Soundness in Horses


  • The structural development of the limbs, size and body proportions that make up an individual horse's conformation can influence its balance and movement during exercise. The strength of its limbs and conformation in turn, can influence its overall soundness and ability to perform in competition.
  • Conformation and soundness are interrelated in determining the movement, performance and overall quality of a horse during its competitive lifetime.
  • Soundness can be classified in a number of ways relative to the horse's freedom from lameness but it can also relatet o the horse's suitability for a particular purpose, such as eventing,┬ájumping, polocroosse, hack and dressage competition, which can include other measures of soundness for the purpose, such as boldness, temperament and flow of the stride.
  • Soundness can also be influenced by factors such as the type of working surface, shoeing, dietary balance, body weight and the exercise program, especially as a horse ages. Accidental injuries such as lower limb lacerations, excessive bone modelling responsesa nd abnormal growth and balance in the hooves can all influence the relative soundness for the purpose. A horse with a minor joint or tendon injury, for example, may not be suitable for upper level equestrians ports, but its soundness as a hack will not be compromised. As horses age, natural 'wear and tear' and other degenerative changes, that are not always related or influenced by conformation, can occur and restrict its suitability for long term training and competition.It is always important to select a horse that is sound and strong if you plan to compete over a few years, rather than try to rehabilitate ahorse from the race track which has broken down due to tendon and joint problems and carriest he legacy of unsoundnessin to retirementa nd equestrian competition.
Last modified: Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 8:55 AM