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The information, ideas and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the United States Department of Agriculture.
A survey of domestic, native Mongolian horses participating in the Mongolian Derby was conducted to describe and identify associations between lower limb and hoof conformation.
Of the 630 horses in the 1,000 kilometer race, digital hoof images were obtained from 104 randomly selected horses as follows: 96% geldings, 9 years of age and 13.2 hands on average. The horses in the study received no routine hoof care and, when not being ridden, were managed in an extensive or semi-feral manner in a semi-arid environment. Lower limb conformation was scored by veterinarians examining the horses as part of screening horses for entry into the race.
Overall there was little variation in hoof shape and limb conformation, and little association between the two. The general tendency was for horses to have slight carpus and fetlock valgus (when viewed from the front, limbs angled out at the knees and ankles) with mildly offset canon bones. Limbs and hooves showed high symmetry between left and right with scores evenly centered around normal.
Dorsal hoof angle averaged 53 degrees and 51.5 degrees in horses judged to have both normal and abnormal conformation, respectively. However, this was not identified as a statistically significant difference. Surprisingly, the typical hoof pastern (HP) axis was observed to be broken back, with an average pastern angle of about…