|A trained eye can look at an animal in a photo and spot flaws, and get a feel for proportion. This is NOT always possible in a photo, but the photo can be used as your first basis on whether or not you want a second look at an animal. Carl Raswan, who did extensive research on Arabian horses, once said that the longer you looked at a bad animal, the more flaws you would see, while if you looked at a good one, the more positive things you would see.
If a photo is taken from a bad angle, the animal is not standing square, the lighting is bad, it is not going to be a lot of help. Photos are not the best way to evaluate conformation. Any animal can be set up to stand square and level. All of this will change as soon as the animal moves at a walk or trot.
It is vital in choosing breeding stock (mature animals) that you not only view the animal from all sides (left, right, front, rear) but that you watch it move at the walk and trot, towards you and away from you. It should be let to square up (or not) on its own after being trotted, not stacked up by hand or with a lead shank. This goes for ANY size or type of breeding animal, not just donkeys, horse, dogs, cats, or cattle. A judge in the show ring has very little time to give a good, sound evaluation to an animal, and ribbons that are awarded on one day might not be pinned on another. It depends far too much on what the judge can see immediately, and What Else Is In The Ring. A first-place ribbon is not always a guarantee of a quality animal! Pedigree, parents, temperament, conformation, all must be used in selecting good breeding stock. The animals being bred now are the future of generations to come. If bone is lost, conformational flaws are kept, then in the future those will be the norm. Once lost, many gene traits are impossible to recover.