Thoughts on this Gelding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 02-24-2020, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on this Gelding

Hello All!

Long story short, I found a 3 year old gelding I am very interested in, however, he is VERY butt high. He is being sold by a breeder who says " his front pasterns and fetlocks get sore when he goes through big growth spurts. He has been seen by 2 vets and farrier and all have said he should lead a perfectly normal life once he has matured." Essentially he was growing too fast and they purposefully held onto to him to ensure that he was not started too early.

I will try to attach some photos, but in your experience, has a horse ever leveled out after 3? Before purchasing I will definitely get a vet check, but curious if anyone has ever gone through something like this. He is supposed to reach about 16h, he's about 15.2h now, but it appears his hind end matches 16h. I don't plan on doing anything more strenuous than trails and arena work BUT, don't want to go looking for trouble..


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post #2 of 33 Old 02-24-2020, 09:29 PM
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So a lot of horses grow that way, grow a lot in the front and are low in the back, or high in the butt and low in the front. Most horses level out, but since they are still growing like that, I would not ride him at all until he is level due to the fact that you can permanently keep him like that, but I have a feeling that you are more than knowledgable to know that. :)) So yes, a lot of times they will level out with time and rest. God bless :))
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post #3 of 33 Old 02-24-2020, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Odd, my photos are not loading, hopefully this helps!
Thanks for the response Destiny! I have seen them grow butt high/downhill, but never to this extreme (especially to where they were lame.)
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post #4 of 33 Old 02-24-2020, 09:42 PM
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Hmmm. Hard to tell much from those photos. The angles they're taken from, and the positions he's in, really exaggerate the impression of him being downhill.
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post #5 of 33 Old 02-24-2020, 09:42 PM
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Most horses that are butt - high or top - high will have lameness in their feet due to the fact that there is a conformation issue. The top will eventually catch up, but it may lead to long - term lameness and/or a sore back. That will not always happen, but when horses have huge growth spurts like that and are in that position for a little bit, it can cause long - term problems because the body is trying to develop around that high - butt and not with the even body. It will get uncomfortable for them to walk since they are unbalanced, thus the lameness. I'm sorry if that didn't make the most sense, I can only explain in person, and not text. lol. I hope this helped, thank you for getting back to me :))
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post #6 of 33 Old 02-25-2020, 12:27 AM
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If he is really that downhill at 3 years old while he may grow in the front end some more I doubt that he will end up being even. If you want a sound and healthy horse then in my opinion they should be that way when you buy them instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
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post #7 of 33 Old 02-25-2020, 12:37 AM
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Hmm, by 3yo & that(if pics are accurate) amount of difference, I'd think he will always be 'butt high' but may even out a little more. If you're only trail riding & light arena stuff, then saddle fit may be your only real issue with that.

What concerns me more is that he was 'grown up' too quickly, resulting in 'growing pains' to the degree of lameness(what kind of lameness? How long/frequently?). I'd want to look carefully into that. Could be just a matter of well balanced nutrition - for eg. perhaps too little omega 3 & magnesium is leaving him 'tight' in the muscles when his bones were growing, but could be OCD or something more problematic. Could also be lameness due to hoof probs or such, related more to management than conformation/growth.

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Most horses that are butt - high or top - high will have lameness in their feet due to the fact that there is a conformation issue. The top will eventually catch up, but it may lead to long - term lameness and/or a sore back.
Having been around horses vast majority of my life, having been a farrier for the past 20 years, I have never experienced anything of the sort. *However* I also don't recall too many severely 'butt high' horses - most I've seen are to the degree of OP's horse but at younger ages, or less imbalanced than him.
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post #8 of 33 Old 02-25-2020, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @loosie (et all)

This was my exact concern... I have never heard of horses becoming lame from "growing too fast," or ever seen a horse to this degree. As @JCnGrace mentioned, I was always under the impression that at about 3 they should be fairly level.

I'm thinking that perhaps it may be better to pass this time around.
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post #9 of 33 Old 02-25-2020, 12:58 AM
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(I can't see the pictures right now.)

What breed is he? If he's a QH/Paint, it's likelier that he might stay butthigh. If not, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Horses don't really stop growing till 6-8, and many of the babies I've had have seemed to 'level out' at 3-4, and then hit a growth spurt again at 4-5 and then finally filled out and reached full maturity at 6-8. It varies per horse and breed however exactly how they mature however.

Speaking conformationally, butthigh doesn't necessarily mean downhill movement. It does put more weight on the horse's forehand and it makes it harder for him to actually lift the forehand to a degree that he can travel along nicely, but it doesn't mean that he's actually traveling in a truly downhill manner. Depending on the degree of butthigh, it might cancel out other good elements of his conformation, or it might only negate them to a slight degree. It certainly is an unwanted trait because of saddle fitting in self-carriage issues, but it's not a terrible fault like sickle hocks or post legged that will almost always cause some sort of soundness issues throughout the horse's life.

Being sore when going through a growth spurt is pretty normal in my experience. Not everything on the horse is growing at the same rate, so he's left in a slightly unabalanced state compared to a properly mature horse. Not to mention, the differentiation of growth rates in bones and tissues can shift the placement of certain things temporarily, until everything else catches back up. I'd have a vet check it, absolutely, but it's not a major turn off in my opinion.

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post #10 of 33 Old 02-25-2020, 10:48 AM
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I found a good article to support my statement. I also talked to vet, who is my best friends mom, and she said she had a horse when she was in younger and had the same problem with becoming lame when he was butt - high and she sent me this article. Now, they won't fully even out, but he will get better and a little more balanced. The saddle fit is also a huge part of it as well, I would suggest a custom fitted saddle to him or a good thick saddle pad.
CONFORMATION FAULT: Downhill Balance is the link
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