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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosebudranch View Post
    Do you have a picture? I'd love to see it.
    If I ever get my "real" computer back, I'll see if I have a good one of her.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    can someone please link to info on a straighter hind leg "aiding in collection"? i cant believe that is true.... maybe there are horses that have a straight leg that can collect well, but i cant imagine that we want to make the leap that a straighter hind leg makes for better collection....

    my mare has a bit of a straighter hind leg and i have not found that it helps - in fact i think it hinders.... my current youngster has really great hind leg and the power generation potential is pretty clear.

    when i think about this: collection includes bending all the hind leg joints well... how can a horse who is too straight behind bend its hind leg joints to the degree needed without undue strain?

    and fwiw, the author of the article has written other articles i disagree with ....
    http://jwequine.com/jwequine/pdf/Con...n-Dressage.pdf

    This author talks about straighter hind legs and collection.

    I also think this author would disagree about successful jumpers having straighter hind legs.
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  3. #23
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    yes, and i disagree with a lot fo what she has written.... i would really like to see some research to back up her saying that straight hind legs are good for collection... because collection = bending the joints of the hind leg... so how can a horse, who has issues bending its joints, be Superior at collection?



  4. #24
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    I have the report Mikael Holmstrom did (that's the study I was talking about) that I bought when he was here about 15 years ago doing a symposium on it. We spent about two days going over his findings and relating them to real life horses. I don't think it's online anywhere, and I'm not going to scan it and do so.

    But, here is another article that talks about his study. Hilda uses him a lot to talk about conformation and performance, too.
    http://www.thehorse.com/articles/106...pline-dressage

    I'm looking at the study right now. It's about 60 pages. It's called Quantitative Studies on Conformation and Trotting Gaits in the Swedish Warmblood Riding Horse by Mikael Holmstrom. Dissertation, Uppsala, 1994.

    From my notes explaining this:
    You want a small angle between the femur and tibia in the hip, so it's pointing more forward, not down, (which makes the hock angle straighter.) The femur angle doesn't vary much with different gaits--thus good femur angle is probably a big factor in gait quality. In good horses, the pelvis angle rotates back and forth more--this rotation is exaggerated in passage. It doesn't change from a foal. The good horses flex the hock angle more and faster. Good passage and piaffe are controlled by the hind limb position--if they stay the same in both, they have good transitions.

    The best angles were a 26 degree pelvis, 84-85 degree angle between the femur and pelvis, 154 degree angle behind in the stifle between the femur and tibia, and a hock angle 158 degrees in the front, or better than 152 degrees.

    Elite show jumpers and dressages horses had:
    -larger hock joint angles (straighter hocks)
    -more sloping shoulders
    -smaller fetlock joint angles.

    There were no elite horses with sickle hock conformation--they don't have the strength to carry weight behind. The slope of the shoulder depends on how much weight the horse carries on the hind limb--the more carrying behind, the more slope. You don't want a vertical, short pastern. The slope of the shoulder does not affect ability.

    Femur angle average 85 degrees, 80 to 82 is very good, 89 is not good.

    I can copy exactly from the study, but that's basically it. A hind leg that is "straighter" because the femur has more angle and faces more forward, acting like a spring. Does that make sense?

    More stuff:
    http://www.scienceofmotion.com/motio..._therapy_.html


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  5. #25
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    i think that what matters most - for most of us - is a horse that is willing to work hard - and that as long as we chose horses with good basic balance and ability to engage and use the body correctly - and more importantly - if we train with very good trainers - that is what really matters.



  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    i think that what matters most - for most of us - is a horse that is willing to work hard - and that as long as we chose horses with good basic balance and ability to engage and use the body correctly - and more importantly - if we train with very good trainers - that is what really matters.
    True, but horses (and people) are happier doing what what is easier for them. Plus, the correct conformation for the job description will keep the horse sounder longer. While we all know of horses who "have no right to be sound" based on their conformation and make up for less than ideal conformation with an excess of heart, it sure makes everyone's job easier if the horse is at least built to do the job that he is asked to do.
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.


