Conformation Investigation – Bailey

This conformation investigation is of Bailey, a 10 year old 15.2 hand Cleveland Bay x Thoroughbred mare. I’ll share a bit of her story, as told by her owner –

I bought Bailey sight unseen in December as a halter broke only ride/ drive prospect. Up to that point she had lived on 640 acres and was being used as a broodmare. In April, I rode her for the first time and she was hitched for the first time on the 10th of May. This mare is absolutely calm and steady and has quickly adjusted to life as a driving and riding horse. -Bridget

Let’s get started! This is such a lovely mare. Both physically and personality wise.

She has a lovely long neck with a nice neat throat latch. Her head is long and fine with a large pretty, soft eye. The lay of her shoulder is very nice which tells me she has a nice long stride. I’ll bet this gal can cover some ground!

She has a nice high wither and a good length of back. As shown below, she fits perfectly into a box!

Her shoulder, mid section and hip are almost the same size. She has nice muscling in her hip and shoulder both. It’s actually a bit surprising that this is a retired broodmare! I think she proves, just because they have had babies they can get into good condition. No saggy baby belly here!

Careful feeding and exercise will result in a horse that looks like Bailey. I reached out to her owner to find out about her feed program. She keeps it fairly simple –

My feed program goes by the montra, feed to condition. This means that I am constantly readjusting the feed as she changes.  Luckily since I got her, she has been very easy.  She gets 25 pounds of normal grass hay, split over three meals, and 14 pounds of alfalfa split over two meals.  She did not get the alfalfa immediately, it was only after starting real work that she needed the extra calories and protein. For grain, I only give her a ration balancer so that she gets all the vitamins and minerals that she needs. Every 6 months, or year if everything is stable, I have a full blood work panel done to make sure all nutritional targets are being met.     -Bridget

I too believe in a simple, natural feed program. Simple feed programs usually produce shiny, beautiful equines. Bailey is a perfect example of that!

A long slow exercise program seems to be the best for getting pasture horses and ponies back in condition. Lots of walking, both in harness and by hand, climbing mountains when you can, ie – hiking, trotting poles if you don’t have hills, jumping things in hand is also a wonderful way to build up a top line and start building those muscles. The walk is a very under practiced gait. But so much can be accomplished while walking.

Fixing a walk is not hard, per se. To do so requires constancy and mindfulness, however and that’s what makes it such a challenge. If you’re still skeptical, know that a horse who improves his walk will greatly improve in his trot and canter, too! -Keystone Equine (Living Well Riding Better)

Her legs are nice and clean and straight. I love the size of her hooves as well. They look clean and strong. This mare is so well balanced in every way!

Usually there is something to point out, to work around and take into consideration when looking at our horse or pony’s conformation. It’s always good to know their short comings so we can alter our training and expectations. In this way we can help them live long happy lives, working comfortably. But in this case I truly don’t see anything to point out! This mare is truly a unicorn. Thank you to Bridget for sharing her with us!

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