Lines and Shapes

Many months ago now, Breeches & Boat Shoes posted thoroughly about conformation, and many others followed suit, happily drawing lines and shapes on their ponies. I am just now getting around to doing this myself. But to be honest, I’m not sure if I learned anything from it, other than I can’t really tell exactly where to put the lines. I took the Breeches & Boat Shoes posts into consideration, and also some other random articles found via Google, typically from vet schools. But one thing I ran across confused the heck out of me. Shoulder slope. Kind of important in horses that jump (and perhaps for other disciplines?). In this UGA Extension article, their take on measuring the shoulder angle was new to me. They drew lines like this:

Picture taken on Saturday, May 2. Not quite there yet as far as how I’d like Eli to be posed for a confirmation shot, but close.

confomainI have two different pictures because I couldn’t quite figure out where to put the lines. Nor can I be bothered with trying to measure the angle. However, I learned some time ago, most likely as a child and not yet a horse owner, that shoulder slope was determined by drawing lines like this:

confoothershoulderangleBasically, bisect the angle of the scapula and humerus at the point of shoulder with a line parallel to the ground. The slope is then the angle between the scapula and the line parallel to the ground. Maybe slope and angle are different things? How do y’all determine the slope of your horse’s shoulder?

I also drew some other lines and shapes:

confopasternangleconfoneckandthroatlatch confolineproportions confohipangletriangle confoheartgirthMainly, I conclude that my horse is leggy. Not a shock in an ottb. And if anyone wants to draw lines and shapes on my horse better than I have, here’s the original:

Thank you, Kylie!

I’ve got posts forthcoming about Eli’s chiro appointment, saddle reps visiting the barn, and a blog hop from ‘Fraidy Cat Eventing … and also Weenie Wednesday, of course.

Saturday’s lesson recap: fun. Eli was great and very handy in the turns around little 2’6″ courses. We’re just going to keep on keeping on.

24 thoughts on “Lines and Shapes

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  1. I could never figure out where to draw the lines either. People are always telling me that Henry has a nice shoulder and I’m like… *shrug*…. I can’t really “see” it. It looks like a shoulder to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well and then people talk about “ideal” conformation in a horse but… for what? Ideal for… pleasure? roping? dating? sitting on the couch? I find conformation VERY confusing except the obvious things — straight, not straight, etc.


      1. Right, which is totally fair! But I have seen many conformation articles just talk about ideals without stating a discipline, or how those things related to biomechanics, so they don’t have the context required for a good comparison (in my opinion).


    1. I’ve been reading the Practical Horseman regular confirmation clinic feature, and one of the reasons I like it is because it’s done with an eye for comparing horses of the same discipline. A cutting horse isn’t really comparable to a show jumper…


  3. The lines for shoulder angle are drawn from the point of the shoulder to the buttock and from the point of the shoulder to the top of the withers. The angle between those lines is the slope of the shoulder. 🙂 I’m a conformation nerd.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. he’s so handsome lol. i actually went through the whole process of putting lines on my horse too, but the pic i used was super old and i never posted… might try again when i finally get a decent confo shot that’s current… but yea i’m in agreement – the placement of the lines was confusing and a slight deviation one way or another seemed likely to make some big difference… maybe? haha idk

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha I love the lines and shapes! I’d really like to do one with the DragonMare, ’cause her owner and I make fun of her all the time for having an enormous head and practically no neck. Pretty unicorn.

    Liked by 1 person

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