Fugly yearling

Hi, i have a 17 months old yearling filly, i bought her when she was a foal and she was really nice …but now…she s thé uggliest horse i ve ever owned. She s a quarter horse. I Wonder if it IS possible to have such an ugly filly that Can change un something better later on, any expérience ? Thank you

Well sure. They go thru growth spurts, just like humans. Things change, body parts grow, and yes, they go thru the uglies! Honestly, if you want to know what you’re likely to have when she’s done growing, look at pictures of the grandparents. Look at the sire and dam too, but I find it most useful to look at the grandparents.


I only know thé parents. It s hard to Say i ve had some yearlings that were so nice that IS why i am worried

I would say a very large % of horses are fugly as yearlings. They are constantly in awkward fast-growing growth spurts. When the butt starts look more like a 2yo, but the front end still looks like a young yearling, with a head that’s more like a 2yo, it just looks all kinds of wrong.

There’s a reason a lot of breeders “throw their yearlings into the back 40”, meaning, they don’t want to showcase them at all, because they often look terrible :laughing:


Some young horses just go through extreme fugly phases. One of the best horses I’ve ever owned was fugly until he started filling in at about 5. He was a late to mature in the looks department, fortunately his mind was solid gold for the most part.


I had an incredibly fugly late weanling (APHA) that grew up to be a lovely, correct horse.

I bought her at five months old. Paint sire was a halter World Champion at age two, and her QH dam was also a halter class winner.

At seven months she looked like this:

At 11 months she looked much better:

Age three, first day under saddle:

At nine and 10:

This year at age 23:


Use the Rule of 3:
3 Weeks
3 Months
3 Years
& Try not to look at them in between :wink:


Fugly is part of the game. I have a draft (Shire), who looked really good in the pictures that I bought him off of (12 months) absolutely weedy and terrible when he showed up (15 months). Pretty decent on and off for the next year, in between FUGLY weeks. Only now is he starting to look like the horse he actually will be at 3 and a half.

1 Like

well that’s just… :astonished: :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :flushed: :joy: :joy:

But she’s a perfect example of a yearling hind end and back, weanling shoulder and front legs, yearling head, and a weanling, neck. That’s kinda hilarious!


She was a mess! I wondered what I’d gotten myself into! :rofl:


What in the big head, big butt, stubby front, short necked, downhill tarnation? She’d have been a HARD NO at 7 months… a might be ok at 11 months, and looks like a completely different horse by 3! That’s an incredible example of the fugly to swan transformation. She looks fantastic at 23!


Mine was quite nice until 12 months and then…i cannot look AT her. I am looking AT yearling quarter horse auction and they all look Amazing, i just Wonder how long does it take to have them so nice. Thé problèm IS that i d liké to sell this filly but i think that she IS so aweful that i am thé one AT thé moment that has to pay thé buyer to take her​:sweat_smile::sweat_smile:


Mine is 16 months and he looks ok-ish at the moment, but I’m not fooling myself here…he will become more ugly :joy: and I’m accepting of that. It doesn’t concern me, really.

My TB looked like some awkward large colt until he was 5, then he filled out into quite the hunk. Very full bodied for a TB, but very weedy as a youngster.

I actually don’t like it when they’re too mature and big at too yoing of an age.


A buyer that knows young horses and is interested in her breeding might not be so concerned. Especially if you have photos of her pre-fugly phase and info on any siblings.

1 Like

Right? This is the photo from her APHA papers (she’s got a white patch on her belly that qualified her for the main book). She was about three months old there. This is basically what she looked like when I bought her at five months.

It wasn’t till she was with me for a month or two that I looked at her and thought “Oh, crap!” :rofl:



:laughing: it’s easy to think that! But the structure is still there, and it’s still clear that she’s built really well.

Assuming it’s a yearling sale, then they only bring those who look amazing. Plus, they’ve likely been fed “up”, and exercised, to look even better than a typical yearling.

This is exactly why a lot of breeders either sell as foals or weanlings, or wait until they’re 2, because the yearling year is often quite…interesting :laughing:


Thanks for the Rosie-appreciation! :grin: I’ve had multiple purchase offers over the years from people who were only going by her conformation. But despite the fact that she defied her genetics and only grew to about 14.3hh (see age 3 photo—I’m 5’8” and she was done growing by then), she’s my Evil Princess and I never considered selling her!

1 Like

I don’t have the eye for babies at all… I can only see the awkward at some stages until they even out.

Come on, y’all! Join me and share your before-and-after fugly yearling shots and make the OP feel better! :sunglasses:

No one here will be thinking you’re a terrible breeder or poor horse selector for showing a less-than-perfect youngster!

COTH loves a good glow-up post!!!

1 Like

I haven’t seen my yearling in a few weeks, and won’t see him again for a few more weeks (currently living out with other colts at the breeder)…so I’m actually curious to see what he’ll look like then. The last time I saw him, he wasn’t looking too outrageous in any direction. Will share photos if he’s gotten more fugly :sweat_smile: