Horse Anatomy : 15 Main Parts Of A Horse

Riding a horse without proper knowledge about its body parts can be very dangerous. Also, if you own a horse, know everything about its anatomy to treat it with care.

Horse Brain, Human Brain: The Neuroscience of Horsemanship
  • Jones PhD, Janet (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 312 Pages - 06/23/2020 (Publication Date) - Trafalgar Square Books (Publisher)

Do you love horse riding and enjoy watching horse races?

Understanding a horse’s anatomy can help you here as well. If your friends keep talking about these fantastic animals, it’s time to join them. Mentioning specific parts can leave a stunning impression on others. 

In this article, we have defined the 15 main parts of a horse. This knowledge will make you look like an expert and also help you treat your horse gently.

The 15 Main Parts of a Horse

We have listed the primary parts of a horse that any horse enthusiast needs to know about. 

Horse Anatomy Main Parts of A Horse

Moreover, these are the key areas that every rider or caretaker should identify easily. It is vital to recognize each part correctly. 

So, keep scrolling to discover more about each one of them.

  • Muzzle
  • Poll
  • Crest
  • Withers
  • Ears
  • Forelock
  • Eyes
  • Shoulder
  • Pastern
  • Hock
  • Dock
  • Barrel
  • Flank
  • Gaskin
  • Stifle

1. Muzzle

The muzzle is one of the most crucial parts of a horse. It is an area of the horse’s head that comprises the nostrils, mouth, lips, nose, and chin. 

A horse’s muzzle is very sensitive and mobile. The whiskers on it help the horse to sense and feel. And the skin around the muzzle is mostly hairless.

2. Pole

The part exactly behind the ears of a horse is the Poll. It has underlying bones attached to the top of the skull and cervical bones of the neck area. 

The Poll is also a sensitive part as most never endings and pressure points are present here. A rider normally clips the bridle path behind the Poll. In some horses, this area is noticeable, whereas, in others, it is flat.

3. Crest

The top line of the neck is known as the Crest. A crest must have a gentle cervix curve from the horse’s Poll to its Withers. 

Ideally, a healthy horse has a thicker crest, whereas, on a thinner one, it is sleek and straight. However, the Crest also differs from breed to breed.

4. Withers

Withers are present on the tip of the horse’s arm, where the neck and body connect. The lump on a horse’s back is the tallest thoracic vertebrae. 

On some horses, this part is pretty noticeable, while on the others, it is suppressed. The height of the animal is determined by measuring the length from the withers to its hoof. 

Also, horses that have higher withers are challenging to ride bareback.

5. Ears

A horse’s ears are very mobile and can move easily back and forth. The ears are also very flexible and help the horse to express its feelings. For instance, if the horse’s ears are laid back, it may show anger.

Also, if it points towards the front, it displays interest. Overall, the ears are crucial parts that help determine the animal’s mood and health.

6. Forelock

The beautiful mane that falls right in between the eyes of a horse is the Forelock. It helps to protect the horse from harsh extreme weather and insects. The Forelock of a horse may be thick or thin depending on its breed and type.

7. Eyes

The eyes are located on both sides of the horse’s head. It helps the horse to see things in the forward and backward direction easily. 

However, the eye of the horse is sensitive and must be taken care of. Riders must attach a fly mask to help the horse focus while riding.

8. Shoulder

The shoulder bone of a horse is very large. It runs down from the withers to its chest. A well-slopped shoulder promises smooth and swift movement. However, vertical shoulders result in jerky or rough action.

9. Pastern

The pastern consists of two primary bones that extend from the fetlock. Its upper bone is long, and the lower bone is short. These bones further expand into the hoof and join in the pedal joint. 

The angle of this part is essential for smooth movement. A longer pastern provides shock absorbency for better rides. In contrast, shorter ones lead to rough gaits.

10. Hock

The most significant joint on the hind legs of a horse is the hock. This joint comprises several tiny bones that give it an angular shape. The hock must be strong as it determines the horse’s speeding capacity and activeness. 

Also, a poorly conformed hock may lead to breakdowns and lack of performance.

11. Dock

The area that is present on the peak of the tail is described as Dock. In this part, muscles and crucial spine extensions are present underneath the skin.

12. Barrel

The area that lies between the girth and the flank is Barrel. It is a significant part beneath the horse’s ribcage that surrounds all vital organs. This part plays an essential role as it helps in enclosing the chief internal organs of a horse.

13. Flank

The slightly projected area behind the Barrel is the flank. This part helps you examine the horse’s respiration. If the flank is flat and lifeless, it means that your horse is dehydrated. 

So, keep a check on the flank and provide your horse with fresh, clean water at all times.

14. Gaskin

The muscular area between the hock and the stifle is Gaskin. It is a crucial part present in the hind legs. 

In addition, the tibia and smaller fibula are strong underlying bones located in this area. Further, this area can also be identified as a human’s shin or calf bone for better understanding.

15. Stifle

The joint underlying the large hip bone is the stifle area. It is present above the Gaskin. This part resembles a human’s knee. Often horses tend to injure this area and require special care.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. Which Are the Two Chief Parts of a Horse?

Ans : The axial and appendicular skeleton are the two primary parts of a horse’s body. The axial skeleton is vital as it helps in protecting chief parts like the skull, backbone, and ribcage. 

Whereas the appendicular skeleton assists in supporting the body. This region consists of the shoulders, pelvis, forearms, and hind legs.

Q2. What Are the Hindquarters of a Horse, also called as?

Ans : The hindquarter of a horse is called the hock. It is the extensive muscular area that lies above the stifle and before the Barrel. 

Moreover, it is the largest joint in the body and resembles a human ankle and heel.

Q3. What is the Rear End of the Horse Called?

Ans : The rear end of a horse is also known as croup or rump. This part is the tallest point of the hindquarters and lies just before the Dock.

Q4. Are Grazing Muzzles Harmful?

Ans : Grazing muzzles are certainly not cruel for your horse. On the contrary, they give your horse better health and life. 

Also, they are essential for gaining control over a horse. This accessory helps your horse manage its weight and prevents excessive eating. 

Moreover, they promote exercise and help the horse easily socialize with others.

Q5. Where Are Horses Gaskin Located?

Ans : The muscular area amid the hock and stifle is the Gaskin. This part is present on the hind legs of the horse. It is a crucial region of the horse’s leg. Many underlying bones are also present in the Gaskin.

Horse Anatomy Conclusion

Horses are simple animals if you understand their anatomy well. Their parts are easy to identify, and anybody can locate them in no time. Also, all of the parts mentioned above are crucial and hold the utmost significance in a Horse’s body structure.

Knowing them will help you treat your horse well and understand its behavior. Moreover, it will also assist in determining mood and hydration needs which hold utmost importance.

Finally, treating a horse right helps it perform well. So, use all this helpful knowledge to keep a horse healthy and secure. 

In addition, also leave a fantastic impression on others by sharing your expertise with them.