Do judges need to reset the criteria for hacking?

Discussion in 'Horse Showing and Events' started by Que Sera Sera, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Que Sera Sera

    Que Sera Sera Well-known Member

    I was having a chat to a friend and her horse who she has had since a weanling, has never done excessive work, i.e. racing, jumping ect. Just normal hack showing and dressage.Anyway, she has been having intermittent lameness problems which the vet cannot put a finger on and its been broadly stroked with the 'laminitis' label.This horse is not obese, but hack fat.

    I have another friend who has a horse who again is not 'fat' in the eyes of most beholders, but has come down with laminitis and the owner is completely shocked and feeling guilty even though this is not an obese horse.

    I have another friend with a couple of horses that have had persistent lameness issues as well and no one is able to put a definative finger on the problem, again these are hack horses and not obese, but hack fat.

    Now we all know that a healthy weight is racehorse weight, which some consider skinny, but for bones, joints ect, carrying extra weight is harmful. I follow the guidelines of you should just have a thin layer of fat over the ribs, but should be able to see a hint of the ribs with my dog, who at 14 is very healthy even for a pedigree and the vet thinks he is in perfect condition. However for my horse, I go the hack fat, so you cannot see even a hint of ribs, as this is what showing demands.

    I have even seen a horse who regularly gets champion with the biggest crest I have ever seen that flops from side to side. Its clearly not muscle, but fat and yet its rewarded quite often under many different judges. This horse doesnt show any signs of laminitis, but is that more luck than good breeding?

    I suppose the question I have is, do judges need to reset the criteria in regards to healthy weight on a horse when judging? Or do we need to breed horses with robust feet, joints, lungs and hearts that can withstand our need to have fat horses?

    I thought this would be an interesting discussion and would love to hear judges opinions.
  2. pso

    pso Gold Member

    but the fat hides the conformation faults.... :p
  3. Que Sera Sera

    Que Sera Sera Well-known Member

    I dont know about conformation faults, but my fat makes my boobies look bigger LOL *#)
  4. erilyn

    erilyn Well-known Member

    You two are so naughty! Fat hasn't worked for my boobies - just my thighs! And boy - does that hide bad conformation!!!!!;)

    I shouldn't really comment (yes I know - shock and horror!) because I'm not a hacky, but I have sometimes thought that a hack, so long as it looks pretty and is roly poly, will get placed regardless of whether its legs are going in 5 different directions, it's accepting the bridle and going forward. But then, maybe I'm just not seeing what I'm supposed to......
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  5. CDA

    CDA Well-known Member

    hahahah love it :))

    as to Judging for hacking - I see it as a beauty contest - fashions change over time and for the last part of history they want round with lots of make up - kids in double bridles, and horses behind the verticle...not on the verticle, otherwise 'they need to be more round' .....

    what more can i say?@!
  6. Wendy

    Wendy Well-known Member

    Yes, we certainly appear to like our horses much fatter (comparatively) than humans or dogs. ';'

    Also, Hacks also usually carry heavier riders and for much longer periods than a racehorse.

    Concussion may be a factor.

    I have heard there are many racehorses that work with a low grade laminitis, many certainly have terrible feet, but are "managed" during their racing career.

    I liken laminitis to gout in humans - some of us can eat anything and never get it, others suffer badly from indulgence in any rich food. ';'
  7. Que Sera Sera

    Que Sera Sera Well-known Member

    But isnt it the judges reponsibility to set the 'fashion', by rewarding fat horses (especially crested ones) that encourages participants? I know that my horse is fat, not obese but certainly he isnt at an ideal weight. I keep him this way cause I know its what judges like.
  8. Raw Prawn

    Raw Prawn Well-known Member

    Interesting topic QSS....

    My pony has put on a substantial amount of weight since I bought him in the beginning of the year, purely to get him in "show" condition. I estimate he has put on about 70-90kg, maybe more, hard to guess. He is primarily an official galloway hack but am starting to dabble in dressage

    I do feel guilty (a smidge) when I can no longer feel his ribs.....and feed him 4kg of liberty a day to try an get him even fatter. But thats the game isnt it? Must admit I hate the look of racehorses (even eventers look skinny *#) ) But I also understand this is actually much healthier for the horse.

