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Question About Camped Out VS Sickle Hocked
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Calypso
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 Posted: Tue Aug 12th, 2008 09:09 pm
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Hello all, I am inquiring about camped out vs sicklehocked due to a recent discussion on a board I frequent.

A quote from "Principles of Conformation Analysis Vol. 3" by Dr. Deb Bennett was brought up by a member, stating:
"... the longer a horse's hind limbs, the more crooked, camped-out, sickle-hocked or over-angulated he's likely to be. These four terms are actually all the same thing- if a crooked-legged horse is posed with hind cannons vertical, people are inclined to call him "camped out"; if posed with hind limbs up under the body, the same horse would be labeled "sickle-hocked."

One of the members has responded to that with the question:


"If what Dr. Bennett states is correct, then why do all other experts state this below about Camped Out horses & Sickle Hocked horses athletic ability? Looks like if they were all one in the same they would have the same ability? And if they don't, then how can they be labeled the same if it effects them differently?

"A horse whose hocks are camped out behind him has trouble reaching beneath his body."

Sickle-hocked horses:
Many horses with this condition tend to be outstanding athletes for brief periods before unsoundness develops."

My theory was that perhaps it is because of the way the muscle has developed to compensate for the horses' chosen position. Like undermuscling and undeveloped toplines on horses that travel hollow. I was wondering if you could shed some light on this subject for us.

I don't want to put you in any ill position by asking this question, and if you prefer me not to relay any answer, I won't,  but I am earnestly curious on the subject.

Sincerely,

Calypso

Last edited on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 09:42 pm by Calypso

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Aug 13th, 2008 02:59 pm
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Calypso, the key to this muddle is the phrase "....why does Dr. Bennett say 'X' when all the other experts say 'Y'". Sometimes when I am doing a convention talk or a clinic, this comes in the form of ".....why haven't I ever heard this before?"

And my answer to this is: how should I know? Maybe the person asking the question is not a reader, and is thus not aware that most facts of horsemanship have been known since before the time of Julius Caesar. Or maybe the questioner just doesn't have the ability to remember basics, or has never been taught basics. Or has difficulty following a logical discussion.

I would say that what's needed for you here, Calypso, is two things:

1. Forget the idea that I am EVER going to sound like anybody else. I perform research on anatomy, biomechanics, and conformation. I am the first person to have posited a certain number of things relating to these subjects. This is my calling and my job, and in it I do as all other scientists do. Why does the fact that these are discoveries -- and therefore new -- bother anyone? Because you are uncomfortable doing, saying, or believing anything that your neighbors don't do, say, or believe? Could that be it? The real questions are: are the things I have said in print true? are they useful? are they logical?

2. You need to study "Principles of Conformation Analysis", as I suggested to you in the other thread you've posted. Then you'll be better equipped to either reply to, or ignore as a total waste of time, what is said on other Forums. As I have mentioned to another recent correspondent, I am not here to solve anybody's problems that arise on other Forums. You just read whatever, and YOU think about it, and YOU decide.

As you begin study of this first book, it may occur, Calypso, that a desire arises within you for more knowledge. I have plenty of help to offer you in that department, what between "Conquerors" and "The Anatomy of Bitting" DVD with Dave Elliott, and a plethora of "Inner Horseman" back issues, and audio dialogues in horsemanship, and The Birdie Book, and more. And when we get the new Website up at the end of the month, there will also be a section called "What Should I Read" that lists 26 pages of titles from my personal library. And this, Calypso, is for the same reason cited by Newton 250 years ago: "....and if it seems that I see farther than other men, it is only because I am standing upon the shoulders of giants." -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 12:17 pm
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Let me offer analogy that might help some of you that are reading  this.  Let us say you have a 32” door frame and you hang a 36” door in it.  When you go to shut the door it clunks the frame because it is to long. So you give it a name and call it camped out behind. Now you open the door in toward the room but it ends up hitting something else but it looks different than the other position so you call it sickle hinged.  The hinge really has nothing to do with it. The real problem in both cases is that the door is out of proportion to the frame no matter what position the door is in.
David Genadek

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 02:25 am
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OK, Dave, that's not a bad picture to help people get the concept. What I am trying to convey, to put it in terms of your "door" analogy, is that you should think of a standard-sized door opening, two and a half ft. wide.

Then think of hanging a door in that opening that is a folding door. Except that the folding door is actually sized to fit an opening that is three ft. wide.

You can still pull the door across, but it will not open out flat. There will always be a bend or angle in it. This is the analogy to sickle-hock.

What I am telling people in the "Principles of Conformation" book is that sickle hock, itself, does not exist. There is no such thing in terms of the anatomical structure. Animals that appear to be sickle-hocked appear that way because their hind limbs are longer than they need to be to fit under the height of the croup, just as the too-big door is wider than it needs to be to fit into the door opening. The bend in the folding door, and the bend at the hock that is called "sickle hock", is there simply and only because the hind legs are long.

The opposite pertains in the case of the so-called "post legged" horse: he is like having a folding door hung in the opening that is 2' 6" wide, and the door measures exactly 2' 6". There is very little angle in the hock of the post-legged horse because the total length of his hind limb is short compared to the height of the croup.

