Several conformation faults in the hind legs of horses can affect the overall health and well-being of your equine companion. If you’re in the market for a new horse or are simply interested in educating yourself more on horse anatomy, keep reading to learn about five of the most common conformation faults in the hind legs.
What Is the Horse’s Hind Legs?
The hind leg is composed of three main parts. The fetlock, hock and pastern. These three parts work together to allow the horse to walk, jump, trot, and gallop. If one of these parts is not in balance with the other two, then the horse will have difficulty performing these activities.
The horse’s hind leg is formed by the pastern, fetlock, and hock. The pastern is the area between the front and middle of the fetlock. The fetlock is the area between the pastern and the hock. The hock is the area between the fetlock and the hoof.
The hind leg has many joints. It is divided into three sections, the pastern, fetlock, and hock. These areas are composed of joints called the carpus, metacarpus, and phalanges. Each joint is made up of bones and ligaments that connect the bones. These joints are used for movement and stability.
Each of the areas that make up the hind leg has a role in the performance of the horse. For example, the pastern connects the fetlock to the leg, the fetlock connects the leg to the knee, and the
Most Common Horse Conformation Faults in the Hind Legs
A good horse is not just about speed, endurance, or jumping ability. It is a combination of all these qualities and much more. The horse’s conformation is important in determining if it has the correct balance of all of these qualities.
In order to determine if a horse has the correct balance of all of these qualities, you must have a good understanding of the horse’s conformation. The best way to do this is to look at the horse’s hind legs.
1. Navicular Syndrome
Navicular syndrome is a condition that causes the horse to have pain in their hocks (lower hind leg). It can be caused by a variety of factors, but most commonly, navicular syndrome is an injury that occurs to the navicular bone located on top of the coffin bone. Horses with this condition typically experience lameness and pain at rest as well as during exercise, and will often display some degree of stiffness or lameness when they trot.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination combined with radiographs of the affected area. Treatment for this condition includes anti-inflammatory drugs and/or surgery to remove or stabilize any broken bones. As soon as symptoms appear, veterinary attention should be sought out immediately.
2. Bone Spurs
Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are mineral deposits that form on or around a joint. The formation of these deposits can cause pain and prevent a horse from moving normally. Bone spurs can develop as a result of injury or overuse, but they’re often found in people who are overweight, have diabetes, or are predisposed to developing arthritis.
Bone spurs don’t always need to be treated with medication; sometimes they just need time to heal. They can also be surgically removed if necessary. But it’s best for you and your horse if you can avoid bone spurs from forming altogether by taking precautions against injury and giving your horse plenty of rest when he needs it.
3. Splayed Hocks
Splayed hocks is one of the most common conformation faults with horses. The term means that when viewed from behind, the hock (the joint between thigh and lower leg) angles outwards instead of being parallel to each other. This causes one hind leg to be positioned more ahead of the other and can lead to a swayback appearance because of uneven weight distribution.
Splay can also cause long term pain for your horse as it’s difficult for them to put their weight on their legs evenly, and puts pressure on joints like ankles or knees. This condition can also make it difficult for horses to walk up steep inclines or over rough terrain, since they will have trouble maintaining an even gait.
4. Long, Narrow Feet
Many people don’t realize that a horse’s hoof can also be too long. The hoof is a concave structure, and when it is too long, it will affect the way weight distribution goes through the limb. The result will be an uneven weight distribution which can lead to various conformation faults within a horse’s hind legs.
A very common conformation fault that results from this type of hoof is long toe. Long toes are typically caused by an overly long front end and an excessively long back end. This means that there is not enough balance between how much length there is in front of the leg and how much length there is behind the leg.
5. Club Foot
A club foot is a conformation fault which causes the horse’s foot to point inward instead of outward. This foot type can cause problems with speed and endurance because it makes it difficult for a horse to propel itself forward efficiently. They are also more prone to arthritis in their joints, and they have less control when they trot, which makes them dangerous to ride.
A horse with a club foot will often have its hoof broken off at an angle and pointing inward instead of straight ahead. The hoof may also be splayed out or twisted so that one side of the hoof is longer than the other. If you see these signs on your horse, bring them in for an exam by your veterinarian as soon as possible.
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