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What is Good Conformation
For a Model Horse?

Conformation for the model horse is the designed physical appearance of the model due to the sculptured arrangement of muscle, bone density and other body tissue.   Model Horse Conformation is a combination of muscle, suggested imaginary skeletal soundness and symmetry.   It is the overall blending of body parts to form a realistic representative of a real equine that is a graceful athlete.   All models horses have conformation.   However, the quantity and quality of the blending of these body parts determine the acceptability or unacceptability of the model horse's conformation.   This chapter is intended to outline criteria that can be used to evaluate conformation of model horses.   Each real life breed organization has identified its ideal horse.   Therefore, the breed ideal represents the breed's standard of excellence.   Prior to comparing two or more model horses of the assigned breed, it is essential to have a mental picture of the real ideal horse of that breed and then equate to the model horse that as been "assigned" that breed.   The purpose of judging, either in competition or as a tool in selecting a model horse, is to find within a group of model horses the model horse most typical of the ideal of that breed.

Conformation is important in all areas of model horse evaluation.   It is important to establish a systematic approach to evaluation.   Once developed, this approach will allow the you to evaluate horses quickly and consistently.   Since we cannot watch a model horse track (walk and trot the horse for soundness, structural deviations and movement) we have to reply upon correct sculpted conformation of a real horse in movement for those models not standing still.   For those that are standing still the best submitted photos are those that have the horse standing on a side profile or slightly angled one.   The evaluator then views the model horse from the side (profile), starting with the head, throat latch, neck, shoulder and front column of bones, topline, hindquarters and rear column of bones.   The photo entry should have the whole horse submitted and taking up as much space in the photo frame as possible so the judge can see it to judge it.   At a live show, entry evaluation should be done at a slight distance in order to visualize the entire model horse.   When at a live show, the judge should evaluate the model horse front view to determine the width of chest, muscling, and structure of the front leg and hoof combined with close observation of the horse's head and neck.   Then move to the rear where muscling of the entire hindquarter as well as hind limb structure are evaluated.   After a complete close inspection of the model horse, the judge should move away from the model horse in order to observe the model horse from a distance in comparsion to the other models in the class.   Evaluating balance, structural correctness and sculpted muscling of all the entries should be a requirement in the judge's mindset.   When judging photo mail in shows, in order to come up with a proper full class placement, consider stacking in order of placement for final comparsion.  For online shows, use a secondary window folder to place your line in order for evaluation.   At the live show, request the owners of your top grouping come back to the table and place them in order of your first go of accessment starting with 1st on down to last place.  You can ask for all the other models to be removed from the class. Then re-evaluate on the side profile to get your final line up.

To evaluate conformation, it is essential to know the parts of the real horse.   A competent judge must have a thorough understanding of all parts of the real horse, the function of each and an evaluation system that allows for consistent, repititious evaluation of horse conformation.   Then they must be able to equate that to the sculpted conformation of a model horse.   Below is a summary of real horse conformation.