    Stuck between a rock and a hard place.....
  9. Excelsior Centerpiece

    Excelsior Centerpiece Well-known Member

    theres also a difference between fat and say wee is more muscle..many other hacks are i agree just fat.

    my horse has tanked out since i started doing dressage... he varys from athletic to a bit porky but id never call him fat or obese...
    i do prefer him with a fraction more weight on then not as id can make him look a bit more balanced and not as long, but on the flip side- if i ride him more collected... that would have the same effect HAHA
  10. Que Sera Sera

    Que Sera Sera Well-known Member

    Raw Prawn, just the person we need, a vet. You would agree that how I described my dog, is the ideal on animals?

    If a horse is muscled that should still mean that you can just make out ribs, or they should have a six pack if it were true muscle and not fat I would think
  11. Tam

    Tam Well-known Member

    I find this really interesting but having not hacked for some years, i would love to know whether the 'fat' you are referring to is different from what i was seeing (and participating in many years ago)

    Would anyone be willing to post some photos of what is an 'ideal hack weight' currently being rewarded through wins and placings? I would love to see different breeds too to see if there is influence through there.
  12. Que Sera Sera

    Que Sera Sera Well-known Member

    Here is my boy in fat hack weight. You can clearly see there is no way you can see any ribs or feel them. He needs more topline, but this is or should be muscle based not a fat wobbly crest.

    Im having visions of my horse on his back trying to do sit ups LOL

  13. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    Not quite true. Show dogs carry more weight than agility/obedience dogs. My boy is currently at obedience weight (my agility friends would tell me to get a bit more off him for agility) but should have about another kg to look better in the show ring ;) And I have had an international judge, who was non-awarding dogs for being overweight, tell me that he would look better with more weight on at another show when he was obedience fit! And compared to many "pet only" dogs even the show dogs are svelte!

    And it is the same for humans, skinny (not anorexic) is often perceived as bad as obese...

    As for horses - with Diva you cannot feel her ribs unless you press hard. But she is certainly fit with it and could canter all day - so how a horse is built also determines what they look like. And she certainly isn't being fed much at all much to her disgust in fact if I put her diet up on here I would probably get told to give her more roughage (and since she gets a cup of pellets that is what most of her feed is) *#) Hacks now are certainly better weight wise than they were a decade or so ago ;)
  14. Que Sera Sera

    Que Sera Sera Well-known Member

    You bring up an interesting point with the show dogs. It appears to be an all round showing issue, not just a hacking issue.

    Point Im trying to make though, as it is a fashion, and shouldnt judges be responsible for dictating fashion, therefore judges are encouraging fat on animals which is unhealthy for the horse/dog in the long term
  15. Mater

    Mater Well-known Member

    When does that fashion come around for humans then? Imagine fat being the "in" thing for people. ;)

    I don't like fat horses. I have one, but not through choice (he gets fat on the smell of grass).
    I don't think I could be involved in a sport where I was required to make my horse look unhealthy.
    I really don't know anything about hacking though.
  16. Elanda

    Elanda Gold Member

    It doesn' someone said it seems to be the fashion at the moment. Plenty of judges do not like to see horses fat**) I think sometimes people mistake a good topline and muscle for fat and it is usually a lot easier for them to have a fat horse than one that has been conditioned properly
  17. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    Actually it is probably ironic - showing for animals sightly on the fat side is better (note slightly not obese ;) ) Yet for human beauty pagents you need to be closer to anorexic!

    I do think that it is a trend thing. But I think the reason hacks are "fat" is because it is less work to get them fat than fit and covered. But I do not think it is necessarily the judges who need to change. You can't not award a quality horse because it isn't as fit as a dog ugly horse. However you also shouldn't award an obese horse over a quality animal who is a good weight. :))
  18. corporate pride

    corporate pride Well-known Member

    geez, can u imagine if the beauty pagents of the human world had a "fatter the better" policy. imagine a world where models where not skinny but obesse.

    i see alot of hacking (not competing, ok...occasionally unofficial to fill in the time) and all the horses are round (not on the bit round) i once saw that there was a pony ring with kids under 10 yo in double bridles jamming up their ponies. i think not only do they need to change the "fashion" they need to get some standards that count. like horses standing not trying to trample the judge, the weight, the fitness, gear rules (get rid of double bridles), have the horses working correctly in frame not jammed up. they want round bums then ride correctly to get it, not feed them macca's.

    sorr, i will breath now!! LOL not all hackies are bad but the "sport" in general is based waaaaayyy too much on looks alone. :}
  19. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    Out of interest what do people think of Diva's weight in the following 3 photos. Photos are taken at different times of the year as should be obvious looking at her colour ROFL.

    Photo 1


    Photo 2


    Photo 3

  20. corporate pride

    corporate pride Well-known Member

    i think photo 2. looks fit and ready and pumped and up for the job :)

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