A message from dark-bay
So looking through your blog I saw a lot of the 'useless average cob/Vanner' comments and yeah, did annoy me a bit as we've had 2 cobs competing in the Paralympic dressage events (look up Barilla) and there are fantastic jumping cobs like The Dark Emporer (although he is a sec. D) cobs are more than mediocre schoolmasters and good, well bred cobs actually are very valuable and sought after as WH and showing horses. It's the traveller/backyard cobs that give them a bad name.
A message from Anonymous
same anon about the knee/downhill question. I was just wondering because I competed in a 4-H horse judging class today and pinned a nice but over at the knee TB over a very downhill, swaybacked paint. The official judge said that being over at the knee automatically drops a horse, but I always thought downhill was worse, so I just wanted another opinion. But yeah that paint belonged on here he was fugly as anything but that's halter for ya.

I would support your decision. 

A message from curryx
oh god i just found your blog and srsly how do people that breed these horses not see these deformities? they all look kind of disabled. so many of them deserve to get put down for their own good. especially the qh's jesus christ , they look like they get bred for the meat industry

I wouldn’t say that any horse deserves to be put down, but there have been a couple that look too miserable to justify. Quality of life, etc. 

As for why people continue to breed horses while insisting on being entirely ignorant of basic conformation rules and why they’re important, your guess is as good as mine. 

A message from Anonymous
How do you feel about pintabians?

Come on, guys, how do I feel about breeding for color? 

A message from Anonymous
just wondering, what do you think is worse for an English riding horse: over at the knee or severely downhill?

Severely downhill. That’s a major problem in any horse.

Horses that are over at the knee often don’t have any problems because of it, and I’ve actually seen some people with a preference for it in racehorses or horses expected to do a lot of jumping. The theory there is that it allows them to get their knees up quicker. Not sure if there’s any truth to that. I still consider it a fault, but in many horses it’s not a serious one. If the horse isn’t displaying any signs of pain, you’re probably good.


About Maturity and Growth Plates By Dr. Deb Bennett
Owners and trainers need to realize there’s a definite, easy-to-remember schedule of bone fusion. Make a decision when to ride the horse based on that rather than on the external appearance of the horse. For there are some breeds of horse—the Quarter Horse is the premier among these—which have been bred in such a manner as to LOOK mature LONG before they actually ARE. This puts these horses in jeopardy from people who are either ignorant of the closure schedule, or more interested in their own schedule (racing, jumping, futurities or other competitions) than they are in the welfare of the animal. The process of fusion goes from the bottom up. In other words, the lower down toward the hooves, the earlier the growth plates will fuse—the higher up toward the animal’s back you look, the later. The growth plate at the top of the coffin bone, in the hoof, is fused at birth. What this means is that the coffin bones get no TALLER after birth (they get much larger around, though, by another mechanism). That’s the first one. In order after that: 2. Short pastern - top & bottom between birth and 6 mos. 3. Long pastern - top & bottom between 6 mos. and 1 yr. 4. Cannon bone - top & bottom between 8 mos. and 1.5 yrs. 5. Small bones of knee - top & bottom on each, between 1.5 and 2.5 yrs. 6. Bottom of radius-ulna - between 2 and 2.5 yrs. 7. Weight-bearing portion of glenoid notch at top of radius - between 2.5 and 3 yrs. 8. Humerus - top & bottom, between 3 and 3.5 yrs. 9. Scapula - glenoid or bottom (weight-bearing) portion - between 3.5 and 4 yrs. 10. Hindlimb - lower portions same as forelimb 11. HOCK - this joint is “late” for as low down as it is; growth plates on the tibial & fibular tarsals don’t fuse until the animal is 4 yrs old! So the hocks are a known a “weak point”. Even the 18th-century literature warns against driving young horses in plow or other deep or sticky footing, or jumping them up into a heavy load, for danger of spraining their hocks. 12. Tibia - top & bottom, between 2.5 and 3 yrs. 13. Femur - bottom, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.; neck, between 3.5 and 4 yrs.; major and 3rd trochanters, between 3 and 3.5 yrs. 14. Pelvis - growth plates on the points of hip, peak of croup (tubera sacrale), and points of buttock (tuber ischii), between 3 and 4 yrs. And what do you think is last? The vertebral column (spine) of course. A normal horse has 32 vertebrae between the back of the skull and the root of the dock, and there are several growth plates on each one, the most important of which is the one capping the centrum. The spine does not fuse until the horse is at least 5-1/2 years old. This figure applies to all horses, small scrubby, range raised horses to huge Warm Bloods. The taller your horse and the longer its neck, the later full fusion occurs. For a male (is this a surprise?) you add six months. So, for example, a 17-hand TB or Saddlebred or WB gelding may not be fully mature until his 8th year. Something that owners of such individuals have often told me that they “suspected.” The lateness of vertebral “closure” is most significant for two reasons. One: in no limb are there 32 growth plates! Two: The growth plates in the limbs are (more or less) oriented perpendicular (up and down) to the stress of the load passing through them, while those of the vertebral chain are oriented parallel (horizontal) to weight placed upon the horse’s back. Bottom line: you can sprain a horse’s back (i.e., displace the vertebral growth plates) a lot more easily than you can sprain those located in the limbs. And here’s another little fact: within the chain of vertebrae, the last to fully “close” are those at the base of the animal’s neck—that’s why the long-necked individual may go past 6 yrs. to achieve full maturity. So you also have to be careful—very careful—not to yank the neck around on your young horse, or get him in any situation where he strains his neck.”
Submitted by laughterbynight (sorry about the image quality. This is the clearest version I could find.)

