Do you ride a crooked horse? What the term means and what may be causing the issue *H&H Plus*

Addressing a straightness issue means teasing out cause and effect, explains Dr Liz Barr MRCVS

Applying the term “crooked” to a horse may cover a number of conditions, from more obvious developmental and congenital abnormalities, through lameness issues, to subtle nuances of training and difficulties with achieving straightness in certain dressage movements.

In its most severe form, crookedness is recognised at birth or in the first few months of life, as either crooked limbs – known as angular or flexural limb deformities – or a spinal deformity.

Angular and flexural limb deformities normally affect the fetlocks, carpus (knee) and hocks and should be addressed early in the foal’s life – before six weeks of age for fetlocks and six months of age for knees and hocks. Treatment consists of changes in feeding and management along with appropriate farriery or foot trimming, or a medical approach such as casting or splinting of the limbs. In certain cases, surgery may be necessary.