HIGHLAND PONY
SOCIETY
STUDY DAY
TH NOVEMBER 2013
9
Jane Nixon MRCVS
Conformation
Breeding & Performance
We will discuss together
pony evolution

resultant structure and function
conformation and performance
specific conformati...
The Horse
Some pertinent evolutionary facts
It is a
• Herd animal
• Galloping animal
– Chased ‘prey’ species. Fright Fligh...
The Horse
As a prey animal the wild horse had to be
• Readily aware
• Quick off the mark
• Agile, fast and balanced in asy...
Structure & Function
80% of propulsion comes from the hindquarters
• Hamstring and pelvic muscle power
• Top line muscle power to lift forequar...
The Horse’s outline - Points are those of the skeleton

•
•

The surface areas – the jargonese description or name of the ...
The skeletal top line and the bird’s eye views show areas
of bone available for optimal muscle attachment. i.e.
•
•
•
•

F...
Fore Quarters

Hind Quarters

No collar bone

Bony
Attachments
Conformation

> Soundness, ability, durability

• Based on underlying, genetically determined skeletal framework (eg
Skele...
Conformation and performance

BALANCE IS PARAMOUNT
CONFORMATIONAL FAULTS
AT MATURITY
Balanced fore quarter

Balanced Hindquarter
A balanced horse at grass

Able to graze without compromise of forelegs
Dynamic balance
•
•
•
•

ALL horses and ponies in order to
Survive and evolve
Whatever their discipline
Must have conforma...
Dynamic balance
• Must start at DAY 1and continue throughout
the horse or pony’s life
Optimising performance
• Conformation to perform
• Body weight and breeding

• Manageable variables
THE NECK AND TORSO

• Aim for the lightness of the forehand

• If the neck comes out of the top of the shoulders
• →

easy...
The neck and torso

• LOW SET NECK

• NECK NEEDS TO BE LIFTED TO COME OFF THE FOREHAND
• →

BACK STIFFNESS
CONFORMATIONAL FAULTS
•

Does not fill the eye on 1st appearance
– Unbalanced

NECK
• Crest fat

•
laminitis

Hollow in fr...
LONG BACK – More Flexible →SI
Disease
ROACH BACK - Unsightly but not
usually a problem
SHORT BACK – Kissing Spines
“SLACK LOINS” → SI disease
SHALLOW GIRTH
POOR LUNG CAPACITY
THE FORELEGS
• MAINTENANCE OF RHYTHM IN ALL PACES IS
FUNDAMENTAL
• LONGER LEGS →
•

i

•

ii

GREATER VARIETY IN STRIDE LE...
CONFORMATIONAL FAULTS
SHOULDERS Breed susceptibility to
 Too upright
•

overloading

laminitis
poor saddle fit

Asymmetri...
The Competition Horse conformational faults
•

ALL rotational and angular limb
deformities out 8/10 rule

•

Overdeveloped...
NORMAL
BACK AT THE KNEE
BACK AT THE KNEE
Back at the
Knee

Normal
BACK AT THE KNEE
FAULTS PREDISPOSING TO SPLINTS

Offset Knees

Bow Legs

Knocked Knees
CONFORMATION FAULTS
THE FEET

• SLIGHTLY ODD FRONT FEET
• ESPECIALLY HEEL DEPTH
• NO HEEL SUPPORT
• WEAK HOOF CAPSULES
• S...
THE HINDQUARTERS

• The flatter the pelvis
• → More muscle
• → Greater strength and flexibility
• STRAIGHT HIND LEGS → Una...
The Competition Horse conformational faults
Quarters width should be parallel with thighs
HINDLEG

NORMAL
HOCK
HINDLEG CONFORMATION FAULTS

PREDISPOSED TO HIGH
SUSPENSION DISMITIS

Straight
Hocks

AS SEEN IN ANDULASIAN
AND PASAFINOS
HOCK CONFORMATION

Cow Hocks
Pre-dispose to
Pelvic Fractures

Sickle Hocks
Pre-dispose to
Curbs
ANATOMY

CURB

APPEARANCE
DEFINITION OF A CURB

• COMPLEX OF SOFT TISSUE INJURIES ON BACK OF THE HOCK JOINTS

• CONFORMATIONAL BONY ABNORMALITIES AN...
PASTERNS

• SLOPING
• →
• →

OVEREXTENDED FETLOCK
STRAIN UP THE WHOLE OF THE BACK OF THE LEG TO

THE PELVIS AND BACK

• UP...
DISCIPLINE INDUCED ORTHAPAEDIC
RISK (AHT 2006)
• S.J. ↑ INJURY SOFT BELOW FETLOCK) REPEATED STRAIN ON
•
SOFT FORELEGS
) LA...
Conclusion

