There are a lot of things to learn when it comes to horse anatomy. The more you know, the better you can care for your horse, and make decisions that promote their health and well-being. The following article is an introduction to some of the most important body parts of the horse, including their function and location.
The ribcage is the core of the equine body, protecting vital organs and providing support for the horse’s back and hindquarters. It is also the source of the energy and power that allow a horse to perform various activities.
The forelimbs of a horse are the equivalent to the arms and legs of humans. They are made up of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They are able to move the horse in ways that are not possible for humans, and are essential for the sport of riding.
A horse’s hock is the hind leg’s knee joint, and it works to absorb shock and disperse strain from movement of the forelimbs. It is important that the hock be healthy and strong, as it will be responsible for carrying a rider’s weight.
The neck of a horse is an extremely muscular area that supports the horse’s head. It is a crucial component for both movement and communication, and it can be trained to change its shape to accommodate different disciplines. It is also the part of the body that connects to the horse’s back and croup.
An equine’s stomach is located between the pharynx and the small intestine, entirely within the rib cage. It divides into a glandular portion, known as the cardia, and a non-glandular portion, known as the fundus, with the pylorus lying in between. Feed enters into the stomach through the oesophagus, and it is digested in the pylorus. Then, the feed passes into the small intestine via the stomach’s greater curvature. The oesophagus is connected to the stomach by a small pyloric valve that prevents backflow of food into the oesophagus.
A horse’s tail is a large, flexible, and mobile structure that serves a variety of functions, such as deflecting insects and communicating emotions. A tail that is swishing and cocked up indicates that the horse is alert, while one that remains low may mean that the horse is relaxed.
The hoof is the horny bottom portion of the foot, which is supported by a strong, durable foot bone called the coffin bone. A healthy hoof has a hard, protective outer covering that is built by a process known as keratinization. This layer is made of a protein called keratin, and it is essential for a horse’s ability to walk and run. A horny foot can help prevent a horse from slipping, which can be dangerous for both the animal and its rider. A horny foot is also an excellent shock absorber. A hoof that is overgrown or damaged can lead to a number of issues, such as bruxism and laminitis.