Q10) Is conformation inherited?
Heredity plays a major role in conformation,
passed down from both sire and dam. Problems can be perpetuated in
subsequent generations if the breeding program is not changed to eliminate
conformational flaws. Knowing what conformational defects are likely to
produce specific unsoundnesses is the key to breeding horses with suitable conformation
for the chosen discipline.
Some heritable conformational defects include:
base narrow/base wide
knock knees/bow legs
cow hocks/bow legs
calf knees/buck knees
These conformational defects are not specific to
or characteristic of one breed. All breeds are susceptible to passing on
Since conformational flaws can contribute
significantly to lameness, it is important to determine whether or not the
lameness was acquired or inherited. Studying pedigrees, breeding records
and the conformation of close relatives will usually show whether a specific
flaw is inherited. If it is inherited, it is prudent to modify the
breeding program to eliminate the flaw.
There are many excellent resources available.
In addition to the list below, visit the
Conformation area of the online catalog.