The Parts of the Horse and Determining Their Merit

Parts of the Horse

There are differences in perception as to the ideal head for each of the various breeds.   However, attractive, well conformed heads for most breeds all have common characteristics.   These characteristics include short, well-set ears; large, bold eyes; short length from eye to muzzle; large nostril; refined muzzle with a shallow mouth; as well as sex and breed characteristics of the head.   There is no physiological benefit to the horse having an attractive head.   Horses with different head shapes are able to breathe, see, hear and ingest food.   What makes a head pretty or attractive? Certainly the set of the ears, shape of the eye, size of the nostril, depth of the mouth and overall proportions of the head are important to a concept of beauty.   The ears will be proportional to the horse's head.   In fact, the various parts of the horse should always be proportional.   However, the placement of the ears will not always be the same.   It is important that the ears sit squarely on top of the head, point forward and have an attractive, alert appearance.   Some horse's ears turn outward, some turn inward and some are positioned on the side of the head.   Any deviation in placement or carriage detracts from the beauty of the head, thus from the total beauty of the horse.   When a horse's head is measured from the poll to a horizontal line drawn between the eyes, this distance will approximate one-half the distance from the horizontal line to the midpoint of the nostril.   Thus, the eyes should be positioned one-third of the distance from the horse's poll to the muzzle.   When the width of the horse's head across the orbit of the skull is measured, that distance should be almost identical to the distance from the poll to the horizontal line drawn between the eyes.   The horse's head should always be proportional.   There is a definite art to evaluating conformational traits of horses.   Many of the concepts are based on years of observation rather than documented research.   For example, the head has certain qualities that are important when evaluating other factors.   The experienced judge may get an impression of an individual's potential disposition by the shape and position of the eyes.   During evolution, the eye has moved from the front of the horse's head to the side, which provides a more rounded arc of vision (about 300 degrees.)   Large, quiet, soft eyes usually indicate a quiet, docile disposition.   A small "pigeye" is indicative of a horse that is usually somewhat sullen and difficult to train, perhaps due to limited vision.   The horse with excessive white around the eye is very often nervous and flighty.   However, this is characteristic of Appaloosa horses, and this anatomical characteristic is not the reason for these differences in disposition.   This characteristic is merely associated with other genotypic and phenotypic characteristics of the breed.   What is the perfect eye?   Look for a bright, tranquil eye with a soft, kind expression.   Horses with bold, bright eyes set wide apart and well onto the side of the head in combination with a slightly concave appearance from the eye to the muzzle (dish face) will have increased depth perception and lateral vision.   These horses appear to be more trainable because they are not as easily frightened and are less apprehensive about their surroundings.   Horses with small 'pigeyes' and a convex appearance from eye to the muzzle (Roman-nose) have limited vision and are typically more difficult to train.   Many outstanding horse breeders recognize breeding and quality of a horse by observing the head.   Even though many breed enthusiasts discuss the need for a large, flaring nostril to facilitate adequate intake of air, there appears to be no scientific data to support this statement.   Many judges and breeders talk about the need for a large nostril so the horse may breathe properly.   There probably has never been a horse with a nostril small enough to restrict intake of air. The nostril size has an effect on the horse's overall beauty.   The horse should have a well-defined jaw.   Stallions will have a slightly larger, deeper jaw than mares, indicative of secondary male sexual characteristics.   Typically, geldings will be intermediate between mares and stallions.   There are distinct differences among breeds and lines of horses with respect to depth of the mouth.   This is indicative of a horse that is light or soft in the mouth.   The softness or lack of responsiveness during training may be referred to as being light, soft, tough or hard in the mouth.   Generally, the more shallow the mouth, the softer and more responsive a horse is to a bit and vice versa.   Some breeders believe a deeper mouth is indicative of 'breeding."   Stock horses , western pleasure, reining and cutting horses prefer a shallow mouth because of the immediate response to touch.   When examining the mouth, the evaluator should ensure that the horse is not 'parrot-mouthed' (overshot muzzle) or 'monkey-mouthed' (undershot-muzzle).   The shape of the muzzle contributes to the beauty of the horse.  

Summary: Since the head and neck are important in determining the athletic ability of the real horse, the model horse should also conformation to the same standard of accessment.   A supple horse uses its head and neck as a rudder and stabilizer.   Free head and neck movement have a profound influence on the horse's way of going.   For a horse to be well balanced, the neck should be long and lean with the head size in proportion to the rest of the body.   The head should follow the type of breed and be finely chiseled with good definition of the bony framework.   The head should be triangular when viewed from the side.   It should have large powerful jaws and taper to the muzzle.   The profile should be a straight or slightly dished face, as opposed to an arched or Roman nose.   As viewed from the front, the forehead should be wide between the eyes, tapering to the muzzle.   Now that you have a decription of a quality head for a real horse you need to equate that to the model horse entry.

