Good leg conformation in a horse is a must if that animal is to remain serviceably sound for a lifetime of work and performance. No matter how beautiful or well-pedigreed a horse, it will matter little if the animal suffers from chronic lameness. No legs, no horse.
Often when discussing good leg conformation, we use the term “straight legs.” If that term is taken at face value for all parts of the leg, it is totally inappropriate. For certain parts of the leg, we should, instead, be discussing correct angle.
Oldtimers loved to use the term “flat bone” when talking about good leg conformation. Technically, there is no such thing as a “flat” bone in a horse’s leg. The bones are round, or oval-shaped. What these horsemen are referring to is a lower leg with solid, round bones backed by appropriately sized tendons and ligaments. When viewed from the side, such a healthy leg will give the appearance of being flat.
Proper leg conformation for the equine is highly important in all of its endeavors. This is especially true of horses in the wild, where nature is a ruthless culling agent. The wild horse whose legs give out because of poor conformation might wind up being an evening meal for a predator. While wild horses in general might not look like show ring models, it is seldom that one will find wild horses with serious leg conformation problems. Most wild horses with poor leg conformation don’t make it to adulthood.
The domestic horse doesn’t face that type of brutal culling. Expensive therapeutic shoes and procedures might be involved in straightening out a foal’s crooked legs. In a friendly enviro