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Horse anatomy indicated externally

Poll Forehead Muzzle Nostril Cheek or Jaw Barrel Elbow Throat Latch Shoulder Point of Shoulder Heart Girth Chest Forearm Knee Cannon Flexor tendon Pastern Coronet Hoof Fetlock Ergot Sesamoid Underline Flank Stifle gaskin Hock Hindquarters Point of Buttock Dock Croup Hip Loin Back Withers neck Crest Bridle Path Breast

Click on the part names

Back:- The back extends from the base of the withers to where the last rib is attached. Back to horse

Barrel:- The barrel (chest, rib cage, ribs) should be narrower at the shoulders and wider at the point of coupling (loins). This area encloses the heart and lungs and a big barrel probably does mean a slightly larger heart and lung capacity in relation to size, but this is of no benefit to a performance horse unless all else is equal, including soundness of limbs. A good girth means a horse is well rounded and deep through the barrel, so will take a large girth.  Back to horse

Breast:- The breast is a well-muscled area below the neck and between the front legs, covering the front of the chest, which is a good site for intramuscular injections. Back to horse

Bridle path:- The 4" to 6" area between the forelock and the mane that is usually clipped. Back to horse

Cannon:- The cannon bone lies between the knee and fetlock joint, and is visible from the front of the leg. It should be straight. Back to horse

Cheek or Jaw:- The cheek reflects the flat slab of the lower jaw-bone beneath. Just up and underneath the angle of the jaw against the inner surface is where you feel a horse’s pulse. Back to horse

Chest:- An ideal chest is deep and contains the space necessary for the vital organs. A narrow chest can lead to interference with the front legs. Chest muscles should be well developed and form an inverted "V". The prominence of chest muscling depends on the breed. Back to horse

Coronet:- The coronet is the band around the top of the hoof from which the hoof wall grows. Back to horse

Crest:- Moderately lean in mares but inclined to be more full in stallions. Curved top-line of the neck. Back to horse

Croup:- The croup (rump) lies between the loin and the tail. When one is looking from the side or back it is the highest point of the hindquarters. The part of a quadruped that corresponds to the human buttocks. Back to horse

Dock:- The solid bony part of the tail of an animal as distinguished from the hair. Back to horse

Elbow:- The elbow is a bony prominence lying against the chest at the beginning of the forearm. Back to horse

Ergot:- The horny excrescence just at the fetlock joint, from which the fetlock itself depends. Some-times applied to the castors or chestnuts higher up the leg. Castors— just above the knees and below the hocks. Also called chestnuts (the chestnut, also known as a night-eye) and sometimes ergots. Back to horse

Fetlock:- The fetlock is the joint between the cannon bone and the pastern. The fetlock joint should be large and clean. Back to horse

Flank:- The flank is the area below the loin, between the last rib and the massive muscles of the thigh.  The side between ribs and hipbone. A soft part of the abdomen which has no bony protection underneath, so is very vulnerable to penetration injury. A serious stake wound in this area can result in the release of abdominal contents Back to horse

Flexor Tendons:- The flexor tendons run from the knee to the fetlock and can be seen prominently lying behind the cannon bone, when it runs parallel to the cannon bone it constitutes the desired "flat bone". Back to horse

Forearm:- The forearm should be well muscled, extending from the elbow to the knee. Back to horse

Forehead:-  The space between the horse's eyes, extending from the top of the head at the ears down to the top of the horse's nose. The forehead should be broad, full and flat. Back to horse

Gaskin:- The gaskin is the region between the stifle and the hock. Back to horse

Girth:- This is the point at which horses should be measured to determine the heart girth, which can be used to determine the horse's weight. Knowing your horse's weight allows you to accurately monitor overall health, feed rations and correct doses of medication when needed. A simple and reasonably accurate method to determine your horse's weight is by use of a height/weight tape measure: 1. Measure around the girth making sure the horse is breathing out when doing so. 2. Measure the body length from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump. You can use the formula below to calculate the weight, or enter your measurements in the boxes and have it done for you. (See Here) Back to horse

Enter your measurements in the boxes below

Measurements can be in:inches orcentimetres

Girth:   Length:    

