Conformation of weanling

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If you attached an image, it’s not appearing for me.

I see the images. Buying a weanling is a “crap shoot”. Things change. Sometimes they don’t change. Take a look at the weanling picture of Man O War… he doesn’t look like “much”. Take a look at Secretariat’s weanling picture… he looks nice. So much of what makes a horse a successful athlete is between his ears and in his heart… stuff you can’t see. If there is something that you like about a weanling for the purpose you have in mind, it may be physical, it may be psychological, it may be pedigree- you pay your money and take your chances. It’s much like buying a lottery ticket.
This one looks plain to me, but that doesn’t mean that he may not turn into exactly what you are looking for, and a “superstar”. Most of them look plain in mid winter.


This one has a very small hind end and fairly straight hind leg, so I would pass.

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Is this your weanling or does it belong to someone else?
If it is yours than am happy to give an opinion. If not, I think it is not okay to post someone else’s horse for critique.


Back in the day, when i was Morgan shopping for youngsters i would look at sire and dam and if possible any full sibs. In the fillies and colts, what i would look at specifically would be their movement and temperament…and that thing that i like so much to see in a young horse…their joy of life.

Must be cold there…he looks cold and huddled in.

The neck on this little one seems to be set quite low? Or it’s just a short neck… what breed? and for the length of his tail already, his hooves seem small.


Sorry, I was interrupted in the middle of my post. :slight_smile:

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I would look at him moving, any overstride? How much? A good walking horse is always desireable. I want to get where I am going TODAY. Also easier to “collect, put together” and stay a comfortable ride, than a short striding horse.

I don’t care for how he “naturally” stands under himself in the rear. But that could easily just be awkward stopping when photographed. Weanling feet are still wearing baby foal hoof, small sized, that has not necessarily grown out yet. What expansion sizing of new hoof growth is above that foal hoof? On our babies the difference is quite visible. But they have proportionate, big feet in their genes to go with big sizes at maturity.

I would also like to see his parents, watch them move, these are the genes he will grow into. Most weanlings have shorter necks, no big deal. But their finished look is what the sire and dam are wearing now.


The low neck set (it looks very “ewey” to me, though at this age they usually don’t have well developed necks, obviously!) and the short, steep croup would concern me if this is a dressage prospect. She’s quite downhill (though many of them are at that age) which will be limiting. Also, her hind fetlocks look suspiciously puffy; and it’s more than just winter hair!

She has a nice laid-back shoulder at least – but you really can’t fight the basic skeletal structure of the horse; it will be hard for her to move in an uphill way, lift the base of her neck, and eventually “sit.”

She is not actually straight behind, she does stand a little underneath herself but that just may be how she was standing at the time - that said, she has an almost “Drafty” croup - very short and sloped. This will make engagement and “push” difficult down the road. Obviously you would want to evaluate her movement as well since you can tell a good bit about how they use themselves even at that age, though of course she will have more suspension as a weanling then she will as an adult horse.


Thank you for your thoughts. Some pictures the neck looks plain awful and some meh kinda ok, sometimes I look at the back legs and wonder how she will manage and other times they look ok.
Some things like her overly steep croup will not change but maybe some things will improve with weight and muscling, like her neck
I hope.

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Yeah. It’s super hard to judge a weanling. Back in the day we used to say look at them at 3 days, 3 months, and 3 years to know how they will look when adults. Weanlings tend to be 4-6 months old, so well in between all of those growth stages.

Colorfan - you going for black this time? That’s a color!


The shoulder angles are OK but the neck is tied in low and the hind end is small in relation to body length.

I cant tell what breed she is. She looks a bit like the grade “wildie” foals I see for sale on FB. WB Friesian and Andy foals have necks that tie in higher, and good QH foals have huge butts.

If she’s yours I am sure she can grow up into a good using horse, there is nothing really wrong. But I don’t see any indicators of performance ability.


Sorry about using the wrong pronouns (will edit now), I have a black Warmblood mare - my adored homebred - so have a soft spot for black fillies. :heart:

What’s her breeding (if you don’t mind answering :wink: )

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I have heard that also,

black this time? Black is not my favourite color but as of yet we can’t choose a color.

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no worries about the pronouns lol,

she is just a mutt :slight_smile:

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One of my personal pet peeves is the misuse of pronouns for horses (and dogs!), and especially the use of the word “it“ to describe any animal. I have respect for all individual animals and their genders, and they are so not objects to me…

Anyway, it sounds like you are very open-minded and I appreciate you being reasonable and gracious about the input here!

