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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Condition Photos

So in my post here I mentioned all sorts of regularly (sort of...) taken conditioning photos of Farley that I have in my possession, that upon posting would let YOU, the reader, see all of the gorgeous muscle that I have been painstakingly creating.

Uh huh.

Not so much.

After reviewing my condition photos for Farley, I've come to following conclusions:

1. Level flat footing is important (no more taking shots at the tie racks on mats)

2. No shadows.

3. No tack

4. Move the tail for hind shots

5. Square up

6. Lighting matters. It may be difficult to achieve consistent lighting, but it does matter. Some of my pictures are taken within days of each other, but look dramatically different.

Warning: The rest of this post is really picture heavy.

These are the changes I can feel

1. Little tiny round muscles in the butt, especially in the hamstring area that weren't there before dressage.

2. The slight hollow behind the shoulder has disappeared.

3. The flank has filled out (more a function of weight than conditioning)

But the changes I can see in these pictures? Not so obvious. I've included in the photo what recent events transpired that may have changed her condition.

Hind photos

January 2009
***After 4 day LD multi at Death Valley. Had done one endurance length ride the end of November. Was too skinny.

April 2009
***After a 65 miler, started jogging with her. Was ridden more due to Minx's death.

June 2009

***In the middle of Tevis training, just finished a 2 day 100

October 2009
***Started Dressage

Left Side Pictures

November 2007
**Earliest photo I have of Farley. Probably taken within a week of owning her. I remember her having much less muscle than she shows here. She was also kind of fat.

August 2008
***Only 2008 decent side pic I have of her (might be able to dig some up near the end of the year at rides, but don't have that computer with me right now.). We are in the middle of preparing for our first LD. Angle is honkey, but you can see there's not much shoulder muscle. Hard to make any other determinations.

January 2009
***Just finished 4 day LD at Death Valley. Too skinny.

February 2009
***Just before 65 miler. Weight is better but still on the lean side. Hard to make any other judgements because of stupid shadows.

April 2009
***Last ride was a Feb 65 miler. Continuing training. Day light savings here so is being ridden consistently, Minx has died so I have more time to ride Farley.

June 2009
***Middle of Tevis training. just finished a 2 day 100.

June 2009 (second picture)
***See how much difference lighting makes? This pic was taken within days of the picture above.

October 2009
***Started Dressage

Right Side
Funny....before starting conditioning photos I never took photos of Farley's right side.

May 2008
***Had just started riding her seriously after her rehab (no restrictions on workload per vet).

April 2009
***completed 65 miler. conditioning for 2 day 100. Riding more because of Minx's death.

June 2009
***Finished wild west. Middle of training for Tevis.

June 2009
***Taken within a few days of the one above, but different lighting.

July 2009
***closer to Tevis

October 2009
***started Dressage.

In conclusion? Hard to draw any conclusions based on the photos. Depending on the photo, her changes in condition don't seem to have to do any of her work. Pictures taken in a consistent manner will help me track her condition better.

Thought of the day: do you take conditioning photos regularly? Do you look at them? Do you have any amazing before and after pictures?


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  2. Don't buy a paint. I can't take a single picture of Dixie that shows any kind of muscle definition (or lack thereof)! She has filled out since I bought her - a bit wider, which is normal for a TWH, and a much more muscular neck. But you can't see it in pictures at all.

    I can see that Farley's put on weight, but I'm not much good at conformation stuff - eager to see what others have to say.

  3. I think she looks the best during the tevis training pictures. I didn't really take the time to study them and of course it would be easier to see in person.

    She really looks great! The butt pictures show her new muscling the best, the side picture are too far away to be able to tell, but she does look more conditioned in the later pictures.

    You seem really pleased with how well she is doing, I am so happy for you!

  4. Funder - Ha! If we do confo than I can definately start:

    Goose rumped, club foot, cow hocked, stands underneath her self, slightly sickle hocked, under-rumped, has a hunters bump etc etc.

