|Peruvian Paso 6 yrs old
Question: This is a conformation question. I noticed there was already one similar, but I need to rephrase and understand better. I just bought a Peruvian Paso mare. She has been used strictly as a broodmare so far, but after she foals out her andalusian cross foal, I had planned on training her to ride (just for light trail work).
When she came off the trailer here, I noticed that she was somewhat
dropped in the pasterns. Not as much as the other post indicated,
but dropped so that her pasterns are at
I don't have a lot of experience with gaited horses. Since that
time, I've seen several breeds of gaited horses all having some sort of
lower pastern (what I would call
Do gaited horses, in general, have a lower, dropped pastern, or is this a particularly common fault in gaited horses, or am I just running into some type of fluke where the gaited horses I'm seeing all happen to have this conformational flaw?
From Panelist Annete
Ok. Let's sort this out. Your mare has pasterns that are lower than other horses, probably trotting breeds, that you've seen, but then you notice that other gaited horses have lower angled pasterns in general than trotting horses, so you begin to think perhaps it is normal, but then someone says this is a flaw so now you're going ARGH!
You are right that gaited horses in general have lower more flexible
pasterns than trotting horses. This is as it should be because the angle
of the pastern should follow the average of the angles of the shoulder
and the elbow, or to put it more simply, usually the angle of the pastern
should be about 2 degrees below the angle of the shoulder (which then is
So, at what point does the low angle of the pastern become a flaw? Answer: When the low pasterns are detrimental to the horse's short and/or long term usefulness. Where is this seen most often? Answer: In Peruvian Pasos. What correlates with too low, too long over flexible pasterns? Answer: DSLD. Do pasterns that are low and long to the point of excess contribute to DSLD? Answer: Maybe, or perhaps they are a symptom of incipient DSLD. At this point, no one is sure. All that is known at this time is that there is a correlation between the very long pastern conformation and DSLD. What the heck is DSLD? Answer: Go to the following web sites:
Follow the links on those pages to very detailed information. There is an article "Mechanical Observation of the Peruvian Horse" by Ed Houston that is an outstanding discussion of the critical conformational flaw that is a sure fire diagnosis of impending DSLD in a horse, being that the point of the hip is located forward of the rear lumbar joint (the lumbosacral joint). That article should be required reading for all gaited horse owners, and certainly for all Peruvian Paso owners, or wannabes.
I realize this is not a "bright line" answer to your question about your specific horse, but I hope it provides you with some direction in which to take your research to answer your question as to your particular mare.
Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts.
Annette L. Gerhardt
From Panelist Liz
No it is not normal or considered correct conformation for any breed to have long or dropped pasterns. It can be seen in every breed but is not an acceptable trait.
IMO I am seeing it on more Peruvians than in the other breeds. This is not correct for the breed and I think it has come into the breed due to some poor choices is breeding practices.
It is something to be careful of and I recommend using support boots on a horse when riding and know the limitations of stress on a horse with this problem. I would consult a good vet as to how much work and stress your horse situations is limited to.
From Panelist Lee
No, gaited horses in general do not have lower, dropped pasterns. It is not a particularly common fault in most gaited breeds, but it is more common among Peruvians than among others. Some gaited horses are trimmed and shod with low heels, long toes, which may make their pasterns appear somewhat lower than other non-gaited horses. Gaited horses in general should have the same sort of conformation as it relates to soundness as non- gaited breeds. You may indeed be witnessing some atypical horses.
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