Looking Perfect Not So Popular

The practice of correcting the legs of young horses surgically before they are offered at yearling auctions stirs up controversy. Some people believe it is a good thing because it allows the horses to be sounder when they race. Others say it allows horses with inferior conformation to succeed, making them more likely to contribute their defects to the Thoroughbred's genetic pool. Still others believe it shouldn't be done if it's not disclosed to buyers.

If you have concerns about the surgical correction of conformation, you might be pleased to hear what Mark Taylor of the Taylor Made Sales Agency had to say recently. He believes fewer breeders are having the legs of their young horses surgically corrected.

"You know how fads come and go," he said. "I think breeders were so pressured to produce the perfectly correct individual that they were doing a lot more corrective surgeries three or five years ago. To me, there has maybe been a decline in that. I'm seeing a few more horses that are maybe a little offset in the knee or maybe toe in a hair. I believe buyers look right past that anyway because they know a racehorse is a racehorse and it's not always the one with the absolute pristine conformation in front that's the best. This year, there are a few more yearlings that aren't quite perfect in front, but in general, they are very good-bodied horses."

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