The best way to rate a horse is to compare its performance with that on the track. There are so many things to consider; you can see a list of common horses at Wikipedia. One particular trait they are likely to show is “gait instability”, that is, they can feel like they are falling on their hind legs. We like horses that can have their toes on the ground when they turn or their feet in front of them before they land. One way to find out whether a horse is stable or not is to use its first and third trot. Try to take a good look at each step to give a good sense of what it’s going to feel like when it actually turns or lands. Then ask yourself this question, “How would I walk on a stable horse?” If it feels comfortable and stable, that’s good. If it doesn’t, then there is a problem. This same thing applies to most riding positions. The horse’s stance height should be the same on both sides of the horse. A stable horse’s legs should be tucked under the hips rather than touching the ground. This doesn’t mean a horse should only be able to bend their legs. It would be bad for the horse to have their front legs touching the ground. However, stable horses, unless they are very slow, often don’t walk with their front legs touching the ground at all. So, most stable horses are better suited for an upright riding position and are the best, if not the only way, to get a sense of a horse’s stability. Horse behavior is not something that can be measured by scoring a number. It is something you feel, how they feel, what they act like as well as how they do not act.
What will the best horses you see on the track look like? The best horses on the track look different to most of us, and the best horses in racing can look no different. Horses often look the same, but they do not act the same. That’s a really hard, and in many cases, highly personal thing to do, so if you aren’t very familiar with a horse, you may not realize the level of performance and behavior that it can have. It is also important to remember that when a horse does do some unusual thing, or when a horse acts different than what you’ve seen it do in the past, then it is a sign of extreme, or at least abnormal, emotional distress. If you are one of those who is trained to see horses as the same, or even
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