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Crooked-legged, older event horses? UPDATED WITH LEG PICS

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  • Crooked-legged, older event horses? UPDATED WITH LEG PICS

    Do you know any eventers whose legs you'd never have thought would hold up to the rigors of the sport? Or jumpers? I've got a super-talented heartbreaker, and I don't want to give up on him.

    Pictures of my guys sorry legs start here: http://pets.webshots.com/photo/22799...66718914SjvlbV (NOTE! Cable underfoot is due to unfortunate technical problem with camera battery! Luckily, sweet baby stands still reliably.)
    Last edited by pwynnnorman; Aug. 19, 2011, 08:59 AM.
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

  • #2
    I had a horse who toed-in pretty significantly & by the age of 6 had ringbone showing up on xrays.

    However, NC State vet school designed a shoeing program for him, and the right farrier and sticking to the schedule was critical.....and with this, he went on to a long, productive career. I owned him until he was 10, sold him and have kept in touch, off & on in regards to his activities. He started off primarily as a hunter, did some of the jumpers, went a few years as a Big Eq horse and did all the big finals. He competed a lot, up & down east coast from Florida to Vermont. In his mid-20's he was still going as a children's hunter on Long Island, last I heard.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I'd like to see if a shoeing program would help. I'm using a vet recommended by my farrier and together they've been doing careful trims every 3-4 weeks after xraying him each time. I'm stunned by how his carpal (sp?) bones look, though -- his foot is back to level with those lower bones, but the outside small bones in his knee are kinda flattened -- and I guess it will be my life's mystery as to how they got that way. I have a video of him from just February of this year in which you can't see any sign of crookedness at all (I thought I'd just somehow missed it, in spite of having him checked out by three different vets over the course of his growing up, including two in his two-year-old year).

      I'm thinking of taking the xrays to a university, too, just to ge another opinion. (And I'm not really going to give up on him. I didn't mean for that to sound that way!)
      Sportponies Unlimited
      Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a very long-backed 17 hand Trakhener who is INCREDIBLY bow-legged in the back, and he actually rotates his left foot at the walk. He's never had an off day, and he's been doing Training level consistently for the last three years (and he loves the jumpers--can do 3'6" all day), and the young woman I'm leasing him took him prelim recently (I asked that she only do it once to save his legs), and she did a T3DE on him in July. He shows no signs of stopping! When I vetted him at 3, the vet said "RUN AWAY!!" He's 15 now.
        Last edited by Kairoshorses; Aug. 13, 2011, 11:39 AM. Reason: addition
        --Becky in TX
        Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
        She who throws dirt is losing ground.

        Comment


        • #5
          I had a morgan mare who flunked a vet check at two. Her left front leg was very crooked, turning out. We started her slowly at three and didn't jump her until 5. When she matured a little her chest broadened and her crookedness was less pronounced, but still there. She went on to be a pony club horse, compete through training level eventing, and is still a wk/tr on the flat school horse at age 27. She's never taken a lame step.

          Comment


          • #6
            My old prelim horse had one front leg that toed out rather significantly- but it was the whole leg - from the shoulder/elbow. The leg itself was straight. But you looked at him from the front and would think "hmmm, that one sure looks funny". His fetlock on that side was quite thickened and once my vet compared the flexibility to that of a 2x4, but he was sound on it.

            He wasn't ever a **** horse but he jumped a lot of fences. I would be more worried about a leg where the column of the leg was compromised.

            Comment


            • #7
              I rode a OTTB that was so over at the knee in the front leg it looked broken! He ran over 100 races and over 75 USEA events up to the one star level. At the age of 21 he was teaching me about going training. He now is a lesson horse easily still doing BN jumps at 25.

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh Pwynn, don't quit on him...

                Here's why.

                I was working as a bloodstock agent at the Fasig Tipton Standardbred yearling sale back in the late 80's. I was sent to look at a colt by a very prominent , big money winning, world record holding, trotting sire. When they lead him out of his stall, all four of his feet faced a different direction. When I reported back to my boss, the late, great Terry Holton, he said, "Well, how was he?" I said "I can't believe how awful he stands, his front feet point east and west". "Well Godamittohell" says Terry, "go buy the sonofabitch, his daddy stands just like that and he's the fastest thing to look through a bridle".

                I'm not a big believer in trying to "straighten things out" and change bone structure. You just strengthen other areas to compensate. You can have a perfect horse with no guts and no heart (or worse, no brain) or you can have one that only God knows how it stays sound, but it's a pure d-tryer.

                I think anything you've taken the time to breed will be just fine, regardless of being a bit crooked.

                When you've worked in both the STB and TB racing industries for years, you see hundreds of horses, close up. While it's nice to start out with something that has good balance and conformation, truly, if you ask 100 grooms and trainers, they'll tell you that sometimes the best disapoint and the ones that should be three legged, chicken pickin corn lame, just go and go and go.

                good luck.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                  the ones that should be three legged, chicken pickin corn lame, just go and go and go.

                  good luck.
                  I love this quote!

