A horse’s conformation and structure can limit or expand his/her options as a performance horse. With poor conformation, a horse may be best suited to quiet trail rides or a paddock companion. With good conformation and athletic ability, horses are capable of exceptional athletic performance.
Conformation and soundness are very closely linked. Conformation is the overall shape of a horse and is variable between breeds in details such as average height and weight, overall build, refinement of head, etc, but to remain sound, all breeds must have the same basic correct conformation.
A well-conformed horse of any breed has a look of balance and squareness, and an imaginary line should equally bisect any limb all the way to the ground. The neck, body and hindquarter must all be in proportion.
Bad legs can make or break a horse, both as a performer and as a breeding prospect. Unlike poor body conformation, leg faults cannot be concealed by fat, though they are not always glaringly obvious and it does take time and experience to recognise them instantly, radiographs can also be very helpful with uncovering leg problems due to conformation faults.