I look at balance, eye appeal and breed character--I want a horse to look nice. Next I'll look at soundness and structural correctness. I'll start at the head and want to see that he has a nice, kind eye, a little fox ear, and that his head is in balance from the eye to the point of nose, and to the muzzle. I want to see a clean throatlatch, a head that ties in nicely to the neck, and a neck that ties in well to a long, sloping shoulder.
For balance, I look for shortness of back compared to the underline, and a long croup that carries down deep into the stifle, with good gaskin muscling. I like to see good depth of heartgirth.
And then I'll assess straightness and how the horse travels. All four legs need to be correct--just like a car can't run on three tires, a horse needs to have four legs that are structurally sound.
Click "Next" to find out how I placed these three 3- and 4-year-old Quarter Horse geldings.