The neck is always an important conformational part to consider because the horse uses the neck as a balance arm.   The throat latch, which is from ear to ear, should be trim and refined regardless of breed.   The depth of the throat latch is usually equal to one-half the length of the head.   If a horse is thick and coarse in the throat latch, air and blood flow may be restricted when asked to flex or bend at the poll.   The trim, refined throat latch will allow the horse to bend at the poll and perform while breathing correctly.   Most judges give preference to horses with a long, thin neck.   By doing so, they are selecting horses with the appropriate top-to-bottom line neck ratio.   The topline is the distance from the poll to the withers, and the bottom line is the distance from the throat latch to the neck-shoulder junction at the chest.   The ideal would be approximately a 2-to-l ratio of the top to bottom line of the horse's neck.   This process of selection would prevent judges from making incorrect assumptions when comparing tall and light muscled horses to short and heavier-muscled horses.   Invariably, a horse that is short with bulging muscles will have a shorter, thicker neck than a taller horse with less muscle.   The neck is proportional to the horse's overall length and height.   Certainly, shorter horses will always have shorter necks than taller horses.   The determining factor in the ratio of the top to bottom line of the neck is the slope of the horse's shoulder.   As the shoulder becomes more sloping, the topline becomes longer in relation to the bottom line.   Conversely, as the shoulder becomes straighter, the ratio of the top-to-bottom line becomes small.   As the ratio deviates toward l to 1, the horse appears to have a short, square, boxy neck.   When two horses of the same frame size are compared, one with a normal neck and one with a short-appearing neck, both horses will have the same length in the bottom line of their necks.   Obviously, the withers of a straighter-shouldered horse are more forward; and thus, the topline of the neck is shortened. Straightening the shoulder has little, if any, effect on the length of the bottom line of the neck.

Summary: The head of the model horse should attach to the neck in a manner that provides ample movement and flexion without impairment of the air passages.   The throatlatch should be clean, trim, well defined and capable of great flexion.   A short, thick neck is often correlated with a thick, unyielding throatlatch, incapable of flexion.   In some breeds, a slight arch or crest on top of the neck is desirable, but an excessive crest, thick upper neck or broken crest lop neck) are undesirable because they can interfere with flexibility.   A stallion should carry more crest than a mare. A thick neck on a mare is usually associated with a lack of feminine appearance.   The underline of the neck should be straight and attach high on the shoulder, giving the appearance of a vertical chest. A concave neck, accompanied by a depression in front of the withers, is often accompanied by a thickened, rounded underline.   This is termed ewe-neck.   Such necks usually result in high-headed horses that have minimal flexion at the poll and are limited athletically.

Just as balance is the single most important characteristic in real life equine selection it should also be so for the model horse.   In real life horse because it forms the basics for movement, length of stride and, ultimately, performance.   Balance is determined by the skeletal structure.   In the model horse world we are attemting to recreate the real eqine world expereince so when judgingmode horses, it is important to attempt to visualize and evaluate what the skeleton would be of the model horse underneath the recreation of sculpted muscle.   Slope of shoulder is critical to balance.   Slope of shoulder changes drastically when the angle of the shoulder is increased or decreased.   Not only does the topto-bottom line ratio of the neck change, but the ratio of length of back to length of underline also changes.   It is ideal to have a short topline and a long underline.   As the shoulder becomes straighter, the withers move forward, which results in a longer back from withers to coupling.   Length of underline from elbow to stifle is not affected by a change in shoulder angle; thus, the straight-shouldered horse's body has the appearance of a tube.   It is incorrect to compare the sculpture of 14.2-hand horses to 17-hand horses, because horses of different sizes should not have the same length of body or underlines.   Hence, the importance of having like vs. like classes at model horse shows.   The long back coincides with the short neck of the straight-shouldered horse.   When the shoulder is steep, the other angles of the horse's body will be steep.   Thus, the horse will have a short, steep croup, a steep stifle and steep pasterns).   In general, the angle of the pastern will correspond to the angle of the shoulder.   A model horse that has too much slope to its pasterns is undesirable and is said to be 'coon-footed.'   The ideal slope of the shoulder is approximately 45 to 50 degrees.   However, shoulder angles will vary from the ideal.

