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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at a horse that I was warned has steep pasterns.

I have been looking at some info online about the pastern, but does anybody have any personal experience with a horse with upright or steep pasterns? How was their soundness? What can I safely use this horse for? :?
 

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A friend on mine bought a Paint horse with very short, upright pasterns. She bought Max when he was 3, by 4 1/2 she was already having soundness issues. Max was diagnosed with bone spurs on his navicular bone that was directly linked to his pasterns. She did shock wave therapy, then ended up having him nerved when that didn't help. It was very sad to watch his decline, and all the money she put out trying to fix him. In the end, she had to put him to sleep at 8 years old last summer due to his bone spurs becoming so bad they ended up lacerating the tendons in both front legs.

Max was an extreme case, and I don't mean to scare you with this story...but it has made me paranoid about pasterns now. His mom has basically the same length and angle in her pasterns and is 26 years old now and never lame a day in her life, so it really depends on the horse.
 

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Well I am looking for a horse that I can jump, so I don't think this horse will work out for me. She really doesn't look that bad to me, but I guess I had never really paid attention to pastern angle before.
 

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Hi,

It really depends and without pics or further info, may or may not be a problem. It can depend on how/on what the horse is standing even. But some basic, general info; this 'conformation' is likely to do with the health & management of his hooves and can be improved/changed. For eg if it is due to the horse having a broken back pastern axis, due to long toes or such, this can usually be rectified with good trimming & other management changes which may have influenced the toes, such as diet. Also the 'coffin joint'(distal phanangeal joint) should sit high in the capsule, at or near the hairline, allowing for easy rotation of this joint during movement. If P3 is 'rotated' or otherwise 'sunk', due to too much peripheral loading(shoeing or such), it will be deeper in the capsule, allowing for less joint movement. Correctly loading the whole foot and reducing stress on the walls can change this.
 

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OP,
A short upright pastern can lead to more concussion up the leg. It will also lend to a short,choppy stride which will be rougher on you as well. If you're looking for a trail/pleasure horse then don't let this scare you away if you like the horse.

The flip side of the coin is a horse w/ long sloping pasters. This conformation lends itself to a longer,smoother ride. It also predisposes a horse to suspensory and flexort tendon problems.:wink:
 

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Not sure I can remember the entire details of exactly how(sorry!), but the distal sesamoid is sitting further under P2 when there's a broken back axis and weight through the leg pushes on it. Having a play with a 'knackered' leg that has been cut sagitally, it's pretty clear.... much better than my explanation I'm sure!
 

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Are the pasterns more upright due to conformation or poor farrier work? If conformation, I would pass. If the shoer has the horse's heels too long and feet upright for some reason, then correct trimming/shoeing may be able to correct the problem over time. I would want your own farrier/trimmer to look at the horse.
 

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Not sure I can remember the entire details of exactly how(sorry!), but the distal sesamoid is sitting further under P2 when there's a broken back axis and weight through the leg pushes on it. Having a play with a 'knackered' leg that has been cut sagitally, it's pretty clear.... much better than my explanation I'm sure!
I would consider this more as a state of compression. Upward compression from solar forces, and downward compression from p2. W/ a broken back axis it is further compressed by the DDFT due to elongation of the lever (reduced flexion of the DIP and PIP joints). Though I don't have enough physics background to define the difference between compression and load bearing, and am sure the two can be used together at times.

Of course you don't have to have a broken back axis w/ a short pastern. These same concerns can be stated of a horse w/ long pasterns and a broken back axis. All the more reason to trim and/or shoe around the COA(center of articulation).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think her feet looked fine normal to me. Heck, her pasterns looked normal to me. I decided to pass up on her anyway. Thanks for all the info everybody!
 
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