The Nooitgedachter has good balance between the fore quarter, middle and
hind quarter where each part forms a third. A square stance is characteristic
with strong bone structure.
Good quality is exhibited by a proud appearance and attitude, non-fleshy (fine)
head, supple skin and shiny coat. The horse has an alert, intelligent attitude
with an inherent curiosity that reflects in an affinity and attraction to people.
Stallions must express clear masculinity and mares femininity.
Nooitgedachters are predominately late-developers although they may reach
puberty at a young age.
The height of horses range from 138cm to 163cm or 13.2 to 16 hands. The
variation occurs due to a definite tendency in the breed towards both ponies
and horses as well as due to the selection criteria in various ecotypes.


The Nooitgedachter is a functionally efficient athlete that must produce
excellent performance for many years. Because of this, hooves of excellent
quality are essential. Thus shoeing should seldom be necessary.
The joints are prominent but dry and in proportion with the horse. The horse is
capable of carrying an adult rider daily over rough terrain. Comfortable gaits
such as walk, amble (strykstap), trot, rack and canter are characteristic. These
make the Nooitgedachter an excellent work horse and participation in a great
variety of equestrian disciplines is possible.
The skin must be dark pigmented. A lack of pigmentation is a reason for
disqualification. Horses are any colour, but no colour patterns such as paint or


The Nooitgedachter varies in type from wiry to stocky. The Nooitgedachter’s
outline is more inclined to be square than rectangular. The head must be regal
with a dry/clean throat attachment and a medium – length neck that is set onto
the shoulder relatively high. Prominently arching crests are relatively common
and together with the dry/clean throat attachment increases the proud and
regal appearance.
The body is relatively well muscled with the appearance of symmetrical
roundness and good depth. The proportion between the forearm and cannon
bone as well as gaskin and hind cannon bone is approximately two to one.
Characteristics of the Nooitgedachter that are expecially strongly apparent are
their affinity to people, strong constitution and excellent digestive system,
excellent legs and hooves, their comfortable ride and their grace.


The Nooitgedachter is known for its inherent attraction and affinity to people.
Recognisable characteristics of good temperament are that the horses are
adaptable and easy to train.
Movement is rhythmic, balanced and springy, with ground covering gaits. The
Nooitgedachter in motion is an attractive picture with the flight of fore and
hind hooves in line with each over while the horse is propelled from the loins.
Although riding comfort, with the smooth gaits such as walk, amble, trot,
canter, rack and gallop are characteristic, pacers are undesired because of the
conformation faults associated with the pacing gait, which influences the
correctness of gaits.


A dry/clean head with strong, well defined cheeck bones and an open gullet is
characteristic. Stallions have a proud, observant attitude. The head, seen from
the front, is in proportion to the body, short from muzzle to forelock, with a
broad flat forehead and relatively short sharp pointed ears that are correctly
placed and mobile.
The profile must be straight or slightly concave, with cheek bones defined and
prominent and the jaw bone straight in horses that have finished shedding
teeth. The nostrils must be large and elastic. The eyebrows must be prominent
but not too heavy. The top and bottom teeth must align. A dry/clean/ nonfleshy head with a pliable fine skin and defined points of bone and visible veins
is preferred.


The eyes must be large, open and placed well apart. The eyebrows must be
prominent but not too heavy. An intelligent, captivating gleam to the eye is
aspired to. Wild, white and rolling eyes are not characteristic of the breed. In
mares the eye should exhibit softness and femininity.


The neck is moderately long, supple and well-muscled with a dry head
attachment. The throat latch is well defined with plenty of space in the gullet.
The attachment with the shoulders is high and well defined. An arched crest in
stallions, finer in mares is aspired to. The top line of the neck is longer than the
under line. Manes are thick and abundant.


A loose, deep and sloping shoulder with a long shoulder blade is striven for,
while correct forearm / cannon bone proportion allows for long strides. A line
from the point of shoulder to the highest point of the withers should form an
angle of around 50 degrees with the horizon. The shoulder should be well
muscled, but not loaded at the attachment with the withers. The withers
should be higher than the croup and be in such a position that the saddle fits
behind it naturally. The shoulder and pastern should have the same
approximate angle.