This is great information, thank you!

About Maturity and Growth Plates
By Dr. Deb Bennett

Owners and trainers need to realize there’s a definite, easy-to-remember schedule of bone fusion. Make a decision when to ride the horse based on that rather than on the external appearance of the horse.
For there are some breeds of horse—the Quarter Horse is the premier among these—which have been bred in such a manner as to LOOK mature LONG before they actually ARE. This puts these horses in jeopardy from people who are either ignorant of the closure schedule, or more interested in their own schedule (racing, jumping, futurities or other competitions) than they are in the welfare of the animal.
The process of fusion goes from the bottom up. In other words, the lower down toward the hooves, the earlier the growth plates will fuse—the higher up toward the animal’s back you look, the later. The growth plate at the top of the coffin bone, in the hoof, is fused at birth. What this means is that the coffin bones get no TALLER after birth (they get much larger around, though, by another mechanism). That’s the first one. In order after that:
2. Short pastern - top & bottom between birth and 6 mos.
3. Long pastern - top & bottom between 6 mos. and 1 yr.
4. Cannon bone - top & bottom between 8 mos. and 1.5 yrs.
5. Small bones of knee - top & bottom on each, between 1.5 and 2.5 yrs.
6. Bottom of radius-ulna - between 2 and 2.5 yrs.
7. Weight-bearing portion of glenoid notch at top of radius - between 2.5 and 3 yrs.
8. Humerus - top & bottom, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.
9. Scapula - glenoid or bottom (weight-bearing) portion - between 3.5 and 4 yrs.
10. Hindlimb - lower portions same as forelimb
11. HOCK - this joint is “late” for as low down as it is; growth plates on the tibial & fibular tarsals don’t fuse until the animal is 4 yrs old! So
the hocks are a known a “weak point”. Even the 18th-century literature warns against driving young horses in plow or other deep or sticky footing, or jumping them up into a heavy load, for danger of spraining their hocks.
12. Tibia - top & bottom, between 2.5 and 3 yrs.
13. Femur - bottom, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.; neck, between 3.5 and 4 yrs.; major and 3rd trochanters, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.
14. Pelvis - growth plates on the points of hip, peak of croup (tubera sacrale), and points of buttock (tuber ischii), between 3 and 4 yrs.
And what do you think is last? The vertebral column (spine) of course. A normal horse has 32 vertebrae between the back of the skull and the root of the dock, and there are several growth plates on each one, the most important of which is the one capping the centrum.
The spine does not fuse until the horse is at least 5-1/2 years old. This figure applies to all horses, small scrubby, range raised horses to huge Warm Bloods. The taller your horse and the longer its neck, the later full fusion occurs. For a male (is this a surprise?) you add six months. So, for example, a 17-hand TB or Saddlebred or WB gelding may not be fully mature until his 8th year. Something that owners of such individuals have often told me that they “suspected.”
The lateness of vertebral “closure” is most significant for two reasons.
One: in no limb are there 32 growth plates!
Two: The growth plates in the limbs are (more or less) oriented perpendicular (up and down) to the stress of the load passing through them, while those of the vertebral chain are oriented parallel (horizontal) to weight placed upon the horse’s back.
Bottom line: you can sprain a horse’s back (i.e., displace the vertebral growth plates) a lot more easily than you can sprain those located in the limbs.
And here’s another little fact: within the chain of vertebrae, the last to fully “close” are those at the base of the animal’s neck—that’s why the long-necked individual may go past 6 yrs. to achieve full maturity. So you also have to be careful—very careful—not to yank the neck around on your young horse, or get him in any situation where he strains his neck.”

Submitted by laughterbynight (sorry about the image quality. This is the clearest version I could find.)

This is great information, thank you!

This kind of hind leg conformation shouldn’t exist
*cringes*
Submitted by puzzlethepony

This kind of hind leg conformation shouldn’t exist

*cringes*

Submitted by puzzlethepony

cobbledbitsofbone said: thats more than ok imo - way better to give a horse a purpose other than breeding it ~_~ now if only everyone else could wrap their head around this concept??

^^^

Just be aware of any issues or limitations that their conformation might cause and you’re good.

A message from Anonymous
Is it okay to buy a horse with bad or mediocre confirmation if you're just going to be using it for pleasure riding?

Absolutely. 


Just saw this as “the worlds tallest horse” in 2008. The poor thing looks terrible.

Just saw this as “the worlds tallest horse” in 2008. The poor thing looks terrible.