View Full Version : cow hocks

05-01-04, 03:23 PM
I am seeking information from experienced breeders regarding foals and conformation faults, in particular cow hocks and pigeon toes. How concerned should I be about my 3 month old warmblood filly whose hocks are significantly touching and is slightly pigeon toed? The left hock in particular has the most angle inwards. Is there anything I can do to remedy either of these two problems? She is a well bred filly with parents who do not display such conformation faults. All advice appreciated.

07-01-04, 06:43 AM
A good farrier is your bestbet, start trimming her feet.

07-01-04, 07:43 PM
She is only 3 months old, chances are she will grow out of it! As for pigeon toes they may look unsightly but it rarely bothers a horse, and it's well known such a horse rarely stumbles becuase of how nippy it makes them. Cow hocks are more of a concern however at 3 months you really don't know if she is just growing through them. Take care before you start altering her feet etc, as you may be doing more harm than good, despite your intentions. There is more than one Warmblood out there whose baby leg deviations were corrected and ended up out 'the other way' when the horse matured.

05-03-04, 05:33 AM
All you can do is watch her growth rates (don't let her get too fat), get good farrier care from the very first and as much exercise as she needs - eg don't stable her.

Foals can go through some gruesome stages but you just keep those photos of what she looked like at 3 days of age and remember that.

Pidgeon toes - depends on why they're like that, they will change in degree of angle as she ages and grows into herself, but this is still preferable conformation to a horse which toes out.

As to cow hocks - it really depends - it may be a stage she's going through, or it may be something you didn't see in the sire (thinking of a very highly marketed stallion with cow and sickle hocks to make great pictures for a conformation book), but again, having over angulated legs is PREFERABLE to a horse that is posty legged (very straight through the hindlegs).

So at this stage, don't panic, just make sure she has the correct environment to grow up into a healthy young girl and don't look too closely at her until she's 3 or even 4.


Lisa Wright
10-04-04, 02:30 PM
that is the problem
you can do surgery so what will be will be
I have a donageal double take that chestnut with the flaxen mane and tail that was adv in horse deal stallions at stud that has every thing wrong with it parrot mouth, legs all over the shop
2 different mare same stallion 2 stuffed foals that is bad
not to stress
the foal may grow into itself
stop feeding the foal nothing but hay I can send you info on the stuff dick wright Equine Specialist did at U of Q
I will have some studies to fax to you if you like

29-12-04, 12:10 AM
Hi, cowhocks and pigeon toes are NOT umcommon in foals. Especially one so young. Cowhocks and pigeon toes are stances taken by the legs to balance. Foals do not have great balance. They are tall and awkward and still developing. As their tendons and muscles strengthen, they will straighten out their legs as well. Some foals will show these characteristics until they are yearlings. I recommend being patient and making sure your foal has a good feed, vitamin supplement and loose mineral supply for optimal growth. All these will contribute to the growth and strength his/her legs need. Do not worry too much about corrective trimming so young. This can actually cause more problems in the end because your farrier will be trying to correct problems that really are not there. They just appear to be though they are normal foal characteristics. If in the end, your foal still carries these conformational characteristics, you may explore corrective shoeing options. But, don't worry about it now, give your baby sometime to grow into those wobbly, awkward legs. Give them a good year atleast. Good luck!

29-12-04, 04:01 AM
Lisa Wright, what possessed you to breed not one but TWO mares to a stallion with so many conformational problems? and end result - foals with issues. You may fob off 'future surgery' as no issue (I gather you are either married or defacto'd to Dick wright) but for many other breeders, the costs would be prohibitive.

Why breed crappy foals. Breeding is to breed the best, by carefully choosing a stallion/mare with genetic traits you wish to promote. By the sounds of your post you've bred a mare to a dud! and received a 'dud' or maybe a quick nip and tuck here and then sell the horse on with the future owner not knowing why the horse cannot perform to maximum level, or worse still, keep it an entire and continue the bad genetic pool circulating.
My theory is, if you want to breed a mule then choose a donkey! A mule is a mule is a mule, no amount of 'beautification surgery' is going to make it a horse!
Hope you choose something with a little more 'correctness' next season.

31-12-04, 03:55 PM
call your farrier, you have untill 18 months of age to try and correct legs, as for cow hocks- as she gets older they will become less prominant although cow hocks are not a bad thing (extra push) unless it is a racehorse then buyers do not like it,