CONFORMATION


        When widening the gene pool by crossing breeds, a horse with hyper-vigor is created; which includes producing a horse that is larger, healthier with better reproductive chances. The produce is one that is athletically built to successfully compete.

        Iberian blood enhances soundness, athleticism, versatility and tractibility to other breeds who have either the big stride for dressage or the power and speed for jumping.

        Many Warmblood breeders are striving for a smaller horse with improvement of their sensitivity to enable a greater ability for passage and piaffe. Crossing just about any breed with the Andalusian will produce an improved using horse. Thoroughbred or Arabian, crossing with the Andalusian not only adds calmness and tractability to the temperament, but can produce improved bone and larger build.

        Realizing that a perfectly conformed horse doesn't exist, and that there are differences of opinions on some of the aspects of correct conformation, and ideas do change over the years; we, based on studies and personal experiences, briefly present to you some attributes to consider when breeding for a sporthorse. Let's endeavor to breed Iberian Warmbloods worthy of their heritage.

IDEAL SPORTHORSE CONFORMATION

The Iberian has great ability to flex the joints and come under the center of gravity for collection and extension. They flex nicely through poll despite the argument that a heavy throatlatch is prohibiting.

A horse with a long, sloping shoulder will have more ability to contract, lengthen and to elevate the shoulders and help him be a better jumper. A short shoulder is indicative of a short stride with a rough ride which increases concussion on the fore limbs with the possibility of developing joint disease, navicular, splints and other ailments.

A long arm bone creates ease in maneuvering lateral movements, increased stride length and ability to tuck the knees for jumping. The arm bone should be at least half the length of the shoulder.

A long, well muscled forearm will help a horse get over jumps plus will absorb concussion and diffuse impact. Short cannons contribute to a more stable movement and is beneficial for endurance and reining. Jumpers need good bone density to reduce lameness problems. A 1,000 pound horse with a cannon circumference of less than 7 inches is considered to have insufficient bone. A pastern that is too long will increase the susceptibility to suspensory ligament injuries. The length of the rear cannon and gaskin will be a determination of length of stride from the rear.

Ideally the hock should be a little higher than the knee, about level with the chestnuts. Large joints are more powerful and less likely to break down under stress. A horse that is camped out behind may not be able to collect and predispose a horse to arthritis. Sickle hocks limit propulsion. The stifle should be slightly lower than the elbow and lie below the point of the hip.

Pictured above, Master Maluso sired by Maluso NZ. A long and powerful hip is needed for plenty of drive from behind. Rounded croup with low set tail will enable the legs to reach well under. Well proportioned neck will enhance balance, a neck too long may likely cause a horse to fall on the forehand. The straight legs and good hooves is an important attribute to avoid unsoundness problems.

Pictured above is Zapata (TB X Andalusian) sired by Bianco IV NZ, owned by Ann Cann and ridden by Guy Cann. The prominent withers provides a lever for the muscles of neck and back to work together in an efficient manner. This makes it easy for the horse to engage in collection, to lengthen and round the back to clear jumping obstacles, and to extend the shoulder and back for improved stride length. The withers being a little higher than the croup allows for easily take-off in jumping and for keeping weight off the front end which affects agility. The loin and the lumbo-sacral joint are the most important areas in a horse's body in predicting athletic ability. Free jumping gives the strontest indication for an aptitude to jump.

When weakness exists in the back and loin area, collection suffers and more weight is carried on the forehand with increased risk of forelimb lameness. A back that is too long makes it difficult for a horse to round it's back in jumping and to coil it's loins to collect and engage the hindquarters. A back that is too short may lack in suppleness and flexability which will cause the stride to be stiff and inelastic. The long, sloping croup is an asset for collection and power for jumping.




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    In summary, breeding stock should have a natural balance and be harmoniously put together. Natural elasticity and a tractable temperament are essential. Also to be considered is how complimentary the prospective parents are to each other. They must match in type to produce harmony.

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