Summary: The ideal model horse will be balanced, as determined by dividing it into three sections.   Draw imaginary lines separating the shoulder area, body and hindquarters.   A horse can be divided equally only if it has a long, sloping shoulder, short back with a corresponding long underline and a long hip.   The head and neck should not look excessively large or small when compared with the rest of the body. The legs should be about the same length as the heart girth.   But, the person evaluating the horse should not be overly demanding for an exact degree of slope of shoulder but should concentrate on balance and a blending of structures.

In addition to overall balance, slope of shoulder influences length of stride the steeper the shoulder, the shorter the stride.   Angle of shoulder and angle of pastern serve to absorb shock when the horse moves.  The steep or straight-shouldered horse will be shallow-hearted, as measured from the top of the withers to the chest floor.  Unlike the balanced horse, with legs that are approximately the same length as depth of heart, the straight-shouldered horse's legs will be longer than the depth of heart.  A steepshouldered horse will always be a rough-riding horse.  Horses with long sloping shoulders will be better able to dispense the damaging effects of concussion, and their strides will have more freedom of movement and style of action.

The model horse should be sculpted to have a long and shoulder shoulder in order to re-create the ideal conformation of the real life horse.

The topline of the horse includes the withers, back, loin or coupling, and croup.  As viewed from the side, a properly balanced horse will be higher at the withers than at the croup.  When the withers are higher than the croup, the hindquarters are positioned more under the body, which enhances the athletic ability of the horse.  Strength of topline, which includes prominent withers, short, strong back and well-muscled loin, has a positive influence on soundness and athletic ability.  The ideal withers should be sharp, prominent and well defined.  The well-defined withers are important from the standpoint of holding a saddle on the horse without excessive tightening of the front cinch.  Horses with rounded or flat withers require more cinch pressure and subsequently are less comfortable for the performing athlete.  Horses should have short, strong backs relative to a long underline.  The topline to underline ratio plays an important role in balance, length and type of stride.  Length of back is directly related to length and slope of shoulder and top to bottomline neck ratio.  Horses that have excessively long backs have weak and undesirable toplines as well as being unbalanced.  The loin (coupling) should be well muscled and strong as opposed to being long, weak and poorly muscled.  The loin is the pivot point of the horse's back and is the area between the last rib and the croup.  Short, muscular loins are needed to carry power from the hind legs forward.  The croup should be long and gently sloping.  This adds length to the stride as well as dimension and muscling to the hindquarter.  Stock horse breeds are more sloping in their croup than pleasure breeds such as Arabians or Morgans.   The hindquarters should appear square when viewed from the side.   The extent to which upper corners of the square are filled in will depend upon breed. The flatter and more level the croup, the more likely that horse will move with a vertical action behind and less of a horizontal action.   The horse with a steep croup will move with the legs more collected under the body.  The angle of the croup will have a great influence on the position of the hock.  These two factors together will dictate a collected, balanced horizontal movement. The ideal horse has a quarter that is as full and as long from across the horizontal plane of the stifle as it is from point of hip to point of buttocks.  When a horse has a V-shaped quarter, it is due to limited muscling and/or a straight stifle.

Summary: The model horse should be sculpted to represent the correct topline balance of whatever the breed assignement the owner as chosen to assign to that model.

The judge should evaluate imaginary spring of rib and depth of heart girth since these are indicative of capacity for reproductive and athletic performance.  Spring of rib indicates width, while depth of heart girth indicates depth of the horse's chest.  Both width and depth of chest indicate total volume in the thoracic cavity.  These measurements will be proportional.   Some horses will be "squeeze" in the heart girth and have less of a rounded, convex look to their rib cages.  Depth of heart and spring of rib indicate more strength and constitution.

The rib cage and heart girth of the model horse should match the ideal conformation of whatever the real life model breed the model as been assigned.

Breed and Sex Characteristics
Breed characteristics are those traits that are unique and characteristic of a particular breed.  These would be traits such as body type and color pattern, as well as gaits and way of going.  Sex characteristics are an important aspect of model horse judging.  It is necessary to recognize and distinguish between the sexes of horses.  Masculinity refers to male traits such as prominence of jaw and heavy muscling.  In mares, the evaluator should look for feminine characteristics and refinement.  The attractive mare will be refined and adequately muscled.  Mares will typically have cleaner necks and will be more refined than stallions.  Geldings would fit somewhere between stallions and mares but are generally not as massive in muscle as stallions.  Some refinement is also desired in geldings.

