Reining Horse Conformation Analysis: Part 2By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 10, 2010
This horse does not have exceptional balance, mostly because his neck is short and ties in high to his chest. Because of this, he may carry his head high when ridden. In today's top-level reining competition, a horse running with his neck level is more desireable than a horse that carries his neck higher in the air.
His hip sets higher than his wither, and I consider this one of my top conformation pet peeves. If a horse has a high-set wither, he is already in a natural position to stop, spin, and run with ease. He is built to be light on his front end and naturally collected with his hind end.
His front cannon bones are short, which lends to strength and soundness.
This horse does not appear to have much set to his hock. His hind cannon bones appear nearly perpendicular to the ground, and I like to see some angle to the bone, as straight back legs are harder to put in a stopping position. Straight hind legs also do not usually stand up to hard stopping, and soundness may become an issue.
This is a short-coupled horse, with a strong back. This strength carries on to his long, sloping hip.
He is very pretty with flashy coloring and markings, and he has a pretty head. Reiners like pretty as much as riders in other disciplines, as it adds to the appeal of the horse in the show pen.
Lisa Coulter is working to develop the sport of reining within Canada. She bases her training at a ranch in Pilot Point, Texas, as she travels back and forth between British Columbia and Texas doing business and competing. Look for future conformation analyses from Lisa and other Elite Riders sponsored by Kentucky Equine Research.