Conformation Clinic

2-year-old Paint Geldings


Karen Banister

Banister has been a carded judge for APHA since 1994. She’s also carded with ApHC, AQHA, NSBA, and PtHA. She’s officiated at world shows for the Paint Horse, National Snaffle Bit, Pinto Horse, and Appaloosa associations, as well as the European APHA Championships and the German and Italian Quarter Horse Championships.


Banister and her husband, Marc, started White Harvest Farms in Brighton, Colorado, in 1986. It operates as a breeding, training, boarding, and lesson facility. The Banisters coach riders and breed horses and ponies for national-level competition. They enjoy training team roping horses and national and regional champion hunters.

For any geldings’ class, those horses need to be sound. It’s extremely important that they stay sound, because a gelding’s purpose is to be useful to its owner and to live a long, comfortable life. They won’t pass their breed traits along, so I’m less critical about traits important for breeding animals.

I look for traits that we judges believe give a horse longevity and comfort. I must see balance and structural correctness in a 2-year-old gelding. An animal that’s balanced will transmit his energy evenly over his whole body. The horse that’s too heavy on the front, weak behind, or weak in the topline—therefore not balanced and proportionate—will break down faster than a correct horse. Structural correctness means that all the bones in the horse’s skeletal structure are at proper angles and allow for balance and maximum shock absorbance from concussion during performance.  

I judged these geldings based on halter criteria. However, you want the horse’s form to match his intended function. All these horses have a purpose. Depending on what those purposes are, my placing could’ve been different. I’ll also explain what each horse would excel at.

Now you be the judge!

Instruction: Evaluate and place these in your order of preference. Simply click each photo from the left and place it in the corresponding placement to the right. Once you've made your decision, hit the button below and see how well you did compared to our expert judge!
First Place Here
Second Place Here
Third Place Here

To submit a photo of your horse to be evaluated in Conformation Clinic, send us a left-side profile photo of your horse (for digital photos: high-resolution, 300 dpi, in at least 3" x 5") to with your contact info and your horse's breed, age, gender, and height. (We welcome all breeds!) Visit for additional instructions.

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