Saturday, October 16, 2010

Photos of Horse #2

So I've now got some cell-phone photos of horse #2, and while they're not perfect, they do give us a little more information.  Here's the two side-on photos - I've cropped and enlarged so the sharpness isn't perfect, and have also straightened the photos:

Here's what I see so far while trying to look through the paint camo - not too bad: top line's pretty good; she's a bit long in the back but not horribly so; a little straight behind but again not terrible; shoulder, head and neck not too bad either; and good overall balance although she's fairly lightly built.

Here are the hind legs from the back:

A little cow-hocked, but again that's not a huge defect - but I'm not liking how she's weighting the outside edge of the left hind.  And here are the front legs:

Now leaving aside the trim, which looks a little weird to my eye, and the fact that they've managed to put her left front in the floor drain, which affects how she's standing, the left front looks a little odd to me.  And remember that the trainer said that she paddles in front - this usually means either that there's a problem with how the horse is put together in the front, or else the horse is traveling oddly to avoid weighting a foot in a particular way that may be uncomfortable.  A horse that toes in in front will often paddle.

So now that I've got a question, I had to go back and look more closely at the other photos.

I may be imagining things, but I think there's something funky about that left front, and I don't think it's just the floor drain.  The angle of the pastern is straighter than the right front and from the outside (last photo) the shape of the heel on the outside seems a bit odd.  And those horizontal dark areas about 2/3 of the way down her front feet could just possibly be event lines - or it could just be dirt.

I'd be interested in what you think about this - am I just imagining things?


  1. I'm no professional at all... but I can tell you I would not buy that mare. There is enough "off" to make me take her off list. First I noticed immediately the hocks, and then her weight on left hind is odd. Looking at the front of her standing and left front is almost ok, but right front is just plain weird.

    Further that she's built a bit down hill, shoulder looks .. I don't know might be the colour pattern. I guess I just don't like her.

  2. Maybe it's her colouring but her hind legs look awfully straight to me as well as all the other possible abnormalities you and others have noted. If it were me looking for a horse I'd still be looking - elsewhere.

  3. I want to stick up for her a little bit by saying that I don't think these people are doing her any favors with their lack of photography skills.

    She's not set up very well in either of the body shots, the photo of her hind legs makes it look like there's something funny going on with that left hind, and then for the front shot they've got her in the drain.

    Looking to the back legs from the side shots and the photo of her front feet, I think that foot looks less wonky. She is definitely cow-hocked, though, and I think that left front pastern is a little crooked, which would explain the paddling.

    Her shoulder looks pretty good to me (the first shot shows it better than the second) and I think she's fairly well put together. I don't think she looks downhill, and if she is it's minimal. Being a Paint, conformation can be difficult to see in person and especially in pictures.

    I like her, and I think the things that have been pointed out are minor and could potentially be fixed or minimized with proper trimming. I think she's worth a closer look... didn't you mention she's not very far away?

    Paddling is definitely something to be concerned about, but you could see how she moves and look at her feet in person and go from there.

    Did they tell you any more about her trail experience?

  4. in2paints - I agree about their photography skills - and it's not too far away - about 2 hours. Might be worth a visit. She's successfully done a fair amount of trail. But might be a wasted visit too - I'd like a horse with fewer possible conformation issues. But she's cute . . .

  5. I'm intrigued by all the close inspection and discussion. It's interesting to read what you and other commenters look at when buying a horse.

    For me, an emotional connection means more than all the conformation stuff, and I'm just glad the horses don't get to have US vet-checked and dissected b/c goodness knows we all have our physical nonconformities, crookedness, and outright flaws!

    Interesting process you're sharing here. Thanks.

  6. billie - I agree with you that the emotional connection is so important, but sometimes it isn't there right away, and I think I'm able to build that connection with many horses. I've had a lot of horses over the years, including a number that weren't rideable due to age or physical disability - I guess what I'm saying is that I've learned a lot about what horses not to buy - from having bought them. At this point I'm looking for reasons not to go look at a horse - I have to really like the conformation and overall look before I'll even consider it. It's too easy to fall in love with the wrong horse - one that may be sweet, good, well-trained but with a body that can't hold up under use. I don't need another lame horse - I've got at least one of those already - retired at 13. That said, even a horse with great conformation can suffer a career ending injury. So there are no guarantees, but I really want to stack the odds in my favor.

  7. I think I agree with billie up to a certain point. I think you need a little bit of both good conformation and a connection with the horse for the relationship to work. I think we would all love to have a horse that has perfect conformation (no such thing in my book) AND is incredibly beautiful AND has a remarkable personality. That horse simply doesn't exist, so we have to be willing to settle somewhere. For some, it's with personality--the perfect horse visually doesn't have to be nice. For others, a horse's conformation doesn't have to be 100% correct. No matter where you end up settling, you're still settling somewhere.

    For me, my dream horse didn't have perfect conformation. Not terrible, conformation, but certainly not perfect. But I already knew how to love her. So yeah, I settled, but it didn't feel like I was. I could have gone out and found a "better," perhaps more well put-together horse, but that wouldn't have made me happy. I didn't want to have to build a relationship with a new horse, because the perfect horse FOR ME was sitting right in front of me. Missy is by no means perfectly trained or perfectly put together, but the thing is, those people who go out looking for perfection aren't going to find it...That's Life.

