Horse Conformation Changes: From Toeing-Out to Toeing-In

What could cause a change in an adult horse’s leg conformation?
Please login

No account yet? Register


horse conformation
A hoof imbalance resulting from trimming and shoeing could cause an apparent change a horse's lower limb confirmation. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Q. I went to visit a friend and her 8-year-old Quarter Horse, and I noticed the horse was toeing in. I have known this horse since his birth and have pictures of him from over the years. Up to two to three years ago he was slightly toeing out. His legs turned out from the knees. This horse has had soundness issues in the past involving caudal heel pain in the right front and some undiagnosed lameness in the right hind, and he was out of work over the winter because of back issues. When I saw him the other day he was standing base narrow with both feet turning in. My first thought was his farrier must have caused the change, but could soundness issues be to blame?

Lynn, via e-mail

A. Conformation is a highly judged trait in horses. We evaluate it in the show ring, the sale ring, the foaling pasture—everywhere. Conformation can also be a major determinant of an individual’s athletic ability. For example, a horse with straight, “posty” hind legs may be less able to perform a sliding stop or a rollback turn

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Josh Zacharias, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, ACVSMR, is an Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine graduate who practices at Countryside Large Animal Veterinary Services in Greeley, Colorado. His interests include equine lameness, surgery, and podiatry. In addition to working as a surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Zacharias is a farrier with nearly 15 years of experience in therapeutic shoeing applications. Much of his caseload includes Western performance horses.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

How do you prevent gastric ulcers in horses? Please check all that apply.
153 votes · 358 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!