Friday, April 5, 2013

C is for cow-hocked

A horse's hocks are like human knee joints, but they're on the hind legs. These joints are important because if they are not at the proper angle, it makes things difficult or uncomfortable for the horse. If the horse's hocks were turned notably inward, they were called "cow-hocked." What's so bad about that? The horse's hocks were naturally weakened, so other parts of his leg were constantly under stress. The horse would be prone to lameness because of the hock deformity.  Sometimes the blacksmith, or farrier, can put special corrective shoes on a horse with this defect, to lessen the pressure on the lower part of the horse's legs. You may know that my dad was an accomplished horseman for decades. He always avoided cow-hocked horses and advised his children to do the same.

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