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My friend just asked me to post this for her... rolleyes.gif

"I have been wondering a bit about my horse Fatah's hind legs - they are pretty crooked! It is like they are turning a little out from the hocks and down to the hoof . When he walks he lead his legs straight forward, but the hoof are not set straight to the grown...

Does anyone have experience with this with arabian horses? My vet said that it is very normal with arabian horses, because of there special croup?

Just want to say that it wasn't that bad when we bought him a year ago. He is two years old now and have been taking care of with everything, so that shouldn't be the reason why his legs i so crooked...

I took a picture of it, usual they are not that far from each other, or they are at the hoofs but not at the hocks...

And then I should maybe say that he is not going to be a showhorse, but only used for riding wink.gif

*lol* sorry for the BIIIG picture wink.gif
Liz Salmon
He's a little cow hocked , but I've seen far worse. Also as the gaskin muscles up, it can improve. Liz Salmon
its not the best angle of photography!!
I would suggest looking at your friend's horse in its entirety first and ask - is it a relatively compact horse?
Then for your friend to ask of herself : does the stifle turn out a compensatory amount to the hind hooves?
If the answer is yes to both questions, I'd suggest (without seeing the horse in the flesh) your friend's horse is fine!

Your friend's horse's cannons appear to be running relatively parrallel in this photo. Could your friend or yourself after seeing the horse in the flesh, given this particular angle of photography and stance of the individual - would you say it's cannons are running parrallel? ie the space between the top of the cannon equals the space at the bottom of the cannon.
Individuals with parrallel cannons can not be cow-hocked. Cow-hocks is such a mis-used terminology in equines! (no offence, Liz - but I'd like clarification on the points I've highlighted before making such a decision and stating cow-hocks)
Also - given the angle of the photo, would you, C-Ma, suggest this horse's cannons are running straight down from the hindquarter (from point of buttock) ie don't 'poke out' (camped out) or deviate under the hindquarter (sickle hocked).

Where as a horse with a longer type body might not need the same amount of angulation of the hindquarter for tracking through!!

If your friend's horse is indeed compact with no turn of stifle, with "straight" hindlegs ie hind hooves facing straight, it is more than likely that its ability to track through would be lacking or non existent as the stifle would be hitting its abdomin and causing repitious aggravation/injury.
To have a turn out of stifle on a compact individual without compensatory turn in of hock, turn out of hind hoof would also be a concern for the individual, it wouldn't be encouraged to work to its best potential with its hindquarter due to being uncomfortable!

So, mho, it really is best to appraise and display the entire individual (from all sides, as square as possible) before focussing on an attribute! smile.gif

And if you wish to appraise an attribute - start from the "start" or top in this case - the pelvis and work your way down wink.gif Usually an attribute(s) will show itself as a compensation! Understanding these compensations is the art of judging and understanding what an individual would be capable of.

Horses for Courses - Nature has made them this way, best we can do is learn to understand Nature.
No horse/equine is mechanically perfect although we aspire them to be!
Liz Salmon
I agree that it is very difficult to judge a horse from just this one photo, I too would want to see the entire hind end, but in my opinion he is standing with his feet slightly turned out, the right more than the left, suggesting that he might be very slightly cow hocked. I have seen horses where the hocks are almost touching. There are degrees of every kind of leg fault. From this photo alone, and without seeing any others or video, I would not consider that this horse had any serious fault at all. Liz Salmon
Hi there,

I agree with others here, it's hard to judge from this photograph. But if you really feel it needs attention, have a vet and a hoofsmith around to have a look. A vet can tell you if it's just something that'll disappear, a smith can give you some advice on how to correct it a little with special shoes. Having them come round, is a lot better than having us judge on a photograph.

I remember reading an article some time ago which argued that a slight cow hock is preferred to the straight hocks called for in the various breed standards.

The article suggested that in the faster gates the hindlegs move further apart to alow the front legs to move freely through. When the hind legs become further apart they naturaly straighten and travel in the correct parrallel path.

I would be interest to get your opinions on this theory?


Liz Salmon
Yes, in fact a horse that is slightly cowhocked will not strike the heel of his forelegs—known as interefering, so racehorses with cow hocks will have an advantage. I have never found them to impede performance. I'm much stricter on front leg faults, such as calf knees, steep pasterns, long and off set cannons, as the front legs take more weight in movement. Liz Salmon
Honestly, I cant judge a darn thing on this. I need to see the entire body. It even looks if the ankle joints are puffed up. I cant even see a pastern.

Sorry, need to see the whole horse from various sides..

Hansi biggrin.gif
Hiya Tim - cow hocks - it is a term which has been branded about - I believe, backed up by vets I have communicated with, used as a misnomer. That is.... true cow hocks is a fault: cow hocks don't bear weight correctly; cow hocks, from behind, is akin to an X shape ie the cannons do not run parallel, the hocks 'kiss'.

Uhmmm.... now the hindquarter which has an angulation to suit the body type is something different - and its not cow-hocks, however slight! Ordinarily, it’s what could be termed as correct angulation or rather the angulation which nature has given it, to enable the hindlegs of a fairly fixed pelvis to get this flight mammal out of trouble. This angulation, as you suggest - almost correctly, allows the individual to move more efficiently. It must get its hindlegs past its abdomen to generate thrust, thrust to get them out of trouble. (Riders these days call it engagement.) My thoughts always come back to - what did the Bedouin need most when they used their horses in skirmishes? Thrust amongst other tenacious attributes of the Arabian Horse. How that thrust was generated didn't really matter, so long as it was there. That's why there is and should always be a variance within the Arabian Horse as Breed - a reflection of the original desert bred horse.

The best way to see this? Go out and watch the stifle movement of an equine - choose various types to watch, then watch the interaction of the 'pulley' system of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles etc which make this all work and flow down the leg to the last joint, the last bone. Joints are not on a free swivel - they are limited in their potential to move. If everything was so """"perfectly"""" straight then the horse would not be functional or as functional as it could be. Dysfunctional springs to my mind.

smile.gif All I can do is suggest strongly - is please go out and watch your horses in the paddock - watch how they move, why they move that way. Check reference material showing musclo-skeletal interaction. Watch them, from all four sides, at the walk, trot, canter and gallop; watch them as they rest their hindleg(s) – secrets will be revealed. Video them and slow the tape down to see the musclo-skeletal interactions. It’s the best way to learn smile.gif Then chat with a reputable professional (ie vet, chiropractor etc) and confirm what you have gleaned.

Mary M
Hi there,
As Liz and the others have stated, cow hocks are not a huge issue when it comes to performance. I have an excellent horse whom I endurance race, and he is slightly cow hocked. He has tremendous ability on hills, plenty of speed, is a smooth comfortable ride, and has never been vetted out in four years of competition. He also has above average ability for dressage and jumping. If you go and look at horses who do regularly vet out on lameness, you will notice it is ones with front leg faults that are more likely to go lame. In my opinion splayed front legs are enemy number one, followed by back-at-the-knee, and a clubbed foot. Offset cannons are lower on the list, and cow hocks even lower, in my opinion.
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