Is it Posture or Conformation?
Is it Flashy or Tension?
Is that Asymmetry Natural or Acquired?
Is this Behavior or Reflex?
Stop wondering, and get yourself more information.
• Conformation and Posture Assessment and Notes
• Movement and Gaits Assessment, Groundwork and Under Saddle
• Summary of Assessments, Concerns and Recommendations
24 hours to get your results via email! (in most cases)
Additional Consultation Available - $75/hour
This initial assessment, performed from still photographs and short video clips of variable quality, is a professional opinion only, and
is not a guarantee of future soundness – the assessment is intended to gather information and find abnormalities, not to confirm future soundness or performance. A Veterinary Pre-Purchase Exam is recommended if you decide to pursue purchasing any horse.
Alissa strives to give you her educated observations and unique perspective in each assessment - as if she was there in person accompanying you on the first visit to check out a potential new horse.
The potential buyer owns the information produced as a result of the assessment. However, the buyer should be careful to maintain a level of confidentiality to insure that the horse’s reputation is not altered as a result of inappropriate dissemination of assessment information. If the buyer does not purchase the horse and reveals confidential information and the horse’s reputation is altered, the seller may have a cause of action against the former potential buyer. (from https://www.horsenation.com/2015/04/21/equine-law-pre-purchase-exams/) >>Read this article!
Whether it's for a child, one of your riding students, or you're looking for your dream horse, you need to know as much as possible before you buy.
Maybe your trainer can't come with you to look at the horse, or it's too far away to drive but the videos online look REALLY good...
Or maybe you ARE the trainer, but want more information about what you are seeing or sensing about a prospective purchase or recommendation for one of your clients.
We all need a second set of eyes when shopping for our next super-horse!
Before you book a flight or begin the pricey veterinary Pre-Purchase Exam - let Alissa lend you her professional eye and assess the horse from the perspective of an Equine Hanna Somatics® Practitioner who studies and teaches equine anatomy, health, movement, conformation, posture and natural horse behavior.
What a gorgeous filly! Below please find my Assessment Notes for each photo and video clip, followed by an Assessment Summary and my Recommendations.
Photo 1 (front view) - This pic was taken while the horse was in motion, perhaps a frame taken from a video, so doesn’t tell me much other than that she is very pretty, appears to have clean movement of all four limbs with no deviations (like paddling or rope-walking) and that she is a little base narrow in the hind, likely due to tension in her adductor muscles, which is very common.
Photo 1 (profile from L) - steep shoulder angle, pasterns on 3 of 4 limbs do not match hoof wall angle, long pasterns is a weak point of conformation, RH looks steeper, longer heel on hoof, a little clubby
Photo 2 (profile from R) - confirms what I see in photo 1, she’s a little red-light, meaning with limbs camped under front and back, maybe a little roach to her loin/lumbar area, and the RH hoof and pastern definitely steeper than other 3 limbs. Hoof-pastern relationships look better on LF and LH, RF looks long toe putting stress on joints and soft tissue, recommend a good hoof trim asap.
Photos 3 & 4 (Spine from above) - she has a little C-curve to the Right, and the right haunch is more developed than the left, probably from the RH taking a little more workload than the left - most likely a few sessions of EHS and balanced work will correct this - may have something to do with why her RH hoof looks different than the others.
Photo 5 (rear view) - nothing concerning from the rear.
Photos 6-9 (limbs and hooves) - leg bones look pretty good, straight and clean. I’m concerned about the right front hoof, it looks like there is a small injury near the hairline, and a big dark shadow a couple inches wide in the hoof wall at the same location, all the way from the hairline to the ground. Could be a superficial injury, or may be some internal bruising or damage from infection? Have it checked out - white legs and white hooves don’t usually change color like that coincidentally near an injury…
Breeding Chart - I look at the individual horse before me, and do not consider bloodlines in my assessments. Neat tho!
