Horse anatomy – Know More Details!

Horse anatomy


In this article, we will talk about horse anatomy which will allow you to understand the manner in which their body works. Even though the anatomy of these animals is interesting, it is somewhat complicated as well. Being the owners, trainers, riders, and therapists of these horses, it is our responsibility to make sure that they are healthy and happy at all times. So, let us not waste another moment and go through the anatomy of horses in the subsequent paragraphs.

The back

This will be the place where the saddle is going to go; however, you need to comprehend precisely where it is to make certain that the saddle is not placed in a location that might cause discomfort to the horses. It is a fact that the back is going to start immediately below the withers and it is going to end where the loin is going to start. The back of the animal will be the best place to sit in case you like to enjoy a ride bareback.

The teeth

It’ll be feasible to comprehend the age of the animal accurately by examining their teeth. It’ll be a sensible idea to focus on the sockets and the incisors on the cutting surface. The horse will be considered to be older in case the sockets are deeper. While becoming aged, these animals will begin to experience teeth pushing towards the front. These changes can be observed by you around the intersection of the jaw.

The ears

It is possible for horses to swivel their ears by as much as 180 degrees from front to rear to tune into noises coming from various directions. As a matter of fact, these animals are able to hear much better compared to human beings. It is possible to understand how the animal is feeling by observing its ears. These will be turned sideways and will also be relaxed when the animal itself is relaxed. On the other hand, in case you find that the ears are pointing in the forward direction, it implies that the animal is alert.

horse anatomy
horse anatomy

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However, if you find that the ears are swiveling to and fro, it might suggest that the animal is nervous and is making an effort to find out the source of the sound. On the contrary, a horse with pinned ears is providing information to us that it is not happy and it can even kick or bite as a result.

The skin

It is a fact that the biggest organ of a horse happens to be its skin comprising of haired areas, pigmented areas, non-haired areas, as well as non-pigmented areas. It is possible to divide the skin into as many as 3 layers, namely, the epidermis, hypodermis, as well as dermis.

The epidermis is considered to be the outermost layer of the skin of the animal. The dermis is present directly below the epidermis, and it has been classified into the reticular and the papillary layers. It is the connective tissue layer comprising blood vessels, hair follicles, nerve endings, collagen fibers, elastic fibers, and glands. On the other hand, the location of the hypodermis is at the bottom of the skin and one can consider it to be a loose connective tissue that stores large quantities of adipose tissue. Here, we like to mention that there is no presence of hypodermis in the eyelids, lips, and cheeks of the animal.

The eyes

In the case of human beings, the location of the eyes will be in the front of the head. However, the location of the eyes in the case of a horse is on the sides of its head, implying that it is possible for the animal to see virtually 360 degrees around him. Nonetheless, the animal will not be able to see in 2 places which happen to be directly behind the tail and directly in front of the horse. Here, we would like to assert that the attractive and big eyes of a horse happen to be the biggest eyeball possessed by any land mammal out there. Moreover, they have the ability to magnify far and near objects such that they become 2 times as big as we see. These types of differences help the animal to spot any predator from any direction, and for this, there is no need for the horse to turn its head.

The structure of the neck

One can also consider the neck of the horse to be a lever. The length, proportion, and muscles of the neck of a horse will inform you of many things regarding its condition, disposition to sports, as well as the quality of training.

The balance of the horse is controlled by its neck. The neck consists of 3 parts, namely, the throat, the right as well as the left side, and the back and the forelock of the neck. As a result, you will come across 3 types of neck classifications when it comes to a horse:

  • Straight – Straight trachea enables the horse to intake more air for a proper shape within a short span of time
  • Swan – When an arch is created by the neck with the upper and bottom edges (as observed in Arab horses)
  • Close-coupled – A concave upper portion is present along with a convex bottom part for a high-head carry leading to frequent tripping. Moreover, difficulty with breathing since the airflow of the trachea can be obstructed due to the base’s convex shape.

Here, we would like to assert that horses featuring close-coupled or swan neck shapes are quite rare. Although straight necks are common, there can be a variation in degree between properly set, high, or low necks.

The skeleton

The skeleton of the horse happens to be its body’s framework and it helps to safeguard the vital organs of the animal including the heart, intestines, and lung.

The skeleton system comprises bones held together at the junctions of the bones with the help of ligaments to create a joint. Ligaments are connective tissue bands providing support to the joints, and they do not have adequate blood supply which makes an injury to take a long time to heal. Cartilage is present in the joints on the ends of the bones acting as shock absorbers to minimize friction.

horse anatomy
horse anatomy

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Joints can be considered to be a meeting point of a couple of bones, and these are safeguarded with the help of a synovial lining responsible for secreting synovial fluid. This particular fluid has lots of significance since it helps to lubricate the joints, thus reducing friction, absorbing shock, as well as providing nutrition and oxygen to the joints.

The cardiovascular system

The cardiovascular system of the horse comprises the heart, veins, arteries, blood, and capillaries. The blood is pumped by the heart around the body by means of capillaries and arteries, and the blood is returned via the veins. The blood is responsible for supplying nutrition and oxygen to the internal organs and muscles of the horse. The most typical cardiovascular issues that can happen in these animals consist of murmurs and irregular heart rhythms.

The gastrointestinal system

It comprises the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, stomach, caecum, large intestine, small intestine, rectum, large/small colon, and anus. The gastrointestinal system is responsible for the horse ingesting food items, providing nutrition to the body by breaking down the food items, and following that, getting rid of the waste. The gastrointestinal system ailments can lead to weight reduction, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and abdominal discomfort.

The lymphatic system

Being a portion of the immune system, the lymphatic system comprises small vessels containing lymph nodes and lymphatic fluid. The main function of this system will be to produce immune cells. Lymphatic fluid is packed with white blood cells which happen to be the primary tools of the body when it comes to the immune response. Apart from this, it likewise helps to get rid of toxins, for example, bacteria and fat from tissues present in the body, and move them to the body’s circulatory system. When the animal’s body is combating bacteria, the lymph nodes increase in size. In case the lymph nodes become enlarged beneath the lower jaw, it will signify that the head has got some infection, such as tooth root infection and bacterial or respiratory viral infection.

The nervous system

It is a fact that the nervous system happens to be the most complicated system within the body of the horse. It is accountable for regulating all the other body systems of the animal and it comprises the spinal cord, the brain, as well as motor and sensory nerves. The CNS (central nervous system) can be considered to be the core of all nervous control. The nerves located outside the central nervous system are regulated by the peripheral nervous system which likewise regulates the involuntary systems like the respiratory and cardiovascular systems along with the “fight or flight” reactions of the horse. Furthermore, it also regulates the sleeping, resting, digestion, and elimination processes of the animal. Nervous system issues can lead to an extensive array of symptoms such as seizures and coordination issues.

horse anatomy
horse anatomy

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We like to conclude this post by asserting that the entire body structure of the horse along with its functions is simply amazing and can be quite intriguing to study. It is really fascinating to observe the manner in which the normal structure of the body is formed to enable maximum functionality. Even though we have not covered all the intricate details regarding the anatomy of the horse, you will be able to get more information on this specific subject by going online and going through the relevant articles and videos.