Vertical line from the point of buttock should touch the rear edge of cannon and meet the ground behind the feet.
December 1989 Horse Judging I.
What To Look For. Page 15 hoof.
From the rear view, the hocks should point straight back or turn in very slightly.
The hind legs should set well under the horse and the feet point straight ahead.
The hock should be set at the correct angle.
Too much angle at the hock with the feet set too far under the body is called “sickle-hocked”.
Too little angle is called “post-legged”.
Feet and Pasterns.
The hoof should be well shaped, roomy and balanced in size with the horse.
The heel should be deep, wide, and open.
The hoof should appear tough and durable.
The pasterns should be medium in length and set at approximately 45 degrees to the ground.
The hoof should have the same angle as he pastern.
If the pastern is too straight, it does not cushion the shock of the foot striking the ground and can lead to serious damage as well as a rough ride. ACTION Although the degree of action will vary somewhat with the different breeds of light horses depending on their use (saddle, racing, stock horse, show, etc.), the usefulness of all horses depends on their ability to move well.
In all breeds the motion should be straight and true, with a long, well-coordinated, elastic stride.
Excess lateral movement of the feet reduces efficiency and detracts from coordination.
Action is affected by the set of the feet and legs.
A horse that stands crooked usually moves crooked.
A horse that toes in (pigeon-toed) on the front feet will usually paddle or wing out.
Some horses place the front feet too close together, sometimes interfering as they move.
A horse that toes out (splay-footed) in front will usually dish or wing in.
Fairly close hock action, with the hindlegs moving straight forward is desirable.
Lateral movement of the hocks is undesirable.
The horse should move with snap and determination, as if he knows where he is going and is sure to get there.
A halting, sluggish movement is undesirable.
Some common defects are: Cross-firing. – A “scuffing” on the inside of the diagonal forefeet and hindfeet: generally confined to pacers.
Dwelling. – A noticeable pause in the flight of the foot, as though the stride were completed before the foot reaches the ground: most noticeable in trick-trained horses.
Forging. – Striking forefoot with toe of hindfoot.
Interfering. – Striking fetlock or cannon with the opposite foot; most often done by base-narrow, toewide, or splay-footed horses.
Lameness. – A defect detected when the animal favors the affected foot when standing.
The load on the ailing foot in action is eased and a characteristic bobbing of the head occurs as the affected foot strikes the ground.
Speedy Cutting. – The inside of diagonal fore and hind pastern make contact: sometimes seen in fast trotting horses.
Stringhalt. – Excessive flexing of hind legs: most easily detected when a horse is backed.
Trappy. – A short, quick, choppy stride: a tendency of horses with short, straight pasterns and straight shoulders.
Winding or Rope-walking. – A twisting of the striding leg around in front of supporting leg, which results in contact like that of a rope-walking artist: often occurs in horses with very wide fronts.
Winging. – An exaggerated paddling particularly noticeable in high-going horses. December 1989 QUALITY Quality is indicated by cleanness of the bone and head, general body smoothness, and stylishness.
The bone should be clean and hard.
The joints, free from fleshiness.
The tendons in the legs stand back from the cannon bones and give the legs a flat appearance.
The head looks clean-cut and chiseled.
The body is smooth and the haircoat glossy.
However, a slick fat horse might appear smooth and glossy and still be of low quality. SEX AND BREED CHARACTER By sex character, we mean masculinity in the stallion and femininity in the mare.
The stallion should have a bolder, stronger, head, a more massive jaw, and thicker heavier neck and shoulders than the gelding or mare.
The stallion has heavier bone and is larger and more rugged than the mare.
Geldings do not show excessive masculinity.
Mares should be feminine about the head and neck and more refined than stallions.
Each breed has slightly different characteristics about the head as well as in body conformation.
These are the points which make us recognize one breed of light horses from the others.
In breed classes or in selecting a horse of a particular breed, these points should be considered.
USDA Farmers Bulletin 2127 and page 3 of this manual give some of the breed characteristics of the various breeds. Horse Judging I.
What To Look For. Page 16 Paddling. – Throwing the front feet outward as they are picked up: most common in toe-narrow or pigeon-toed horses.
Pointing. – Perceptible extension of the stride with little flexion: likely to occur in the long-strided Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeds – animals bred and trained for great speed.
Pounding. – Heavy contact with ground instead of desired light, springy movement.
Rolling. – Excessive lateral shoulder motion: characteristic of horses with protruding shoulders.
Scalping. – The hairline at top if hindfoot hits toe of forefoot as it breaks over. blemishes and calculating the importance of each.
A blemish is an abnormality which may detract from the appearance of a horse, but does not affect his serviceability.
An unsoundness is an abnormality that interferes with the usefulness of the horse.
Certain unsoundnesses have a tendency to be inherited, and these are more serious than those which are acquired by accident.
Inherited unsoundnesses make a horse undesirable for breeding, showing or performance.
The common unsoundnesses and blemishes are described in the Horse Science Unit.
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