View Full Version : Cow hocked horse

Apr. 9, 2011, 07:52 PM
I'm considering buying a 2 year old TB but today I noticed he's a little cow hocked. Should this be a deal breaker? Is this something that will straighten out as he gets older? If I bought him I'd be looking to make him into a hunter jumper. Any advice?

Apr. 9, 2011, 08:54 PM
how bad are they? and what do you plan on doing with him? it all depends!!

Apr. 9, 2011, 09:40 PM
Depends on the severity. Mild cow hocks can actually provide more power over the jumps.

However, if they were extreme, I might steer away or at least be cautious.

Good luck!

Apr. 9, 2011, 10:07 PM
Thanks for the advice!! I don't think is legs are too too bad...but is there anything I can do to help correct them before he's done growing? Corrective shoes maybe?

Apr. 9, 2011, 10:27 PM
Well if you are buying you are probably being uber picky. But the heart and mind of the horse is ALWAYS a bigger deal breaker for me. None of us are perfect. A mild fault would never beat out a cool mind for me.

And every two year old looks cow hocked to me!!!!

Look at the parents to see what they will grow up to be as your best bet

Apr. 9, 2011, 11:33 PM
Don't mess with the shoes. Cow hocked can be good for power and unless you are buying him as a conformation hunter I wouldn't worry about it. Corrective shoeing can create additional problems by putting stress on other joints - you fix one small problem by creating much bigger and worse ones.

My TB is cow hocked, sickle hocked, short backed and paddles. He also is in his 7th year of showing at 3'6" at 14 years old and is very sound.

If you like the horse and he likes his job, then this is not a big deal.

Apr. 11, 2011, 10:31 AM
Are his legs crooked, or is it more like the entire leg is turned so the hind toes point out a bit, but the legs themselves are straight if you don't look what direction the toes are pointing?

If the legs are crooked, I'd hesitate to buy. If the entire leg is rotated out, but straight through the joints, I wouldn't. All the most athletic horses I've been around except for a quarter horse toed out in back. The rotation of the entire leg seems to give the horse more clearance in the stifle area bringing the legs forward, so doesn't bother me at all. (And the QH who was straighter there had a wide enough hind end for the same effect!)

Apr. 11, 2011, 10:35 AM
I like a slight cow "hockedness"....the best jumpers are a little that way and as someone mentions it adds power to the push.

Apr. 11, 2011, 10:35 AM
Don't mess with the shoes.

Actually that is a good test of a farrier.
"Hi, I am interested in having you come out and do my horse for the first time; he is a little cow hocked what would you do to address it?"
"Awesome! You got the job!"

Apr. 11, 2011, 10:38 AM
I had a horse like this, and she was the best jumper. She was pretty powerful. I would certainly not turn a horse down simply because of this. Make sure everything else is sound.

Apr. 11, 2011, 10:40 AM
larosa90, LOVE your post. My 6yr old OTTB is turned out in front and cow hocked in back and is the nicest mover I've ever owned. Plus sweet and smart to boot! It's what's between the ears that matters most!

Summit Springs Farm
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:46 AM
At two he's not done growing, so he may grow into his hocks;)

Apr. 11, 2011, 01:23 PM
ditto netg and laurosa! smiley face

Apr. 11, 2011, 10:08 PM
Thank you all so much!! This was my first time posting a question on here and it has definitely helped to get all of your wise words and opinions :)

Apr. 11, 2011, 10:52 PM
Good post by netg.
Tstarke, try this: stand up. Take the weight off your right leg, just enough so the ball of your foot is on the ground. Now swing your heel right, then left. Your knee will point in the same direction as your toe. The whole leg swivels where the hip joint connects to the top of the femur. A horse's leg will do this, too. If the horse is a bit under-muscled, he will do it more. To see if the horse is truly cow-hocked (meaning his legs are crooked), his joints will not all be 'pointed' the same way. Think about putting an imaginary flashlight right in the very center of all of his joints (back to front), all the way down his leg, the bottom one being 'inside' his frog, pointing exactly where his frog is pointing: If the lights are all 'shining' the same way, the leg is not crooked. If the lights shine different directions, the leg has some crookedness to it.

A really narrow, weedy and under-muscled horse may have rear legs that are so 'cow hocked' (but not actually crooked) that the hocks hit each other when the horse moves. Even if his legs were straight, I wouldn't encourage that you buy such a critter.

You may notice, by applying the 'flashlights' to a horse's rear legs, that a horse whose legs are 'correct' (with no 'cow-hocked' look) are actually crooked, even though the leg follows a straight plumb line when viewed from behind. This is especially true in the stock breed halter classes. The ones with a bit of 'cow-hocks' are usually the ones with the legs whose joints all point the same way-and are actually correct.