Crooked Legs

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Crooked Legs

This is a discussion on Crooked Legs within the Horse Breeding forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category
  • What is crooked legs on a horse?
  • Crooked horse legs

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    08-14-2007, 02:43 PM
Crooked Legs

We are looking at trading a gelding we aquired (from my sister who could no longer afford him) with an APHA, black breeding stock mare.

The mare has had some prior tramitization/abuse at a trainer, which is something that I am willing and able to work with.

She also has some fairly turned in front legs - it can be seen in the knee and pasturn of her left front clearly. The barn selling her seems pretty sure that she has had some very bad trimming for a prolonged period (years) - confirmed by their farrier and a marked improvement from one proper trimming. She also looks very slightly toed out in the hind, but I didn't even have her standing square, so I can't be sure.

My dad (My husband, parents, and I all have a small horse farm together) likes her for emotional reasons (her eyes, a horse to plod around the yard on, etc.); and I like her build other than her legs - she is tied together pretty nicely, especially after a bit of conditioning. Because of her prior trauma, I only took her to the arena and watched her at liberty, but her movement was very flowing and athletic. She reaches under nicely, and her legs do not seem to interfere with her movement at all. I am looking for an additional performance horse to my stallion (for reining, etc.).

I know and trust the people who are trading her - they have been very upfront with everything about her (including the legs and rehab she will need before she will be able to really be used as a performance horse). I still worry about those legs - what if they are wrong about it being entirely related to trimming problems. She has apparently had a straight legged foal, and her previous owners remember her being straight legged in the past.

One major reason we would trade a gelding for a mare would be because we could breed a mare to our stallion. I like all of her traits, except the LEGS! I worry about it being genetic. The last thing I want is to produce crooked legged babies.

Would my vet or farrier be able to tell if the problem was likely man made or genetic?

The gelding we are considering trading is already ridable, so if the mare cannot be bred, he is already ahead of her in that aspect. He will be a much harder keep with more chronic minor health issues (tender feet, easy to get infections, etc.), and is not as gentle/calm from the ground as the mare.

I need some outside perspective Please!

I don't want to offend the people we are talking business with, but I also don't want to "trade down". We would also be receiving a considerable amount of training/lessons in reining and related disciplines as part of the trade.
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    08-16-2007, 02:15 AM
No horse is perfect but if you're not sure.... Don't do it! Especially since you are considering breeding. It's too big of an investment to make a guess.
    08-16-2007, 02:30 AM
From my experience a lot of confirmation faults come from incorrect trimming/shoeing, not all can be fully corrected though.

A farrier should be able to inform you of how/why her legs deviate and if he/she can correct them and to what point and a vet should be able to tell you how much stress her joints could endure in their present condition.

The dam of my youngster had a horribly offset cannon on one foreleg, with the corresponding turned in hoof and pastern. I went through her pedigree to see if the fault was inherited in any way and after a while found that no horse in her lineage had the fault. It was only after this that I decided to breed her (making sure the stud was conformationally correct) and her bubs has the straightest legs.

If she has ticks in all boxes apart from her legs then I personally would consider her, but many people would not take the risk, so unfortunately it is all up to you.

Good luck
    08-16-2007, 06:58 PM
The mare I am discussing is the mare I posted for critiquing with photos (I am sure you guys figured that out by now) :) When I squared her up properly, I found that she does not toe out in the rear.

Frog, how did you research your mare's lineage for a fault like that?

I am becoming more and more confident as I look at her, consult vet, and farrier, that her leg faults are man made, but it sure would be reassuring to find out about her parents, grandparents, etc.

I could also try to get a photo of the foal she had.

I groomed her and braided her while I waited for the vet yesterday, and just with that little bit of work, she really looked nice. I think that with a shave, proper trimming, and some muscling, she will look fabulous.
    08-16-2007, 08:22 PM
That's good news from the vet and the farrier. I'm glad to hear some professionals were able to help out. It sounds like Frog has some good advice about researching lineage. Good luck. :)
    08-16-2007, 08:40 PM
It wasn't particularly easy, I had to track down owners/breeders or people close to them but luckily the breeders that I got her from were pretty high up in the TB industry and could give me a lot of info.

I based my search on progeny of the parents more than anything, thinking that if it was hereditary than it should show up. I only chased down about eight horses and none had any screaming faults, so I took a chance. The only thing I did pick up was that her mothers attitude is passed on more often than not! And not just down one generation as by all accounts, my filly is a lot like her grand dam
    08-25-2007, 02:04 AM
I brought a qh mare that had been used as a brood mare and was unridden and pretty much unhandled for 5 yrs, she was pigeon toed in the front this was because her feet were allowed to over grow without trimming and the weight of carrying a foal's and her solid/fat build her hooves spread out particularly to the inside making her foot turn inwards.
I got her feet trimmed several times to reshape her feet, after 12 months her leg's straightened out a fair bit. Also I would like to mention that horses who are toed in or toed out are usually very sure footed, my mare sure was.
All her foal had perfectly straight legs, I would suggest getting x-rays on her legs and ask the vet's opinion.
It is very likely given her past history that her legs are the way they are due to lack of care and bad shoeing.
    08-29-2007, 11:00 AM
Unless you see those "straight legged foals" she threw in person as well as a photo of her in her younger days when she was supposedly straight legged, assume the legs are a confirmation flaw and potentially able to be passed on. In fact, even if she has thrown straight legged foals, I would be cautious. Not every flaw is passed on every time, so crooked legged horses could throw some straight legged foals. In my opinion, not worth the risk. A horse does not have to be perfect to be bred (or none would ever breed), but they should not have major flaws, especially ones that affect their useful purpose.
    08-29-2007, 04:43 PM
Thank you everybody for the feedback.

We have decided to pass on her...the legs may not be genetic, but we just don't want to risk breeding her. We are also looking for a mare that will stay sound as a riding horse - that would be a risk with her legs.

There are plenty of mares out there with straight legs :)
    08-29-2007, 06:07 PM
I'm glad you decided not to get her; you don't wanna take the risks.
Good luck!

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