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Straight Behind?

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  • Straight Behind?

    So, I've heard this term thrown around quite a bit, but cannot find a defining factor about what this really is and what it means. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    First and foremost about the horse.
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  • #2
    It usually refers to the angle through the hock from the gaskin down the cannon. Jumpers, generally speaking, are straighter through the hock. Horses also get straighter as they age.
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    • #3
      Another name for it is "post legged" if that helps you visualize the leg.

      A straight leg is undesirable for the same reason an upright pastern is. If the leg (front or back) is unusually straight, it cannot be the shock absorber that nature intended it to be.
      "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

      Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

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      • #4
        That's actually untrue. The study on conformation by the Swedish guy, forget his ame at the moment, showed that dressage horses that were straighter behind had a much better ability to piaffe and passage. That would explain why jumpers are straighter, too.

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        • #5
          Straight behind generally comes from a femur that doesn't angle forward enough. That leaves the hock and the rest of the leg too straight up and down.
          co-author of
          Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry
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          • Original Poster

            #6
            so in the hunter/jumper world, what type of angle are you looking for?
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            • Original Poster

              #7
              So here's what I found:

              http://blog.robinsonsequestrian.com/...ar-quarter.jpg

              what are your thoughts do you think of this:
              http://i1204.photobucket.com/albums/...ps786f00f7.jpg

              Straight from these ?
              First and foremost about the horse.
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              • #8
                The problem that I have found with horses and ponies who are too straight behind is that they may develop issues with the ligaments that stretch over the medial patella. If they do, then they can have stifles that get sticky or locked.

                I have seen a few ponies and a couple of horses with this issue. Keeping the horses in work by backing in deeper sand, backing up hills and walk/trot up hills will help to keep those ligaments tighter.
                When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rosebudranch View Post
                  So here's what I found:

                  http://blog.robinsonsequestrian.com/...ar-quarter.jpg

                  what are your thoughts do you think of this:
                  http://i1204.photobucket.com/albums/...ps786f00f7.jpg

                  Straight from these ?
                  rosebud, your foal is a little straight behind (so is my filly), but s/he is not post-legged. (As another poster said, if the horse has straighter hock conformation but a forward sloping femur, the stifle joint is more correctly placed, and the horse is less likely to have issues--if *both* angles are too open, the horse is prone to locking stifles, hock arthritis, and DSLD.)

                  Here is a link to a pic of Winsome Adante, who won Rolex (more than once!), and who is often used as an example of "overly straight hind leg conformation":

                  http://www.jwequine.com/jwequine/pdf...an_eventer.pdf

                  He did retire due to soundness issues (not sure whether it was hock/stifle arthritis or suspensory issues), but he was very successful at the upper levels of eventing. I'm sure he was skillfully managed!

                  Slightly straighter hock conformation is often associated with jumping ability--if the horse is carefully managed, and stays sound.
                  "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                  "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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                  • #10
                    Agree the foal is straight, BUT, without seeing the whole horse, it may be simply due to a growth issue and not at all what she'll look like as an adult
                    ______________________________
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                    • #11
                      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 ....

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                      • #12
                        I think a little straight is ok, but when it's to an extreme, it causes all sorts of issues like folks have said. My trainer had a Hanoverian mare that was successful through PSG but she was post-legged behind, like, severely. Worst I'd ever seen. She had a lot of trouble with collection work because it was so hard for her to sit, she had no way to really compress the hock. She eventually was retired at age 14 because she kept tearing suspensories behind since the angles were so off, even with all the special shoeing in the world.

                        I found this picture which is a good example of severe post-leggedness in the rear:

                        http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2710/...4ee4f306_o.jpg
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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thank you guys, I definitely continued my google search about straight hind ends and found many pictures of post legged horses (seems to be pretty prominent in QH breeds... sadly).. I realize my filly is not built with the amazing perfect hind end - but in the end.. are there really any "perfect" 100%? But as she has a career as a hunter I see from what you all have said it will help her. From watching her play, she seems to use her hind end very well, which is great!

