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Conformation and Selection of Horses


Selecting a new horse can be an exciting, and stressful endeavor. A horseman with a trained eye for conformation recognizes traits in a horse that can influence how the horse may be able to perform for various events. The phrase “form to function” commonly demonstrates how a horse’s basic conformation can dictate its athletic ability.

There is no perfect horse; however it is important to understand how some conformational traits should be of more concern than others, especially when addressing potential long term usefulness. In addition to recognizing good conformation for riding horses, the horse must suit the individuals’ needs and level of ability.

It is crucial for “horse shoppers” to narrow their scope and develop a plan of priorities for the type of horse that will best suite them. This presentation will help all horse enthusiasts recognize how conformation contributes to the athletic ability of a horse as well as provide guidelines to help find the best horse for your needs.

Presenter Information

Dr. Kathy Anderson has been the Extension Horse Specialist at the University of Nebraska since 1991. She oversees the youth and adult extension horse program as well as teaches Undergraduate courses in the Animal Science Department. Kathy currently teachings courses in Horse Management, Equine Reproduction and Equine Nutrition. Additionally she has coached the UNL Horse Judging team.

An avid horse shows judge, Dr. Anderson is a carded judge with the American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association, and National Snaffle Bit Association. She received her Bachelor of Sciences in Animal Science and Agricultural Education from the University of Nebraska, Masters of Science in Physiology of Reproduction from Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D. in Animal Science from Kansas State University.

Along with her educational background, Dr. Anderson stays highly involved in the industry; previously she was an assistant trainer and breeding manager at a large Quarter Horse farm, her family currently raises and shows Western Pleasure Horses, she is a past Board Member for the Quarter Horse Association of Nebraska, is the current Vice President of the American Youth Horse Council, and the Vice Chair of eXtension’s Horse Quest project.

Watch the recorded webcast below!

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