Conformation on gelding

We recently offered our gelding for sale. We had someone comment that he wouldn’t “hold up” in dressage due to his conformation. I am definitely still learning with horse conformation. I would hate to sell him and have him have issues down the road that were easily for seen with how he’s built. I’ve attached a picture and would love any insight and information that anyone may have so that I can learn and also to not blindside a potential buyer! !
edited to add he’s only 3 years old so still lots of growing to do.


Most riders top out at first level. Most average horses will be perfectly suitable for most average riders, dressage or otherwise.


he looks a little undeveloped , muscle wise. There is absolutely nothing I see that says he cannot do thru second level. Proper Dressage riding and training will improve him overall

.After that , who knows, he may surprise if he is clever and can get the three trots ( collected medium and extended.

My last horse a Hancock QH was fun and clever and was just getting in to canter pirouette and tempe changes when I quit riding. He looked a lot like your friend here, in brown wrapper, and finished quite buff.


No idea about “holding up” but I personally would not choose a horse who appears (from this one photos) to be downhill with a very upright shoulder for dressage, though as mentioned here most riders never get past 1st and his athletic expression and trainability could easily override his conformation. Amazingly put together horses with unsoundness of mind or body rarely go far!


Not the shape of horse I would choose if I was aiming at the Olympics but any horse can do low level dressage and benefit from the training. On the other hand, a good mind and kind temperament can take a horse well past the limits of less than perfect conformation.


Should’ve mentioned hes only 3 so still lots of growing left. He also isn’t in dressage training currently… it was just a random specific thing someone had said. Actually thinking he’ll finish as a nice western pleasure horse. It made me curious if something was very obviously wrong with his conformation. Thanks everyone for the replies so far!

I tend to be in the same camp as the others in terms of whether or not this horse would be my first choice to pursue my goals in dressage…likely not. HOWEVER, many years ago on this board and another I posted a similar picture (side conformation shot) of a horse asking the question how far did the railbird critics think I could go up the levels with said horse. He, at the time demonstrated far more muscle than this horse; but, he was definitely built down hill with a bit of sway/curve in his back and a short neck. His shoulder and hip angles were (actually are he’s 23 this year) a little bit better than the horse you have pictured. Well I was slammed and discouraged from ever using such a horse in dressage and many ‘poor’ pony comments were posted including many BNTs of the time (and now). I revealed at the time of that posting that I had already made it through third level with scores well into the 60s and had also received a show highpoint award at fourth level. The same horse later helped me earn my silver medal and he is still very sound and going strong today for his current owner at his advanced age. My point is that not every horse fits the mold. Disposition, heart and movement also make up a horse and its ability to accomplish/progress with proper training. I do not have a crystal ball to say how far the horse you have pictured would go with someone who is dedicated and respectful of proper conditioning. IF this horse is sound, has 3 pure gaits, a good head and heart…well he could be a great partner for someone…it all depends on the riders’ desires and ability.

I should add that the horse of mine that I’m referencing I had purchased as a two year old. I had shown his mother successfully and his sire had earned decent scores at in hand sport horse classes for stallions. At the time I had no reason to believe he wouldn’t grow into a more uphill character but when he turned 5 and was still downhill I had lost my upper level partner and instead of selling my ‘unfortunately conformed steed’ I kept him as he had stepped up to the plate - the horse seen moving under saddle in no way resembled the horse in my conformation shot though they were one in the same. If your horse is a solid citizen I would encourage you to focus on videos that demonstrate just that.


I had a little (15.2) WB mare that had similar build although she was a little more level. I bought her at 2 and she looked fairly balanced but as she grew, she got longer, not taller. Boy, for me(amateur), she was a hard ride for dressage. I feel it was the low set neck that gave her the biggest obstacle for dressage. She was a sweet heart, had a great work ethic but keeping her ‘together’ and getting her to elevate her forehand was tough. I just didn’t want to work that hard and sold her as an ‘all-rounder.

That was my experience. Someone else may have gotten her much farther along in dressage but that conformation does not help them. I made sure not to replace her with a similar conformation. I would pass on this guy for that reason. As far as ‘holding up’, no one can say that. The above mare was very sound when I sold her at 9 and had had no soundness issues at all.


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He looks like a nice guy. I don’t see any glaring faults where someone could say what he can or can’t accomplish?

What I do see is that he is lacking what I would call " bloom". I think with a little tweak to his feeding you can add a bit of weight and shine and get a more favorable response.

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Had the tribute rep come out and added essential k to his feed after this pic was taken. Thanks for the confirmation! Seems like there’s already an improvement.

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It can be a challenge with the growing boys!