Following on from my blog about Horse Conformation this week I wanted to look a bit more at the horse's way of going. Some faults in a horse's action can be directly attributed to their conformation, others will just be the way the horse moves!
This is when the hindfoot steps so far forward that it connects with the heel or pastern of the front foot. This can cause damage and sometimes a nasty wound. Jumping or muddy ground can make this more likely. Basil has a tendency to over reach (as did Josephine, my previous horse) he rarely seriously damages his foot but you can sometimes see where he has trodden on his front heel as the hoof grows down with a split! Over reach boots are a solution to this and there are many different ones available.
In a similar way to over reaching the hind toe catches the heels of the shoe on the front foot. You can hear the metal sound when this happens. It can easily cause the front shoe to become loose or to be pulled off. This shows the horse is stepping well under with his hind quarters but in some situations shows the horse is unbalanced. Basil sometimes pulls his shoes off in this way when he is in the field! Although, he did manage to do this once on a hack when he was frightened and shot off for few strides (I had to walk home)!
Again, this action is similar to over reaching. The injuries caused by this action are higher up the leg as they usually occur at speed. There are special boots available to help limit the damage made by this type of action.
This is when the horse's foreleg (s) swing outwards when they move. One or both front legs can be affected. This is usually only from the knee down although some horse's 'dish' from the shoulder. This can be a problem in some showing classes but generally will not cause problems for the horse in day to day life!
This is the opposite to dishing - the horse's foreleg (s) will swing inwards so that one foot comes across in front of the other (or both may). This type of action can cause problems when a foot damages the opposite leg as it swings across. Brushing boots or bandages can help reduce these injuries.
This picture shows good movement on the left, a horse 'dishing' in the centre and a horse that 'plaits' on the right!
If you watch the horse move from behind his legs look as though they 'bow' outwards .
You often see this action in show ponies. The legs are straight and the toes flicked out near to the ground as the pony moves. The name comes from the fact that the toes have the potential to cut the heads from daisies!
All of these are seen as FAULTS and in some cases these will cause problems for the horse and owner. However, many of these faults are not a problem for day to day riding and in fact for many disciplines! There are different types of boots available to help limit any damage so see my blog to find out more. So you certainly shouldn't discount a horse or pony just because of their action.
Did you see this week's vlog? 'Tommy's Arrival' on my You Tube channel. I also uploaded a short extra video today 'Nosey Tommy'
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Until next time!