Anatomy of a horse. 4 Ears The size, length, set, direction, and movement of the ear are important.
Extremes in size of ear detract from the appearance of the head.
A medium-sized ear, clean cut in design, that shows the blood vessels clearly outstanding, is characteristic of horses with high quality and refinement.
Set or location of the ears helps determine the beauty of the head.
Ears set well apart, not too low down over the eyes or too far back on the poll of the head, contribute to good looks.
The movements of the ears are an indication of temperament.
Ears kept in a constant state of unrest may signal a nervous temperament, impaired eyesight, or total blindness.
Motionless ears are an indication of a slow, lazy, sluggish disposition.
Eyes Big, full, prominent eyes of a dark, rich, hazel color are desired in all types of horses. “Walleyes,” sometimes called glass eyes, are those in which the iris is a pearly white color.
Such eyes are objectionable on the basis of looks but are functional and not considered disqualifications. “Pig-eye” is the term applied if the eye is too small, narrow, and squinty.
Such eyes usually have thick eyelids and are commonly associated with coarseness and a sluggish temperament.
Nostrils Good-sized nasal passages are considered indications of good breathing ability.
Small nostrils are usually associated with short, flat ribs and, consequently, a chest that lacks lung capacity.
The normal nostril should be large, the skin clear, and the mucous membrane rose colored at rest and a deep red after exercise.
The liquid discharged should be clear and transparent, the breath should be odorless, and the breathing noiseless.
The nostrils should be large, because the nasal passages are the only avenues of air intake to the lungs.
Mouth The jaws of the mouth should meet evenly.
Not only are protruding or receding lower jaws unsightly, but they interfere with the horse’s eating.
The terms applied are: “parrot mouth,” which means the upper jaw protrudes over the lower; and “monkey mouth,” which means the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper.
Alternate terminology would be “overshot” and “undershot” jaws or mouths, respectively.
Teeth The teeth are classified as incisors, canines, and molars.
They are organs of mastication.
Age can be estimated by inspection of the incisors.
The bars of the mouth occupy the space on each side of the lower jaw between the incisor and the premolar teeth or between the canine and the first molar teeth.
The bars are covered only with mucous membrane.
It is against the bars of the mouth that bit pressure is brought to bear in the control of horses by the reins.
Horses are said to be “hardmouthed” when the mucous membrane of the bars becomes toughened and thickened, and the sensitivity of the mouth is deadened because of the calloused condition of the bars.
Neck Long, trim necks are associated with athletic ability in all types of horses.
A trim throatlatch is very desirable, since it permits the horse to flex the head easily.
Both vertical and lateral flexion are required in good head carriage.
Horses with long, trim necks and well-defined throats usually learn collection more readily and are more agile.
Short necks—bulky, thick, and staggy in proportions—are undesirable in saddle horses because they mean a lack of suppleness and mobility.commonly, a short neck makes a horse heavy-headed and less subject to 5 control.
In race horses, short, bulky necks mean short elevator muscles in the shoulders and less length of stride.
The neck is straight when the crest line from the poll of the head to the withers approaches a straight line.
The neck is arched when the crest line is convex from poll to withers. “Swan-necked” is the term applied when the crest line of the neck is strongly convex and the whole neck imitates in form and carriage that of a swan. “Ewe-necked” is the term used when the crest line of the neck shows a distinct depression just in front of the withers.
Ewe-neck and swan-neck are the reverse of the form desired; hence, horsemen refer to them by the expression “set on upside down.” “Lop-neck,” “fallen-neck,” and “broken-crest” are terms applied when the crest of the neck becomes invaded with adipose (fatty) tissue, resulting in so much weight that the neck cannot sustain itself, and it breaks over or falls to one side. “Ewe-necked” and “broken-crested” horses are unsightly and undesirable.
The crest of neck is demanded in all types of horses where impressive fronts are a requirement.
The degree of crest differs with the breed and specific use of the horse. are usually low-headed, too heavy on the bit, inclined to forge and interfere, and are undesirable for rapid movement. “Mutton withers” is the term applied to this low, flat, rounded conformation over the shoulder top.
In saddle horses, such withers are objectionable not only because they affect performance, but also because they fail to provide a good seat for the saddle; consequently, it is difficult to keep a saddle in place. Back The back is bounded in front by the withers, be-hind by the loin and laterally by the ribs.
