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Conformation Of Horses Essay

1152 words - 5 pages

The foreleg should be strong and well developed. A plumb line dropped from the center of the shoulder should go right down the center of the leg. (a) shows a good foreleg. If the leg is set too far back, it is called 'standing under'(b), which causes the horse's balance to be too far forward, and may make them more prone to stumbling. 'Camped out in front(c),' refers to a fault where the leg is in front of the line, which puts extra stress on the legs, especially the heels and flexor tendons. 'Over at the knee,' or 'buck knee(d),' when the knee is too bent, is sometimes connected with contracted tendons. Also, if its severe, it may cause stumbling. 'Back at the knee,' or 'calf knee(e),' is when there is a backward bend in the leg causing the cannon to slant forward. It puts a lot of extra strain on tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Chips and fractures, a bowed tendon, or other unsoundnesses are prone to happen under heavy work.From the front, the legs should be parallel, and again, a plumb line dropped from the point of the shoulder to the ground should pass through the middle of the leg, as is shown in (a). 'Base narrow(b),' is a situation where the legs are closer together at the hooves than at the chest. This puts more concussion on the outside of the foot, and may lead to ringbone. The horse may also interfere, or 'rope walk,' where the feet are placed one after another instead of next to each other when the horse moves. 'Base wide(c),' as the name implies is when the legs are wider apart at the hooves than at the chest. There is more stress on the inside of the foot, and it may also cause ringbone. 'Knock knees(d),' where the legs bend inside the plumblines, places extra strain on the knees and the inside of the leg and foot. The horse is prone to splints, arthritis and ringbone. If a horse is bow legged, or has 'bowed knees(e),' his legs bend outside the plumb lines. This puts extra stress on the knees and the outside of the legs. 'Bench knees(f),' or 'off set knees,' is when the cannons do not line up with the forearm. It puts uneven stress on the cannon and splint bones, possibly leading to splints or ring bone. Horses are believed to be born with this fault. 'Toes in(g),' or 'pigeon toes' is when the toes point in, causing the foot to swing out when the horse moves; this is called 'paddling.' There is not a huge chance for lameness, but uneven stress is put on the feet and legs, and ring bone may result. 'Toes out(h),' or 'splay footed' is a condition where the toes point out, causing the foot to swing in toward the opposite leg(winging in). This may cause interference and subsequent lameness, also, more weight is placed on the inside of the foot, and ring bone may occur. An additional consideration is the length of the leg; I once saw a horse in a pasture whose front legs were so long that inorder to graze he had to bend one knee a little. I'm not sure what his movement was like, but it looked like a bother to meHindlegThe hind leg...

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