                  I love sitting and watch the trot ups at the big events like Badminton. Some of the horses are so beautifully put together, they should have been show horses, but there are definitely a few that you wonder how in God's name they will trot straight, never mind how they got round a 4* track the day before.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, my horse didn't do the upper levels, but he hunted for 15 years, Evented to Novice, did the hunters and was just an all-around "doer". Crooked does not even begin to describe--he has one leg that twists and toes in, one that toes out. He looks like a pretzle! Never ever took a lame step, except when farriers tried to "straighten him out".
                    He's 20 now and packing an adult beginner rider around

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      THere was a recent thread about Seattle Slew's trainer strengthening him with dressage work to compensate for a toed-out (IIRC) front leg?

                      Jennifer
                      Third Charm Event Team

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Funnt that you mentioned Seattle Slew.. John Henry was very over at the knee and it didn't stop him....Some horse just can do it even when the odds are stacked against them...
                        Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                        Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                        "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

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                        • #13
                          Over at the knee is something you can live with because it does not put extra strain on the flexor tendon/suspensory structure. Back at the knee is a much bigger problem b/c every time he take a step, nevermind lands from a fence, he is putting further stress on those structures.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, for as many races as John Henry ran and won there had to be some unusual wear and tear....He raced until he was 9 and won a lot money too!
                            Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                            Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                            "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              WE have a fantastic VCR somewhere all about conformation, particularly in racehorses but obviously can apply to all.

                              I can't for the life of me remember the name of the Professor who gave it but he was assessing the conformation of a lot of yearlings at a sales (I think) and it was fascinating. It's years since I saw it and would love to watch it again but it was loaned to someone and never returned.

                              He mentioned things like how a slightly pigeon toed racehorse is not neccessarily a bad thing as they are quicker out of the stalls etc..

                              Does it ring a bell with anyone? It was shot in the US and he was an American Professor I think..

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Napoles View Post
                                WE have a fantastic VCR somewhere all about conformation, particularly in racehorses but obviously can apply to all.

                                I can't for the life of me remember the name of the Professor who gave it but he was assessing the conformation of a lot of yearlings at a sales (I think) and it was fascinating. It's years since I saw it and would love to watch it again but it was loaned to someone and never returned.

                                He mentioned things like how a slightly pigeon toed racehorse is not neccessarily a bad thing as they are quicker out of the stalls etc..

                                Does it ring a bell with anyone? It was shot in the US and he was an American Professor I think..
                                Was it Dr Dewitt Owens ? I think that was his name; he was from Lexington and was a real conformation expert. More recent (OK - 5 or 6 years ago) research indicate that horses who slightly rotate "out" in front may have a soundness advantage in racing. It's important to remember that research is mostly done on racing horses and the same stresses may not apply to faulty conformation under a variety of other stresses.

                                Re John Henry: I'm pretty sure he was back at the knee rather than over at the knee, which made his racing longevity even more remarkable.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
                                  THere was a recent thread about Seattle Slew's trainer strengthening him with dressage work to compensate for a toed-out (IIRC) front leg?

                                  Jennifer
                                  Oh, hey, now that's great. I can do that!


                                  Over at the knee is something you can live with because it does not put extra strain on the flexor tendon/suspensory structure. Back at the knee is a much bigger problem b/c every time he take a step, nevermind lands from a fence, he is putting further stress on those structures.
                                  Hillary, Curry isn't back at the knee or even tied below (not that you thought he was). I think I may have missed something partly because, from the side, his legs are hard to fault, except for having less bone that I'd prefer. Trouble is, you walk around to the hood and can't help but notice that the tires' treads don't line up!
                                  Sportponies Unlimited
                                  Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by FRM View Post
                                    Was it Dr Dewitt Owens ? I think that was his name; he was from Lexington and was a real conformation expert. .
                                    That could be him.. Must go and google. Thanks!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Just an anecdote, but when I was in Pony Club eons ago the DC's son had an ex-steeplechaser we used in leg conformation clinics. He was used because he had everything wrong that could go wrong in a horse's legs. The basic conformation was horrid - really four different legs - plus he had multiple bows in multiple legs, bone spavins, bog spavins, ringbone, osselets and splints.

                                      This horse was ridden and took the boy through his B and I think even his A ratings. I'm pretty sure he went Prelim. He was ridden a lot, competed pretty often and never took a lame step. He wore like iron. I have no idea how long he chased, but he was no spring chicken when I knew him.

                                      Of course he is likely an exception, but some horses just don't know they are supposed to be lame.

                                      SCFarm
                                      The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.

                                      www.southern-cross-farm.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        So my current event horse, who I bred myself, has hideous front legs - he has an 1/8th inch difference on the inside and outside of his pastern, a club foot, and the other foot tries to be toe long/ heel low. Two totally different front legs. He's 10 now...he's done two T3DEs and has never taken a lame step...his x-rays show no signs of arthritis, other than a teeny bit of sidebone my vet is unconcerned by. So a couple of things I did to minimize damage: he had front shoes at two, but we've never tried to make the feet look alike, just worked on getting each one as individually balanced as possible; he's been on cosequin since he was two; I backed him early, because he's over 17hh, but didn't really started having him do much until he was five; I've also done a ton of slow, mild concussive work with him, road walking, dirt road trotting -he does at least 15 minutes 4/5 days a week. Would I have bought those legs? No. But I wouldn't have bought a ginormous horse either (I'm 5'2")...but he's my boy and I'm glad I didn't give up on him. You just have to manage your expectations a bit - and remember, they all can go lame, even the beautifully straight ones!

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