Tuesday 17 February 2015

BBS - Kika Conformation Review

Like many bloggers I am jumping on the BBS bandwagon to crucify my horse's conformation.
I actually know very little about conformation & how it affects horses other than too much or too little length and/or bone etc can have negative or positive effects on the horse's way of going. What these cut off points are; or what the positive and negatives actually are is a mystery to me.
So those more knowledgeable than I if you could please weigh in in the comments I would be super grateful for your input, expert eye & opinion :)

For reference this is the image I used

Length vs. Height 
Ideal – The length of the horse from the point of the shoulder to the buttock should be equal to the height of the horse from from the top of the withers to the ground. This should create an box around the horse (minus the head and neck) that is a square with equal sides.

Kika –  According to my super skills (with paint & an actual ruler held up to the screen) Kika is 1cm longer than she is tall. What those measurements amount to in real life, I have no idea and would have to take out a measuring tape...but I'm not sure is anyone wants the real facts & figures - if yes, please post in the comments ;-)

This result seems odd to me as when I look at her she generally seems like a compact animal in the way she is put together, but people have told me in the past that she is longer than I think. And in fact i noticed it myself once, when I was riding Kika in the woods and a friend rode Nancy, when we were side by side and i turned around Kika was longer than Nancy - which almost floored me as Nancy is a much more imposing animal than Kika in the flesh. Kika seems very dainty & refined compared to Nancy. Perhaps this exercise is about to open my eyes to all sorts of wonderful new information with regard to my girls...

Heartgirth vs. Legs
Ideal – The depth of the heartgirth from the top of the withers to the elbow should be equal to the length of the leg from the elbow to the fetlock.

Kika –I am very pleasantly surprised (again through my not scientific measurements of holding a ruler up to the computer screen) that these measurements are the same

Topline vs Underline
Ideal – The topline should be level so the point of the croup is at the same height or slightly lower than the top of the withers. The topline from the top of the withers to the point of the hip should be shorter that the underline from the point of the elbow to the stifle.

Kika –If i have drawn the lines correctly in paint with my squiggly mouse controlling hand, her topline is shorter than her underline and keeping in line (geddit?) with the ideal as described above. It is worth bearing in mind that when these photos were taken I think she had been ridden once in about 3 weeks, so musculature is lacking in all departments because I am a crappy person ... moving on

Forequarter vs. Hindquarter
Ideal – The forequarter of the horse (minus the head and neck) should be equal to the hindquarter of the horse when a line is drawn through the center (near the last rib) of the horse in the box from before.

Kika –This was a tough one, I had to guesstimate from the image where her last rib might be...I'm not sure i got it right. In any case from this admittedly poor attempt, her front half is slightly longer than her back half - I'm not sure what this means, but if it has anything to do with her reluctance/laziness to use her backside, these measurements might help me understand...

Shoulder vs. Back vs. Buttock
Ideal – The shoulder, back, and buttock should all be equal in length when lines are drawn from the top of the wither to the ground and the point of the hip to the ground in the box from before.

Kika –Not one of Kika's measurements here are the same (again not scientific measuring on my part, merely holding a ruler up to my computer screen). Her back is almost double the length of her front end and her back end is slightly longer than her front. I am prepared to hold my hands up and admit that my placement of the lines may be off - but is my horse as lopsided as this breakdown makes her out to be? How does she not bend in the middle from being too long?!

Head vs. Body
Ideal – The length of the head should be similar to the lengths from the point of the hock to the ground, the chestnut on a forelimb to the ground, length of heartgirth, and from the stifle to the croup.

Kika – The length of her head matches up with her lower limbs and croup to stifle, but her hearthgirth is a little deeper. Does this mean she has a higher lung to brain capacity?! If yes this would explain her tendency to spook first & think later ;-)

Buttock vs. Hip vs. Stifle
Ideal – The lengths from the buttock to the stifle, the stifle to the point of the hip, and the point of hip to the buttock should all be similar.

Kika – Her stifle to hip & stifle to buttock are equal (again according to my super sleuthing ruler vs screen measurements), her buttock to hip is slightly longer - does this give her more power from behind when she jumps? I would have to test this theory by returning to jumping...if only i had more time & minions to help put up and take down fences!