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  7. #27
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    right and that is encompassed in "ability to engage and use their body correctly"

    in the end most of the end result for most of us is related to training and not inherent ability of the horse (if you consider most folks wont get past 2nd level) The folks that hit the end of ability for a horse are pros or very very good riders... for most of us we are the limiting factor - not them



  8. #28
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    Of course most horses work for most things. That was not the focus. You asked how a straighter hind end made for a better dressage horse "i would really like to see some research to back up her saying that straight hind legs are good for collection... because collection = bending the joints of the hind leg... so how can a horse, who has issues bending its joints, be Superior at collection?"

    I gave you the research. YOU may not need a horse with the ability to do that collection, and maybe "most" riders, but enough do. I have had plenty of horses I've taken to FEI and I have taken the "wrong" build there because of an incredible athleticness and determination by the horse. Telling you right now, it's a WAY easier and shorter road with a horse built to do it much more easily. I didn't know how "easy" it could be. I'm not saying you can't learn a lot without all that natural talent, but I think I'm old enough to deserve easier now, so I bred for that.


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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    right and that is encompassed in "ability to engage and use their body correctly"

    in the end most of the end result for most of us is related to training and not inherent ability of the horse (if you consider most folks wont get past 2nd level) The folks that hit the end of ability for a horse are pros or very very good riders... for most of us we are the limiting factor - not them
    With respect, that was the point of the conversation. What constitutes "ability to engage and use their body correctly" is what is being discussed. There are some experts who feel that a hind leg that is straighter than what was typically considered ideal actually aids in collection.

    I know that is seems counter-intuitive that a hind leg with more open angles might be better able to collect but it seems that some knowledgeable people have been able to able to argue that it indeed does.

    From personal observation, I tend to agree. Perhaps it has something to do with the ability to sustain collection as opposed to the degree of collection? A dressage horse does not engage and explode like a jumper, he has to sustain that collection.

    I am not totally sure I agree with the "straighter hind leg=better jumper argument" That one really does seem counter-intuitive to me. You would think that the bending and releasing of a more open angled joint would not create the pushing force that a more angled one does. I am not suggesting a sickle hock is good, I am talking about a hind leg that is more along the lines of what was typically considered "ideal". Would be interesting to see the hind leg conformations of the really top jumpers "at rest". I don't see enough of them to really form an informed opinion. I will leave that to the jumper experts (of which I am certainly not one!)
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  10. #30
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    I have seen more jumpers with open angle legs. I wonder whether the more open angle for a jumper may result in more spring as it causes more built in tension/spring when released to return to the open angle?



  11. #31
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    I think this is a good conformation article (and this link should take you directly to the section on hindquarters and hind legs):

    http://www.americantrakehner.com/spo...SHCpart2.htm#4

    Gigha
    River Oaks Farm - home of the Elite Book Friesian Sporthorse Grand Prix dressage stallion Lexington - sire of four consecutive FSA National Inspection Champions. Endorsing the FSA.



  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    With respect, that was the point of the conversation. What constitutes "ability to engage and use their body correctly" is what is being discussed. There are some experts who feel that a hind leg that is straighter than what was typically considered ideal actually aids in collection.
    and my point was: for most of us any degree of hind leg that is a bit on either side of "normal" will work as long as the horse has good basic confo and the rider can train.

    i just don't think it does our sport well to try to say only perfect (or horses with certain physical traits) can do dressage i still believe in correct training...

    as for the straighter hind leg - if we are talking about the femur, then i can see how a slight degree of straightness might help in engagement- but if we are talking the entire hind leg i tend to think that too much straightness will lead to bad stifles etc. i am not convinved a straight hind leg means better collection.

    so i am curious about what studies were done, how they were done and what horses were used etc.

    does anyone have access to those?

    and fwiw, my personal experience with horses of both normal and a straighter hind leg leads me to believe a normal hind leg is better all other things being equal.