If you were to have two carcasses, one from a horse that was obviously "sickle-hocked" when it was alive, and the other from a horse that was obviously "post-legged", and if you were to cut out the hock joint from both these carcasses, you would not be able to tell which came from which. There is no anatomical and no structural difference. The sole factor that causes the animal to look either sickle-hocked or post-legged is the total length of the hind limb.

I go to some lengths to teach how to measure the total hind limb length (THL) in the book, so will not repeat that here, except to say that to determine it you add up the femur length, gaskin length, hock + hind cannon length, and pasterns + hoof. These are the functional segments of a horse's hind limb. When you sum them, you know how long the hindlimb is. You then measure the height of the horse's croup and run a ratio between the two measurements.

Obviously, in measuring the height of the croup, you are measuring the plumb-line distance from there to the ground. This represents a "standard least distance" to the ground. When you compare a post-legged horse's THL to this, you'll get a ratio that will be something like 100:90, because the hip socket is below the top of the croup. When you compare a sickle-hocked horse's THL to this, you'll get a ratio that will be over about 100:110, because of the excessive length of the animal's hind limbs.

Horses that have extremely long hind limbs make this principle obvious. In the books, I used an anonymous photo of a Tennessee Walker stallion that exemplifies extremely long hind limbs. You can, however, find some Quarter Horses (that usually have moderately short to quite short hindlimb THL) that will stand as if sickle-hocked. In fact, you can find TB's and horses of just about any breed, that would have moderate THL's and that would not normally stand "sickle hocked", but that do so. All horses that do this will have hind heels run under and are in need of better A-P hoof balance all around. When their imbalances are corrected, they will both stand and move normally.

It is noticeable, not among the greater lights, but among the lesser, imitative works that deal with conformation, that there will be a kind of photographic witch-hunt going on so that the author can include a photo of each and every supposed conformation "flaw". You will not find this in Horace Hayes, Goubaux and Barrier, or Gustav Rau, but you will find it in the "horse contest judging" manuals. To make "sure" they have included a "sickle hocked" horse, the author will take a horse and back him up over his hind legs and then shoot the picture. You can force almost any horse, in this manner, to look sickle-hocked.

But I am telling you that there is no such thing as sickle-hock. Folks need to stop looking for a theoretical idea, and start looking at what will help them in understanding why some horses are good at some things and why others are good at other things, and one of those factors would be THL.

Likewise, in an opposite manner, if you have a horse that is very long in the hind limbs -- has a very high THL -- that animal not only may be obviously crooked or over-angulated in the hind limbs, but may stand rump-high as well: a stance which will inevitably make him look clumsy and out of balance. Horses that have a level overall body balance indeed look much better. The great-granddaddy of all horse-sales techniques is to teach the horse to "stretch", and then take his photo when he has those hind limbs stretched out behind him. Not only does this stance automatically lower the height of the croup relative to the base of the neck, thereby instantly making the overall body balance level or even uphill, it also takes all the angulation out of the hind limbs, thereby effectively disguising the animal's crooked hind legs. I have published many times (Equus Magazine "Do photos lie? You bet they do"), and in the Inner Horseman (2006 issue where I review the ASB, Morgan, TWH, and Foxtrotter) how to "decompose" a cropped and tipped photo, which is a more modern and really rather unsophisticated technique. But it is almost impossible to "unstretch" a horse in a photo. The only way to correct it is for the prospective buyer to take an honest photo of the horse, with the owner's permission.

To cover the last base here, it is also possible for a horse to have a rump-high stance not because he has a high THL but because he has short front legs. This is often the case with QH's; they tend to have short forearms particularly. The same is frequently true with Draft horses. In the old days, sellers disguised the fact by standing the horse up on a low box about 8 inches to 1 ft. high, or standing him on a slight incline, and then taking the photo from a position about 3/4ths to the rear. This magnified the powerful hindquarters, which is a selling point in both these sorts of horses, while putting the fact of the box more or less into the background of the photo, where it would be less noticeable. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 10:16 am
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Deb,
    The folding door is much better.
    If your trying to understand the relationship of the leg leangth to the frame it is in why don't you use the hip socket to the ground for your ratio? What more does the measurement from the croup tell us?
Dave

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 10:37 am
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Nothing more. It's just much easier to measure, on a practical basis, from the top of the croup to the ground. The hip socket is difficult to locate accurately in many photos.

Many of the techniques I teach in "Principles of Conformation" are presented for the same reason: so that you can do it off of photos. Photo analysis can be just as accurate as live measurement, but you have to use different approaches for photo vs. measuring live horses with tape measure. If you work with photos, you can analyze far more horses in the same amount of time as if you tried to do it live. -- Dr. Deb

Calypso
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 Posted: Sat Aug 16th, 2008 02:23 pm
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Hello, the door analogy really helped put things in better perspective. Thanks!

Calypso.