The good Competition Horse should
– Be well balanced
– “Fill the eye”
– Have conformation that gives the appea...
Optimising performance
• Conformation to perform
• Body weight and breeding
• Manageable variables
VETERINARY TIMES JANUARY 25TH 2010
“ANIMAL LOVERS UNABLE TO RECOGNISE PORTLY
EQUINES”
WORLD HORSE WELFARE CHARITY POLL
i) ...
LAMINITIS

• LAMINITIS
– CAN START IN UTERO
– CAN AFFECT THE THIN PREVIOUSLY OBESE HORSE
– BUT THE SIGNS ARE OBVIOUS
• LAMINITIS
• Laminae – Site
• It is – Inflammation
THE SIGNS
OBESITY
NECK CREST FAT
TAIL HEAD FAT
• HORSE WITH GOOD CONFORMATION WILL/SHOULD

• BE EXHIBITED IN CONDITION SUITABLE FOR JOB IN HAND
• THOSE HORSES WITH WEAK ...
JUDGES
• ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY AWARE OF THE CORRECT BODY
WEIGHT TO PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS BUT MUST REMAIN
VIGILANT
•...
Manageable variables
• Dental arcade
• Feet balance
• Attention to detail from day1
THE FEET
The hoof wall is modified skin (epidermis) thus
•

It is constantly growing down from the
coronary band

•

Coinc...
MEDIO- LATERAL INBALANCE
LEFT FORE FROM BEHIND

OUTSIDE

OUTSIDE

INSIDE
INSIDE
How to assess foot balance, left
and right handed farriers

Well balanced foot

Unbalanced foot
HIND FEET BALANCE
•

MORE IMPORTANT THAN FORELEGS BECAUSE HIND LIMBS ATTACHED TO AXIAL
SKELETON AT SI JOINT

•

LONG TOE/L...
A P HOOF BALANCE
• A P = antero postero =front to back
Back at the knee
predisposes to check ligament strain &
inflammation of the knee joints
Management
back at the knee & curbs
•
•
•
•
•

Reduce load ie body weight
Keep toes short and reduce shoeing interval
Extr...
Manageable variables
• Dental arcade
• Feet balance
• Attention to detail from day1
Attention to detail from day!
Producer/Farrier/Vet/Nutritionist
Thank you
•
• Any questions please?
• Or please do not
• hesitate to ring
• 07713342416 or
• Email jane@nixonequinevetcons...
Highland pony society
Highland pony society
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Highland Pony Society Talk given by Jane Nixon MRCVS in November 2013 on the topic of Conformation, Breeding and Performance of the Highland Pony

