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configuration contributes to the ability to run and jump. This is a sought after trait in ‘speed’ horses as well as top eventers and steeplechasers. Combined with his length of tibia (from stifle to hock), Hickstead is able to bring his hocks very high—nearly at the level of his point of buttock—when clearing a jump. He has a stifle well below the level of his sheath,

a requirement for scope and a strong contributor to length of stride. Hickstead’s entire hindquarter configuration allows

him to clear the same jumps as a horse with a slightly lower stifle and a shorter tibia. But before you run out looking for horses with long tibias, remember that the long-tibia configuration can cause additional stress to the hocks if combined with a short femur. No aspect of the horse works in isolation. Moving to the forequarters, we see a high point of shoulder, one that produces a steep rise of the humerus from elbow to point of shoulder. We also see that his humerus is fairly short. This means that when he rolls his scapula back, his point of shoulder will raise and his elbow will go through its full range of motion fairly quickly. The result is being ‘fast’ with the front legs. Again, this is an asset when jumping at speed as well as giving the horse the ability to clear a fence even if the takeoff spot is closer to the base of the fence. Finally, and certainly not least, it is clear when we

draw a line through his pillar of support that there is very little horse in front of that line and that the bottom emerges at the rear of his hoof. The line depicting the pillar of support emerges

well in front of his withers, which is a factor for lightness. It also bisects the humerus very close to the midpoint. If it bisected the humerus nearer the elbow, the horse would be heavier on the forehand. Also adding to the lightness of the forehand is a base of neck well above a high point of shoulder. If the pillar emerged behind the hoof, it would add stress to the suspensory apparatus. If it emerged in front of the rear quarter of the hoof, it would amplify the concussive effects. Hickstead may not represent the ‘classic’ picture of

a jumper, but he most certainly represents the picture of a functionally superior jumper.

WT

Coming next issue: Judy analyzes Ravel, America’s dressage superstar.

Warmbloods Today 55

About Judy: Having researched equine conformation for the last 30 years, Judy has written two books about the subject with two more on the agenda. She travels worldwide giving clinics about conformation for all disciplines. Her website is

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