Here is a photo of my black filly as a weanling - I love her to pieces, but she is very, very long in the back. :smirk: In the photo it doesn’t look like she has a long hip, but she definitely does; she has a great engine, and her hind leg angle is a little straight (again, can’t tell by the photo) but it’s a little hard for her to get her hind leg under the body - on the other hand it does help with jumping. She is a throwback to the long -backed Hanoverians in her lineage, with short front legs. At her foal inspection, she was first premium – but it was Oldenburg/ISR so not the most “elite” of inspections (her sire was the Hanoverian jumper sire Escudo 2, her dam was my Prelim event horse who was by Art Deco and out of a TB mare); comments were “lovely, long lines of the body“, and that has come back to haunt me! She has never really grown withers, and struggles to sit and engage and work in an uphill balance. Her dam is much more compact and uphill, and has longer front legs - even though she’s not a big horse either. My Ella is 15’2”, but I wanted a smaller horse since I am also small and older, so she is perfect for me. She’s a great jumper, lovely to look at, has a beautiful head and neck and an incredible natural rhythm, but will never excel at upper levels of dressage due to her conformation. I am an eventer so luckily that doesn’t matter to me! Not that I would be able to ride her to the upper levels of dressage in any case :smile:

It depends on what your goals are, but you really do want to try to select a horse that will at least not find it difficult

to do your chosen discipline. Since I “created” this mare, I am kind of stuck with her, but I completely adore her and in retrospect would’ve changed nothing.

Best of luck to you, and I hope you find what you’re looking for! :heart:


Once a foal is fully unfolded, the most important functional conformation traits are what they are:

Pillar of support - vertical line through the crease in the forearm muscle, and its relation to the withers (the farther forward, the better, to an extent) and the heel of the foot (ideally bisect it)

Neck emergence - the base of the neck needs to emerge above the point of the shoulder

LS gap - the lumbosacral gap is ideally directly above the point of the hips.

Those things don’t change. The LS gap can appear to move forward or back depending on pelvic tilt due to discomfort

For this cold - the PoS is well forward of the withers, though he will likely mature to have his heels in front of that line, but that’s a bit up in the air at this stage. I see fairly appropriately upright pasterns for his age. Check.
His neck emergence is above the point of the shoulder. Check.
His LS gap is pretty well over his point of hip. Check

What you cannot tell at this age is whether he will mature butt-high, wither-high, or level. This is one reason why “3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years” tends to be better for seeing the adult horse in them. LOTS of weanlings are butt-high, and most horses under 3 go through some butt-high stage, you just have to get an idea for what it means, based on how butt-high they are at what age. There’s nothing of concern here.

Then you start looking at other things, which can change with growth spurts. His shoulder angle is really nice, even though he’s butt-high which tends to straighten shoulders a bit.

Currently, his hind end depth is “less than”, but that may totally be a growth phase. Is there any picture of him in the 3 month range?

This butt-high stage also straightens the hocks and stifles - always. There’s still enough angle here I’m not concerned at all.

Necks and backs go through stages of growing and not matching up with the body. “The Neck Fairy” exists for a reason - nothing worse than seeing a 2yo body with a yearling neck LOL

The general growth phases go back and forth between butt high, lengthen the back, raise the front end, lengthen the neck. So it’s VERY common to see a more mature hind end than the front end.

Feet - they grow for 5 years. Every single weanling and yearling and most 2yos have feet “too small” for their body. There’s a difference between being “too small” in appearance with their young growing body size, and truly too small in relation to their young growing body size. I see very appropriately sized weanling feet. You can’t know how big they will end up, I’d look to the parents to get an idea.

His neck isn’t low. It emerges where it should be. It just appears “low” because of how butt-high he is. It is definitely not a conformational ewe neck, which has an upside down curve to it. It may appear “ewe necked” from a musculature perspective for a foal who is butt high and is holding his neck up with under muscles, but I don’t even see that here.

His hind fetlocks do seem rather large, I would want a vet to rule out physitis.


JB, that’s a very educational post. I learned a lot. Thanks.


Thank you JB, I appreciate your constructive analysis, :slight_smile:
You have given me some good points to remember.

She does have a very pleasant temperament so far.
Her looks seem to change almost weekly at this point, which I know is due to her changing growing phases.
It will be interesting to see what she looks like in the spring.

I expect her to stay in the fuglys for at least another year.


You cannot change bones, and her angles are not good.

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