I'm excited to do the Breeches and Boat Shoes conformation analysis. I didn't really have a good picture of Nilla where she was actually standing level so I had to straighten a picture of her mostly standing square that I did have. I'm going to do Shasta and Dijon separately.
I want to preface this by saying the conformation rules and ideals for mules are different from sport horses. However, I am using her as a "sport equine" so her conformation in comparison to the generally ideals is still important.
Height vs Length
Surprisingly pretty square! A little taller than long, but that's by design. Quarter horses are supposed to have short backs. She's out of a QH so it's how she's supposed to be even if it's not my ideal.
Heartgirth vs. Leg
Her leg is slightly shorter than the heartgirth. Again, according to the AQHA, a deep and broad chest with large heartgirth is ideal. It's ideal for cutting and cow work, but it's not so awesome for jumping.
Topline vs. Underline
And this is where it all falls apart. She is so downhill. This is pretty much standard for a mule. It's also the norm for a lot of AQHA types. However, as I have no plans on doing cutting with her, this conformation doesn't help me any. She's not really built for jumping. The lengths of the top and under line are about equal, though.
Shoulder vs. Back vs. Buttocks
Not at all even. Her shoulder area is the shortest and the back is longest. Again, she's out of a QH and they are supposed to have nice, big hindquarters. It's not ideal for jumping; a longer, less steep shoulder (which would create width in the shoulder rectangle would be better.
Buttocks vs. Hip vs. Stifle
I was surprised this was this even. Slightly shorter from stifle to hip, but not too bad.
Despite all of her flaws as a sport horse, she actually has really lovely conformation for a mule. They are expected to be downhill. Here's a picture of a grand champion mule that looks a lot like Nilla. Same, small shoulder and downhill topline. Also the same color.
I'd love to here what anyone thinks of my analysis or of Nilla's conformation.