Google images LINK

I wish I knew what the lack of alignment with the ideal means towards Kika's ability to work and or reproduce in the future. What with her being a mare and passed her tenth birthday I have found my thoughts wandering more and more towards baby Kikas ... Having seen her interact with creatures smaller than her and indeed watching her reaction to foals in general (unadulturated awe crosses her face); I have no doubt she would love to be a mammy.
I am also anxious that i get her back to Ireland for retirement/baby-making duties (if that is the next path chosen for her) as I would love for her to end her days on the family farm and have started to worry (hopefully needlessly at this point seeing as she will not be 11 till May) about paying closer attention to her and not missing the boat (literally)/opportunity to send her "home".
Then there are all the thoughts surrounding the overpopulation of horses already in Ireland and the world at large, which makes me reconsider breeding her at all given she has done very little competition wise with her life and absolutely nothing since we left Ireland in 2010 :-(
For anyone curious about Kika's pedigree, it can be found HERE, if she was yours would you breed from her based off this conformation breakdown & pedigree info?

PS: I hope to play with Nancys picture tomorrow...I daren't admit how long i spent playing in paint to do this post!


  1. I love doing conformation analysis, and you've set your horse up well. She has a wonderful topline, an ideal withers (what I've heard some say recently as perfect), wonderful neck to shoulder attachment, a neck that's long but not too long, she's balanced front to back, she has a long hip, pasterns that are good in angle and length...the only thing that stands out to me as a flaw, and I'm looking hard, is a high hock/knee. Ideally the forearm and stifle would be longer. Although she stands a bit under herself in the forelegs, my horse does this too and my osteopatin says it's nothing to worry about. If I were shopping for a horse based on conformation, from these photos I'd call you up. You even took care to show the hooves, which don't look bad.

    I would also say that she's in ideal weight for Winter.

    Please sent whoever did her clip job to me in Germany, it's lovely.

    1. Wow thanks Lytha for that awesomely detailed reply. I am relieved that there is plenty you like about my girl, I thought I was biased in liking what I saw in Kika. I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on conformation but i do like what I see when I look at Kika ☺
      Ps: i am hoping to head to Equitana on the second saturday; i seem to remember you leaving a comment before about maybe meeting up?

  2. I think Kika is well put together!

    I know nothing about ISH pedigrees, but I have long considered breeding to Gina to one. She's a TB, and I think the ISH blood would add some bone to her babies (not to mention help their temperament).

    Regardless of what sort of horse you'd want to breed her to, I think her personality and conformation would be an asset!

    1. ISH or ID (moreso i think) cross TB have historically made great minded sport horses. Sadly some breeders in Ireland in the last decade or so moved away from what was traditionally done and started breeding more to European beds. Kika is an example of these crosses, she has good bone from the ID (the legend of Irish horses that is Clover Hill) but to my mind inherited a lot of her spice & sometimes flighty behaviour from her sire line which is quite eurocentric.

      I would be super excited to see a mini-Gina as she will make a cracking youngster, as i think she has shown by being bred previously or am I mixing her up? *blush*

      Thanks also for your super kind words on Kika's build and temperament. She is sassy yet sweet and has some spice to her. Hopefully I can help her reach her mommy-dreams someday

  3. I'd take her! Very lovely. How tall is she btw? I also adore her clip. She looks like she was being wellbehaved that day too!

    1. She was being very sweet that day, see the rest of the pictures taken that day in Mischief Managed (two blogposts back)
      When she was measured in 2010 (or was it 2011) she was 165cms at the withers - great manageable size imo

  4. ahhh baby Kikas!!!! what an exciting idea! i don't know much about breeding or pedigrees, but would be interested in reading more about it - and your thoughts about sending Kika 'home'

    1. I'm sure there will be posts about it as i agonise over the decision in the future.
      Sorry I am lol'ing @ myself as i remember "agony" from Into The Woods my new favourite film...what can I say I am a sucker for musicals, Corden, Blunt, Kendrick & Streep
      So much ♡♡♡♡

  5. I don't know enough to comment on pedigrees or breeding or anything, but as always I think she's gorgeous with great conformation. :D

    1. Thanks girl - to say i am quite fond of her would be an understatement ;-)


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