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Over the decades, I have spent countless hours exploring the finer points of equine conformation. Well, female conformation as well, but if I go down that path I'm going to have to invest in a new web site: you know, www.xxx. And the next thing you know the place would be overrun with Republicans and defrocked priests. And if you've read my book, you probably appreciate that I've got enough trouble with UPS drivers, the fire department, The Jockey Club and most of my neighbors. At least the ones that chose shelter-in- place over the witness protection system.
However, if you sell yearlings in the marketplace, conformation is a very, very big deal. Deal-breaker actually. And horse people being either special or perhaps not enamored by detail, have invented their own unique anatomical identification system:
"One of the biggest causes for consternation at a yearling sale is centered around a young horse's knees. They invoke the most poking and prying, for like the ball-joints in your aging car or Joe Namath's hairy landing gear, they are the first part of the anatomy to falter. Why? Well, they carry about 60% of the horse's weight. The hind legs work like a propeller on a ship. Additionally, anatomy tends to cross-dress between species. Knees aren't knees -- they are actually wrists. Hooves are fingernails, everything below the knee is actually a digit -- or, a finger really. The real knees are actually stifles, the hocks are ankles and racing pounds these misguided joints at about 2000psi or more. I know it is confusing, but if you stand up a horse on its hind legs and connect the dots, it will probably make sense. Or maybe it won't."
"Buyers approach the knees like madcap melon buyers. They thump and maul the joint mercilessly. Others get back at a distance and ponder the shape and contour of the joint, stopping occasionally to scratch their heads or write a comment in their sales catalog. Normally, something like, "This horse sucks." The astute buyers pretend to be looking at a gaskin, while stealing a quick glance at a knee. Others put their money on the ankles (which are really hands), or the eye (which really is an eye), or that certain look, though I'm still working out the connection between a horse and a bald-headed bird that cavorts with vultures and hyenas. But that is our dilemma. We parade our yearlings, corrupt the truth as best we can and hope that three drunken optimists try to prove a point when out horse is in the ring."
Next: Spy versus Spy