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Hindend Conformation

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  • Hindend Conformation

    Two Parted Question:

    1) How much do YOU evaluate hindend conformation when you're shopping for a new prospect? Do you get concerned if a horse is a little sickle/cow hocked? Camped out? Under? Or does it only concern you if the condition is extremely noticable?

    2) On that note, considering NO horse has just 100% perfect conformation.. whats a deal breaker? Back at the knee ALWAYS is for me, as well as a horse with an overly heavy front end. But, I am trying to educate myself on hindend issues... if no horse is perfect, what is an "acceptable level" of cowhocked, for example? Whats a "little straight" behind, but not a problem? Does someone want to post me a pic of a horse with good hindend confo? I know what most extreme examples of BAD look like, but does anyone have GOOD examples?

    What is good for hunter/jumpers? Bad?
    Rural Property Specialist
    Keller Williams Realtors

    Email Me for Horse Property!

  • #2
    Look at this website should help you find your answers. http://www.jwequine.com/conformation.html
    That said I have found that what one will accept as acceptable for onself is not acceptable for another. Which usually has to do with ones experiences with the horses they have encountered.
    Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from behind, or a fool from any direction


    • #3
      There are very good conformation clinic articles each month in Practical Horseman magazine.



      • #4
        Monarch, that is a great site! Thanks so much for posting it!


        • #5
          Depends on how seriously you will be jumping too. At lower heights, you can live with a little too straight here or there, or a little crooked.

          Not if you are going to be jumping any kind of division height on a regular basis. While most can get over 3', if they have any deviation from something remotely proper alignment wise, they will simply not hold up.

          Deal breaker for me is any kind of back end weakness-as that's the engine and those hocks take a real beating even with proper alignment. So camped out, sickle hocked or excessively turned in or out rule them out. And I prefer a pretty straight front leg in mine, no lack of alignment and support on landing for me. Maybe a tiny bit of an offset cannon, minor toe in or toe out...no over or back at the knee for me.

          And I want them tracking up. At least fully in the print of the front foot, preferably ahead of it. if they can do that, the angles are usually functional for jumping, if not, you cannot get good shape over the jump or a step down the lines because they just are not built for it.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • Original Poster


            I've been able to find a lot of pics of BAD conformational flaws... does anyone have a photo of what they would consider ideal hindend conformation? Bc it seems like anything that is not cow/sickle hocked is post legged!
            Rural Property Specialist
            Keller Williams Realtors

            Email Me for Horse Property!


            • #7
              Originally posted by IrishWillow View Post
              I've been able to find a lot of pics of BAD conformational flaws... does anyone have a photo of what they would consider ideal hindend conformation? Bc it seems like anything that is not cow/sickle hocked is post legged!
              Take a look at Secretariat, widely considered to have near perfect conformation for any discipline.

              The problem with conformation and the impact it may have on ability and soundness is that there is always an excellent example of a horse that possesses less than desirable conformation that excels at their discipline and has a long healthy career doing so, and a long list of horses with excellent conformation that failed to stand up to the demands of their discipline, or failed to express the ability their conformation would have dictated.

              My father a horseman for almost 60 years has no problem with sickle hocks, actually prefers it in a hunter, and no problem with over at the knee. He still has parameters he considers acceptable within these flaws, but would never flatly rule a horse out because of them. I cannot argue with him either because I have seen horses he has purchased with flaws go on and do amazing things. Perhaps an anomaly but one I my favorite horses of all times was a horse Dad bought off the track that had questionable conformation front and back, but he was a champion green to open hunter, champion junior/intermediate/open jumper, took me all the way to the GP's and continued to show successfully, never under 4'3", well in to his 20's. Go figure!!

              Me personally I try to be very careful about how the hip lines up with the lumbosacral joint, and everything else I take on a case by case basis, simply because it has been demonstrated to me too many times that what one horse is crushed by another may never ever notice, sometimes heart and perhaps a horses understanding of their mechanical flaws simply usurps conformation, not sure but I do know for sure that conformation is only part of the equation.


              • #8
                What you are willing to accept depends on what you are looking for -- as in the desired outcome of the horse.

                If it is meant to be a quiet, short-sturrip horse, then sickle hocked, slightly over at the knee wouldn't matter to me.

                I do look at how it affects their movement. Personal pet-peeve is a horse that wings at the trot. Would I accept it? Yes.

                Would I accept a sickle hocked horse? Yes. If it didn't affect their movement to the point that they interfered behind or didn't track-up properly.

                Would I accept over at the knee? Yes. If the flaw was evident on both knees equally and the horse had no issues standing square. I have found a lot of really good hunters and movers are over at the knee somewhat.

                If they had a combination of these issues, probably not. Especially if I was looking at resale. However, definitely not a deal breaker. It also depends largely on the horse.


                • #9
                  I'll pass on a high-hocked horse for sure. It's amazing to me how many sport horses are high-hocked now-a-days. I want the hock pretty level with the top of the knee, or as close as I can get it.

                  Straight hocks will get a pass from me as well. Don't like weak stifles, either.


                  • #10
                    I find my opinion has changed on this over the years (but is similar to what's been state). One thing I watch more closely for now is loin connection.

                    IrishWillow: Here are some examples of great stallions (w/o going into their conformation--I leave that to others--gotta get back to work) with pictures:



                    Cor de la bryere

                    G Ramiro Z

                    There are many more...
                    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by H/J Anonymous View Post
                      Would I accept over at the knee? Yes. If the flaw was evident on both knees equally and the horse had no issues standing square. I have found a lot of really good hunters and movers are over at the knee somewhat.
                      I can personally back this statement up. My horse is over at the knee, and he is a gorgeous mover with gorgeous form over jumps.

                      There really is no one flaw that is a deal breaker for me as long as it is slight. However, some flaws are more acceptable than others. I don't like horses that are too straight behind because i have seen too many off them go lame, but a slightly cow hocked, toed-in/out doesn't bother me as much because those faults are less generally less severe. One thing I absolutely hate is a horse that paddles. I think it is horrible ugly. So i guess if I had to pick something that would be a deal breaker, that would be it. Paddling is normally caused by a horse being either toed-in or toed-out. I can't remember which one.