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Re: [RC] getting the horse fit - Dyane Smith

Everything you said, Heidi, has been my experience except that I think relatively inexperienced riders will notice these traits better when the horse is conditioned.  My older horse, Suni, has a power walk to die for.  But when I first got him, he either bucked or stumbled every step as he learned to balance a rider.  Also, once on the trail, he bucked the saddle (with me in it!) up on his neck.  In a couple of years, his chest and shoulders filled out some.  Once at a vet check, I hopped off and loosened the girth.  When I left the check, I just hopped on without tightening the girth.  A few minutes later, going down a steep hill, I had this odd feeling that you get when you have a flat tire in the car.  I leaned down and felt the girth.  It was hanging down about six inches.  Point is, Sun's conformation had changed and the saddle didn't move going down that hill, just felt somehow a little odd.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, February 09, 2003 7:20 AM
Subject: Re: [RC] getting the horse fit

>How does conformation influence the way they go downhill. Can you give an example? What makes a good "downhill" horse. Thanks!
They have to be well-balanced, with good backs that lend themselves to natural self-carriage and natural rounding with a rider on-board, as well as having strong loins and properly angulated hips to be able to drive the rear end underneath themselves.  Normal hind limb angulation is also a must--this is a tough thing for a posty-legged horse to do.  I also suspect that horses with proper conformation of the front part of the back and the shoulders (the ones with good withers that tie well back into the back and with shoulders that lay back properly and are properly set on so that the saddle does not work forward and impinge) have a big advantage here, too.  The same conformation that makes a horse agile and catty and generally athletic is the key here--it is these same traits that make saddle fit a piece of cake as well, btw....

Re: [RC] getting the horse fit, Sundaez
Re: [RC] getting the horse fit, Heidi Smith