Equine Conformation

February 02, 2018 2 min read

Equine conformation evaluates the physical appearance of a horse due to its arrangement of muscle, bone, and other body tissue. It is the sum of these body parts and how they blend together that determines the acceptability or unacceptability of the horse’s confirmation. Undesirable conformation can limit the ability to perform a specific task. Regardless, no horse is conformed perfectly. An important factor in selecting the right horse for yoursef is the ability to recognize blemishes and unsoundness. A blemish is a mark on the skin from an injury or cut, which does not interfere with a horse’s ability to work. This might be a scrape, scar, or white hairs grown in from an injury. An unsoundness is a physical problem or deformity that affects the horse’s ability to work. Conformation of the feet and legs play a role in determining speed, athletic ability, and whether the horse will stay sound or not. Faults or flaws in conformation can occur in the forelegs, hindlegs, pelvis, head, and neck.

The 5 main criteria to evaluate when examining a horse’s conformation:

  1. 1. Balance
  2. 2. Structural movement
  3. 3. Way of going
  4. 4. Muscling
  5. 5. Breed and sex character

Most common conformation faults:

Club Foot
  1. A hoof with a foot axis of 60 degrees or more. This condition can be developed or present at birth.
Knock Knees
  1. An outward deviation of the lower part of the limb stemming from the knee. Many foals are born with knock knees, but the conformation is often self-correcting.
Toed -In (Pigeon Toed)
  1. When viewing the horse from the front, one or both hooves will point inward. The deviation can begin at the shoulder or hip, or as low as the fetlock.
Calf Knee
  1. From the side of the horse, if a straight line is drawn from the scapula (shoulder blade) to the hoof, the carpus will be behind the line.
Conformation relates to soundness and certainly influences a horse’s athletic achievements, but it's not the only ingredient for success. Horses with mild faults are still used in sporting and will potentially experience added stress or wear and tear on the bones, joints, and supporting soft tissues. When this happens, chronic pain and stiffness may occur. To combat this, Benefab® by Sore No-More® has a full line of horse products for almost every joint in the body. They are all designed to help ease the pain and inflammation that some of these faults often may cause. For quick and easy application, the Therapeutic QuikWraps are perfect. They incorporate 11-14 magnets (depending on which leg) that target key acupressure points. These draw blood to the area, delivering vital nutrients to the most important points. In addition to that, the ceramic infused fabric stimulates blood circulation, which in turn soothes soreness and stiffness. Click here to discover the market’s leading ceramic and magnetic QuikWrap. For best results, pair your BeneFab® products with Sore No-More® liniments and gelotions!


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