gelding is a fine individual with few flaws worth mentioning. His
pelvis (croup) could be a smidgen longer, and his withers could be better
defined and could carry back a bit farther. Everything else is on
the positive side. His back, which is no longer than necessary, is
particularly pleasing. The coupling – the lumbosacral joint between
the last vertebra of the small of the back and the sacrum, the fused portion
of the spine – is good. The lump that appears in the profile of the topline
over the point of the hip is not a pathology, but the bulging gluteus medius
muscle. Development of this muscle indicates that the horse possesses
vigorous, well-suspended gaits and jumping ability. His muscular
stifles – the joints of the upper hind leg – and gaskins – the leg muscles
extending from the hocks up to the stifles – indicate strong, problem-free
folding of all three hind-leg joints. His large, well-structured
hocks are “clean,” revealing that the energetic use of his “drive train”
isn’t harming its structural components at all.
use of the horse’s hindquarters has had its usual and predicable effect
on the muscular devcelopment of the forequarter, too. The shoulder
is structurally upright and the neck is thick (from top to bottom) at the
root; if this horse had been ridden badly, the lower portion of his neck
would be thinner (from side to side). There also would be a dip in
the topline just in front of the withers and his neck would not look so
arched. Good riding and good movement have produced the best possible
habitual posture in this gelding, and the best possible shape given the
bone structure of his neck.
fact that this gelding has an upright shoulder need not be thought of as
“bad” construction, but rather one which lies at the upper end of a continuum
of useful angles. Steep shoulders, for example, contribute to a horse’s
ability to lift or “snap” the knees when jumping. The angle formed
between the gelding’s shoulder blade and upper arm at the point of the
shoulder is just 90 degrees. The arm length is slightly more than
half the length of the shoulder blade. This is not the construction
of an Olympic caliber open jumper or eventer, but one which nevertheless
predisposes the gelding to pretty, safe performance over medium-sized obstacles.
gelding’s single best feature is his front legs below the breast: his excellent
knees, which are well-structured and placed low, lengthen the forearm and
shorten the canon. The pasterns, too, show ideal length and slope.
The hooves are the right size and correctly trimmed.
note for the amateur photographer: this horse normally appears to be all
white, but he has been photographed wringing wet, which not only makes
his coat look shiny but guarantees that pigmentation contrasts in the skin
show through his wet hair. An overo paint, the horse also carries
the gene for gray.