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
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.