                          So here is another good question, if you had a mare who was like this behind(obviously you would not be breeding a post legged mare), which stallion(s) would you suggest to improve?
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Signature View Post

                            I found this picture which is a good example of severe post-leggedness in the rear:

                            http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2710/...4ee4f306_o.jpg
                            Notice that the typical Quarter Horse post leg drops straight below the stifle, which leads to them standing under quite a bit as well. Most of the warmblood types with post legs still have a plumb line that touches the back of the cannon. More like the stifle joint itself is further back rather than the leg falling straight below it. I think that has something to do with it not affecting soundness as much as it seems to in the QHs (I've seen it mostly in halter bred horses, not sure if that's the only area of QH breeding it appears in regularly).

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                            • #15
                              I also don't understand straight leggedness. Clearly there are degrees of it. I've always heard it in reference to the stifle not having enough angle and not really in relation to the hock. I had a TB mare who was described by an equine vet as "extremely straight legged", and it was the angle of the stifle that was the issue. She already has advanced hock arthritis at age eight--and she really hasn't been worked hard.

                              Straight Legs are supposed to be a benefit for speed as well, so it's fairly common in the modern TB. One assumes that might be because the hind leg doesn't have to travel quite as far, but that's supposition only. There's a trade-off between speed and longevity.
                              Last edited by vineyridge; Jan. 28, 2013, 03:38 PM.
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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                In all honesty, vineyridge, the more I try to learn about these things, what has helped me is finding those conformation diagrams, then making the same lines against horse photos to help train my eye to angles etc. But, the big deciding factor here, is I can imagine that relying just on photographs to judge any specific horse would be difficult, as I have noticed just looking through my pictures is that while you may have a good side view of horses, you cannot know for sure that the horses is how you see it because a horse standing un-square can truly make them look worse or better!! For example my filly's mother I have one picture where she looks extremely straight legged, and then other where she looks great because of how she is standing, hence why I find it hard to train my eye but for sure. I am learning a lot, but I think the best tool is taking those diagrams as I said then comparing them to different horses (google images is a great tool).
                                First and foremost about the horse.
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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                  I also don't understand straight leggedness. Clearly there are degrees of it. I've always heard it in reference to the stifle not having enough angle and not really in relation to the hock. I had a TB mare who was described by an equine vet as "extremely straight legged", and it was the angle of the stifle that was the issue. She already has advanced hock arthritis at age eight--and she really hasn't been worked hard.
                                  Do you have a picture? I'd love to see it.
                                  First and foremost about the horse.
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                                  • #18
                                    Also, I have found that the slightly straighter horses seem to stay sounder, at least in the hock, than the ones with a bit too much angle (sickle hocked). It seems the increased pressure at the front of the joint in sickle-hocked horses tends to dramatically increase their odds for athritic changes at the front of the joint.

                                    Good picture of sickle hock (seems to be most severely seen in QH):

                                    http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a3...c/angle2-1.jpg


                                    Another good picture of straight behind:

                                    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UgpXrzq01j...od+posture.jpg

                                    This is one of our mares, a TB, who I would consider to be fairly straight behind. However, she won a huge amount on the line... so it mustn't have been to a real fault. We always take care to breed her to a stallion that has a very good hind leg.

                                    http://p2.hostingprod.com/@signature...22-462x306.jpg
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                                    • #19
                                      If you want a breed that tends to represent sickle hocks, look at the TWH LOL Between that and straighter stifles, it's a wonder they stay sound, but it does tend to make their gait more gait-y, which is why it's still there.

                                      But yes, it's there a lot in the QH too, especially those with halter breeding.
                                      ______________________________
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                                      • #20
                                        Overly straight hind ends can put excess strain on hocks and stifles. The key word here is "Overly". I have not found Jumpers to have this characteristic at any higher degree then other disciplines. Jumpers with straigher hind ends but with strong toplines don't have nearly as much of a problem as those with poor toplines. You can't look at that part of the body as a stand alone, but instead how it works in conjunction with the rest of the body.

                                        Generally you don't want too much or too little. Too much angle strains the stifle more, and too little strains the Hock more. A good balance of angle and length of femur and gaskin create the ideal scenario.

                                        Tim
                                        Sparling Rock Holsteiners
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