Equine Anatomy

 

 

Anatomy of the Horse

  • Barrel: the body of the horse,enclosing the rib cage and the major internal organs
  • Buttock: the part of the hindquarters behind the thighs and below the root of the tail
  • Cannon or cannon bone: the area between the knee or hock and the fetlock joint, sometimes called the “shin” of the horse, though technically it is the metacarpal III
  • Chestnut: a callosity on the inside of each leg
  • Chin groove: the part of the horse’s head behind the lower lip and chin, the area that dips down slightly on the lower jaw
  • Coronet or coronary band: the ring of soft tissue just above the horny hoof that blends into the skin of the leg
  • Crest: the upper portion of the neck where the mane grows
  • Croup: the topline of the hindquarters, beginning at the hip, extending proximate to the sacral vertebrae and stopping at the dock of the tail (where the coccygeal vertebrae begin); sometimes can be called the “rump”
  • Dock: the living part of the tail, consisting of the coccygeal vertebrae, muscles and ligaments.
  • Elbow: The joint of the front leg at the point where the belly of the horse meets the leg.
  • Ergot: a callosity on the back of the fetlock
  • Face: the area between the forehead and the tip of the upper lip
  • Fetlock: sometimes called the “ankle” of the horse
  • Flank: where the hind legs and the barrel meet, specifically the area right behind the rib cage and in front of the stifle joint
  • Forearm: the area of the front leg between the knee and elbow
  • Forehead: the area between the poll, the eyes and the arch of the nose
  • Forelock: the continuation of the mane, which hangs from between the ears down onto the forehead of the horse
  • Frog: the highly elastic wedge-shaped mass on the underside of the hoof
  • Gaskin: the large muscle on the hind leg, just above the hock, below the stifle, like the calf of a human
  • Girth or heartgirth: the area right behind the elbow of the horse, where the girth of the harness would go
  • Hindquarters: the large, muscular area of the hind legs, above the stifle and behind the barrel
  • Hock: the large joint on the hind leg
  • Hoof: the foot of the horse
  • Jugular Groove: the line of indentation on the lower portion of the neck, can be seen from either side, just above the windpipe; beneath this area run the jugular vein, the carotid artery and part of the sympathetic trunk
  • Knee: the large joint in the front legs, above the cannon bone
  • Loin: the area right behind the saddle area, going from the last rib to the croup, anatomically approximate to the lumbar spine
  • Mane: long and relatively coarse hair growing from the dorsal ridge of the neck
  • Muzzle: the mouth, chin, and nostrils of the face
  • Pastern: the connection between the coronet and the fetlock, made up of the middle and proximal phalanx
  • Poll: the poll joint at the beginning of the neck, immediately behind the ears
  • Root of the tail or root of the dock: the point where the tail is “set on” Sometimes also called the “dock”
  • Shoulder: made up of the scapula and associated muscles, runs from the withers to the point of shoulder (the joint at the front of the chest, i.e. the glenoid); the angle of the shoulder has a great effect on the horse’s movement and jumping ability, and is an important aspect of equine conformation
  • Splints: bones found on each of the legs, on either side of the cannon bone (8 total); these bones support the corresponding carpal bones in the forelimb, and the corresponding tarsal bones in the hindlimb
  • Stifle: corresponds to the knee of a human, consists of the articulation between femur and tibia, as well as the articulation between patella and femur
  • Tail: the long hairs which grow from the dock; may also include the dock
  • Throatlatch: the point at which the windpipe meets the head at the underside of the jaw, corresponding to where the eponymous part of a bridle goes.
  • Withers: the highest point of the thoracic vertebrae, the point just above the tops of the shoulder blades, seen best with horse standing square and head slightly lowered; the height of the horse is measured at the withers.

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