View Full Version : Leg conformation and trimming / shoeing

16-03-12, 11:26 PM
Does any one have any photos of a horse that they consider has conformation faults in the legs but that has gone on to have a satisfactory riding career - and information on how it was trimmed / shod to help with that problem.

Like pigeon toed, toed out, back at the knee, bench knee. Not just the photo but the story to go with it?

Would love to hear some of them. :)

17-03-12, 01:59 PM
Try here - http://www.hoofrehab.com/rehabilitations1.htm

and here http://www.hoofrehab.com/hoof%20articles%20by%20Pete%20Ramey.htm scroll down for 'Hoof Care for Angular Deformities'

there is a mix of things here so you might find something useful.

17-03-12, 03:36 PM
LOL not many horse are born with perfect legs- and they still manage to have very successful careers and/or be useful under saddle

It depends on the actual conformation fault, and the degree of the fault, and what purpose it is to be used for.

Some issues can be assisted, some can be optically improved and some are impossible to cover up.

You just need to be aware that attempting to correct a conformation fault can cause the horse serious issues if it is not done by a very experienced professional

17-03-12, 06:33 PM
Sometimes you can do more damage trying to 'straighten' things when the body wants it another way. Most horses can manage very well with small to medium deviations/problems. But the long term soundness can be compromised. Any in reality, unless you catch this at a very early age eg: under 3 weeks old, there is little you can do.

My big boy has an offset cannon (to the outside) on the off side, so the inner half of his foot is larger than the outer half (looking at the sole and drawing a line from the tip of the toe to the middle of the heel). This is the way his body is compensating for the offset. I cannot or will not change this, even though I could try, because his foot is that way for a reason. Its only noticable to me!

17-03-12, 07:39 PM
Thankyou. Lots of reading ahead.

G Dog
17-03-12, 08:03 PM
Sorry no pics.
It might depend on the chosen sport.I know for endurance there are few conformation issues that actually stop a horse doing well.Turned in or out,pidgeon toes,cow hocks,none will stop a horse doing it and doing well.
The only dramas I see with some conformations of the front legs are when say a horse is turned out at the knee or similar where it makes the horse paddle on only one leg.This usually draws extra scrutiny from the vets at trot out time as it can appear to be slightly lame purely because of it's odd movement.If the horses head moves more to one side than the other in the trot it can,to a vet that's been awake and vetting for 20hrs or an inexperienced vet look lame.
I wouldn't personally buy a horse with an obviously bad leg fault for a serious sporting future but I have ridden many with leg faults without any problems.
As long as you can get the hoof landing square and true it should be ok. World champ?Maybe or maybe not.In the long term joints will suffer if they don't line up well.
I should maybe point out that I have very few horses that are perfect in the legs or hooves that I shoe or trim.They all get around fine.

18-03-12, 10:13 AM
Another example I remember - young girl bought an older STB and he was over at the knee (calf kneeded). I was only just starting into barefoot but noticed he had a HUGE high heels. When the farrier came he said the horse would never be any good because of his bad knees. I asked him to take off all the extra high heel and BINGO no more over at the knee and the horse moved much, much better.

Farrrier actually didnt say ANYTHING when I pointed out how he was now fixed (nicely of course cause the farrier was a rather nice guy).

18-03-12, 10:59 AM
I guess we are on different pages Autumn- over at the knee is not calf kneed to me- in fact it is the exact opposite

Calf knees are when the knee is behind the verticle line, so the leg is bowed backwards.

The big thing is if you want to vastly alter a horses hoof dynamics is to do it very gradually and take small amounts off at a time, otherwise the stress from a major correction can cause all sorts of complications

Remember that you are fighting a horses natural structural conformation.

If a foal has defective conformation a lot can be done very eary on to help correct it- both surgically and physically, but the bones and ligaments etc are far more flexible and open to external intervention. Once a senior horse has grown to full height it is a lot harder to alter its stance

If you look at it logically it is easier to understand.

A horse with an off set leg obviously stands crookedly on its hoof to compensate for the angle of the leg. The good leg (if it has one) takes more weight and pressure and usually has a different muscle structure (stronger) to the bad leg, it may be subtle to the eye but it is there.

When you try to straighten the bad leg you are now altering the hoof to the exact opposite dynamics to how it has learnt to compensate- so if it walks naturally on the inside wall it will now be walking on the outside wall. The entire leg of the horse is involved in this trasnition and possibly the body as well (depends on the issue)

The hoof you are working on will need to be totaly mishapen underneath to achieve the desired result and you are now placing pressure on totally different places

It is a bit like walking in one stilletto shoe and one blundstone and then after a couple of years switching the shoes over, you have learnt to compensate for the odd shoes on the same sides each day and when the change is immediate you will be nearly crippled

18-03-12, 04:15 PM
my apologies as I thought calf knee was being over at the knee but I stand corrected.

re: off set cannon. Its interesting to note that my horses hoof is even all round, apart from the inner side being a bit bigger. There is no flaring or straighter side which is telling me he is weighting it evenly (info learnt from Dr Rowan Killmarten).

18-03-12, 05:09 PM
If the horse has bench knee/s it basically distributes the weight evenly on the hoof, but if it is offset at the shoulder or has K knee/s then the hoof wear is remarkably different to compensate (the whole leg twists in and out to try to establish a line to the ground)