    Nice shoulder, good heart girth, nice neck, decent pastern length and angle, well sprung ribs, and the MIND, can't forget the awesome MIND!!!!!

  5. Ditto on the training for Tevis photo, she looks really good. couldn't pay me to offer conformation critique. I couldn't take it so I'm not dishing any out *LOL* A mind is a terrible thing to waste ....uh, can I possibly come up another cliche'?

    Phebes looses a pound per mile I swear. After 15 miles she starts sinking in at the flanks, and by 25 she has absolutely shrunk. Then it takes about five to six days to get the weight back up again. I really can't seriously train more than two or three days a week or she starts tipping under weight. Schooling doesn't seem to bother her, so we do that a couple days a week.

    When you were training for Tevis, would you mind sharing what your conditioning program was looking like? Distance/ Speed?

  6. She's definitely in the best shape during the Tevis training, but is she still a hard keeper at that point?

    I take photos of every animal on the farm every year around the 4th of July--for identification purposes, and also for comparison purposes. At midsummer the light is reliable, they've usually been working so I can see muscle definition, and the hair coats are minimal so it's easiest to see if somebody is too fat or too skinny or whatever.

    Somehow it's easier to see it in photos than on the actual animal standing in front of me.

    As for conformation photos, I only want to hear good things about my horses, so I rarely ask for anyone to analyze them >g< It's not like I'm gonna trade them in at this point anyhow!!!

  7. Endurance Granny - I'll take a look at my record books (I keep detailed books on EVERYTHING...I should post on that...) and post on what I did for Tevis soon.

    Don't worry - this post was originally on condition not conformation! I've asked some horsepeople I trust to give me their opinions, so I have a pretty good idea where her strengths and weaknesses lay. Everyone *says* they want an honest critique, but in my experience they don't *really* want one. I think while conformation is still important (especially if you are planning on breeding), after a horse starts to prove itself athletically, it becomes less of an issue than if you are looking at a prospect.

    AareneX- the pre-tevis pics were taken on 4th of July! So that probably is the best time to take pics - the lighting is superb.

    When I first got her, before she was in real work, she was a little air-fern. She could look at feed and grow fat! When she's in work (and that goes for the Tevis pics as well), she stays in good condition as long as she gets unlimited hay, and a couple pounds of beet pulp a day.

    I think my main challenge is that I board her and the owners have had quarter horses all their life and aren't super tractable when I request stuff....They've fed alfalfa for 20 years and never had an issue (it was a small war to even have them switch her to a 50% grass ration), beet pulp is evil (rice bran is so much better, even though I explained I'm concern about the calcium/phospherus ratios, especially in light of the alfalfa being fed). I want her to have hay in front of her most of the day, but to get them to feed enough that that happens can be a bit of a stuggle and if I don't keep on them ("Hi - I noticed you fed 2 hours ago and she has cleaned up all the hay, how many pounds are you feeding her again?") I've noticed that she starts to lose weight.

    That being said they've been REALLY good since January and I ahven't had to "verify" her hay ration with them since then. AND whenever I visit her, she usually has hay on the ground.

    My current location is the best place around for me to board, and unfortunately, I think that when you board horses, definatley some trade-offs and you have to give up some control usually (unless you have lots of options and lots of $$$). Currently she is only 6 miles away from my residence and the board is very reasonable. Because of this I can see her everyday and keep and eye on her, make sure the hay ration is appropriate etc. I could probably do an entire post on this! I want her to be in a pasture, but no one feeds on pasture around here, so she is in a fairly large dry paddock instead. I could move her to a different facility that fed hay 3 times a day, may be more accomodating etc, but the pens are much smaller, the facility is further away etc. So, I pick my battles, decide what really matters to me and work around the limitations.

  8. I feel the need to comment on this only to's a lot of horse butts. The horsey people are now rolling their eyes at me (this means you!) but similar to having no verbal filter, such are my fingers. And Mel, just slap a banket on those hineys, and you *know* who would just love to "get their hands dirty". Heehee


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