Trivia Challenge: You Be the Judge!

Challenge yourself! Have fun and learn interesting tidbits about horses and horsemanship with Horse&Rider’s Trivia Challenge, featured in The Ride newsletter.

Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

1. ‘Calf knees’ is a term that means a horse is

A) well-built for calf roping.

B) knock-kneed.

C) back at the knees.

2. When a horse’s hocks point inward, he’s said to be

A) hock-blocked.

B) cow-hocked.

C) sickle-hocked.

3. Short, upright pasterns make for a

A) long stride.

B) rhythmic stride.

C) choppy stride.

4. The ideal throatlatch is

A) sleek and open.

B) thick and ‘meaty.’

C) difficult to locate.

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. C is correct. The term calf knees describes a conformation fault where the forelegs, when viewed from the side, don’t carry straight down from the shoulder blade to the hoof. The knees sits a little behind the shoulder, hence the alternate term back at the knees. This fault weakens the knee joint and can predispose the horse to lameness.

2. B is correct. When viewed from behind, a horse whose hindleg cannon bones travel outward from his hocks is said to be cow-hocked (cows typically have this conformation). This places the hocks too close together, which can predispose the horse to injury plus lessen his hind-end propulsion.

3. C is correct. Short, upright pasterns can’t absorb concussion as well as slightly longer, more sloping pasterns do; this can result in a choppy stride and increased susceptibility to lameness.

4. A is correct. The junction between a horse’s head and neck should be “clean,” meaning sleek and open, as opposed to thick, “meaty,” or coarse. A clean throatlatch makes it easier for a horse to flex at the poll, which is necessary for collection. A thick, coarse throatlatch may restrict air and blood flow when the horse is asked to flex.

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And if you’d like to learn more about evaluating conformation—from a real judge’s perspective—click here.

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