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Narrow behind: hind legs set very close together.

Narrow in front: see Legs coming out of the same hole.



Over at the knee: see Buck knee.

Overshot jaw: malformation of the upper jaw resulting in the upper teeth protruding further than the lower teeth. Such a hereditary defect may cause problems with grazing. Also known as "parrot mouth".



Parrot mouth: see Overshot jaw.

Paddling: faulty action in which the leg swings in an outward arc during its flight forward. As the foot is lifted to take a step, the foot breaks over on the outside portion of the toe. Pigeon-toed equines have a tendency to paddle.

Pig eye: small, narrow eye.

Pigeon toe: toes that turn inward.

Plaiting: faulty action where either front or hind feet cross over.

Post-legged: when viewed from the side the hind legs stand too far forward under the body. Angulation through stifle and hock is very straight. The hindleg resembles a straight post.



Rafter hips: when viewed from behind the line of the hips rises to a peak in the centre not unlike the rafters of a house.

Refined: clean cut, elegant quality.

Roach back: a convex (arched) spinal column.

Roman Nose: when viewed from the side this plain nose or profile is convex in shape as compared to a straight or dished (concave) profile.

Rope walking: faulty action where either front or hind feet are planted in a straight line one in front of the other.

Round bone: lack of adequate cannon bone size, or proportionate ligaments and tendons poorly attached to the bone gives the appearance of inadequate "round" bone when legs are viewed from the side, instead of a sturdy, broad flat surface. See flat bone.



Sickle hocks: weak looking hocks from where the cannon bones slope forward under the body. The hind legs are bent to resemble a sickle.

Slab-sided: see flat-sided.

Splay footed: toes that turn outward. Also known as "toe out".

Standing under: when viewed from the side front legs that stand under will be too far back under the body, while hindlegs that stand under will be too far forward under the body.

Stringhalt: a disorder of the nervous system that causes one or both hindlegs to move in a high, jerking action under the body.

Soundness: the condition where the animal is healthy and free from hereditary disease, defects in conformation or injury that may lead to unsoundness so as to diminish his natural usefulness. Unsoundness relates to any deviation in form or function that interferes with the usefulness of the donkey or mule. Bad conformation may not be unsoundness in itself, but may often lead to unsoundness. Donkeys and mules need to be serviceably sound to be work animals.

Breeding soundness in the donkey encompasses not only general health and soundness with relation to inheritable conformation defects, but also soundness of the reproductive systems of both jacks and jennets to enable them to be quality parents that when bred will produce offspring to improve the species.

Sway back: excessively dipped back which may be a conformation defect or one that is often seen in older broodmares because of many pregnancies.



Tied in at the elbow: elbows very close to the ribs.

Tied in below the knee: the circumference of the cannon bone directly below the knee is less than that measurement taken above the fetlock joint.

Toe in: see pigeon toe.

Toe out: see splay foot.



Umbilical hernia: a hernia is the protrusion of an organ, or any tissue, through an abdominal opening. An umbilical hernia is a small protruding sac hanging from the abdominal wall at the location of the naval. Umbilical hernias may be hereditary in nature.

Undershot jaw: see Monkey mouth.



Wasp waist: excessively narrow heart girth.

Well let down: donkey or mule has a body close to the ground.

Well ribbed up: a well rounded body with minimum space between last rib and the hip. Also known as well sprung ribs.

Well sprung ribs: see Well ribbed up.

Winging: faulty action in which the leg swings in an inward arc towards the other leg during its flight forward. If the condition is severe one leg may strike and injure the other.

Wide behind or in front: when viewed from behind the animal displays ample width and muscling through the hindquarters, or in front the animal displays good width of chest.













Back at the knee: a fault in the front limbs which, when viewed from the side, appear concave from the knee down. Such a concave leg is a severe defect which allows little absorption of concussion. Also known as "calf knee".

Base narrow: when viewed from either front or rear the legs are close together with more width shown inside between the tops of the limbs than the hooves.

Base wide: when viewed from either front or rear the legs are wide apart with more width shown inside between the feet than at the tops of the limbs.

Bench Knee: when viewed from the front the cannon bones are not aligned straight with the bones of the forearm, they are offset to the outside of the knee. Concussion then causes considerable stress of the knees.

Bone: the circumference of the cannon bone measured just below the knee. A donkey or mule may have heavy or substantial bone in proportion to the rest of his conformation, adequate bone, or be inferior, light or lacking in bone indicating that it has inadequate (spindly) bone for its size and conformation.

Bow legged: when viewed from in front the legs bow outwards at the knee. When viewed from behind the hocks bow outwards.

Buck Knee: when viewed from the side the knee is bent forward. Also known as "over at the knee".



Calf knee: see Back at the Knee.

Camped behind: or " standing behind" refers to hind legs set too far out behind the body when viewed from the side.

Camped in front: or " standing forward" refers to the front legs set too far out in front of the body when viewed from the side.

Cataract: an opacity which affects the lens of the eye.

Close coupled: a short-backed deep bodied animal.

Club foot: excessively short, upright pastem. May be predisposed to injury from excessive concussion.

Contracted heel: heels that are excessively narrow due to contraction or shrinkage at the sides of the foot, often accompanied with shrinkage of the frog. The condition may be caused by poor hoof care such as continual paring away of the bars of the foot.

Coon foot: an excessively long, low weak pastem attached to a foot with low heel and long toe.

Cow hocks: hocks appear close together when viewed from behind. Often combined with toe-out (splay foot) condition. Severe cow hocks may rub hair off insides of the hocks due to interference as the animal moves.

Cryptorchid: a hereditary condition wherein one of the jack's testicles is retained within the body cavity and does not descend into the scrotal sac. Castration is highly recommended because this is an undesirable hereditary trait.



Ewe neck: a weak neck that looks as if it is attached upside-down, where the crest (top line) of the neck is concave rather than straight.



Flat bone: refers to sturdy flexor tendons strung well behind the cannon bone and parallel to it, giving it a flat, wide appearance when viewed from the side. The opposite of 'round bone'.

Flat-sided: when viewed from the front the animal does not appear to have rounded (well-sprung) ribs, but instead has flat ribs or sides which allow little room for heart and lung capacity. Also known as slab-sided.



Goose rump: when viewed from the side there is excessive slope from highest point of the hindquarters to the point of attachment of the tail.



Hand: the traditional unit for the measurement of height in the equine family. One hand equals four inches. The height is measured from the highest point of the withers in a perpendicular line to the ground.

Heart girth: the depth through the girth of the animal. Also known as heart room. The greater the depth of heart girth the greater the room in the body cavity for the proper functioning of the heart and lungs.

Herring gut: excessive slope of the underside of an animal from elbow to stifle joint giving it the appearance of wasting away to the hindquarters. The body shape is similar to that of a greyhound dog and lacks room for internal organs.



Interference: faulty action caused by poor conformation in which one foot will hit the joint or leg of another usually with resulting injury.



Jughead: a large, usually long head, which is out of proportion compared to the body.



Legs coming out of the same hole: when viewed from the front, excessive narrowness of chest gives the appearance of both legs coming out from the same place. Such an animal will move very close in front and may interfere, rope walk or plait. Also known as "narrow in front".

Light Bone: insufficient cannon bone (substance) for the size of the animal.

Lop ears: floppy, drooping ears placed wide apart on the head.



Monkey mouth: a malformation of the mouth resulting in the bottom teeth protruding further than the upper teeth.