Loin From Above

Send your thanks to Blondemare for providing this set of photos of her horse, April, so that we might all get a chance to see the loin from above.

In the last Long And Short Of It article (Part 3 – Loin), I talked about the desirable shape of the loin from the top being more like an equilateral triangle than an isosolese triangle, and how the former is created by a short, deep, broad loin.  Well, here we have one:


Even though this picture is taken at an angle and with the photographer standing too far forward (center body and straight on is where we like to see photos taken from to minimize distortion of angles and lengths), we can still see that this horse’s loin is deep and short.  The ribcage carries back really well and the LS joint is just a touch in front of the point of hip.


From above we can see how truly far back that ribcage is, as well now we can see the breadth of the loin, easily exceeding the length of the loin itself (L1 – first yellow dot – to LS joint – second yellow dot).

Our horse, April, possesses a fantastic loin, one of the virtually indestructible kind.

Blondemare had photos of a second horse, but the angles of them were too great to see clearly, but I sure appreciate the time and effort she put forth.  Thank you!


Reminder:  I will be away from a computer for a week, so this is the last blog post until I return.  For those reading Tao, finish up Part 1 as I’ll be posting my thoughts on it as soon as I return.   I look forward to a lively discussion.   Cheers!


16 thoughts on “Loin From Above

  1. I logged on and thought OMG, that horse looks just like my girl! Duh. Thank you for confirmation on what I thought about her loin. She has an uncanny ability to do things others here can’t. In play she rears and holds a long time and performs a capriole when the wind is just right. She’s a deep loper and I’ve been able to get a left pirouette when she’s in condition. She’s a multi-tasker and as honest as the day is long. Ok, no more sentiment! 🙂

    Question though. What determines the width of the loin? She’s a wide horse, well sprung ribcage, wide stifles and now I know, loin, but is the ribcage relative to the loin? Do they typically come as a package in relation to width?

    • Loin breadth is in direction relationship to loin length. So a QH (which we know is likely to be a wide bodied horse) can actually have a narrow loin (also shallow) by virtue of it also being long. That would then create an isosolese triangle rather than the more equilateral we see on your horse.

      In our 6 horses, the TB with the shortest loin is the broadest relative to it’s own loin length, but not necessarily the widest from point of hip to point of hip. Does that make sense? So it’s not relevant that horse A is 2 feet from point to point and horse B is 1’10” from point to point, it only matters that width compared to the individual’s loin length.

    • Thank you. She’s very out of condition but happily enjoys hanging out while I ride others! I found her at an auction 10 years ago…she was a ‘flip’ and won me over for life. There are decent cheap horses to be found at the auctions, they get there for so many different reasons.

      • Hey, I got my old guy many years ago out from under the nose of the meat man. I’ve put a lot of miles on a horse someone had given up on.

  2. Is it just me, or do her pelvis and trunk look one size on one side of the spine, and a different size on the other? It also looks like her spine doesn’t point straight forward like you’d expect it to…

    Is she just standing unevenly, or is this a natural imbalance? If so, what can be done about it?

    • She wasn’t perfectly square for the photo, I believe her left hind was slightly forward of her right. She could very well be less than balanced as she hasn’t been in work for 6 months either but I think it’s how my friend had her set up.

    • Considering the difficulties of getting a shot like this, it’s about as good as it’s going to get. Unless a horse is standing and balancing just perfect, there will be differences, also there will be differences just based on the fact that this is a living animal.

      But what I would like to ask, since Mercedes says that this mare has such a great loin, is if we can see some more pictures of her at some point before we come to the end of this discussion. Some of her moving would be great too.

      • You raise a good point, it would be nice to see what a good loin (hip, shoulder, pastern, etc) contributes to a particular horse. I had loins on the brain watching Devon GP and was analyzing each horse. I believe Todd Minikus’ horse, Tuxedo, appeared to have a super loin IMO. He looks strong and scopey.

        I have few pics of my mare being ridden but going to attach a couple with us jumping (I suck, no need for a witch hunt) last year. She’s in better condition and I think her loin strength can be seen. She’s very strong jumping, rearing (in play!) holds herself well on steep declines and can nearly canter in place. Mercedes was able to confirm what I thought was a strong feature of hers.

        • Yea, these photos show (to my uneducated eyes, at least!) her loin in action. She has a good symmetry to her.

    • Yes, the triangle is ‘crooked’ and as said, very likely due to a combination of not being square and not being symmetrical via conditioning.

  3. I would have placed her last rib significantly farther forward, skewing the results considerably.

    What in the picture do you look for as to the correct lines? Experience from feel of course, but shading, curvature, etc? I just keep looking at that picture and can’t see it.

    • Yes, you’re looking for shading/shadow differences. On some horses there’s a clear curvature created by the rib and a clear hollowness behind it. You can see the last rib on the topview, right? And can see how close to the point of hip it is?

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