I read a few posts this morning that have made me think a little, so I thought I'd share some of my personal views... and then my personal experience too.
A lot of people wont buy a horse with poor conformation. This is most likely a sensible thing. However, my view is that it depends on the degree of the fault, and to what extent it would alter the horses health, happiness and ability to perform the job that the owner has in mind for it. A lot of faults are also often easily corrected. EG: remedial shoeing for pigeon toes (turning inwards) or splayed feet.
Obviously as an owner, we want to avoid vet bills and heartache later down the line, so perhaps when looking for a horse conformation is really important. For other people, not so much. Obviously a halter horse or a show horse would be more desirable the better conformation that they have, and would be placed more highly should they be 'correct'. However, the actual job they have to perform is a lot less strenuous than that say for example of a barrel racer.
My personal experience is Joey. We've had him since a 2 year old. Perfectly fine, bred to race over long distance, fantastic bloodlines etc etc. Unfortunately around the age of 3/4 he developed a condition which meant that the growth rate of his bones was significantly greater than the growth rate of his muscles, and so they have been pulled out of shape. This is primarily in his back end. He is cow hocked and has a weak back. He is difficult to 'muscle up' but does look fantastic and does carry himself nicely when he is. He struggles to 'track up' and extend at a walk, although his trot is fantastic, and he can often be seen over rotating through his hip and dragging his back feet.
To help with this he has adapted shoes and regular physiotherapy. But essentially he is happy and pain free. Now, had we seen Joey as he is now, we'd never have bought him. But his progress speaks for itself. Despite all these problems he competed successfully with endurance GB and qualified for the development squad. He would have most likely ridden with team GB had he not lost his jockey. He also won his first FEI race-ride which I believe was 90km.
I just thought I'd share, because it goes to show that in many cases the attitude of the horse can out weigh other 'problems'. Granted, Joey is never going to be a showing horse with an action like his, but he can still do and enjoy everything we ever wanted for him