This Page Under ReConstruction: 8/17/2017 (Photos to be added)
Photos by Karen Crumbie from 2011 AIHR/HOA National Show
What makes the Spanish Hip of the Colonial Spanish Horse different than modern breeds--or most BLM's for that matter? To me, it's all a question of ANGLES. Let's have a look:
In the Colonial Spanish Horse, the line from top of hip to point of hip is more deeply angled than the modern. The bottom line from hip joint to stifle joint is longer. The modern horse may be "hip high" with withers that are lower than the top of the hip. Heavy or "Northern" types like El Tigre Segundo and his son Northern Song have heavier hip muscling than "Southwesterns" (lighter type CS Horses) like One Dance Left, shown below them, but the angles are very much the same.
From the rear the Colonial Spanish Horse is "rafter hipped". That means that the spine is higher than the points of the hip.
Compare Fernando above on the left, a CS Horse, with Jester on the right, a modern. Jester is a very good Modern Indian Horse, and he only has a small dip in the hip above the spine. Most Quarter Horses today have a hip shape so that from the rear, they look more like an apple with a pronounced dip over the spine and muscling higher on both sides.
Why would we want this very different hip in our horses? Often people who don't understand our breed think they are too thin because "their hips stick up". Relax--their hips are supposed to do that. In fact, if they didn't, we'd be destroying the reason our usually small horses often out-walk and out-trot horses MUCH bigger.
That longer, more angled, more flexibly jointed hip allows the small horse to take a really BIG step. Note above that Napoleaon Solo's hoof lands almost under the rider's stirrup at a walk.
Now, let's look at the trot where the difference is most pronounced. Below is a nice ground-covering Quarter Horse at the trot:
And here is a good BLM, a horse that shows some Spanish type. Can you see the difference in extension?
Adding more known Spanish blood, here we see Little Cayenne, a AA Indian Horse, a daughter of the fine CS horse Magneto, a NATRC National Champion, and out of an oldtime Quarter Horse King bred mare "Lil Bit".
And finally we see a real Colonial Spanish Horse, also known as an Original Indian Horse or a Spanish Mustang. This is Building A Mystery at the extended trot.
An interesting comparison can be made between America's gaited breeds and the Colonial Spanish Horse. Gaited horses also have a more angular hip. After all, the gaited American breeds are descendants of CS Horses, many even claiming to trace back to the Chickasaw horse. They often show over-stride, especially in the breeds that go FAST laterally like single-footers, rackers and likely pacers although I admit I haven't measured over-stride in those. Here is a hip shot of a nice modern Spotted Saddle Horse that consistantly places high in the AIHR Modern category. Note that he is wither high with similar angles to our horses. But also note the higher tailset, longer back and lighter muscled lower hip and stifle/gaskin area. Some, like the Missouri Foxtrotter and the various Paso gaited horses, have the stronger, more developed muscling of our horses in the lower hindquarter area and sometimes even the shorter back but are, as a rule, larger than CS Horses and often do NOT have the spine high rafter hip and longer stride.
So basically, it's a simple question of whether you'd want your horse to walk like this...
...or like this:
If you love your Colonial Spanish Horse, learn what its hip is supposed to look like and help educate others. And don't over feed trying to cover your CS Horse's hip bones. Be proud that they "stick up like that". That means that when you get on your CS Horse, you can GO SOMEWHERE.