Breed and gender characteristics should match the ideal as set forth within that breed's standard. The owner of the model should take great care to research and assign the correct breed and gender to the model they are showing.   The judge should also have educated themselves on the various standards.

Length of stride, smoothness of gait, soundness of legs and power of propulsion depend on the structure of the forequarters.  The front legs carry most of a horse's weight (60-65 percent).  The two most critical aspects of forelimb conformation are the 1) slopes and angles of the bones which absorb concussion and 2) the straightness and trueness of limbs, so that no one segment receives unusual wear.  Forequarters concussion is absorbed by the unique muscular attachment of the forelimb to the body; the sloping shoulder blade (scapula), the angle formed between the shoulder blade and humerus (arm); the angle between the humerus and forearm; the small bones and tendons surrounding the carpus; the sloping springy pastern; and the expansion and absorption mechanism of the hoof.   The shoulder should be long, sloping and muscular.  It should extend well into the back.  The longer the shoulder, the greater the area for attachment of the muscles that tie the forelimb to the vertebral column.  The shoulder should slope well into the back.  This decreases the angle between the scapula and humerus and reduces concussion.  A sloping shoulder also provides for free forward motion of the limb by allowing maximum length of stride.  A short, straight shoulder reduces stride and increases impact with the ground. A straight shoulder is often associated with a short, straight pastern that further shortens the stride and increases concussion.

The humerus or arm extends from point of shoulder to the elbow joint and should be moderately long.  Humerus length is integral to the length of the stride. An excessively short arm, with its accompanying short muscles, will not advance the forearm enough and the stride will be shortened.  On the other hand, a long arm causes excessive wear to the shoulder muscles.  The length of arm should be in proportion to the length of the shoulder and forearm.  The length of the arm determines whether legs are set forward or back under the body.  The legs should be set well forward.  A long shoulder, short arm, plus long forearm and short cannon allow maximum stride extension.

Forelegs should be straight and perpendicular when viewed from all directions.  The forearm is formed by the fusion of two bones, the radius and the ulna, and extends from the elbow to the knee.  It should be long and well-muscled. Forearm length is important in determining stride length.

The cannon should be short and flat when viewed from the side.  It should have tight, well-defined tendons set well back to give the appearance of abundant support below the knees.  When viewed from the front, the cannon should be centered in a straight, wide, clean knee.  Round-appearing cannons and tendons tied in behind the knee are undesirable because they indicate small tendons and lack of support.

Knee or Carpus
Knees should be straight from both front and side views wide, deep and squarely placed on the leg.   Any deviation should be penalized.

The fetlock should be set well back on pasterns of medium length that are strong and sloping.  Fetlock and pastern together provide springiness to the gait and also disperse concussion.  Roughened hair, nicks and scars on fetlock are evidence that a horse hits itself when in motion.  The joint should be strong, clean and free from stiffness.

Both slope and length of pastern help determine smoothness, spring and stride length. A pastern which is too long and sloping (coon footed) causes weakness because it puts undue strain on the tendons, sesamoid bones and suspensory ligament.  A short, upright pastern increases concussion and trauma to foot and fetlock.

The hoof should be in proportion to size of the horse. The hoof should be deep, wide and open at the heel and free from cracks and rings.  The hoof angle should be the same as for the pastern.  The hoof and pastern angle should not be broken.

View of the Front of The Leg
The forearm ties right into center of the knee.  The knee should be flat and facing straight ahead.  The short cannon bone comes from the center of the knee and extends to center of the fetlock.  The pastern should come from the center of the fetlock and drive into the center of the hoof.  Any deviation may lead to lameness problems.  A line dropped from the shoulder should bisect the foreleg, knee, cannon bone and fetlock and drop 2 inches behind the heel.

The body is composed of the withers, thorax and back.  Its conformation affects balance, capacity and athletic potential.

