we look for in our stock
People often ask what
"we" look for in a Gypsy or Drum Horse.
What we look for in these breeds does not differ
in what we look for in any breed. Good conformation
is good conformation. Of course it all depends
on why we are looking at the horse. Breeding,
Dressage, Hunter Jumper, Western, Driving, etc...
first thing that we take into consideration is
the horse's temperament. We want a horse that
is social with humans and other horses
. We like horses that enjoy being around humans,
not just tolerant of them. The horse needs to
be willing to learn and work.
second thing that we look for is conformation.
The horse should match the Breed Standard (In
our case provided by the The Gypsy Vanner Horse
Society or The American Drum Horse Association)
as closely as possible. But beyond the standard,
because we like our horses to be able to perform,
we want horses built for a purpose.
withers should be behind the elbow to allow the
horse to open up it's shoulders.
like a horse that has an even top line. Of course
this varies with age, but a mature horse should
not be higher or lower in the front or back. Either
fault will compromise the horse's movement.
Pet peeve in these breeds....The horse's front
legs should be as close to the vertical as possible.
The front legs, from the side, when standing square,
should fall under, not behind or in front of the
shoulder. The hock of the rear legs should fall
as close to the vertical as possible to the point
of the horse's buttocks. If there are any major
faults with the vertical fall of the horse's front
or rear legs, it will affect the balance of the
horse. A balanced horse performs better and with
like a horse that has a clean throatlatch..not
thick which makes it hard for the horse to break
at the poll. If the horse is too thick, and you
achieve flexion at the poll, it's going to cut
the horse's air supply off, causing the horse
to have an inconsistent headset and make it hard for the horse to breathe, period. If the horse
is to be driven, we would compromise, as the typical
driving horse holds it's head in front of the
vertical, not on it.
like a horse whose leg bone is proportional. The
short bone (cannon bone) should be half the length
of the Long bone (forearm). They should NEVER
be the same length nor should they be opposite
thing that we look at is movement. When a horse
is walking the horse should have four even beats,
that cover ground with a step from behind that
comes fairly close to where the front foot takes
off. At the trot, the horse should naturally reach
from behind and again, we like to see the horse's
rear hooves touch down where the front hooves
took off. The trot should be a clear two beat
gait. (We know that DAP (Diagonal Advanced Placement***)
is acceptable and desired in some draft breeds,
but we maintain that a trot is a solid two beat
gait, anything else "we" consider a
fault) The Canter is a gait in which we expect
three beats and the horse should drive with his
hind end, without being heavy on his forehand.
Four beats is totally unacceptable, but this is
usually human error, and not natural. The horses
front and back hooves should never hit or touch
when the horse moves at any gait.
it helps to have natural movement for genetics
and breeding, there are some situations where
training can help or hinder a horse's movement.
It is important to take that into consideration
when choosing breeding stock.
with any breed, any horse, we of course have to
mention that hock placement, shoulder slope, and
bone play a big part in our decision. Hocks should
set fairly close, but not sickle hocked and certainly
should never touch when standing or moving. We
like a thick boned horse, but still light enough
that they can move with little effort.
on our list is the aesthetic look of the horse.
A perfect Tobiano pattern or a pretty head is
wonderful, lots of feather is nice to look at,
but they do not make a horse's ability to perform
better...and the whole reason for a breed standard
is to define a horse's purpose for being bred...it's
use to the people who own or want to own it. (In
other words, you can not ride a horse's head and
a certain color will not make a horse more likely
to perform better!) Without a niche, a breed will
not survive and will not maintain worth. We understand
that the cosmetic look of a horse is important,
but we only take it into consideration after all
other points above have been met and we are most
willing to compromise in this area.
is important to note that in Breeding Stock, we
go a bit further. The horse's bite is looked at.
We look at a mare's reproductive build...her Caslick's
Index, etc... as well as the stallion's reproductive
organs. The overall condition and health of the
hoof, the actual horse, ect... They are also subject
to various pre-purchase tests that a typical riding
or using horse would not go through.
Diagonal Advanced Placement is thought to have
come about because certain heavier breeds needed
to reduce stress on their legs and hooves. This
is a trait that has naturally evolved, not human
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