Hindquarters:- The hindquarters give power to the horse. They should be well-muscled when viewed from the side and rear. Back to horse

Hip:- The "hip" is judged from the point of the hip to the point of the buttock. Technically, the hip is part of the pelvis, but the term "hip" is commonly understood to mean this angle. The hip should be long to provide a long stride in the hind legs. The three pelvic bones – the ilium, ischium and pubis – are all fused and form a ring on the left and right sides, joined in the middle by an immovable joint called a symphysis. The tops of the left and right ilial wings are called the tubera sacrale, and form the most prominent region of the hindquarters, the so-called jumper's bump. The ilia are curved bones that, at their widest point, form the so-called hipbones. This is a misnomer, because the real hip joint is positioned much further back, and their correct name is the tubera coxae. Back to horse

Hock:- The hock is the joint between the gaskin and the cannon bone, in the rear leg. The backward-bending joint on the hind-legs, formed by the junction of the shank, or cannon bone, and the bone of the upper leg, or tibia. The bony protuberance at the back of the hock is called the point of hock. Back to horse

Hoof:- The hoof refers to the horny wall and the sole of the foot. The foot includes the horny structure and the pedal bones and navicular bones, as well as other connective tissue. Back to horse


Knee:- The knee is the joint between the forearm and the cannon bone. Back to horse

Loin:- The loin or coupling is the short area joining the back to the powerful muscular croup (rump). Back to horse

Muzzle:- The head should taper to a small muzzle, the lips should be firm and the lower lip should not have a tendency to sag. Back to horse

Neck:- Lightweight horses should have reasonably long necks for good appearance and proper balance. It should blend smoothly into the withers and the shoulders and not appear to emerge between the front legs. Back to horse

Nostrils:- The nostrils should be capable of wide dilation to permit the maximum inhalation of air, yet be rather fine. The nostrils are a part of the horse's nose. It smells with them. The horse's nostrils are very tender and soft, and must be cleaned regularly. This can be done with a damp soft sponge. Wipe gently inside the horse's nostrils to clean out any debris. Smell also enables the horse to detect undesirable items in its food. It is also important in social interactions, when horse greet friends or identify strangers by touching muzzle to muzzle. Back to horse

Pastern:- The pastern extends from the fetlock to the top of the hoof. Back to horse

Point of Buttock:- When viewed from the rear, both sides of the hindquarters together are called the quarters. Buttock can be synonymous with quarter, or it may just mean the most rearward part of the quarter. Generally, the thigh is the part immediately above the gaskin. Haunch is another word sometimes used to describe the whole hindquarter area. Back to horse

Point of Shoulder:- The point of shoulder is a hard, bony prominence, surrounded by heavy muscle mass. Back to horse

Poll:- The poll is the bony prominence lying between the ears. Except for the ears, it is the highest point on the horse's body when it is standing with its head up. Back to horse

Sesamoid:- The two small bones that lie at the back of the fetlock joint are called the sesamoid bones. These bones play an important role as part of the suspensory apparatus supporting the fetlock joint. This apparatus also includes ligaments that lie at the back of the cannon bone and pastern. The suspensory apparatus acts like a sling on to which the fetlock joint sits and, as a result, much of the weight of the horse. This system allows the horse to bear weight without having to use much muscle effort. Back to horse

Shoulder:- Shoulders should be overlain with lean flat muscle, and blend well into the withers. Back to horse

Stifle:- The stifle is the joint at the end of the thigh corresponding to the human knee. Back to horse

Throat Latch:- The neck should be fine at the throat latch to allow the horse ease of flexure. Back to horse

Underline:- The belly. Back to horse

Withers:- The withers is the prominent ridge where the neck and the back join. At the withers, powerful muscles of the neck and shoulders attach to the elongated spines of the second to sixth thoracic vertebrae. The height of a horse is measured vertically from the withers to the ground, because the withers is the horse's highest constant point. The highest point of the withers is used in measuring the horse's height in "hands". Hand — unit of measurement (one hand = 4") of the height of a horse, taken from the bottom of the front hoof to the top of the withers. Back to horse

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