The withers is the high point of the horse's back and is located at the base of the neck between the shoulder blades.  The withers should be prominent and capable of holding a saddle.  It should be muscular and well-defined at the top and extend well into the back. The withers serves as a fulcrum over which a ligament attached to the vertebrae in the back and neck acts to help raise and lower the head and neck.  Horses with low, round, thick withers often have rolling gaits and heavy front ends.  A flat, mutton withers will not hold the saddle in place.  When the withers is prominent, the ligaments and muscles that attach the neck to the thorax move freely and the horse exhibits greater flexibility, coordination and energy in its movement.  High, sloping withers with long, sloping shoulders increases the length of muscle in the front end and results in freer action.  It should be emphasized that a prominent withers should be accompanied by muscling, because a thin, over-prominent withers is often rubbed by the saddle and results in stiffness and soreness.

When viewed from the front, the chest should be wide and deep.  A narrow chest indicates lack of muscling and area for the heart and lungs. Nn excessively wide chest forces the legs out, so the gait may be rolling and labored.   When viewed from the side, the thorax should be deep.  This region contains lungs and heart and must show capacity.  The rib cage provides a base for attaching forelimb muscles as well as protecting the vital organs.  When the ribs are arched and project backward, it is possible for the horse to have a long, deep chest and underline and still have a short, straight, strong back.  Short, flat, straight ribs decrease the lung area of the horse and reduce athletic potential.  These horses are termed "slab-sided."

The back extends from withers to loin or last rib.  It should be short, straight, strong and muscular.  Avoid a sagging or swaybacked horse.  Many long-backed horses become swayback with age if not properly conditioned.  The conformation of the hindquarters will have a dramatic effect on athletic ability because of their importance in propelling the horse forward.

The slope of the croup has a strong correlation with the function of the horse.  Long distance or endurance horses have a level croup.  Short distance, speed horses have a slightly sloping croup.  A very short, steep croup is associated with straight hind legs or post legs and predisposes the horse to concussion injury in the hock.  When the horse stands under, behind, and the angle of the hocks places undue strain on the hind legs, particularly the plantar ligaments, the horse is said to be sickle hocked.  Sickle hocks can lead to unsoundness called curb.

The femur should be short with the stifle pointed slightly outward so there will be a full range of movement for the hind legs.  If the femur is carried too far to the rear, the legs are carried too far backward.  This is called camped out. If it is carried too far forward, the legs are brought under the body.  This is called camped under.

The ideal horse has a long tibia (gaskin) and short cannon with low-set hocks.  This allows the horse to work off of its hocks and provides the maximum stride extension.

If the hock is raised and the tibia shortened, cushion is reduced and performance can be limited.  The hock should be clean, having no soft tissue swelling or bony projections.  It should be well-defined and powerful.  The angle of this joint should allow the hind leg to extend and flex during motion and offer the least amount of stress to this column of bones.

The pastern of the hind legs may be slightly longer than the front pastern and will slope at a greater angle.

The hoof of the hind legs is sloped, slightly more than the forefoot (Figure 7).  The angle of the hoof and pastern should be equal.

Viewing Hind Leg
A plumb line dropped from point of buttocks should touch rear border of the hock, run parallel to cannon and strike the ground 3-4 inches behind the heel.  From the rear, the line should bisect hock, cannon, pastern and heel.

