Horses are very different from humans and any animal lover can enjoy learning about horse anatomy through a printable worksheet. These activity sheets are a great way to pass the time in school or at home while also educating students and adults about the unique structures of horses. These free downloads contain a variety of horse-themed activities, from a simple word search to more detailed diagrams and images.
The first section of this worksheet is a simple word search puzzle that contains words related to horse anatomy. The words can be found in the grid, ranging from general terms such as head and legs to more specific ones like snout and eyes. Once all the words are located, they can be written in their correct places on the image.
A more complex worksheet is included that features an image of a horse with its parts labeled. This worksheet allows students and adults to learn the names of many of the key components of the horse. The image includes labels for the head, neck, back, and croup. It also includes the frog, sole, and bars of the hoof. Each of these areas has its own color, so students can easily distinguish the various parts of the hoof from one another.
Unlike the skeletons of most animals, the horse skeleton is not rigid. The muscles that are attached to the skeletal structure provide movement, but the skeleton is the framework upon which they operate. These muscle movements can be seen in a horse running, galloping, and jumping. To do these movements, the muscles attach to the tendons of the bones and cause them to move, creating the appearance of movement.
Another aspect of horse anatomy that differs from most other animals is its respiratory system. The trachea of a horse is larger than that of other domestic animals, and it is not subdivided into lobes. The hindgut of the horse consists of a cecum, colon, and small intestine. The main function of the hindgut is microbial digestion (fermentation) of dietary fiber, which provides a source of energy as well as volatile fatty acids and some B vitamins.
The next step in the evolution of the modern horse was Mesohippus, which lived during the Oligocene period of North America. This ancestor resembled Eohippus in size, but it had a more horselike snout and longer legs. In addition, the cheek teeth-four premolars and three molars in each half of both jaws-had become more similar to those of modern humans. These changes, along with a more horselike skull and limbs, contributed to the development of modern horses. These horses were faster, had a greater capacity for flight, and could run for longer distances than their Eocene predecessors. They were also able to jump farther, which was an important adaptation for them as hunters.