Conformation Clinic

11-year-old Quarter Horse Geldings


Margo Ball

Ball holds judge’s cards with the Paint, Quarter Horse, and Palomino breed associations, as well as with the National Reining, National Reined Cow Horse, and World Conformation Horse Associations. She’s judged 18 world shows, including those of AQHA, PHBA, and APHA.

From her Ball’s Quarter Horses in Fort Collins, Colorado, Ball breeds all-around horses; trains Quarter Horses for halter, Western pleasure, and ranch horse pleasure; and shows in NRHA and AQHA reining events. 

She’s trained and shown horses to multiple AQHA championships and superior event titles in halter and performance, as well as to PHBA and IBHA world championships. She also coaches a select group of amateur competitors.

Ball is an AQHA national director representing Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association, and a member of AQHA’s Show and Professional Horsemen Committee, serving on the halter subcommittee. 

Overall balance and structural correctness are the most important things. A horse that’s correctly balanced is going to be the best performer and probably will have the fewest soundness problems in the future. Structural correctness can’t be stressed enough. It goes hand-in-hand with balance. 

Some of the criteria I’m looking for in balance and structure include matching shoulder and hip angles, a good ratio of the neck’s topline and underline (the topline should be longer), and a good ratio of the horse’s back and underline (the underline should be longer). 

Next, I look for eye appeal. There are always those horses that catch the judge’s eye. Some horses have a presence in the ring and are simply attractive to look at. They’ll draw the judge’s—or anyone else’s—attention. Lastly, a horse should be “adequately muscled.” That’s the wording used for many breed associations. 

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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