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Parts of the Horse--The Pastern

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Parts of the Horse--The Pastern

#4: The pastern

K. Blocksdorf 2006
Definition: The pastern is made up of two bones that extend downwards from the fetlock. The upper bone is longer and the shorter lower bone extends into the hoof where it joins to the pedal bone inside.

The angle and length of the pastern is important to strength and smoothness of gaits. Too long a pastern, while providing supple shock absorbency for a smooth ride, may not stand up to hard work. A short pastern will be strong but the horse’s gaits may be choppier. Ideally the angle of the pastern on the forelegs should be about 45 degrees. The pasterns on the hind legs will have slightly more angulation.

Examples:
The horse had very choppy strides because of its short upright pasterns.

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