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Highland pony society

  1. 1. HIGHLAND PONY SOCIETY STUDY DAY TH NOVEMBER 2013 9 Jane Nixon MRCVS
  2. 2. Conformation Breeding & Performance
  3. 3. We will discuss together pony evolution resultant structure and function conformation and performance specific conformation problems how to avoid problems
  4. 4. The Horse Some pertinent evolutionary facts It is a • Herd animal • Galloping animal – Chased ‘prey’ species. Fright Flight (not fight!) • Defender rather than an aggressor • Single limb bone column: on Tip Toe – Pedal bone in horn capsule, the hoof • • Grazer so requiring – large head – long neck – capacious digestive system Four legged, one at each corner, with – no collar bone – powerful hindquarters
  5. 5. The Horse As a prey animal the wild horse had to be • Readily aware • Quick off the mark • Agile, fast and balanced in asymmetric gaits • Quick to return to grazing composure As a domesticated horse the • Fright and Flight had to be trained (converted) into • Alertness • Responsiveness to aids, (biddable) • Capable in all gaits (increasing speed and agility) • Not stressed under saddle • Fit to do and to recover
  6. 6. Structure & Function
  7. 7. 80% of propulsion comes from the hindquarters • Hamstring and pelvic muscle power • Top line muscle power to lift forequarter “come up in front” • Good shoulder / pastern line • Saddle room for shoulder blade sweep Always view from both sides Growth to maturity is judged by final height at withers • Brisket, ribs, vertebrae & dorsal processes later • Limb bones to elbow close around 2 years • This age of this varies with breed • Ponies usually earlier than warm bloods
  8. 8. The Horse’s outline - Points are those of the skeleton • • The surface areas – the jargonese description or name of the various parts The “points” – The landmarks at protruding parts of bones usually at a joint – Visible and palpable – Obesity does not hide the points
  9. 9. The skeletal top line and the bird’s eye views show areas of bone available for optimal muscle attachment. i.e. • • • • Flat of ribs Side of dorsal processes Lateral processes of lumbars Flat of upper hind limb bones – Ham string and thigh muscles “size”
  10. 10. Fore Quarters Hind Quarters No collar bone Bony Attachments
  11. 11. Conformation > Soundness, ability, durability • Based on underlying, genetically determined skeletal framework (eg Skeletal “top line”) • Unalterable after maturity • Can only be ‘managed’ by breeding
  12. 12. Conformation and performance BALANCE IS PARAMOUNT
  13. 13. CONFORMATIONAL FAULTS
  14. 14. AT MATURITY Balanced fore quarter Balanced Hindquarter
  15. 15. A balanced horse at grass Able to graze without compromise of forelegs
  16. 16. Dynamic balance • • • • ALL horses and ponies in order to Survive and evolve Whatever their discipline Must have conformation that allows the horse or pony to maintain dynamic , as well as static, balance & allow the rider empathy • Our recent gold medals reflects the increased understanding and promotion of this basic principle
  17. 17. Dynamic balance • Must start at DAY 1and continue throughout the horse or pony’s life
  18. 18. Optimising performance • Conformation to perform • Body weight and breeding • Manageable variables
  19. 19. THE NECK AND TORSO • Aim for the lightness of the forehand • If the neck comes out of the top of the shoulders • → easy to carry head and neck with supple topline • Neck pain may cause forelimb lameness
  20. 20. The neck and torso • LOW SET NECK • NECK NEEDS TO BE LIFTED TO COME OFF THE FOREHAND • → BACK STIFFNESS
  21. 21. CONFORMATIONAL FAULTS • Does not fill the eye on 1st appearance – Unbalanced NECK • Crest fat • laminitis Hollow in front of withers – dorsal spinal ligament – weak build up ventral muscles
  22. 22. LONG BACK – More Flexible →SI Disease
  23. 23. ROACH BACK - Unsightly but not usually a problem
  24. 24. SHORT BACK – Kissing Spines
  25. 25. “SLACK LOINS” → SI disease
  26. 26. SHALLOW GIRTH POOR LUNG CAPACITY
  27. 27. THE FORELEGS • MAINTENANCE OF RHYTHM IN ALL PACES IS FUNDAMENTAL • LONGER LEGS → • i • ii GREATER VARIETY IN STRIDE LENGTH EXTEND MORE EASILY WITHOUT RAISING FREQUENCY OF STRIDE
  28. 28. CONFORMATIONAL FAULTS SHOULDERS Breed susceptibility to  Too upright • overloading laminitis poor saddle fit Asymmetrical scapular cartilage difficult to fit saddle
  29. 29. The Competition Horse conformational faults • ALL rotational and angular limb deformities out 8/10 rule • Overdeveloped muscles indicate lameness behind
  30. 30. NORMAL
  31. 31. BACK AT THE KNEE
  32. 32. BACK AT THE KNEE Back at the Knee Normal
  33. 33. BACK AT THE KNEE
  34. 34. FAULTS PREDISPOSING TO SPLINTS Offset Knees Bow Legs Knocked Knees
