Education Blog

Welcome to the Foal Patrol Education Blog!

Questions or comments? Contact us at

Horse's skeleton: overview

January 16th, 2022

Dr. Roberta Dwyer of the University of Kentucky provides an overview of the horse's skeleton in this video available from The Horse.

Thanks to Dr. Dwyer and The Horse for granting permission to share!

How horses handle winter

January 6th, 2022

In this article, available on The Horse, author Heather Smith Thomas describes how horses are inherently designed to cope with cold weather – from growing thick winter coats to producing heat as they digest forage.

Equine podiatry

December 15th, 2021

In this video, equine podiatrist Shawn Morrell shares his foal assessment with Old Tavern Farm staff.


January 23rd, 2020

In this video, the staff at Old Tavern Farm discuss conformation with the mare Comme Chez Soi.

Conformation is the shape or structure of a horse evaluated by looking at the sum of its bone structure, muscles, and body proportions and how they blend together. A Thoroughbred's conformation is often used to determine if the horse has ideal or acceptable physical traits for sales and racing. 

A few aspects of conformation include the head and eyes, hocks, and front legs. An ideal head proportionally sized to the rest of the body allows for a clear line of sight and balances the horse as it moves forward. Eye placement is also critical, as eyes set too close together may impede vision. 

The hocks are part of the back legs of a horse, similar to the ankle joint on a human skeleton. Hocks are essential for propelling a horse forward, and aligned hocks are ideal for energy conservation. A horse's front legs bear tremendous pressure as they run, and front leg alignment is critical for balanced weight distribution. 

Good overall conformation contributes to efficient performance in racing as well as other sports, minimizing strain on the musculoskeletal system.