On Hooves we openly discuss the good, the bad and the ugly in the equine world. The hope is to learn and then do better. There is a strong emphasis on conformation and biomechanics, and how that directly relates to training ease or difficulty.

Yes, I am available for hire for evaluations, assessments, consultations etc…  If you have a simple/general question, I am happy to answer free of charge, but for anything more in depth I do charge for my time, knowledge and experience.  Thanks in advance for understanding.

29 thoughts on “About

  1. Also meant to say I am so enjoying reading and learning about a horse’s confirmation. Been having fun measuring away. Thanks for blogging!

  2. Hi Mercedes – have been looking for your email address to submit a photo that I thought you might find interesting, but can’t find anything. I’m sure I could see it before. Cheers, Kristy

  3. I realise you have a standardised way of measuring these horses to compare them. Do you have a diagram with a complete set of the parameters you measure?

  4. How do we post photos? I can’t find a FAQ on this on the blog. It looks like people like to photobucket? Or any other website that the photos are on?

    • You have to put your pictures somewhere on the Internet and then simply link to them. Photobucket, Flickr etc… There are a number of free photo hosting websites, just Google and pick one.

  5. I’ve been looking at photos on horses for sale on Equine Now, just to practice looking at conformation. Can you tell much about correct conformation from an action photo? Not a movie, but a photo of a horse at the trot or canter? Does it throw off all the angles I’ve been learning about or do they stay the same even in action?

    • An action shot will tell you certain things, but you really want a proper conformation shot and preferably proper front, rear and overhead conformation shots as well.

  6. Could you give me a critique about my old horse’s conformation? I don’t own him anymore and I don’t know his breeding because he was rescued at a rodeo (owners didn’t hand over papers). I’m wondering if by his looks if he is pretty well bred.

  7. Hi – Just wanted to let you know that you have a great blog. I love how you use actual pictures instead of drawings or just descriptions – it really makes a difference in helping to see the subtle differences between horses.

    Could you do a post on the bio mechanics and challenges of collecting a horse with poor conformation, especially with a low set neck and/or downhill build? Is it even possible to experience true collection in this case? I think this would be really helpful, as it seems that a majority of *average* horses have these types of faults.


  8. Hi there, you have one of the best blogs I’ve read. You explain things in great depth in a very understandable way. I have a question for you… I have battled with back pain on my horse for the past year. I do dressage with her, and she is in training with a GP level trainer to ensure she uses herself correctly to minimize this pain. I had to inject her back and sacral joint last year to relieve the pain… The dressage and the injections have helped with the back, but I also would love to get an assessment on her conformation (similar to the ones you’ve done in the past), because I think this is the main cause of the back pain. If I send you some pictures, would you be willing to do this?

  9. Hi Mercedes – I met your mom the other day at our Aquafit class and she gave me your blog page – this is really great. I will share with all my horse friends. Thanks

  10. Hello:

    I really enjoy your conformation articles because it gives us a realistic interpretation of how to train our horses. As a former athlete myself, I’m working with a Belgian draft to understand the classical mechanisms of dressage in hopes of competing some day with a future horse.

    For a Belgian, Rex likes to “work” and can be forward on his good days. He was sedentary his whole life–my mother mainly trial rode in a walk–but had a spirit that was different than your average “gentle giant” draft; I took him over last year as a project. We started off all wrong–you know the trainer who sells you the perfect scenario because you and the horse are green… Anyhow, long story short, I began researching the fundamentals of classic dressage and began to encourage our training from that perspective–instead of the ridiculousness taught to me in the few months of training.

    I’m reaching out to you because I’d like to ask for your opinion on his conformation and if it’ll be difficult to get him off his forehand. I’m sick of watching all the trainers school their students with horses severely on the forehand. Can I send you a photograph of Rex for your advice? You have no idea how much I’d appreciate it!

  11. Hi there. Not sure if this blog is still active. I’ve been studying conformation in relation to movement/function. I’ve been trying to find info on shoulder and hip confirmation. Specifically how the slope of the scapula, the angle of the scapula/humerus joint, and the length of the scapula and humerus all affect movement. Likewise with the hip. Given those measurements can you accurately predict movement type given ideal conditions.

    • Though I have not added any new articles in over a year, I still check in regularly. At some point in time I will likely return. To your question, there are a number of articles on the blog that address this specifically. My suggestion is that you read the conformation series that follows 6 horses. All the articles are archived. Starting in March 2013 this is the first posting: https://hoovesblog.com/2013/03/20/the-long-and-short-of-it-part-1-hippelvis/ There is a second article in March, then a third in April and so on. Most are titled with key words long and short, or up and down to help you find them, but there aren’t so many articles in between that you could just simply scroll down a specific month of archived articles and find them quickly.

      • Thank you! I’ll check them out. On your recommendation to someone else I’ve also ordered deb Bennett three part series on conformation. Hopefully that will help as well 🙂

  12. (I’m also emailing , in case you check one and not the other)

    Hello, I’ve been pouring over your blog for the past couple days, and I’ve seen you mention engagement of the horse several times, including in your post “The Long and the Short of It; Part 2a” where you say “This is where I tell you to read a certain one hundred page book on skeletal, ligamental and muscular anatomy, center of gravity, the ‘ring of muscles’, how the horse must be ridden to counter this physical weakness, why it so often goes wrong, blah, blah, blah.” What is this book, and do you have any other book or article recommendations for engaging the horse?

    It would also be great if you could give your opinion on this book? http://www.happy-horse-training.com/how-to-ride-a-horse.html

    Also, does it seem that their horses are engaged? I don’t want to buy a book that promotes something that doesn’t actually help the horse with engagement.

    Photo gallery: http://www.happy-horse-training.com/gallery.html

    Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-O7Rl88xwQ

    Thank you so much,


  13. Hey there

    I was just corrected to your blog by my sister and want to thank you for sharing. Nice to know others out there are thinking along the same lines my sister and I do. I wondered, have you heard of will faerber from art2ride? They have many interesting videos on YouTube and strongly advocate the classical system. Thought you might be interested.


  14. “About doesn’t say anything about who you are. I gather from the responses your name is Mercedes, but as some one who Google search stumbled into your blog, I’d love to know more…

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