When you photograph horses, you want to create images that showcase their best qualities. Understanding the main parts of the horse can help you do that. While full body shots and portraits are a staple of the genre, you can also capture images of specific body parts such as eyes, ears or bridle detail. The more you know about the horse, the better you can train it and pose it. This knowledge is essential if you’re shooting for a competition and need to show off the horse’s strengths.
The muzzle is the horse’s face area that includes the chin, lips and nostrils. It is sensitive and has whiskers that help it feel its surroundings. The neck is the area that extends from the head to the shoulder area and ends at the withers, which is a bony ridge on the top of the spine. There are seven cervical vertebrae in the neck. It may be lean and muscular, or it can be soft and curved depending on the horse’s build and discipline.
The hindquarters are the muscled portion of the rear end of the horse. The croup is the muscled part that transfers power from the hindquarters to move the horse forward. The tail is located at the end of the hindquarters and long hairs called the dock are below it.
To be a good sport, a horse should stand squarely, with the front cannon bones closest to you and the back cannon bones farthest from you being perpendicular to the ground. This will make it easier to judge the horse’s angles of movement, which is important for performance.
You’ll want to avoid using distortion lenses when shooting horse photos. These lenses can cause a fisheye effect, which distorts the image and makes it look unnatural. A normal lens, such as a 50mm, will produce an image that closely matches what the human eye sees and will give you a natural looking photo.
The hip points are the joints that enable the horse to move its hind legs. If these are injured, a horse will not be able to move its hind legs as well as it could before the injury. Regular vet checks and a well-fitting saddle are important for keeping the horse’s hip points healthy. The hips can be prone to arthritis as the joint is used often and can be damaged by overworking. This can lead to lameness and poor movement. If the horse has a high croup, it can make it difficult for the rider to control the horse and it can also cause the horse to carry too much weight in its forearms and become unbalanced when walking or running. A lower croup will allow the horse to walk and run faster and easily. This will improve the horse’s fitness level and help to prevent injuries. It’s also a great way to keep the horse’s muscles in better condition.