Looked at a QH today that is only 3, built very downhill right now. Has a very downhill lope, but he also only has about 30 rides on him & they haven’t started asking him to pick up his front & get on his hindquarters. Right now he’s at the “just go forward & don’t kill anyone” stage.

I don’t have enough experience with the real youngsters as far as watching them grow & getting a feel for when they might even out. He is currently about 16.1h at the withers, & 16.3 at the hip. all around bred.
Can anyone give me any idea if there is any hope for this horse to still even out?

Look at his parents and grandparents. Frankly, people have been breeding downhill stock horses for quite a while. Even the big ones that they are making to specialize in English riding at the quarter horse shows. I would not count on him evening out.


Three in November is 3 1/2, if he is still that much downhill I doubt he will even out. He may look more even when his withers spring but his front legs will still be short.

I’m going to be the third one to say that if he’s noticeably downhill now, he’ll probably always be that way, at least to some extent. Plus, while I wouldn’t expect a youngster with 30 rides to be finished under saddle, it’s not like he’s only had a half-dozen rides in a round pen. If he feels downhill at the lope/canter now, chances are he’s always going to feel that way to some degree. Over time, you can improve it somewhat, but due to his conformation I suspect that’s how he wants to travel.

Ooh boy, ain’t this the truth! I’ve ridden and shown several, and they are not my cup of tea.

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What are your goals for this horse?
What type of riding do you want to do?
What is his breeding? What type is riding are his papers meant for? (I know you said “all-around” but a few names would be helpful!)

Ditto to comments of the others but sometimes you just don’t know. Three can still be a very akward age and especially if he is that tall, he might really have some catching up to do in the front end yet.

I had a horse long ago (Beau) and he ended up finishing out about 16.1 hands. He was downhill for a while too but leveled out. And he actually had a weird little growth spurt closer to the END of his 4 year old year. So you just never know.

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I would look at his hind leg and how he uses it to make a determination about if he will always feel downhill. Some of these horses that are bred for western pleasure have an extremely straight hind leg, complete with very straight short pasterns and they do not articulate the joints in the hind leg at all. I would not anticipate that a horse that moves like this to be able to move in an uphill frame without major issues. They have been bred this way on purpose so don’t think you can change them.


I wish they wouldn’t breed downhill horses. I see it as a major fault. Now they are breeding for horses with extremely straight hind legs. I am retiring my paint mare and it’s been difficult to find anything that looks like an English horse. Everything I’ve seen is short/stocky or downhill. Most look like slow moving western pleasure horses unfortunately. I prefer the appendix look. A level topline is ideal. They should be level by 3 years old, definitely by 3.5 years. I don’t find riding a downhill horse that comfortable, and it can make saddle fit difficult.

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Here is the goal. These horses are champions in their divisions.