Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Conformation question

I would like to start Gwen free jumping in the spring once the ground softens up but I'm a little concerned about her front legs. I think I see a conformation flaw in her front legs that would effectively end her jumping career before it even starts.

My question is: Does anyone else see it? I'm going to be honest and say that I hope you don't, which is why I'm not saying what I think I see, but if most people see it then I'll have to change my plans for her. I don't want to risk her longterm soundness for a bit of fun.

This picture just makes me laugh
For the record I know she's sickle hocked but that doesn't concern me too much. She's almost seven and has had zero wear and tear on those hocks so they should hold up under a normal workload.

So what do you think? Safe to try a little jumping or no?


  1. She's a little behind at the knee, and tends to stand with her front legs under her. Any horse can probably do a little bit of jumping - not too high and not too fast - without too much worry about soundness. Our Lily, who competed up to 4' and could go much higher - over 5' - was also a bit behind at the knee and also very straight in the front pasterns, but she stayed sound throughout. But I would be careful not to jump her too high or fast.

  2. What Kate said. (basically, not too high or fast, especially at first).

    A bit of jumping can be really good for helping the horse learn to use her body correctly.
    Cavelettis and small grids can be helpful for getting a horse using their hind quarters, stepping under themselves and picking up those feet.


  3. Thanks ladies, back at the knee was exactly what I thought I saw. I am immensely relieved to know that doesn't mean she can never jump.

    Keeping it low and slow won't be a problem at all. Right now I don't think she'll be emotionally able to do any showing so any jumping we do would be very casual, just to freshen her up a bit.

    I think she stands closed in the front because she's got a ridiculously long humerus and a low point of shoulder. Both of which might actually help her be scopey. I've seen her jump 4 foot (darn mare) so I know that she can really tuck those knees up under her ears.

  4. Well, at least I guessed right (back at the knee), but I don't know really anything about jumping so I can't add anything constructive LOL. She's cute, though--if you try it good luck! The only jumping I've ever done consisted of me going over the jumps head first without the horse. :)

  5. Thanks, I think she's pretty cute too. To me everything above the legs on her is damn near perfect. (I'm not biased or anything)

    Jessie, I've done that too. Best lesson ever about not trying to jump for the horse and leaning too far forward. Fortunately the worst thing it hurt was my pride.

  6. I'm sure no matter what her conformation issues she'll do fine with a little jumping. Every horse can have fun over cavelletti's and small jumps. There's no need to go fast and high, just learning to adjust strides and jump correctly can be fun for both rider and horse. I'm currently starting Dusty out very slowly over cavelletti's to adjust her stride and steering. She doesn't have the best conformation for jumping either, so we're working on giving her confidence and having fun. To hear her tell it, she's doing HUGE jumper courses right now.

  7. For me it's hard to tell about back at the knee with her legs being back too. The first pic is straighter and she doesn't look bad to me. I guess that puts me with the others about giving it a try and see how she does. There are lots of less than perfect horses competing successfully when conformation says they shouldn't. You just never know until you try what she can tolerate and what she can't.

  8. Hi GHM and Mikael, thanks for adding your votes of confidence. Once the ground softens up I'm going to give it a go. I'll let everyone know how she does!