What Is Conformation?
A horse’s conformation is the way a horse is built.
Good conformation improves movement and performance, allows for smoother gaits, and makes horses and ponies less likely to go lame.
- Large kind eyes
- Wide Jaw
- Large nostrils
- Medium-length neck that is slightly arched
- Long, sloping shoulder
- Well-muscled back
- Pasterns a medium length and slope
- Large, kind eyes
- Large nostrils
- Slightly arched, medium length neck
- Large course head
- Small “pig eyes”
- Narrow jaw
- Small nostrils
- Short neck
- Dips on the top & bulges on the bottom (ewe neck)
- Short, upright shoulders
- High withers
- Sway back
- Goose rump
- Tail set too low
- Short, upright pasterns
- Camped under hindlegs
- Pasterns with too much slope
Ideal Horse Conformation
A balanced horse body can be divided into three equal sections with it’s shoulder, barrel, and hindquarters.
A horse’s body should be nearly identical side to side and front to back. To determine symmetry, look at the horse from the front and rear, and both left and right.
The distance from the point of shoulder to the point of the buttocks should be equal to the distance from the top of the withers to the ground.
Excluding the head and neck, the horse should be a square with equal lengths wide and tall.
For balance and agility, the neck be approximately one-third of the length of the horse.
A horse’s neck that is considered ideal should be slightly arched and a medium length.
The head should attach to the neck in a clearly defined way at the throatlatch, which allows for greater freedom of movement of the head and neck.
The neck should connect to the horse’s chest just above the point of the shoulder and blend smoothly into the withers.
Straight line from the point of the shoulder through the middle of the hoof.