OK, I have a 2.5 yr old gelding. Over the weekend I took some pics of him and finally today got around to comparing them to ones I took of him as a long yearling, just to see how much he's changed in the last year. I was absolutely shocked to notice he is now slightly back at the knee on his LF. I hadn't realized it until now. Looking at pics from a year ago, the LF looks perfectly fine. (His RF was/is fine.) I went through some other photos I'd taken of the horses sporadically through the year, and in every one where he's grazing, he is always standing with RF forward, LF back.
That got me to thinking-- could his prefered grazing stance have caused him to develop a more back at the knee conformation as he's grown? I know that grazing stance has been shown to affect hoof angles, but haven't heard anything about conformation. If this is possible, is there any way I can encourage him to stand more with LF forward and RF back to help "correct" this? I'm just really surprised at the definite change in conformation in that leg and would sincerely appreciate any advice or insight. TIA!
I would hazard a guess that if you look closely at his feet they may be slightly different shapes and one of his heels may be higher than the other. I'd start be having his feet trimmed or rasped every 4 weeks and try to get and keep him as equal as possible as he finishes growing. If he is truly back at the knee and his feet are identical then I pretty much think you have to live with what youve got. But worth consulting with your vet and farrier.
I went through two panic attacks while my filly was going through her twos. Both times I was positive she was back at the knee or over at the knee and had images of my event filly retired in a field before we even got on course.
After discussions with my farrier he calmed me and explained that the growing process puts strain on their legs in different ways while they go from being level to downhill to uphill to wherever they end up when fully grown. We continued with our trimming program (farrier out ever 6 weeks, I rasp every week) and everything was fine.
I do agree with shortening your trimming schedule to every 4 weeks and have a good discussion with your farrier but don't panic quite yet. I'm sure it's just a growth spurt and he'll even out nicely and give you those straight legs you saw in him as a yearling.
Last edited by Sadiegem; Dec. 5, 2012 at 10:08 AM.
Always grazing in the same stance can definitely cause one foot to be clubbier than the other. I agree with a 3-4 week trimming schedule, with angles measured each time. If there is a significant different in the two feet angles, use caution to not lower the steep one too quickly. 2-3 degrees at each trim will work, and is not too likely to make the horse's tendons/ligaments sore. I went through this exact same scenario with a filly. She is now 3.5 and her feet are exactly the same.
Minglewood Sport Horses
Ballston Spa, NY
I'm not sure I agree that both feet have to be perfectly matched. I feel each hoof should be trimmed to support the leg above it. If you are lucky enough to have two perfectly matched front/back legs than yes you should have two matched front/back feet but perfectly matched legs is more rare than two mismatched legs.
Thanks for everyone's input. Luckily, his feet are absolutely perfect. My farrier never tires of saying how good his feet are. I managed to spend some time actually looking at him (as opposed to just making sure he had 4 legs, a head and a tail and no wounds on him) and watching him walk and move yesterday. It definitely does appear that he is developing a more back at the knee conformation and movement on his left front leg, while his right front still looks fine.
I put in a call to my farrier to pick his brain and see what he thinks, and from there may contact my vet as well. In the past, I've always sold my babies by the time they're long yearlings, but since he was the last foal from my favorite mare, he's a keeper. So of course I worry over every little nick and ding he gets and stress over making sure he's growing correctly. Thanks again, everyone.