Broodmare down in hind fetlocks

Saw a youngster for sale and found a photo of the dam, HEAVILY pregnant. She was very down in the hind fetlocks and straight through the hock. DSLD springs to mind… is there any other cause of this issue aside from DSLD? Not interested in buying a horse who may have inherited that.


How old is the mare? It would be easier to have an opinion if there were better pictures, but I don’t like what I see in that photo. Can you see the mare in “person”?


Only guessing based on online pedigrees but dam might be a 1997 model roughly. So pretty old but not sure how old in the pic. I’ll ask for more, but could it be anything but DSLD?

I am not a veterinarian, but I don’t know what other condition would present in that manner. The suspensory apparatus can fail from injury but bilateral failure is suspicious.
It looks awfully like DSLD to me, but the only way DSLD can be diagnosed is through a biopsy done by a veterinarian.
Are you able to see this mare’s produce? How many foals has she had, how old is the eldest, and what do they look like? Can you find photos or records of the Sire, Dam and siblings?
I would research meticulously if I was considering a foal from the mare.


Agree w this.

I tried to quote sky’s and this is what happened.:woman_facepalming:

Yes, that’s a good idea.

I’d steer clear. While you can’t diagnose ESPA through photos, the only other thing that would make a horse present like that is bilateral suspensory failure, which isn’t desirable in a broodmare anyway. BSF happens because of things like kissing spine, SI disease, or ESPA/DSLD. Sometimes it can happen because of hoof issues. So it’s a pass in my book.

It is natural as a horse gets older for their pasterns to drop and their hocks to straighten. But not to that degree, no.

My neighbor had an older trakehner mare (20s) who looked just like this in her pasterns. The mare was still some what riding sound but clearly had some suspensory issues. In fact I believe she had an old suspensory injury when she was still competing mid-level dressage in her early teens. My neighbor had bred the mare twice and both of those offspring (one mare, one gelding) are now in their mid-teens. Neither of the offspring have shown any issues whatsoever in their suspensory apparatus. The daughter has been bred, and her filly (now 4) seems to have normal pasterns.

I realize this is a small sample size, and I would have reservations too…but if the mare has produced other offspring that appear normal, it would make me less concerned.

Good point - I saw a well known stallion who has sired I am sure hundreds of jumpers who was down in both hind pasterns in old age too, and I have never heard of his get having DSLA / ESPA

Well this is novel: the breeder just straight up told me this mare has DSLD.


At least they were honest. I would pass though since DSLD is thought to have a genetic component.
Truly unfortunate that they’re breeding that mare.



Could also be they did not know until the mare dropped badly. ESPA tends to be one of those things that has varying degrees of severity. Some horses can’t have a rideable career and it’s obvious early. Other horses have a fine career and go on to breed, only to start demonstrating physical symptoms of the disease in their advanced years.

I’ve heard and seen comments from more than one breeder who has said a mare was fine prior to being pregnant, and “pregnancy hormones” brought out the disease.

well, its saved me an 8.5 hour each way drive to see the horse for sale, so yes - glad I knew, sad the breeding goes on…

For those interested there is a call out for a reeearch project on DSLD