Figure 1. Anatomy of a horse.
Bridge of nose
Rump or croup
Point of shoulder
Point of hip
Conformation analysis is the systematic comparison
of one horse to another, and all horses to an ideal
type for the breed or athletic purpose. One confor-
mation analysis system is known as BSMQTT:
balance, structure, muscling, quality, type, and
travel. Start your conformation analysis by becom-
ing familiar with the parts of the horse (Figure 1).
The ideal light horse will be balanced, as determined
by dividing it into three sections. Draw imaginary
lines separating the shoulder area, body, and
hindquarters. A horse can be divided equally only if
it has a long, sloping shoulder; short back with a
corresponding long underline; and a long hip
(Figure 1). The head and neck should not look
excessively large or small when compared with the
rest of the body. The legs should be about the same
length as the heart girth.
HEAD & NECK
The head and neck are important in determining the
athletic ability of the horse. A supple horse uses its
head and neck as a rudder and stabilizer. Free head
and neck movement has a profound influence on
the horse’s way of going. For a horse to be well
balanced, the neck should be long and lean with the
head size in proportion to the rest of the body.
The head should follow the type of the breed, and
be finely chiseled with good definition of the bony
The head should be triangular when viewed from the
side; should have large powerful jaws, and taper to the
muzzle. The profile should be a straight or slightly
dished face as opposed to an arched or Roman nose.
As viewed from the front, the forehead should be wide
between the eyes, tapering to the muzzle.
The head shou