“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pink Ducks……

Halter Horses……The World Conformation Horse Association…..or don’t let the decreasing number of entries in the halter classes get you down…….

There’s the link to the conformation horse website. This is a column listed on the site explaining the purpose of the new association published in the Quarter Horse Journal.

Haltering an industry By Peter J. Cofrancesco III The other day, I was speaking with a person whom I have a great deal of respect for, Dr. Don
Topliff at West Texas A&M University, an educator and a judge. We were talking about conformation, what each of us tends to look for, and how important conformation is regardless of the discipline the horse competes in. That led him to tell me a story about a champion racing Quarter Horse trainer who became one of the world's most successful Thoroughbred trainers. A true horseman, this individual uses conformation as his deciding factor when he attends multi-million dollar Thoroughbred sales. Before he looks at the sale catalog, he looks at all the horses in the sale and grades the horses 1-5, 6, or 7-10, based on conformation. This he does without looking at their pedigree. He then tries to buy all the horses graded between 7-10 no matter what their pedigree says. He will only buy a 6 after looking at its pedigree, and determining if it is well bred. For the horses he's graded a 1-5; it doesn't matter how they're bred, he won't bid on them. I'd say thousands of people in the AQHA would do well to learn a similar system, whether they happen to be the person on the end of a lead shank or sitting in a saddle. Having an appreciation for and, perhaps even more importantly, an understanding of the value of conformation is crucial to the success, health and welfare of the horse. That's why I joined 40 other people in the halter horse industry for a meeting in May. It was a great and productive meeting. So great was the meeting, that a mere 45 days later, the World Conformation Horse Association was born and will officially launch as a new association in service to the industry October 17. Why call it conformation and not halter? Simple. Because conformation is what it's really all about, regardless of the discipline your horse might be engaged in. Without a solid skeletal and muscular structure, good producers and performers cannot be made and a good industry cannot survive. Perhaps the most gratifying element to the group's development and birth was how willing those gathered were to hold up a mirror to the halter horse industry in order to recognize the good and the not so good, and take ownership for it. The group recognized that owning and showing a halter horse was one of the best entry points for people coming into our industry, but more opportunities needed to be made available for people of varying experience, age and interest. Education is crucial, not only for judges, but for owners, breeders and exhibitors in teaching selection methods and how to recognize good conformation. The group also recognized that, while showing at halter was one of the first horse competitions, it is one of the few remaining segments without a voice in the industry. We hope to change that. Developing a singular voice like other industry segment groups, such as the National Cutting Horse Association and the National Reining Horse Association, the WCHA envisions an opportunity to serve the industry by working to define the elements of good conformation and providing a standard of competition and education to serve as a model throughout the industry. Of course there are controversial issues in the industry, but it has been rewarding to know that folks in the halter industry are now focused more on becoming an organized group rather than taking on the issues right now. So, with the help of some dedicated individuals, mostly owners and breeders with very busy lives, for the few months, the WCHA has focused on developing articles of incorporation, by-laws and a membership structure. Task forces and committees have been formed to address education, competition, governance and promotion. Undoubtedly, there is much work to be done and the response from the industry clearly indicates a need. While the WCHA will be open to all breeds, its relationship with AQHA will undoubtedly be crucial to its growth. The group foresees developing a similar alliance with AQHA as have other breeds and sport groups. Through this alliance, WCHA and AQHA have an opportunity to share in the promotion of the conformation horse and in developing educational tools to serve the industry. Many have taken a "wait and see" position on the WCHA and that is perfectly understandable. The horse industry certainly has no shortage of clubs or associations to join. What could make this one any different? Frankly, that will be up to the membership because what the WCHA offers is to become that singular voice distilled from many viewpoints and opinions. So far, the response to forming the association has been tremendous, but it won't be long before the WCHA will need to provide substance behind its words and value to the industry.
Mr. Cofrancesco has made a really good sales pitch for the Conformation Horse Association. In fact the highlighted points should be chiseled indelibly in ANY horseman’s mind. The ideal set forth by those setting the ideal ‘conformation’, hiring the judges, and calling the shots…….Take a look…..
I don’t think this is quite what the respected race horse man, mentioned in the first paragraph, was visualizing. I can’t see running a barrel pattern, completing the fence run in a reined cowhorse class, or sorting out a heavy heifer in a slick, muddy calving pasture on this horse or one like him. I can’t even see him picking his way down a steep rocky creek bank as a trail horse. I can see why the voting body did away with a judge having the option to ask halter/conformation class exhibitors for a serpentine jog at several of their major futurities.
Pink ducks? Is a slang term we use at the Ranch to explain judges and breeders stamping less than functional horses as the ideal. True using horse people are the minority among judges today. Gone is the day when the breeders and judges went home to work their own cattle with their own horses. The judges are trainers and exhibitors grown up in the show ring. They are the product of a generation and peers who developed their eye for horses in the show ring. If all you have ever seen win is pink ducks, pink becomes the desired color for a duck.
Nobody thought to ask the ducks.
The AQHA did name one more Supreme Champion. No, he wasn’t halter , excuse me, conformation bred.

The Ideal Conformation horse........ ?

By RH1


  1. Thanks for an informative article. I've long thought that the heavily muscled horses balanced on those little teacup feet couldn't possibly do any more than just-well stand there.
    I hope this takes off and does well.
    Conformation is the base for everything in a horse. If you start out with a well put together horse, bring him up right, and feed him properly, you are way ahead of the game.
    I hope to see updates as this goes along.

  2. Pink ducks...and Quarterhorse hogs! That is just so sad. Now WHY would... oh. Never mind...

    I sure hope the fashion changes soon, because real using Quarterhorses are such wonderful horses.

  3. I agree with you kestrel. Can you imagine riding that at a trot for more than 3 minutes? Ouch, my old back wouldn't deal well lol. I don't think his leg would deal well either.

  4. RH2, what do you hope takes off and does well? It sounds like you're saying you hope WCHA takes off, and that's the very group that's promoting the "ideal" horse--the tea-cup-footed, ham-hocked, post-hocked conglomeration (pink duck!) shown in the picture.