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If you’re buying a horse for anything more strenuous than happy hacking, you need to really consider a potential horse’s conformation. However, it is easy to become blinded by the negatives and spend too much time looking for the ‘perfect’ horse which doesn’t exist.
When I was looking for a horse last summer, I was looking for a TB, preferably an ex racehorse, to event. I only ended up seeing 4 horses as an experienced friend of mine was very picky with the hundreds of adverts I sent her. I saw two thoroughbreds with very good conformation who hadn’t raced, one with okay conformation which had raced, and Scottie, with his rather poor conformation. (I think I’ll do another post on Scottie’s conformation in the future!)
So why did I choose Scottie? Well two of the horses had suspicious movement and it turned out one of them had the beginnings of navicular problems. The other one had beautiful movement and a fab jump, but he had an interesting personality which I would be capable of handling, but it would make daily yard chores more work.
So this is my small list of things to consider when looking to buy a horse to help you find something suitable without getting bogged down on conformation.
- Their History
Like Scottie, if they are older and/or had a fairly demanding ridden career up until this point without an injury, it is unlikely to cause them a problem if you want to do a less demanding career with them.
- Temperament V Conformation
Be realistic as to what sort of temperament you want your horse to have. If you want something easy, stick to that and consider a horse with slightly worse conformation if it has the better temperament.
- Be Realistic
What do you realistically think you will want to do with the horse? If you want an all rounder to jump up to 1m, most conformations will be able to do this. However, if you want to do a lot of showing or higher levels of dressage, you will need to be pickier.
- Life is unpredictable
Some conformational ‘defects’ make horses more prone to certain injuries. However, you could buy a horse with ‘perfect’ conformation and it could have an accident in the field. So even though I would say its better to buy/breed horses with the better conformation to reduce risk, it’s not the most important thing as all horses are prone to injuries.