As I wrote in one of the first articles I wrote for the About.com Horses site, "The legs could be said to be the most important part of the horse, for if a horse has weakness or bad conformation in his legs, his athletic ability is going to be seriously compromised".
In this article, I have included some illustrations, showing some of the conformation faults that may be seen in the horse's legs.
|This first illustration shows a normal foreleg, as seen from the side. As you can see, the "building blocks" of the leg, appear neatly balanced on top of one another, with no deviation either backwards or forewards.
This conformation places the least amount of strain on the horse's tendons and the horse is more likely to stay sound.
|This leg is over at the knee, where the lower leg appears set back in comparison to the forearm above the knee. In some cases, this can be so severe that the horse appears to be about to buckle over at the knee, although this won't happen and horses with this conformation are usually able to perform quite adequately.|
|This foreleg is back at the knee, where the upper leg is set back in comparison to the lower leg. This fault is more serious than over at the knee because it places additional strain on the tendons running down the back of the lower leg.|