Do you know what a horse’s hock is? You can probably name at least a few horse body parts, such as the shoulder, back, hooves, mane, and tail. In this post, we’ll describe some body parts with which you may be less familiar so that you can increase your understanding of horses and become more confident working with them.
Muzzle - A horse’s chin, mouth, nostrils, and whiskers. Since horses cannot see straight ahead, they use their whiskers to sense what is directly beneath their mouth.
Forelock - The part of a horse’s mane that grows between its ears, protecting its forehead from flies and rain
Poll - The potentially sensitive area behind a horse’s ears
Crest - The top of a horse’s neck. The horse’s mane grows from here.
Withers - The highest point of a horse’s thoracic vertebrae, just above its shoulder blades. A horse’s height in hands is measured to the top of its withers.
Barrel - The middle of a horse (around its ribcage)
Loin - The area between a horse’s last rib and its croup. This section is the weakest part of a horse’s back.
Croup - The top of a horse’s hindquarters
Dock - The living part at the top of a horse’s tail
It may be confusing hearing people discuss the parts of a horse’s legs since some of the names are completely different from human body parts, while others have the same name but a different location. In this section, we’ll clarify the major parts of a horse’s front and hind legs.
Elbow - Where a horse’s front legs meet its belly. This joint cannot rotate from side to side.
Forearm - The section of a horse’s front legs between its elbow and knee
Knee - A large joint in a horse’s front legs, below the forearm. This joint is similar to our wrist joint except that it cannot move from side to side.
Stifle - Where a horse’s hind legs meet its belly. This joint is similar to our knee and even has a kneecap. It allows the horse to move forward.
Gaskin - The section of a horse’s hind legs between its stifle and hock. This muscle is similar to our calf muscle.
Hock - A large joint in a horse’s hind legs, below the gaskin. This joint is similar to our ankle joint.
Cannon bone - A long, straight leg bone between a horse’s knee or hock and its fetlock
Fetlock - A joint that connects a horse’s cannon bone with its pastern. This joint is similar to the ball of a human foot.
Pastern - A joint that connects a horse’s fetlock with the top of its hoof. This joint is like our toe bone. The pastern’s angle and length affect the way that a horse moves.
Well, now you’re about ready to ace a pop quiz on horse anatomy. Let us know in the comments if you think you could point out the parts of a horse’s leg!
Hello, My name is Shelby Gatti, and I am the owner of Shelby Ranch. I love being able to share my passion for animals with you and your family. At Shelby Ranch you can expect a ton of family adventure from horseback riding to mechanical bull riding & axe throwing.