Research Journal

Conformation In Thoroughbreds Analyzed 

The conformation and racing performance of almost 4,000 Thoroughbreds raced on the flat over turf were studied to determine the prevalence, heritability and effects on racing performance.

Toed-out and toed-in feet and upright pasterns were the most common faults affecting 30 percent, 19 percent and 19 percent of yearlings, respectively. Base-narrow conformation and offset knees affected about 13 percent of yearlings, followed by weak pasterns (6 percent) and weak hocks (5 percent). Horses that were back at the knees (4 percent) and tied in below the knees (1 percent) were less common.

Unraced horses tended to have more conformation faults, but this was not statistically significant. All of the faults were significantly linked to genetics and the effect of most faults linked to racing performance were attributed to the effect of sire. Toed-out and toed–in conformation were the exceptions, with a weak link to performance still attributed to those conditions.

The authors emphasized that pedigree (sire) was very strongly associated with both conformation and racing performance, which complicates the study of conformation but deserves further study itself.

—Love et al. EVJ 2006;38:597-603.

Conformation In Hunter Success and Injury

The race records and injury history of 104 horses in National Hunt racing were examined for an association with conformation measurements. A three- dimensional assessment of conformation using computerized gait analysis and body measurements was done to assess conformation. Race records were obtained from racing authorities and the horses were followed over 2 years to assess injury rates.

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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