Let’s see how these hind leg differences might work. Basically the shorter, and therefore straighter the hind limb, the more easily it can deliver the thrust of the hind muscles downward to the ground. The horse with the longer, crooked or Z shaped limbs, can more easily bring his hocks forward and track up, or overstride. A walker with less length to his hind legs or less angulation will have less overstride; but he will perhaps be more functional as a horse used in ranch work, jumping, or speed and action events. The walker with the longer, more angulated hind legs can excel in the show ring or on park trails. This difference is seen in trotting breeds as well. The dressage athletes have longer hind limbs so they can extend at the trot, and an overstride at the walk is of value. The jumpers, however, have shorter hind limbs so they can dig in, thrust, and jump. If you watched the Olympics, you likely noticed that the three day event horses did not perform the dressage patterns as smoothly or as excitingly as did the dressage horses. This is because the dressage stars have conformation conducive to forward stride and fluid movements, not the power necessary for three day eventing.

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