  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
    There were no elite horses with sickle hock conformation--they don't have the strength to carry weight behind.
    More stuff:
    http://www.scienceofmotion.com/motio..._therapy_.html
    But what about all the top dressage horses with sickle hocks? We see them every day and one of the top sires in the world (Jazz) is known for them and for siring them.



  14. #34
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    Is Jazz an elite dressage horse? Or is he a popular sire? As far as I know, he is not an elite dressage horse. Did he compete at all? At any level? And, I recall someone posted pictures once addressing this--I think he's not really sickle hocked?

    He's "known" for siring them? Why would anyone breed knowing that? Anyone who knows the offspring care to respond? I don't really know.

    As for the straighter hind leg, one of the articles, or something I read, addressed the idea that it doesn't stress the hind leg as much by having so much bend in it. And, the Holmstrom study explains that it is straighter because the femur has a more forward angle, and that is what allows for the spring to coil.

    And, I POSTED the study. I have access to it. It's in my file drawer. It was done by Holmstrom on Swedish horses, in Sweden, looking at all levels of dressage horses. I'm not going to type up all of the details of the horses used. They do these studies so there are facts to back up, or not, what "we believe." Many people believe by their own observations that horses with white feet are bad, whorls means stubborn, etc., but actual research shows different.



  15. #35
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    Femur angle average 85 degrees, 80 to 82 is very good, 89 is not good.

    I can copy exactly from the study, but that's basically it. A hind leg that is "straighter" because the femur has more angle and faces more forward, acting like a spring. Does that make sense?
    can you clarify this for me? you are saying that a straight hind leg is better. but this quote above says otherwise.... it is saying that a certain angle between two joints is good.

    also, a more sloped femur means it is sloped - how can that be straight?

    i am confused....



  16. #36
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    I have drawings that went with that, but I can't do that in here. What people are saying is "straight" is what you see from the stifle down, so the angle in front of the hock is bigger (say 158 degrees). That is actually good. So, maybe what people would see as a "normal" hock angle of 150 degrees in front is too small to be ideal.

    This corresponds to having a smaller angle between the femur and pelvis. So, think of the femur and pelvis as forming and open ended (to the front) triangle, with the point going back. You want that angle to be smaller, so the pelvis is is not going down too much, but pointing back more at about 26 degress, and the femur not going down too much, but pointing forward at 80 to 82 degrees. THAT angle is smaller and tighter.

    That smaller angle in the hip seems to be what allows the horse to be able to collect more, and goes along with the "straighter" angle of the hock that people see as a straight hind leg.

    Does that make sense? If I could draw it, you could see easily.

    OK, not ideal, but here is a picture with lines drawn in for the bones in the back end. http://eq-conformation.livejournal.com/4439.html

    The "smaller" angle of the pelvis/femur that makes the triangle in the hp of this horse looks pretty good. But, the lower part of the leg has actually too much angle in the front to be ideal. To carry better, this horse would need to be "straighter" in that angle and more open in the front. Can you see that?

    These are NOT dressage horses, but someone drew lines nicely and labeled them! http://www.gaitedhorses.net/Conforma...ormationB.html
    The hip angle is the one we want to be smaller. The first two horses have too much of a pelvic angle and too big of a hip angle. The third horse is better--the pelvic angle is flatter and the hip angle smaller. The hock angle you want to be bigger, and again, the third horse is better for carrying here.
    Last edited by Beentheredonethat; Jan. 31, 2013 at 02:28 AM.