Sculpted muscling is an important criterion in judging many breed conformation classes for model horses, especially those assigned breeds such as stock horse classes.  It is important to realize that muscling is proportional; as one muscle in the body increases, total muscle mass increases.  The correct horse is a balanced athlete muscled uniformly throughout. Horses visually appraised as heavily muscled have greater circumference of forearm and gaskin and are wider from stifle to stifle than lightly muscled horses.  When muscling is visually appraised at the forearm, gaskin and rear quarters, it will reflect the same relative degree of muscling at other anatomical points.  Today the horse industry accepts muscling that is long and well defined.  A powerfully muscled horse that has bulge, ripple and definition to its muscle structure is still very much desired today in the stock horse breeds.  It is important to note that breeds such as the Arabian will not have the quantity of muscle that will be seen in the stock horse breeds.   The preferred in most all the other breeds is long, clean, and well-defined muscling.  Judge muscling by length, thickness and distribution.  Look for long, smooth, well-defined muscling.  Everything about the muscle structure should reflect speed, power, endurance and athletic ability.  Muscling in the neck should be long and lean.  Muscling in the chest should be prominent and have a well "V"ed up appearance, particularly in stock-type horses.   The arm should be heavily muscled for strength and support.  The forearm should show prominent muscling that ties in low and flat on the knees.  The back carries the weight of rider.  It must be moderate, strong, straight and muscular.  Back length must be moderate.  If it is too long, the back will be weak, and if it is too short, there may be overriding or interference of the vertebrae of the back.  The loin, or coupling, connects the thorax with the powerful propulsion muscles of the hind limbs.  The loin transmits power to the forequarters, so it must be short, wide, strong and heavily muscled.  A horse that is weak in coupling and shallow in the flank is termed hound-gutted, or wasp-waisted, and lacks drive.  Croup should be long, uniform in width, muscular and evenly turned over the top.  Muscle length is associated with speed and endurance; width is associated with strength or power.  Measure length of croup from the point of the hip to the point of the buttocks.  The ideal horse has long, smooth, prominent muscling through the thigh, stifle and gaskin.  Thigh muscles are the most massive and powerful in the horse's body.  The stifle should be muscled so it is the widest point in the hindquarters.  The gaskin should be long and well-muscled. The length from the croup to the hock is associated with speed and desirability in form.  A long gaskin ensures a maximum range of action and provides maximum area for attaching the hindquarters drive muscles.  A short gaskin decreases length of stride. Gaskin muscling should be well-defined, broad, wide, deep, and tie in low and flat on the hock.

The hindquarters are the engine of the horse.  The main role of the hindquarters is to provide the force for propulsion.  Look for the three dimensions.
1) Length of croup (loin to tail)
2) Width from stifle to stifle
3) Depth from top of croup down through hock.

Quality is the degree of refinement of hair, skin, bones and joints.  The mane and tail should be full and the hair should not be coarse or rough.  Excess hair at the chin, throat, ears and legs indicates a lack of quality.  Refinement of the skin results in a thin, pliable skin under which tendons and blood vessels can easily be observed.  A thickened, puffy appearance in the head and soft round cannon bones may indicate coarseness in the horse.

The judging of breed conformation should be considered important to all aspects of model horse shows.  If we are indeed recreating and illustrating the real world of horses then it should a required aspect of the hobby since.  In real life it is important because of its relationship to real life equine performance.  The correctly sculpted model horse should reflect the well-conformed real live horse that is a superior athlete.  The competent horse judge or evaluator should be able recognize the differences between individuals and select the more desirably conformed model horse.  Those artists that are currently sculpting for both artist resin and for the basis of manufacturing should take a keen interest in the conformation of the real correctly balanced horse and just not rely upon photos of live horses as their subject.

Distance from eye to eye should be 1/2
the length from top of head to tip of muzzle
Reiner #605-R
"Espresso" Rose Grey
Sculpted by Sarah Rose
Sarah Rose Gallery

Painted by Carol Williams
Rio Rondo Enterprises

Victrix #6
Dappled Isabella Palomino
Sculpted and painted by
Carol Williams
Rio Rondo Enterprises

Photo Above:
Red font A, B and C show the ideal balance of the horse divided into three fairly equal lengths, A the front shoulder, B the back and C the hindquarter. The Green dots some a fairly equal "square" of the center of the horse's rib cage. The remaining angles show this model horse to be very correct. The linea of the buttock to hip, buttock to stifle, and stife to hip are all of similar length. The Distance from fetlcok to elbow is the same same as the length from elbow to wither. The length of the point of the buttock should be 2.50 to 2.75 times the length of the head. Thw point of the hock to front of stifle, front foot to chestnut, depth of body at girth, fold of stifle to croup, and rear edge of shoulder blade to hip bone shoud all be equal.

Click on the thumbprint to see a larger version of the photo.
Click on the artist's studio to go their web site where you can
artist resins sculpted and or painted by them for sale.