  35. 35. CONFORMATION FAULTS THE FEET • SLIGHTLY ODD FRONT FEET • ESPECIALLY HEEL DEPTH • NO HEEL SUPPORT • WEAK HOOF CAPSULES • SIGN OF LAMINITIS • UNEVEN HEEL DEPTH → Uneven scapular height → Asymmetrical Shoulders re: saddle fit
  36. 36. THE HINDQUARTERS • The flatter the pelvis • → More muscle • → Greater strength and flexibility • STRAIGHT HIND LEGS → Unable to come under the horse • ACUTE HOCK ANGLE → Less able to carry weight • TARSAL VALGUS → Risk of Pelvic fractures
  37. 37. The Competition Horse conformational faults Quarters width should be parallel with thighs HINDLEG NORMAL HOCK
  38. 38. HINDLEG CONFORMATION FAULTS PREDISPOSED TO HIGH SUSPENSION DISMITIS Straight Hocks AS SEEN IN ANDULASIAN AND PASAFINOS
  39. 39. HOCK CONFORMATION Cow Hocks Pre-dispose to Pelvic Fractures Sickle Hocks Pre-dispose to Curbs
  40. 40. ANATOMY CURB APPEARANCE
  41. 41. DEFINITION OF A CURB • COMPLEX OF SOFT TISSUE INJURIES ON BACK OF THE HOCK JOINTS • CONFORMATIONAL BONY ABNORMALITIES AND/OR INJURIES MAY MIMIC AND CONTRIBUTE EVENTUALLY TO CURB FORMATION • CAUSING UNDER PERFORMANCE AND LAMENESS
  42. 42. PASTERNS • SLOPING • → • → OVEREXTENDED FETLOCK STRAIN UP THE WHOLE OF THE BACK OF THE LEG TO THE PELVIS AND BACK • UPRIGHT • → JARRING OF JOINTS ESPECIALLY FETLOCK → WINDGALLS ARTICULAR AND TENDINOUS
  43. 43. DISCIPLINE INDUCED ORTHAPAEDIC RISK (AHT 2006) • S.J. ↑ INJURY SOFT BELOW FETLOCK) REPEATED STRAIN ON • SOFT FORELEGS ) LANDING OVER HIGH • FENCES • DRESSAGE ↑ HINDLEG HIGH SUSPENSORY ) EXTRAVAGANT • DESMITIS ) MOVEMENT AND • ) COLLECTION • GOOD CONFORMATION WILL DECREASE THE RISK
  44. 44. Conclusion The good Competition Horse should – Be well balanced – “Fill the eye” – Have conformation that gives the appearance of balance and comfort – To allow him to express the will and do the job required
  45. 45. Optimising performance • Conformation to perform • Body weight and breeding • Manageable variables
  46. 46. VETERINARY TIMES JANUARY 25TH 2010 “ANIMAL LOVERS UNABLE TO RECOGNISE PORTLY EQUINES” WORLD HORSE WELFARE CHARITY POLL i) 50% could not recognise pictures of overweight horses and many did not view condition as a welfare threat JUDGES: Go National Hunt racing to see fit horses ii) Thin horses often the correct weight, but looked thin compared to overweight field companions
  47. 47. LAMINITIS • LAMINITIS – CAN START IN UTERO – CAN AFFECT THE THIN PREVIOUSLY OBESE HORSE – BUT THE SIGNS ARE OBVIOUS
  48. 48. • LAMINITIS • Laminae – Site • It is – Inflammation
  49. 49. THE SIGNS OBESITY
  50. 50. NECK CREST FAT
  51. 51. TAIL HEAD FAT
  52. 52. • HORSE WITH GOOD CONFORMATION WILL/SHOULD • BE EXHIBITED IN CONDITION SUITABLE FOR JOB IN HAND • THOSE HORSES WITH WEAK CONFORMATION ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE EXHIBITED TOO FAT IN ORDER TO HIDE FAULTS • I.E FAT HORSE IS INDICATION OF CONFORMATION PROBLEM
  53. 53. JUDGES • ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY AWARE OF THE CORRECT BODY WEIGHT TO PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS BUT MUST REMAIN VIGILANT • THE OVERWEIGHT HORSE WILL OVERLOAD JOINTS ESPECIALLY ON HARD GROUND • ↓ ABILITY TO GALLOP ESPECIALLY IN CHAMPIONSHIPS • BE PREDISPOSED TO LAMINITIS
  54. 54. Manageable variables • Dental arcade • Feet balance • Attention to detail from day1
  55. 55. THE FEET The hoof wall is modified skin (epidermis) thus • It is constantly growing down from the coronary band • Coincidentally worn down or trimmed • The whole hoof as judged at weight bearing should be balanced front to back, side to side, to give level foot fall • Should be trimmed to conformation of the individual limb • It is subject to distortion by torque from action due to poor conformation and/or foot balance
  56. 56. MEDIO- LATERAL INBALANCE
  57. 57. LEFT FORE FROM BEHIND OUTSIDE OUTSIDE INSIDE INSIDE
  58. 58. How to assess foot balance, left and right handed farriers Well balanced foot Unbalanced foot
  59. 59. HIND FEET BALANCE • MORE IMPORTANT THAN FORELEGS BECAUSE HIND LIMBS ATTACHED TO AXIAL SKELETON AT SI JOINT • LONG TOE/LOW HEEL → SLOWS BREAKOVER → PELVIC PAIN • MEDIO LATERAL INBALANCE • → HIND LIMB TORQUE • → PELVIC ASYMETRY • → BACK PAIN
  60. 60. A P HOOF BALANCE • A P = antero postero =front to back
  61. 61. Back at the knee predisposes to check ligament strain & inflammation of the knee joints
  62. 62. Management back at the knee & curbs • • • • • Reduce load ie body weight Keep toes short and reduce shoeing interval Extra length at heels for support Graduated shoes , not calkins No studs or road nails
  63. 63. Manageable variables • Dental arcade • Feet balance • Attention to detail from day1
  64. 64. Attention to detail from day! Producer/Farrier/Vet/Nutritionist
  65. 65. Thank you • • Any questions please? • Or please do not • hesitate to ring • 07713342416 or • Email jane@nixonequinevetconsultancy.com •

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