19 Jan
Conformation Head & Neck


Generally, a horse’s neck should be one and a half times the length of the head, where:

  • Head length is measured from the front of the muzzle to the top of the poll
  • Neck length is measured from the poll to the mid-shoulder

Having these traits provides a balanced head and neck. Too big of a head will cause the horse to be clumsy and move heavy on their front. Too small of a head will cause the horse to lack counterbalance and lose suppleness and action in their front. Look for the following when evaluating a horse's head.

  • Bright, bold, wide set eyes
  • Ears set slightly below the poll
  • A lower jaw that is clearly defined and well separated underneath the jaw
  • Large nostrils
  • A clean throatlatch without heavy fat and muscling


Neck length should be one third of the horse’s total body length and equal the length of the horse's front leg. The head should meet the neck at an angle so the horse can flex at the pole and move in balance. The neck should tie into the horse's body fairly high with a distinct chest area below. The base of the neck should be level with the point of the horse’s shoulder. This allows the horse to be more flexible, balanced and collect more naturally. 

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