Seen from the side the chest floor (pectoral region) should be lower than the
point of the elbow. Seen from the front the chest muscles should be well
developed with a relative broad chest floor. The upper arm should be parallel
to the rib cage. Seen from the side the humerus should be relatively short and
upright and so bringing the forelegs far forward on the trunk.
The proportion between the forearm and the cannon bone must be
approximately two to one. The horse, seen from the front, should stand
square on its forelegs.
Seen from the front, a straight line shoulde run from the point of shoulder,
through the middle of the knee, the cannon bone, the fetlock and the hoof.
Seen from the side the leg should stand vertically. The forearm should be long
and muscled. The knees, seen from the front, are deep, broad and dry with
the tendons equal and clearly visible. The fetlock should be relatively large and
dry/clean. The pastern moderately long and resilient /elastic with the same
angle as the shoulder.
The top line of the middle portion is formed by the back and the loins. It must
run more or less horizontally and join the croup smoothly. The top line should
be shorter in comparison with the under line. The ideal is that the horse
should have a short, well-muscled back with strong loins but stand over a lot of
To accommodate a deep chest and provide plenty of space for the heart and
lungs the rib cage must be oval. For the horse to have a good constitution the
short rib must be well sprung and long to provide for a deep and full flank. The
space between the last rib and the hip must be relatively small.


The hind quarter must be relatively long and muscled from the point of hip to
point of buttocks. Seen from the back the hind quarter must be broad between
the pins, with the hips and croup well-muscled and full. The croup, seen from
the side, slants moderately downwards, with a relatively high tail set. A too flat
croup, or too much of a slant, are discriminated against. Seen from behind the
hind quarter, inside and gaskin should be well-muscled and full low down
towards the hock. The gaskin must be long, broad and strongly muscled. The
proportion between the gaskin and cannon bone must be as near as possible
to two to one.


The hind legs, seen from behind, are parallel and are straight from point of
buttocks through the the hock, cannon bone, fetlock and to the hoof heel.
Seen from the side a straight line can be drawn from the point of buttock, right
on the back line of the cannon to the ground. The pastern must be moderately
long and elastic but can be more upright than the forelegs’ pasterns. Fetlocks
must be broad and strong.


Seen from the side the hoof has more or less the same angle as the pastern. A
well-formed hoof with a relatively high heel is ideal with the hoof wall broad
and thick. The coronet must be rounded. Guard against pinched heels but also
against too open heels and flat soles. Seen from underneath, the sole is
concave with a prominent, elastic frog. The frog should divide the hoof in half,
from front to back .


The reproductive organs must be well developed and complete (ie in stallions
both testicles must be present). In mares the udder must be well formed and


  • Conformation points that deviate from the ideal such as: a coarse, fleshy
    head; small eyes; short thick round neck; short upright shoulder; too fleshy
    (loaded) shoulder and point of shoulder; sway back, poor back muscling; too
    long a back; roach back; a too high/pointed (dakkig) or too flat croup; back at
    the knee (calf knees); over at the knee; poor hoof wall; flat open hooves;
    hooves that turn excessively outwardly or inwardly (splay or pigeon toed); cow
    hocks; sickle hocks; x legs; upright, short pasterns; tied in under the knee.
  • Characteristics that prevent functional/performance efficiency.
  • Colour deviations such as a too large a blaze, or extremely high socks.
  • A horse that does not move rhythmically, balanced, with impulsion and long
  • Thick and long fetlock hair – feathers.
  • A non-typical head (especially a fleshy coarse head).
  • A head/neck setting that is too coarse.
  • Long ears.


  • When judging or inspecting the Nooitedachter take note of the following
    undesired characteristics and the reasons for the disqualification.
  • Undesirable temperament. Horses that are clearly afraid of people (menssku),
    aggressive or unpredictable.
  • Inherited characteristics and conformation deviations such as parrot mouth,
    sway back, strong roach back, bowlegged hocks, curbs, weak fore or hind legs,
    joints or hooves.
  • Wither height less than 134,11 cm or more than 162,56cm
  • Colour patterns (piebald or skewbald) or lack of pigmentation (albino).
  • Blue eyes.
  • Eye with too much white showing
  • rig or underdeveloped reproductive organs.
  • Pace – associated with conformation deviations and influences the
    correctness of the gaits

Standard of Excellence