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A disciplined and methodical approach to assessing foot flight and leg alignment can sharpen your eye for seeing details, clearly define each area of concern and offer a means of classifying specific deformities relative to severity (1,2).
This leads to obtaining more useful information for making an accurate diagnosis and developing efficient treatment recommendations. Such an approach is beneficial for assessing horses of any age, from diagnosing limb deformities in foals to identifying potential high-risk factors in pre-
purchase exams of adult horses.
The notion of striving for “textbook conformation” has changed over the years as few horses fit this age-old model. In fact, many of the cosmetic, uncategorized deformities once considered to be flaws are routinely found on superior athletes in most breeds and disciplines (3,4).
As a result, following a methodical protocol allows you to better understand variations in distance and structural angles. This includes those that fall within the range of normal as well as those alterations that are not compatible with soundness.
Evaluating conformational correctness as well as undesirable defects and flaws is related to your knowledge of the subject, experience and level of focus at the time of each exam. Following a systematic and methodical approach for every exam offers a useful means of enhancing your ability to record small details that might otherwise be overlooked.
Visualizing planes of reference as imaginary dots, lines…