Lallanslover
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 Posted: Sat Aug 16th, 2008 04:57 pm
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Tra la...my 3 year old warmblood, Marik (over grown...standing at 17.1hh in these pictures, he was expected to make 16.2hh tops at full maturity). He's with me for life, but I doubt very much he will ever be more than a lightly worked horse (even with correct exercise to strengthen him as best as possible, and given time to really mature before working under saddle, I doubt I'll aim to basically back him before the end of his fifth year, if at all).

He has over long hind limbs, among other faults, and associated weakness throughout his body. The one area that remains 'strong' is his trainability. His birdie is most certainly happy to remain focussed on his handler and the task at hand. My friend who is holding him in the pictures is from a traditional UK showing background, so is handling him as such (hence the 'poses')...

I'm sure Dr Deb could give a great evaluation and point out his conformation weaknesses, if she doesn't mind doing so from the pictures. (After all, it's not so easy when pictures can indeed be manipulated to the horse owners advantage. These are shots taken to enter a charity photo show for fun).













Last edited on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 05:13 pm by Lallanslover

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Aug 16th, 2008 07:17 pm
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Lallan -- I do very much mind being asked to do conformation analyses. I don't do 'em except privately, in person. What we are here to do is to discuss PRINCIPLES. When you understand the principle of something, then you can do it yourself. That's my goal. I am not going to be here forever. A long time, maybe, but certainly not forever. You must learn yourselves.

You are too hard on your horse, in the silly way that so many owners are. This is the result, I often think, of excessive attachment to the animal; what psychiatrists call 'cathexis' -- cathexis is what little kids do, mentally and emotionally, with their teddy bear; to them it is more than it is, it is alive and has a personality. It is, of course, perfectly excellent and necessary to love your horse. But you also have to be able to see him straight.

Your animal does not have excessively long hind limbs. I attach a photo of an animal that does. You readily see the difference.

If you had actually read and studied "Principles of Conformation Analysis" you would know how to make the relevant assessment. The ONE AND ONLY position in which accurate visual assessment of the length of a horse's hind limbs can be made -- thus allowing us to skip the tedium and uncertainties involved in measuring the four hindlimb segments -- is to stand him up as you have in your lower photo, with at least one hind cannon segment vertical. You then drop a plumbline from the point of the animal's butt and see where it "cuts" the hindlimb whose cannon is vertical. If it "cuts" ahead of the cannon bone, the animal has long hind limbs and, if stood up in certain ways, the excessive angulation that this entails will become readily obvious. If the line bisects the vertical cannon, the animal has hind limbs as long as we would generally like to see in a general-purpose riding horse. If the line just scrapes the back aspect of the vertical cannon, this is the ideal THL. If the line falls behind the rear aspect of the vertical cannon, the animal is post-legged.

Now, my dear, I know you did not mean any harm here, but I want you to look at your own photos and decide for yourself what the case is. I don't know why you say the animal is "weak"; there isn't a hair on him that looks weak to me. Please consider the suggestion (I make this out of personal knowledge of a phase I had to grow out of) that the continual criticism of one's own horse in the ears of an audience has more to do with excusing faults and deficiencies in one's abilities as a trainer, than it has to anything actually pertaining to the horse. It's also a slick way to simultaneously appear to be offering an example for open criticism, and yet actually present with the opportunity to brag on, one's animal; because when the expert then says, 'my dear, you're wrong to criticize him', this is as close to praise as the owner figures she can probably get. In all honesty -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: TWH with crooked hind limbs cprsd.jpg (Downloaded 328 times)

johned
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 Posted: Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 11:33 pm
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camped-out/sickle hock.   there is a differance between sickle hock and camped out behind. draw two parallel lines perpendiculsr to the ground. One from the coxofemoral joint (will call line A ) the other from the farthest "point"of the semitendinosus(line B).

CAMPED-OUT: Line A will pass through the femorotibial joint then travel to the ground not touching any other joint or part of the body. Line B will travel through the tarsus seperating the calcaneus and talus(lateral),down paasing in front of the sesmoids, through the coffin joint dividing the foot aprox 80/20 (A/P)

SICKLE-HOCK:line A will run through the coffin joint dividing the foot 60/40.line B will run through the tarsus and behind the sesmoids not touching.

 

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 11:45 pm
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John, have you looked at the pictures in "Principles of Conformation Analysis"? Or have you read any of the more recent articles by me in Equus Magazine that dealt with this topic? I think you'll find there's quite a lot of interest there for you, if you're searching for useful ways to look at a horse's hind limb. -- Dr. Deb

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 Posted: Wed Apr 25th, 2012 08:08 am
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Question: Dr. Deb, my mare has hind legs that are configured very similarly to the horse in the photo you attached above. I have known for a while that she has not the best hind leg conformation.

If proper training occurs, and the horse is taught to move straight and using the hindquarters correctly, can there be improvements in the appearance of the angulation of the hind legs? Obviously the legs will never become shorter, but given an increase in muscle mass and the ability of the horse to use his hindquarters in a conceptually correct way for a riding horse, what can happen with the hind legs? I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this question, perhaps I'm not asking it right, but hopefully you understand what I'm trying to get at...

Indy
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 Posted: Wed Apr 25th, 2012 08:34 am
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I wonder what happened to the horse in the photos in the beginning of this thread. He would be 7 now.
Clara


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