Conformation Lesson

Measuring the horse

Understand what is easy and what may be difficult for your horse to perform. Horses who don't fit the mold can certainly be trained, but the trainer should realize these horses will take more time while other, more balanced horses, will have more natural ability.

1. Throat latch circumference to length of the shoulder

A. Measure all the way around the throat latch, from behind the ears around the top of the neck. 
B. Measure from the top of the wither, down and across the shoulder, around to the middle of the chest (where the hairline meets in the middle of the chest).

A = ½ of B = 10
For every 1" off, minus a point.

2. Bottom line to top line of the neck

A. Measure the neck, from the throat latch (under the jaw) to the shoulder (where the neck comes into the shoulder)
B. Measure from the top of the withers to the poll

A = ½ of B = 10
This horse will be able to really use his shoulder well as in jumpers, gaited horses, and dressage horses.

3. Measure the back

A. Measure from the top of the wither to the croup (between the hips).
B. Measure from the top of the wither to the poll.

A = ½ of B = 10
A long back decreases the score because the horse will have less ability to do lateral movements.

4. Measure the overall balance

A. Measure from the top of the elbow to the ground (may have to flex the leg to find the top of the elbow).
B. Measure from the stifle to the ground (the stifle is found on the front of the rear leg, near the top of the leg, parallel to the elbow).

When the measurement is the same = 10
This horse will be able to lift the shoulder well and make easy transitions.
When the horse is higher in front the score increases to a 10+ because this horse will have the ability to lift the shoulder really well.  This horse may make a good raining or dressage horse because collection will come easy.
Loose 1 point for each inch that the back is higher.  When the horse is higher behind the horse may raise his head and hollow the back, collection will likely be more difficult to achieve. 

5. Measure the stride

A. Measure 4" below the front of the wither to the point of the hip
B. Measure from the point of the shoulder in front to the point of the hip in back

The longer the bottom line the longer the stride.
High level dressage horses may have up to 3x the length on the bottom line.