In saddle horses, it is the part of the top which receives the weight of the rider.
In all horses, its function is to transmit to the front end of the body the efforts of propulsion, which are communicated to it from the back legs through the loin.
A straight back of proportionate length is most desirable.
It is always a sign of strength and provides for the greatest freedom of movement of the legs.
A convex back is termed a “roachback.” Such backs are shorter than straight backs and do not permit sufficient extension and flexion of the legs in taking long, rapid strides. “Roach-backs” and long legs are a combination which results in forging.
The back that is concave or hollow is referred to as “sagging” or as a “sway-back.” It is objectionable because it detracts from appearance and suggests weakness.
The short, straight back supported by ribs that are well sprung, long, and deep provides a middle that has ample breathing and digestive space.
Such proportions indicate good wind as well as good feeding and staying qualities.
Short, flat ribs are characteristic of horses that are poor keepers and have poor wind and staying power. Withers These comprise the region between the shoulders on top, behind the crest of the neck, and in front of the back.
They are formed by the spinous processes of the first five or six thoracic vertebrae.
The height of a horse is measured from the highest point of the withers to the ground.
Equine stature is stated in hands and inches; four inches constitute a hand.
Prominent withers are desired because they ensure maximum length of spinal and shoulder muscles, also a longer stride to the forefoot.
Horses with low, thick, rounded withers which lack definition move out awkwardly and clumsily in front.
Such horses Loin Region The loin includes the portion of the top which extends from the last ribs to the hips.
Short, heavy loin muscles are needed because they furnish the chief means of support for the 6 lumbar vertebrae.
Shortness of the loin is necessary for the best functioning of this part in carrying power from the hind legs forward.
All types of horses should have an abundance of muscling over the loin. “Coupled up good and close” is the phrase that describes ideal muscling of the loin.
Horses that break across the top in front of the hips and that are long, narrow and weak in loin conformation are spoken of as being “slack in their coupling.” rumped” is the term applied to horses that taper from the hips to the tail-head, displaying peaked-ness and angularity in this region.
Owners of western horses like to see the croups of their horses deeply creased.
They associate this feature with heavy muscling and with easy-keeping and good feeding qualities.
The length of hip is measured from the point of the hip to the buttocks.
A longer hip affords a horse a longer stride and the ability to move with more impulsion.
The length of croup and the length of hip should be relatively of the same length. — Fault Choppy stride Too short-strided A short, choppy stride Goes short in front or rear Lacks smoothness Rough Moves too strong Moves too mechanical Over animated Excessive speed at the Lacks consistency at the Too bold at the Slower transition Rougher transition Too fast Too slow Balks at the Four beats at the lope Cross fires Uncontrolled Missed a lead Lacks regularity Hollow backed Lacks collection Cross canters Anticipates commands or aids Laboring motion Appears to have excessive hoof length or shoe weight Moves stiffly Disunited Heavy on the forehand Lacks balance Lacks impulsion *Substitute in the blanks the appropriate gaits: walk, jog, trot, extended trot, canter, lope, or hand gallop. 43 Aids and Responses Ideal More rapid transitions Smoother transitions More fluid upward and downward transitions More prompt in transitions Picks up leads smoother and quicker Smoother lead changes Straighter back Backs more readily More correct back Shows less resistance to the bit while backing More desirable headset while backing Quieter with the bit on the rail On the bit Works on a looser rein without loss of contact Responds more readily to the rider’s cues Smoother reversals More correct reversals Exhibits more ease of performing the reversal Moves without undue restraint Required less rein while executing the reversal More balanced stop More correct stop Stopped with less resistance to the bit Stands quieter in line Fault Slow transitions Rough transitions Slow lead pick-up Rough lead changes Crooked back Resists the bit Wringing the tail Mouthing the bit Grabbing the bit Behind the bit In front of the bit Slow back Too tight rein Too loose rein Anticipates commands Bouncy stop Sliding stop Resisting the aids Rough reversals Not standing quietly in line Bucking Reversed incorrectly Missing correct lead Breaking gait Bobbing the head Suggested Terminology for the Equitation Classes General Appearance Ideal Smoother performance More consistent Less noticeable cues Uses more leg Horse and rider more