Video 1 (1:20)
Lovely fluid movement. I would like to see her walking on flat ground with consistent footing. Looks comfortable to ride. She is consistently a bit high-headed and holding tension in her whole body (look at her tail in addition to the vertical neck position) - and she will likely need some help learning how to find a level head/neck position and then how to move with that posture and the level of relaxation necessary to do that in a healthy biomechanical way. I can show you how to teach her this, maybe with a series of video-coaching lessons if not in person.
Video 2 (1:42)
She can jump! Nice to see her moving in all 3 gaits and playing. I still would like to see more walk and canter, as it’s mostly trot, which may be her “good” gait. Nothing to comment on here, looks good.
Video 3 - 3 year old half-sister under saddle (2:08)
Wow, what a sweet filly she is, doing her best to please her rider from the get-go. I am of the opinion that all horses should not be worked under saddle until they are at least 4 years old, if not 5, because of the immaturity of their skeleton. This little mare is one I would suggest waiting a little longer for, as she looks like she still has some growing and maturing to do. I think it’s perfectly ok to start them learning to carry tack and saddle, and even have a rider get up on them for very short rides, but not to be working under saddle more than 10 minutes at a time once a week or so until after at least 4 years of age. I love her sweet and willing attitude, and that she looks fairly relaxed and happy with the rider, although a little tense (tail clamped, short strides). I do not recommend young horses be ridden with this much contact so early, as you can clearly see it is causing shortening and tightening of her neck and her stride in all three gaits, and her natural movement is something to be protected and nurtured!
- Long Pasterns on all 4 legs = potentially a weak point of conformation, especially with the current state of the hooves with angles that do not support the lower leg bone/joint alignment.
- Red Light dominant posture (steep shoulder, camped under, slight roach back) with a slight C-curve to the right. This does not look like anything EHS and correct classical training will not correct as she grows.
- Right Front hoof (long toe, shadow in hoof wall, injury) and more sloping pastern angle concern me.
- Hoofcare - other than the right front injury noted above, most of what we see here can probably be corrected by a good bare-foot hoof trimmer. Thank goodness hooves keep growing!
- Movement is nice, fluid, easy, looks rideable. Didn’t see as much walk and canter as her fancy trot - it is said that when horse shopping, look for a horse with a good walk and good canter, because of the 3 gaits, the trot has the most room for improvement through training.
- Some tension in movement (seen in her high head and tail, and in the “hovering” quality to her “fancy” trot at times. Some folks are breeding for this “show trot” nowadays). I can teach you an exercise to help her find a softer and lower neck position and posture of relaxation if she does not grow out of her high head/neck carriage.
- Riding video: talk about a good willing attitude and trainability, I think she is a good one on those counts. I feel she is too young to be doing work under a rider though, and continued training like this (too much contact too soon, restricted movement of head/neck/back) will reduce the quality of her gaits and prevent her from learning to carry herself with a relaxed neck and lifting at the withers, leading to more wear and tear on her body and joints.
RECOMMENDATIONS & TRAINER REFERRAL
I have a trusted friend about 3.5 hours from her who is also a world-class trainer. If you decide to pursue this horse and want an in-person assessment, or even a place to board her and get some more pre-saddle training done before she is shipped home, I would be happy to reach out to see if she is available. This trainer also usually hauls her own horses to FL most winters, so could possibly also haul her that far, if it comes to that!
I am happy to look at more pics and videos and or schedule a phone conversation if you feel like you want a more in-depth consultation, charged at my coaching rate of $75/hour.
- a brief description the horse you are shopping for
- who the horse is for (yourself or a client?)
- your goals for the horse
Alissa Mayer - A Somatic Approach to Horsemanship™ Oakridge, OR 97463 US
Once I confirm my availability in response to your inquiry, I will ask you to send me no more than 10 still photos (profile from R/L, Front, Back, Spine from above, hooves/lower limbs) and links to up to 10 minutes of video showing the horse at liberty, on the longe in a circle, walking toward and away from me, and under saddle if applicable. Once I receive all of these, I will begin your Pre-Purchase Assessment and in most cases you will get the results in 24-48 hours!