you walk, good posture, voice tone, volume and facial expression.
The reasons Organize in your mind the main points and present them so they provide a clear picture of the two horses you are comparing.
A good start is a job half done.
The terms should be primarily comparative- taller, straighter legged, typier rather than he was tall with straight legs. However, descriptive terms may be used to create a general picture of the class ie 1 and 2 were of similar type or there was an easy top and close bottom pair, etc. After such a general statement you should provide evidence in the form of comparative terms telling why you thought there was an easy top or a close bottom pair.
Another effective place to use descriptive terms is with the bottom pair.
You might finish your reasons with two or three descriptive terms about your bottom horse.
For example, the gray horse I placed last was off type, ex hibited coarseness about her head, tendons, and joints and moved very wide behind with a short choppy stride. -4 c. Points to include Start with the significant points.
Points you are most certain are correct, points that made you decide and points that you and the judge are most apt to agree on.
The way to win a debate is to get the other person to agree on some of the early points you make.
Include pertinent points.
Remember a horse is judged on the basis of type, conformation, balance, quality, feet and legs, and action.
Failure to mention one of these main areas, like action, suggests to the judge that a.) you didn’t know action was a factor to consider; b.) that you didn’t know anything about action and therefore didn’t mention it; or c.) you didn’t look or didn’t detect any difference.
If you don’t know, attempt to create a sense of knowledge by saying both horses lack flexion and length of stride (you would be right by most standards on most heavy muscled stock type horses), or both horses were comparable in action and way of going. Or finally be honest and say I didn’t detect any significant different in the way these two horses traveled. You have at least conveyed the thought that you realize action is an important factor. Give the devil his dues. If your second place horse excells the top horse in some respect, grant or admit the fact.
By doing so you provide evidence of having carefully observed both horses, that your decision is based on weighted evidence.
And, finally, the judge may have placed your second horse on top.
If you had mentioned the good points of this horse, your placing score on that pair reflects a difference in emphasis that you placed on the points and not on your failure to see or mention significant points.
Actually your reason score should not suffer.
Denote the degree of difference between the two horses with effective and expressive adjectives that convey a clear picture with the correct degree of emphasis.
If one horse is 4 inches taller and appears to be heavier muscled and weighs 300 pounds more than another, merely saying he’s a larger horse doesn’t provide a very concise verbal picture.
Why not say he is decidedly taller over the withers, and if he appears to weigh 300 pounds more he is much deeper and wider through the heart girth, likely longer in the underline and heavier muscled and more powerfully made through the stifle region. Use horse terms, mention color, sex, or condition (the fat horse).
They suggest that you are knowledgeable and are speaking about a horse that you saw and remember. -5 FOREHEAD FACE ~ POLL
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