Vice and Conformation

A horse begins his life as an inquisitive animal; learning begins first from his dam and field mates. At the same time, the foal also begins to have interactions with people. As an owner, the worst thing you can do to a youngster is to isolate it from other young horses. The social behavior learned in a herd, no matter its size, is vital to his development. Most vices will develop from improper care or handling, neurosis, or boredom, but can also be picked up from other horses.

Horses are amenable creatures and want to please and to know their place. It is not recommended that the novice take on a horse with a vice without the help of a knowledgeable horseperson.

Many horse breeds have an evaluation system set up to assess a horse's conformation according to the breed standard. This is usually a numerical score from one to ten, with ten being perfect. However, it is rare to find a horse that has perfect conformation. It is also important to note that what one breed considers ideal conformation might be slightly different from other breed standards. This is similar to the standards set up for canine breeds. Horse breeders evaluate the best traits of their mares and choose a stallion that will complement or improve any weakness in conformation, hoping for a foal that will have the best attributes from both sire and dam.

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