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Frequently Asked Questions



Q1)  What is conformation?

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Conformation is a term that is used to describe how a horse is constructed or put together.  Every horse is likely to have all of the necessary "parts" allowing it to trot, pace, canter and gallop.  The way in which the parts are assembled and aligned determine whether the horse will stand up to the work for which it is used.

Think of it this way: an automobile may be constructed with all the required parts which allow it to operate.  If the parts are misaligned or otherwise poorly assembled, the vehicle may still operate adequately on city streets and on expressways.  If it is taken to the racetrack where it is driven for long distances at full throttle, placed under the stress of cornering at high speeds and maneuvered in and out of racing traffic, it is likely to vibrate, rattle and quickly fall apart.  It is no different with horses.

When assessing conformation, the first items one looks for are those factors which limit a horse's potential.  Limiting factors are those conformation flaws which predispose a horse to lameness or some other unsoundness.  To a lesser degree, the second items one looks for are those which will enhance performance.  Limiting factors are better known and more easily identified than performance enhancing factors.

There are many excellent resources available.  In addition to the list below, visit the Conformation area of the online catalog.

Back to Conformation Index    

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