Equine conformation evaluates the degree of correctness of a horse's bone structure, musculature, and its body proportions in relation to each other. Undesirable conformation can limit the ability to perform a specific task. Although there are several universal "faults," a horse's conformation is usually judged by what its intended use may be. Thus "form to function" is one of the first set of traits considered in judging conformation. A horse with poor form for a Grand Prix show jumper could have excellent conformation for a World Champion cutting horse, or to be a champion draft horse. Every horse has good and bad points of its conformation and many horses (including Olympic caliber horses) excel even with conformation faults.
Conformation of the head, jaw/ throatlatch, ears, neck
The standard of the ideal head varies dramatically from breed to breed based on a mixture of the role the horse is bred for and what breeders, owners and enthusiasts find appealing. Breed standards frequently cite large eyes, a broad forehead and a dry head-to-neck connection as important to correctness about the head. Traditionally, the length of head as measured from poll to upper lip should be two-thirds the length of the neck topline (measured from poll to withers). Presumably, the construction of the horse's head influences its breathing, though there are few studies to support this. Historically, a width of 4 fingers or 7.2 cm was associated with an... Read More