  17. #37
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    oh, i get where the angles are etc, i am just trying to understand what you mean when you say "straight behind is good"

    given the info we have so far from the study, the study was done between a certain number (100?) of swedish warmbloods... of those the elite dressage horses had more open angles in the hind legs.

    to know what that really means we would need to know what the comparison horses looked like because you cant just say "straight hind legs are good" when you don't know what straight mean in this context because it is a comparison.

    also, having smaller angles between joints in not straighter.... and the femur is the hind leg, so i think there needs to be a more nuanced discussion with actual pics etc to be useful.

    it might be that swedish warmbloods are known for closed angles of the hind limb and that the elite horses had less. but that doesn't mean their hind legs were "straight" ... also the study was only done on SWBs - so to really be useful it would need to be compared to a wider range of successful horses. then we would need to know what "successful" means and how those horses scored in competition to know if the angles were good or not.... we also need to remember this was a while back and what is considered good movement and good scores has really changed....

    do you see what i am saying?

    so if anyone has links to the study or pics that went with it that would be useful.



  18. #38
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    This is a topic that really interests me as I am a bit of a "conformation junkie " lol. One of my good friends worked closely with Dr Holmstrom as her horse was part of the study when he was competing in the World Cup and she was very interested in the whole topic. According to this system the horse must be stood up with the near hind leg completely perpendicular to the ground. Desirable are horses with more forward angled femurs (so a more closed angle between hip and stifle) and a horse that is standing under himself ie when you draw a line up from the toe it is closer to the stifle then to the point of buttock. Ie you want a horse that is standing under himself but NOT via a sickle hock which is apparently non existent in the elite dressage horse (according to this study). Anyways, this lady was an international rider for our country and she has picked out many horses that have gone to GP for other people. This is the system she uses and believes in.

    To be honest I also followed this idea but as of late am changing my mind. It makes sense but then you see SO many horses that are the exception to this rule and you begin to really wonder. Jazz was an international dressage horse, he was part of the Dutch team. He is also very dominant in passing on his sickle hocks, most of his offspring have that trait to some degree (though maybe he has a closed stifle angle?). When I was at the dressage Masters this last week I sat at the warmup ring and really looked at the way some of the top horses in the world are built. I saw every possible type of hind leg out there. For example Scandic is extremely far out behind himself with a very straight femur, I really couldn't believe it. Clearly, he has no problem with collection as he has a top piaffe passage tour (and a pretty great everything else). Hans Peter's horse by Ferro is obviously sickle hocked (and this is again a trait Ferro is known to pass on). The one thing I did notice was that the horses that were very talented in the collected work all had more of a sloping croup. The horses that were bum high with flatter croups had a harder time putting their hind legs underneath themselves. There were no exceptions to this that I observed.

    When I was there I bought a book by the ISR/OLD inspector Schachtz (sp?) and he barely mentions hind leg angles but puts a large emphasis on the back and croup. Then you read that stuff by Judy Wardrop (who I think is oblivious to be honest) and she has a completely different theory. The list goes on...

    At the end of the day I am realizing that there isn't one general type of hind leg that works in a top horse. It's the combo of angles throughout the body and the way in which the horse uses himself that counts. I realized that if I were to evaluate many of the world's top dressage horses according to Holmstrom's study, I would have written most of them off as not suitable. So I think in evaluating sport horse suitability the best is to look for a horse that has no extreme deviations in it's limbs, a strong back and croup and a horse that shows balance and elasticity in it's movement and a hind leg that steps up and under. To me those are the most important traits in terms of what you can observe in a prospect.

    I did have a copy of Dr Holmstrom's study, I will see if I can find it ....
    www.svhanoverians.com

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  19. #39
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    I should also mention that during a talk given on maintaining soundness in dressage horses by Dr Hilary Clayton she mentioned overly straight hock angles as something to avoid. They put too much stress on the suspensories. By "overly" straight I am assuming she is talking about fairly extreme deviations ie a post legged horse.
    www.svhanoverians.com

    "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donella View Post
    It's the combo of angles throughout the body and the way in which the horse uses himself that counts.
    This

    Any one thing "off" to an extreme should be avoided if looking for a prospect. But body parts are all interconnected, so if one part is off a bit, even a bit more than you think is acceptable, you still have to look at everything else in relation to it, as you said
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