    You don't have to find the perfect horse, Kate, you just have to find the perfect horse FOR YOU!

  8. I expect I'll go take a look at her, since she's close to me - but I'll be looking closely at those feet and legs!

  9. Pass.

    I respectfully disagree about those hindlegs. I'd call her bowlegged, not cow hocked because her feet are closer together than her hocks. If she were cow hocked they'd be farther apart. I also think they've got a crappy farrier.

  10. It looks to me that her trim is not doing her any favors. With all four feet, but especially that left front, the coronet band is not parallel with the ground--they all look long to the inside. That could account for the strangeness of the LF pastern; that and the fact that the heel looks higher on that foot as well. That would also contribute to the "toed-out" appearance, and weighting the outside behind.
    She doesn't look very well developed through the gaskins and rump to me, either. Long back and short croup, too.
    I'm not so sure, now...

  11. Not loving the trim, but I don't think its the only problem ,there is something truly odd about how she is standing ,and I agree it is more than poor presentation.Add to the fact they seemed reluctant to send you pics at all I would likely cross her off the list

  12. Hi Kate...
    Those are not so great pics of her..but she is nice looking mare.The ad pics were better..she's nice sounding.

    That trim job is terrible! It is diff to tell, but it may be mostly that, with how her feet long on one side...dumping her over!
    If it were me, I'd go for a road trip... her action and her mind, will tell you so much!

  13. Everyone seems to have covered most of the issues with this horse; me, I still think 12 is the best horse left on your list.

  14. I'm no expert by any means, but I would not buy her either. The first thing I noticed is that she looks back at the knee or maybe she's standing camped under. Dunno. I would pass though.

  15. I looked at this, and read all the comments. Looked at the horses you have short listed.
    The photos of horse 2, are really quite rough, and although they show some possible defects, I would want the horse on loan, for at least a week. To try it out, settle it down, and suss out anything that maybe wrong or, is wrong. Do you do this over the pond? We have an unwritten thing here, that the horse can go on loan, if the owners are`nt prepared to do that, then I would pass. But thats here and not there. Just a thought.

  16. No, this mare gives me more pause than inspires curiosity. That front left pastern does appear crooked, and I'd worry about long-term effects. I don't understand the trim either, and can't help but wonder whether it's compensatory or just plain bad. Either answer speaks to a problem that may require some time to fully see, let alone resolves. She just doesn't seem as four-square as what you're looking for and have already seen in other candidates.

  17. Well, I would be wary of ruling a horse out on photographs. Nearly all the negative comments are about things that would show differently if the horse was standing slightly differently. I always wonder if anyone would 'buy me' when they see me not standing up straight like an Alexander teacher.

    I'd go and ride her - then you'll tell what matters and what doesn't. And you can then check out the trim too! But I also take the point about not wanting to buy physical problems up ahead. I reckon you can see that better in the flesh though.

  18. I'll admit in front of God and everybody that I don't know enough about the finer points of conformation to make comments about it. I still have to trust my more experienced friends to give me that kind of advice. But I do agree that passing her up solely based on poor photography isn't fair to you or the mare. Check her out. Give her a chance.

  19. It could just be an overdue or bad trimming, but I agree that something doesn't look quite right about that left front. It might be worth looking in person, but I wouldn't fault you if you scratch her off the list.

  20. I'm just going to be repeating what others have said already, that their photography skills aren't helping the horse any. I also think the trim looks weird -- way too long in the toe, I think, after looking at both the front and side pictures. That may have a lot to do with why she is padding!

    I think she'd be worth going to look at, since it is that close. I also think the week-long loan is a good idea, if you think she's still worth considering after you see her. You could have your farrier and vet look her over while you've got her.

  21. I admire you for your detailed investigation of these sale horses. I am learning a lot reading through all the postings and comments.

    I agree, sometimes it's hard to see past the flash of a pretty horse to the true conformation.

  22. The pictures and trim leave much to be desired. That said, it wouldn't hurt to go take a look at her anyway, she's close enough. There's an awful lot that can be fixed with a horse if their feet are done right and they are properly muscled. Take her for a spin and see what she's like. It's easier to make a decision in person.

  23. I agree that the LF is a little funky. It's definitely something to examine closely (which I know you will), but I'd be more interested to see how she moves and whether it affects her way of going. It could also be something that could be improved upon by a good farrier. For example, until I found my current farrier, my horse had two front feet that looked like they didn't belong to the same horse. Now they match, he moves better, and his feet have gotten stronger. It hasn't changed the way his front legs are put together, but a good farrier definitely helps. I'm not crazy about the way her feet are trimmed, so consider whether better shoeing could help her out. I'm sure you could improve on the trim behind, and get her distributing weight more evenly, too. She's worth a look, in my humble opinion, based on attractiveness alone. (And not just because I have a b/w pinto mare!)

  24. I love her. I love her. I love her.


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