Horse Problems Australia,
Post Office Box1361
Victor Harbor, SA. 5211




John O’Leary





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Have you ever wondered if getting into fights with your Horse on the flat, that your Friend is most likely attempting to communicate the fact that it just can't do the work?

I have noticed a direct link between the conformation of the Horse and their ability or not to excel at flatwork. The more challenged they are in their conformation, the more they object and of course we see many cases of stress, fighting, resistance, sweating and the like. In fact, there are thousands of such events every day of the year around this Country.....and they call them 'naughty horses'

In Australia, conformation is largely the last thing that people look at when buying a Horse whereas in Europe, it is one of the first. I guess that's what sets us apart but this is not about who is better or winning, this is about the pain caused to Horses that are not built for the job. So it is that the following Horses have the most difficulty and shouldn't even be asked to perform such tasks.

  • Rump Higher than the wither

  • Front legs shorter than the back legs

  • barrel too long for the rest of the Horse

  • neck too short compared to the rest of the Horse

  • Neck coming out of the Body incorrectly.....and.......

  • TOO STRAIGHT in the hind legs.

The Horse Deals Magazine is wall to wall with poorly conformed Horses. The habit here is to breed the Horse when it can't be ridden successfully. Little thought is given to whether they are going to Breed another problem....and they do. Time and time again.

The Further out the back they Camp their Legs, the less they can 'collect'


These Horses simply physically cannot do the job asked of them and the more that is demanded of them, past the extent to which their Body will just allow, the more they object, resist and stress. When is it the most evident?

Most Horses, regardless of their build, have little trouble collecting at the walk and the trot but it is at the Canter when things begin to get difficult. The more built challenged the Horse, the less it can SIT, COLLECT and ENGAGE. Therefore, the more you demand of it, the more the fight or lets say 'communication' where the Horse attempts to tell the Owner about the things that I have just mentioned. Most Owners don't listen for they don't know. Not their fault of course, again, Industry shortfall in teaching about the things that matter.

Ever wonder why you can't keep your Horses head down???? Why it is up and down all the time???? The worse they are build, the more it hurts them to have a 'head set'

The more incorrectly built, the less ability to COLLECT, the more the Sacroiliac pain comes into play. I have noticed that Horses do not have to be 'unsound' to feel the pain and act up, they simply need to be asked for a level of 'collection' for which their Body cannot give.

So if you are fighting with your Horse, doesn't want to collect, go into a frame, come off the forehand, sit or engage, Tie the Horse up, go get a cuppa, pull up a chair side on and take a real hard look at it's conformation. It may save you both a lot of grief in the future. In the future, stop looking at the heads of Horses when buying. Look at the rear end!!!!!!!!

See if you can see this?


Too straight behind and yes, this Horse has problems. (2010 $15000 purchase still can't do the Dressage)

Rump High and too long. No way could he sit.

All Horses with rear end problems

So if you truly care for Horses, as most people profess, don't ask them to do 'flat work' unless they are equipped to do it.




This Horse ( a 'Green Horse' ) was sent unsound in 3 Minutes, on it's first ride on the Arena.

Such Horses should NEVER be asked to Collect!!




Hello John,

I just came across your site while searching for information on rehabilitating sore stifles. My 10 yr. old gelding, DJ, has sore stifles…the left one not very bad at all but the right one is quite sore and shows up when doing certain maneuvers. The elevated soreness of the right stifle is causing him to put more weight on his left hind which in turn has caused some separation of the hoof wall on the near side. Not really bad yet, but I want to do what I can to help him.

He appears too long in the barrel ???

Hello Mr. HP,

Here I am bothering you again. I hope I’m not being too much of a pest. I was in a terrible wreck this last April and I had a long recovery period, so DJ has not been ridden in many months. I was able to start doing ground work with him again recently and am really looking forward to riding again. BUT, I want to do right by him and I want to do whatever I can from the ground to make sure he’s as physically strong as he can be before I start working him from saddle…especially with the sore stifles and his slightly longer back.

You have a very good eye…his back is about 4.5cm longer than ideal. His loins are also slightly longer than ideal.


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