Many readers said that poor hoof conformation was a concern to them in addition to limb conformation defects.
In last week’s online poll, TheHorse.com asked which forelimb conformation defect worries you the most. More than 760 readers responded, and we’ve tallied the results.
Of the 766 voters, 223 (29%) said that buck or calf knees worried them the most. One fifth of the respondents (152 voters) indicated that knock knees or carpus valgus were most worrisome. Another 147 (19%) chose bowlegs or carpal valgus as the most worrisome conformation defect, and 115 voters (15%) chose toeing in/pigeon toed. Sixty-seven voters (9%) indicated toeing out or splay footed as a troubling conformation defect, while 62 voters (8%) indicated that “other” forelimb conformation defects worried them.
Additionally, 48 respondents provided comments on forelimb conformation defects that worried them.
Some readers indicated that the most worrisome conformation deficit depended on the individual horse in question:
- “This question has variable answers based on the age of the horse, as many may ... be a problem.”
- “It would depend on the age of the horse as to which one would worry me the most at the time.”
- “Any of these are bad if extreme. Very mild deviations are usually okay. It depends on horse's purpose.”
Others indicated that they would worry more than one of the conformation defects listed:
- “All of the above.”
- “Worries me how? Do you mean which would cause me not to buy a horse? All of the above.”
- “All the above, depending on the horse's activity. What matters in Quarter Horse may not matter in Thoroughbreds.”
- “All of them. People need to be careful what they're breeding for.”
- “They ALL bother me”
- “They can all be a problem, depending on severity and job to be done.”
- “They're all pretty concerning from a soundness standpoint.”
A few readers indicated that club foot was a defect that they worried about:
- “Club foot.”
- “(My horse has a) slight club foot and her leg turns out a little. I'm worried about correct shoeing.”
Several readers gave examples of conformation defects they worry about that were not mentioned:
- “Any variation from straight can cause lameness eventually”
- “Flat feet”
- “Coon footed (a broken forward axis at the coronary band) or calf kneed would be of greater concern. Corrective shoeing can help toe in/out to some.”
- “Toeing in/out no big deal. But bad foot conformation is the worse. No foot no horse!”
- “Long, low pasterns”
- “Toeing in/out doesn't worry me as much as the others. Club foot is okay if it's not severe.”
- “Poor proportions and angles in the bones and joints.”
Many readers commented on conformation defects involving the horse’s knees:
- “Heard too much about the strain back-at-the-knees puts on tendons and ligaments. No, thanks.”
- “Over at the knee.”
- “Back in the knees is the worst. Then bowlegs.”
- “Buck knees don't bother me at all. Calf knees do. A lot.”
- “My Arabian gelding has buck knees, so far sound (age 16) but he does stumble sometimes.”
- “Knock knees. I worry about stress on surrounding structures. Also with toeing out, bowlegged, etc.”
In this week's poll, we want to know how do you maintain and clean your horse's blankets? Vote now!
The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!
About the Author
Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.