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Conformation Clinic: Aged Arabian Mares

Evaluate and place these aged Arabian mares in your order of preference. Then see how your choices compare to our expert judge's.

As someone who rides performance horses, I'll always prefer a horse I think is usable, versus one that's "just a pretty horse." And I feel compelled to stick to the class specifications and criteria set forth by Arabian judging standards.

We have to consider a horse in this order: Arabian type, conformation, suitability as a breeding animal, quality, movement, substance, manners and presence.

So, as an Arabian judge, the first thing I evaluate is type, which is basically made up of the characteristics that distinguish an Arabian horse from other breeds. There are five main points of type: head, neck, back, croup and tail. Because the horses in these photos are standing still, it's difficult to judge criteria like movement, presence and tail carriage. But I'll evaluate suitability as a breeding animal because this is a class of mares. "Like breeds like," so to me, good conformation and type contribute to a horse's suitability for breeding.

Click "Next" to find out how I placed these three aged Arabian mares.

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