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What To Look For At The Sales?


Everyone looks for something different in a yearling at the sales, but the one thing I know for sure is a pedigree page promises nothing. When in doubt it’s best to take a better type physically then on paper so it’s ideal to know what your looking for when buying a yearling.


There are some non-negotiable things I have personally for every yearling:


Clean Scope: If a horse can’t breath properly it can’t race, simple as that. If people are willing or happy to risk their money on a yearling without a clean scope then be my guest but long term it is in no way a profitable investment in my opinion.


Clean X-Rays: Once again same sort of theory as the scope, if people are willing to take a risk on a horse who has signs of minor fractures or bone irregularities then all the power to them, but in my opinion the risk often outweighs the reward.


What I’m looking for varies based on the type of horse I’m looking at. Sprinting types are vastly different from staying types and often I love to see a build match a pedigree page (sprinting family producing a sprinting type). Here’s a look at what I’m looking for in a yearling from a purely physical point of view.




Power - You want to plenty of power and muscle definition both at a stand and a walk when looking at the yearling. Generally their power will come from their hind quarter so always keep an eye out for big rear end. 


Balance - It’s all well and good to have a powerful back quarter but if the horse lacks strength through its front and forearms then chances are that power will go to waste.


Small to Even Pasterns - In sprinters I hate seeing long pasterns. In simple terms the pasterns are the bone that connect the foot to the leg, lets call it the horses ankle. The pasterns absorb pressure when they flex and allow a distribution of pressure or as its called concussion. When they are too long in sprinters I find they struggle to absorb the concussion well and often lead to feet troubles.


Intent/Size/Presence - I want a horse to come out of the box and to notice him/her straight away. When it walks it should be a nice fluent powerful stride and have some intent when walking through the bridle. If a horse can’t walk well, chances are it can’t run well either.



Length of Stride - When a long distance type walks out it should be covering the ground nicely and stretch out with each step. A long efficient stride will help a horse maintain its stamina and is crucial for long distance horses.


Long Legs - It is well documented that stayers are generally ‘leggier’ types and its with good reason. The longer the legs the more ground they can cover with each stride. 


Light Frame - You don’t want a stayer to be holding to much size or muscle definition. Obviously if they are bigger horse it should be proportionate and maintain some muscle mass as well as long legs and a long stride. A nice fluid walk is key and should be the case with a light framed horse.


Even to long pastern - Opposite of the sprinter I like to see a slightly longer pastern in a stayer whilst still maintaining a close to 45 degree angle. A longer pastern gives them more flex and in my opinion is beneficial for a longer striding stayer.

Prince of Perth 🤴

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