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Frequently Asked Questions



Q8)  Can poor conformation cause lameness?

Conformation is an excellent way to determine the potential soundness of a horse.  A casual observation of the horse while it is standing still will not always reveal a propensity for lameness; some conformational defects are not always obvious.

Stress, strain and concussion forces usually cause lameness. Poor conformation is a factor when stress is placed on a specific area of a leg.  For example, a base wide horse will have more stress and strain on the inside of its legs.  They are then more prone to injuries on the inside of their legs.

It is important to judge the horse while it is moving - at the walk and trot; canter the horse on a lunge line if possible.  Some minor conformational flaws may not affect the performance of the horse.  Look at the horse from all angles and run your hands down each leg to check for bumps and swelling.

It is very important to have a vet perform a pre-purchase exam on the horse.  A vet can do a lameness exam which involves flexion tests on the legs. A vet can determine the extent of the flaw and how it will affect the horse for the work it will perform. 

There are many excellent resources available.  In addition to the list below, visit the Conformation area of the online catalog.

Back to Conformation Index    

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