Anatomy of a Horse
Identifying Some of the Bony Landmarks

When you are discovering the anatomy of a horse first hand, you'll notice there are a few places on his body where you can feel bone. These areas are called bony landmarks.

A horse has many layers of tissue so there is bound to be places on his anatomy where you can't feel the underlying structure. This is because it is covered by tissues such as tendons, ligaments, fascia, fat, muscles, and skin.

This diagram is not a complete list of anatomy landmarks. It is meant to give you some of the basics. If you need a refresher on skeletal structure first you can go here.

  1. The hard ridge along the shoulder is the spine of the scapula
  2. This is the dorsal part of the scapula where the bone turns to cartilidge and is noted for saddle fit
  3. "Bumps" on each front leg
  4. The atlas is the first of the cervical vertebrae. That is the beginning of the neck anatomy. The wing is the part out to the side of it
  5. This is the "bump" on the very top of the horse's head
  6. Ramus means "round". So the round part of the mandible or cheek can be felt
  7. The shelf of the ribs is the anatomy along the back, lateral to the spine where it looks like it flattens out a bit, creating a "shelf"
  8. It is helpful to know where the last rib is as the area between it and the pelvis is known as the flank.
  9. The olecranon is the point of the elbow located on the ulna
  10. These are a small pair of bones connecting by a ligament that lie to the back of the fetlock joint
  11. Located on the back legs, the tarsus (hock) can be felt and seen as the "pointier" section on the back legs. (points caudally)
  12. The back of the pelvis

It can be helpful to find your way around the horse if needed when you are familiar with the anatomy of the horse, including some of these landmarks.

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