TOBA: Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
Owner Education

Conformation Essentials: Walking Stride

Illustrations courtesy of the American Youth Horse Council's Horse Industry Handbook

Front/Rear view - The horse should move straight toward and away from you. Observe whether the horse toes-in or toes-out as it walks. In example A, a horse who's legs and feet are aligned properly will stride straight ahead. In example B, a horse who toes out will have a tendency to "wing in," increasing the likelihood that the swinging leg will strike the supporting leg during the stride. In example C, a horse who toes in has a tendency to "wing out" or "paddle, increasing stress on the outside of the limbs.

Side view - Check for the overstep, meaning do the hind feet reach beyond the front hoof prints? Observe the horse's head. Be certain it does not bob unusually when walking, as this may indicate soreness or lameness.

Walk - Look for a smooth, long stride. Avoid yearlings that walk "wide" in front.

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