Abnormal bony deposition in horses frequently involves the conversion of ligament tissue to bone, which may be accompanied by considerable thickening and prickly-looking proliferation that is technically called exostosis. Changes of this kind most commonly occur as a reaction to tensional stress—jerking— upon the ligament fibers that bind bones together.
The most common example of this in horses is the condition called “splints,” the development of which is often attributed to poor conformation—offset or “bench” knees, bowlegs, knock-knees or lack of substance. While faulty limb conformation can certainly add to stress on forelimb ligaments, movement—especially torque or twisting force generated during fast turns—is the major cause. The tops of the splint bones form part of the base of the carpal joint in equines, so anytime pressure is differentially applied to either