coordinated More alert More attentive More fluid More responsive More willing More highly trained More ring etiquette More correct performance More relaxed Fault Rough performance Inconsistent, lacked steadiness More obvious cues Uses less leg, no leg contact Horse and rider not in rhythm Dull, sluggish Unattentive Lacked fluidity of movement Lacked responsiveness Shows resistance, resists aids Lacked training, lacked finish Lacked ring etiquette, less considerate of other exhibitors Unruly, nervous, stiff 44 Seat Ideal — Lower Body Ideal More leg contact More knee contact More lower or upper leg contact More correct leg position Heel further down Toe pointed straighter Fault Less leg contact Less knee contact Less lower or upper leg contact, lacked calf or thigh contact Less correct leg position, incorrect leg position Heels up Toes pointed outward, unparallel toe position 45 Movements: Back Ideal Straighter On the bit Smoother Move readily More responsive Horse more collected before backing Easier backing Quicker Fault Backed crookedly Behind the bit, in front of the bit Rougher, resisting Less fluid, movement, slower Resisted the bit Horse more strung out before backing, lacked collection Required more rein when asked to back More hesitation, less promptness in backing Stop Ideal More balanced More correct More desirable headset Less bounce On the bit Fault Lacked balance Less correct Less desirable headset Bouncy Mouthing the bit, grabbing the bit, behind the bit, in front of the bit Lead Changes Ideal Fault Smoother Used more leg when asking for the left lead Quicker Less anticipation Sharper, truer Rougher, strung out Less prompt Required more leg when cuing for the left lead Anticipated more Crossfiring, untrue Transitions Ideal Fault Smoother More correct On the bit Less prompt, less balanced Slow Behind the bit, in front of the bit 46 SAMPLE ORAL REASONS Sample Oral Reasons for Halter Horses Morgan Horse Mares.
I placed this class of Morgan Horse Mares 1, 2, 3, and 4.
I placed 1 at the top of this class and over 2 because 1 shows more Morgan horse type, style and balance, particularly in the head and neck.
One has more muscling in the chest, arm and forearm; more prominent withers; a shorter back and a stronger coupling.
One is a more animated mare who moves out with a truer, freer, and more collected stride.
However, I will grant 2 shows more refinement throughout, but I fault 2 for being longbacked.
In reference to my middle pair, 2 over 3, 2 is a more refined, higher quality mare.
Two has more slope to her shoulder; is sharper over the withers; has a shorter, stronger back; more arch of rib; deeper heart-girth, and is smoother-muscled over the croup and through the thigh, stifle, and gaskin.
She has a shorter cannon, and a rounder, tougher foot.
I will concede 3 stands somewhat straighter in front, but I criticize 3 for being thick over the withers and moving too wide in the hocks.
Now, coming to my bottom pair, 3 over 4, 3 is a smoother-muscled, nicer-balanced mare.
Three has a more feminine head; longer, leaner neck; is shorter in the back and coupling and is nicer turned over the croup.
She is cleaner in her hocks and stands on shorter, wider cannons.
Three is stronger in her pasterns and has a more shapely foot.
I will admit 4 is a larger mare with more prominent withers and moves truer behind; however, I criticize 4 and place her at the bottom of this class because she is off type, and lacks the muscling and balance of the mares I placed above her.
For these reasons I placed this class of Morgan Horse Mares 1, 2, 3 and 4. Sample Oral Reasons for English Pleasure Horses My placing of this English Pleasure class is 2, 1, 4, and 3.
In my top pair, I placed 2, the girl on the chestnut, over 1 because 2 had a more fluid, consistent, and supple performance.
Two was lighter on the forehand, showed more lateral bend, and had a more desirable headset in that he was on the bit and was steadier at the trot.
He showed more extension of stride at the walk and canter and he moved with more rearward impulsion.
I criticize 2 for missing a lead, and I grant 1 showed more spring and elasticity at the trot.
Moving to my middle pair, I placed 1, the girl on the bay, over 4 because 1 was smoother, more pleasurable, and agile.
Two had a more ground covering walk, showed more flexion and action to the knees and the hocks at the trot and was more united and smoother at the canter.
He showed more flexion at the poll and was more responsive to the bit.
I criticize 1 for being heavy on the forehand and I grant 4 had a longer stride and worked with more impulsion.
In reference to my bottom pair, I placed 4, the other girl on a bay, over 3 because 4 was more willing, responsive, and alert.
Four had a brighter, brisker walk, a freer moving trot, and was lighter on the forehand at the canter.
He showed more lateral bend, was smoother in his transitions, worked with more impulsion from the rear and was longer and bolder in his stride.
