Horse conformation/modeling with splint

I have never done any sort of modeling or confirmation classes with any of my horses in the past. I am just curious on what exactly is being judged and how the scores are given. Would a horse with a small splint lose a lot of points off their score. I had a pretty little mare come in that many say should model but she does have a small splint.

I’ve heard of hunter conformation classes, but have never heard the term “modeling.” Although to be honest, both my horses would make great supermodels. :grin:


Is this a young (1/2/3YO) who you’re interested in doing the HB classes with? Or one you’re considering doing the Confirmation division with? Other than those I haven’t seen a “model” at recognized shows, except for sometimes in the ponies.

Or are you talking about doing in-hand type classes at local shows? I did a few of those with my TB with the TIP In-hand classes locally, and they were more forgiving of things like splints etc since it was targeted at OTTBs.

I used to compete in maturities, and my OTTB won 2/3 of his model classes, and he had a tiny splint. It was small though, and not a result of his conformation. Blemishes aren’t supposed to be penalized if not conformation related, although I would expect that between two otherwise equal horses, the blemish free one will come out ahead.

I have had a lot of people say she should do the young hunter under saddle at Devon because she is a great mover. I saw that confirmation is part of it, so I wasn’t sure if a small splint would be a big deal in this class or not.

This is a 3 year old. For the hunter breeding/potentially a young hunter under saddle at some point. I’ve never done these so I’m not sure exactly what is being judged or how much each things is weighted.

A splint will kick you out of a competitive model. In a confirmation under saddle, it may move you down a place or two (or three, depending on how close the scores were to begin with), but you are half of the way there with a good- moving horse who behaves herself in the melee of a young horse under saddle class.


The horse is coming 3 or 3 now? Because HB only goes through 3YO, generally. Different state orgs run the young hunter under saddle stuff, and you can do ammy handler.

I did HB last year with my 3YO TB for experience. Most of the shows outside of somewhere like Devon, Upperville, and SBW are small enough that you’d still pin even with a blemish. The bigger shows, it’s much more competitive and I’d expect to get moved back a place or two, even in an undersaddle/model type situation.

Conformation is about how the horse is put together to do the job. No conformation flaw gets you kicked out of the class. Like every other hunter division, you are being judged against the other horses entered. So your placing depends on the quality of the other horses in the class.

Decide what you want out of the experience of doing the classes at Devon. Do you only want to go if you have a chance to be the winner? Do you want to go for the experience? If you line up fifth and get moved out of the ribbons, will you be devastated?


conFORMation!! Unless your horse is catholic.


I was fighting my urge to type this exact sentence!!!lol


Just to clarify, a splint should make no difference whatsoever in an amateur handler class. In theory, the class is only judged on the presentation of the horse by the handler, not on the horse’s actual conformation.

From a recent prize list:

  1. $500 Amateur/Junior Handler Class Entry Fee: $75.00
    Open to Amateur and Junior exhibitors. Adult handlers must possess current amateur certification issued by the USEF. Horses will be shown in hand and judged 100% on the presentation of horse and handler. Horses are to walk and trot before being moved on the line in order of preference. Horses of any age, sex or breed are eligible. No points will be awarded for USEF Horse of the Year, USHJA Zone Horse of the Year, Leading Handler or Breed Registry Awards.

That makes a lot of sense thank you! Would it be different in something like the young hunter under saddle at Devon. I know this class must be open to pros as well. In a previous prize list I believe it said 50% was conformation and they had to be stripped of tack and the other 50% was manners and way of going in the under saddle itself. I’ve never done any of this stuff so I’m just not sure exactly how it all works so I really appreciate all the help! She is a beautiful little mare and a great mover, so if it seems worth while I’d spend the money and make the trip, but if not I’d be just as happy staying at more local shows. I had no intention of doing it but it keeps getting mentioned to me as something I should consider, so I wasn’t sure how the splint would play a role.

I had a horse that I modeled with a splint. He was very correct in how he was put together so it only hurt me if the company was outstanding. A splint is not part if their natural conformation, its man made, so to speak