I'm dealing with an OTTB that has a knee chip. He'd raced 12 times, but his performance records look like the chip was there throughout his career. I've been trying to find if there are any confirmation factors that pre-dispose a horse to knee chips. He came in with the typical long-toe/low heal trim. I'm trying to determine if there might be things that can help prevent future knee chips in this horse (a gelding, so not a breeding candidate).
Dear Ohio -- "Calf kneed" or "back at the knee" conformation predisposes to the type of chip in the "knee" (carpus) that is called an osselet. Osselets are bone chips that spall off the anterior edges of the carpal bones, especially those of the upper row.
If you don't know what "calf kneed" conformation/bone structure looks like, it is illustrated in my "Principles of Conformation Analysis" book set, obtainable for small money through the Bookstore section of this Website (click "home page" above and then click on "bookstore").
Any horse, however, even one that is not "calf kneed", can be forced into a calf-kneed stance by having long toe/low heel, particularly when the heels are run under. It's important for the benefit of any horse to get the feet into ideal antero-posterior balance, but it is twice as important if the horse is actually structurally calf-kneed.
This is because there is no "cure" for structural calf-knee -- one reason this conformational flaw is considered a fatal flaw for breeding and a serious flaw in any horse intended for any kind of work. The only way to support calf-kneed or back-on-the-knee conformation is to get the fore hoofs in correct A-P balance. For good help in doing this, go to Gene Ovnicek's website and/or attend one of his seminars -- http://www.hopeforsoundness.com.
You can also purchase the 2003 "Inner Horseman" back issue (again at our Bookstore section) that focuses specifically on limb and hoof anatomy and function, and goes into quite a bit of helpful detail.
Thanks for your response. I'll take a critical look at him to see if he is back at the knee. If he is, it would be very slight, because I haven't noticed it so far, but wasn't specifically looking for it either. His toes were VERY long compared to what I'm accustomed to (I'm a barefoot person).