I criticize 3 for not working off the bit, and I grant 4 had a truer three-beat lope.
I placed 4, the girl on the brown, at the bottom of the class.
Granting he was quiet and relaxed, he broke gait three times, crossfired once, was rough in his transition, and lacked the impulsion, bend, and responsiveness exhibited by the three horses I placed above him.
Thank you. 47 Sample Oral Reasons for Stock Seat Equitation My placing on this stock seat equitation class is 4, 3, 2, and 1.
In my top pair, I placed 4, the lady on the black gelding, over 3 as she had a more fluid performance with more coordination between horse and rider.
She had a deeper, more relaxed seat, squarer shoulders, and a more correct free arm position.
In addition, 4 showed less movement in the seat in the transitions, while stopping, and used more outside leg in the execution of the reversals.
Furthermore, she had her horse standing squarer and quieter in line.
I grant 3 had a tighter leg and knee position and I criticize 4 as she had her horse behind the bit at the jog.
In reference to my middle pair, I placed 3, the gentleman and the bay mare, over 2 as he displayed a more correct leg position and had less noticeable cues.
The bay required less rein in the execution of the reversals and while backing, and the rider had the horse more on the bit throughout the class.
Moreover, he showed a more consistent and desirable lower leg position with greater knee contact, toes pointed straighter, and a more correct set to the heel.
I criticize 3 for not standing the horse squarely in line and I grant 2 displayed a more correct upper body position.
Moving to my bottom pair, I placed 2, the gentleman on the Appaloosa mare, over 1 as he had a smoother, more correct and fluid performance.
He used more leg and as a result showed sharper, smoother lead changes and more lateral bend in the reversal.
Also, 2 had a straighter line from shoulder to hip, a quieter free arm, and a more desirable hand position.
In addition, he had a tighter seat, quieter hands, and was more considerate to the other riders in the class.
I criticize 2 for not getting his horse on the bit before backing and I grant 1 had a more consistent lower leg position; however, I fault the girl on the gray mare and placed her last as she was loose in her upper body position and seat.
Also, she lacked ring etiquette and reversed in the wrong direction.
Thank you. 48 TYPICAL RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR A 4-H HORSE JUDGING CONTEST Entry Each 4-H horse judging team shall be composed of three or four members.
When four are entered, the three team members with the three high scores will make up the team total.
The contestants must be certified by the state, county, or local 4-H leader on entry blanks either the day of the contest or a specified date prior to the contest. • While the contest is in progress there shall be no conferring between contestants or anyone else except as directed by the contest chair or his or her representatives. • Be aware of whether the class you are judging is a class for placement only or for placement and reasons.
Take notes on reason classes only. • Sixteen minutes will be allowed contestants on classes that do not require reasons. • Eighteen minutes will be given contestants on reason classes, to make their observations, notes, and fill out their placing cards. • Two minutes will be allowed to give oral reasons to the judge. • Halter and performance classes will be judged.
The following breeds may be represented in the halter classes: Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Paints, POAs, Saddlebreds, Arabians, Welsh and Shetland Ponies, Morgans, and Appaloosas. • Performance classes may include English and Western Pleasure, Showmanship at Halter, Stock Seat Equitation, English Equitation, Western Riding, English Riding, and Reining. • The animals will be designated by numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and numbered from left to right. • Always approach horses cautiously.
All horses are capable of kicking. • Keep in a position of vantage where the class can be seen at all times.
This helps when making comparisons. • Horses will not be handled by the contestants, but time will be provided for close inspection by the contestants. CONTEST REGULATIONS AND SCORING Contestants and Eligibility Contestants must be bona fide 4-H members and approved by Cooperative Extension.
Club members who enter into academic or vocational training beyond high school of the current year are not eligible to compete in the 4-H contest.
Contestants who have served as alternates at a contest are considered as being part of the official team and are ineligible to compete a second time. Method of Conduct • Contestants and coaches must receive permission from the contest chair if they wish to visit the grounds prior to the contest. • All contestants will report to the chair at a specified place and time, where they will receive full instructions regarding the contest.
Each will be assigned a number, group and given placing cards.
All contestants will re-main with the assigned group throughout the contest. • Follow the directions given by your group leader. • No contestant shall wear any clothing, pins, or badges that will in any way reveal his or her identity or that of the state, county, or local club he or she represents. 49
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