When it comes to understanding the equine skeleton, there are about 205 bones that make up the horse’s body. This makes for a large and complex structure, but there are some parts of the horse that can be easy to identify. Seeing them in this diagram can help kids understand how the bones of a horse fit together to support movement, and provide a stable base for hooves that are healthy and strong.
The neck is the equine part that goes from the shoulders to the withers. It contains seven cervical vertebrae, and is shaped differently in different horses. It is a critical part of the horse, and it is what enables the rider to maneuver the horse into the positions needed for such movements as trotting, cantering, and a piaffe.
A horse’s back is another important part of its body, and it carries the weight of the rider. It is supported by the ribcage and spine, and it has a very deep curve. It can be a good indicator of a horse’s level of fitness, and it allows for powerful moves like the extended trot and the piaffe.
Horses’ hind legs are also important to their movement, and the hock is the joint on the back leg that acts much like a human knee. It is crucial for the shock-absorbing function of a horse. The gaskin is a muscled area of the rear leg between the stifle and the hock.
A horse’s hoof is a unique part of its anatomy, and there are several parts that make up the hoof: the wall, the frog, the sole, and the white line. The hoof wall is the part that shows up on the outside of a horse’s foot, and it is made up of navacular bones and pedal bones. The frog is the inner portion of the hoof, and it is separated from the sole by the periople — an area that can be seen as the cuticle of a fingernail.
The tail is a important horse part, and it can be used to signal the horse’s emotional state. For example, a tail that is constantly swinging is an indication of fear or irritation. The dock is the starting point of a horse’s tail, and it includes the skirt and the dock hair. A tail that is high up can be a sign of alertness, and a low tail indicates that the horse is relaxed.