Tuesday, August 7, 2007

August 07, 2007 -- Foals

Weaning season is upon us, and many of you will find yourselves caught up in the cuteness of the babies. For those of you with the experience to train your own horse, or the means to hire help to do so, purchasing and raising a foal can be a very rewarding experience.

Today's post will give you examples of three different breeds of foals (Quarter Horse, Arabian and Shetland Pony) and show you how to choose your new baby wisely.

Before looking at the pictures, let me give you some things to consider. First and foremost, IMO, is conformation of both the foal and its sire and dam. Second is bloodlines; I like to look for producers/earners in the first 3 generations. Also, temperament of the foal, the sire and the dam. And third, I look at color. No, a good horse is NEVER a bad color, but if you find two very comparable foals within your price range and that fit your needs/desires, its always nice to have the added bonus of a popular color that will really get you and your horse noticed!
By the time a foal hits 3 months of age, its legs should be straight and it should be well muscled. Overall, the appearance of a foal at 3 months old, is what the foal will look like as an adult. The only exception to this rule is if the foal is butt high/unlevel from growing.
** I am still trying to figure out how to post the photos so they are horizontal as opposed to verticle. Please bear with me while I learn my way around Blogger.com. (Any input or advice is always appreciated!) Also, Tomorrow I will post Arabian foals for your consideration, and Shetland Ponies will be the following day.**

These foals are an AQHA registered colt ($1500) and an APHA registered filly ($950). They are different breeds, but conformationally, we would look for the same qualities as they are both of stock horse type. They are both about 4 months old in these pictures.
AQHA Buckskin Colt- Foal #1



APHA Cremello Filly- Foal #2



Saturday, August 4, 2007

August 04, 2007 -- AQHA Geldings

These geldings are all AQHA registered horses between the ages of 5 and 12 yrs. They all stand between 14.2 and 16 hands. They are all priced between $1500 and $2500. We are looking at these horses for general use, and no specific discipline.

Place these horses in your order of preference and then read below to see how you did.

Horse A
10 yr old 15hh
No Impressive or Poco Bueno Breeding

Horse B
5 yr old 15.3hh
Impressive breeding HYPP Status NOT Disclosed

Horse C
9 yr old 15.2hh
No Impressive or Poco Bueno Breeding

Horse D
6 yr old 15.3 hh
No Impressive or Poco Bueno Breeding

Horse C is, overall, the best put together of the 4 horses. He has good bone (Not too fine and not too coarse), nice sized feet, straight legs, an attractive head, good conditioning, and overall balance and eye appeal.

He looks to have an attractive head with large, wide-set eyes, a small, rounded muzzle, large nostrils and nice set ears. Though its hard to tell, it looks like his neck ties in fairly well at the throatlatch, but may be a little coarse. While his neck is a bit thick, its not so large that it will hinder his movement, and it ties in well with both his withers and his chest.

His shoulder is at an okay angle to be able to move his front legs out from beneath himself, though I wouldn't mind if he had just a tad more angle. It does tie in very nicely with straight, strong front legs.

He has good forearm muscling, flat wide knees, and nice length of cannon bone. His pasterns are a nice without being too long or too short. They are at a good 45 degree angle. His hooves and feet look strong and to be of adequate size to carry his weight without going lame.

Moving back up, we find a good strong wither. I would like to see this horse's back tie in a little better to his withers. Right now he is fine, but looks like he may become sway backed after some years of heavy use. His back is back is a good length, being short and strong and having a good loin.

He has a deep, desireable heart girth and his underline is of good length being longer than his topline.

Moving to his hind end, I like his overall shape, but he could use some muscling and a bit more length along the croup. I think his croup would look better with some work to build his muscles. Backing a horse is a great way to build these muscles, and if I were to buy this horse, that is exactly what I would do to help him in this area. His hip has a really nice angle though and should assist in propulsion and his ability to bring his hocks beneath himself to drive forward and work off his hind end.

He has a good tail set that will allow him the use of his tail for balance, and good muscling through the back of the buttocks. His gaskins are strong and are connected to a nice, round stifle.

He has a strong set of hocks that he will be able to pull under to push himself forward. Again, we see good, thick cannons and strong fetlocks and pasterns.

Horses B and D came in as a close second and third. They both have faults where the other has strengths. The reason I placed B above D is because of his overall balance and strength.

Horse B is very well fitted and in excellent physical condition. My biggest concern with this horse (and may possibly be a reason that I would not even consider buying him) is the fact that his HYPP status is not disclosed. If he has not been tested (Or his Impressive bred parent has not been tested), I would require that be done before even considering him. HYPP is a horrible disease and can end a horse's life. Best case scenario is that a horse is N/N meaning he is NON symptomatic and a NON carrier. If a horse is N/H this means that they are NON symptomatic but are a carrier. Geldings are okay if they are N/H because they will not be used for breeding purposes. But, you would NOT want to purchase a horse that is N/H or worse yet, H/H.

Regarding his conformation, I will explain what faults him against my first pick in this line up as opposed to going through everything step-by-step.
His head looks to be a bit more coarse than Horse C, but is not completely unattractive. He does have a nicer neck than horse C though, being that it is a bit slimmer and has more definition as it ties in with the shoulder.

Also, I like his shoulder angle better than Horse C and his overall muscling is better. Unfortunately, I feel, like many halter bred horses, that Horse B is a bit too fine boned for the size of his body. Also, his feet are much smaller and this can present problems with soundness.

Hose B has a really nice, deep heart girth and great withers that tie into really well with his back. I would like to see his back much shorter through the loin, and I believe that this will also present soundness issues after years of hard work.

He has good, strong hind quarters with a nice, low tail set. He looks strong through the stifle, but a bit weak compared to the rest of him once you get to his gaskin. While he has a nice hock, again, we find cannons that are thin and too refined to support the bulk of his body under a work load.

Horse D by far has the nicest head and neck of the bunch with the exception of his eye which I would like to see a bit larger with more expression.
His overall appearance is nice with a good shoulder and hip, and good pastern angles, though he could use a bit more length in the pastern. Again, like with Horse C, I would like to see more muscling and definition through the croup of Horse D.

His back is short and strong with a good wither and deep heart girth.

As with Horse B, this horse has much finer bone and very tiny feet which will eventually cause soundness issues. Horse D also looks to be a bit behind at the knee which will affect his ability to pull his front legs out from beneath him as well as eventual issues with arthritis.

My only other concern with Horse D is that he looks to be a bit cow hocked. You can see this by the way his rear right leg (Farthest away in the pictures) points outward instead of directly beneath him. I would want to see this horse standing square from the rear to make certain about this though.

What can I say about Horse A? He has okay bone and feet for his size and good shoulder and hip angles. Other than that, this horse looks like a young child molded him out of clay.

He has a giant head without much eye appeal. His neck is okay, but without much definition at all. He has a SUPER long back; its even longer than his under line.

He will be difficult to fit for a saddle as his withers are quite prominent, and his back is quite weak. His croup is of addequate length (It looks short in this picture, but in another picture, it is okay.) and he has a nice tail set, but he has poor stifles and gaskins. His hocks are well set for drive and propulsion, but without the necessary muscling, it won't matter.

He looks to be camped out in this picture, but in another picture, he doesnt look so bad. I believe it is the fault of the handler and not actually a conformation fault. He definitely looks to toe out on both the front and hind legs though in both pictures. Also, he has very short, straight pasterns which will make for a very hard, choppy ride, and over the years will cause this horse to become lame from the concussion on his feet and legs.