In order to be a true horse lover you must fully understand all of their working parts. Anatomy is closely linked to horse health and understanding the basic lingo is a must. Understanding these definitions will make speaking with your vet easier than ever before.
Horse Anatomy Defined
You see the picture, now learn what they all mean.
Poll – The point where the head meets the neck, just behind the ears.
Crest – The top portion of the neck, generally more pronounced in studs.
Mane – Long hair which grows from the withers to the forelock and lies on either side of the neck.
Neck – Connects at the ears and runs down to the shoulder.
Withers – The highest point of the back, just above the shoulder blades. Horse height is measured at the withers.
Back – Begins at the withers and extends to the last thoracic vertebrae.
Loin – The area just behind where a saddle sits, the space from the last vertebrae to the croup.
Croup – Begins at the top of the hip and extends down to the dock where the tail begins.
Dock – The point where the rump and the tail connect.
Hindquarters – The large & muscular area of the upper hind legs, behind the barrel and above the stifle.
Point of Buttock – The rounded edge of the rump.
Tail – Not just long, flowing hair. The tail includes the coccygeal vertebrae & the surrounding muscle and skin from which it grows.
Hock – The bending joint (corresponds to the knee on the front legs) on the hind leg.
Chestnut – A fleshy callous found on the inside of each leg.
Gaskin – The large muscle just above the hock on the inside of hind legs.
Stifle – The joint where the hind legs connect to the body.
Flank – Area where hind legs meet the barrel just past the stifle and just before the ribcage.
Barrel – Body of horse, essentially the area enclosed in the ribcage.
Elbow – The joint where the front leg meets the body of the horse.
Chestnut – A horny growth on the inside of each front leg.
Ergot – A horny growth on the back side of the fetlock joint.
Fetlock – The “ankle” joint (although really closer to the ball of the foot in anatomy) connecting the hoof to the leg.
Hoof – The foot, Hard on the outside and softer on the inside. The hoof is a harder version of our fingernails.
Coronet Band – Ring of soft tissue around the top of the hoof where it meets the skin.
Pastern – The space between the coronet band and the fetlock.
Cannon – The long, slender space between the knee and fetlock joints.
Knee – The bending joint of the front legs.
Forearm – The area between the knee and the elbow of the front legs
Heart Girth – Or girth The area just behind the elbow, where the saddle girth sits. Should be the largest diameter of the horses barrel.
Breast – The muscle mass between the forearms that covers the front of the chest.
Point of Shoulder – The frontmost part of the horses chest.
Shoulder – The space between the withers and the point of shoulder
Throatlatch – Where the windpipe meets the jaw. Often where the strap of a bridle lays.
Cheek – The bottom circular portion of the horses face.
Nostril – The outside of a horses nose.
Muzzle – Chin, mouth and nose are all parts of the muzzle.
Forehead – The flat space between a horses eyes.
Forelock – A section of the mane which grows at the top of the forehead.
Now you know it, share it. Make sure everyone you know understands their horses anatomy too.