Horse Anatomy Diagrams With Printable PDF's
Directional Terms, Skeletal, and Muscle Introduction

These horse anatomy diagrams are a great overview and introduction to the vast study of equine anatomy.

These diagrams should explain and show you some of the basics. That way if you need to talk to a vet, or do a correct drawing, you'll have a solid foundation.

For something more basic or to use as a reference point, check out this page for a downloadable labeled basic body parts diagram.

Introduction to Directional Terms

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PDF Printable Diagram

First you'll need to know that all this anatomy is based on a median plane. That means that if you were to draw a line straight down the middle of the back, it would divide the horse into equal right and left halves.

Caudal- The plane going towards the hindend. The rear portion.

Cranial- The plane going towards the head end (front). The front portion

Distal- Further away from the main part of the body, furthest. Example: The hoof is the most distal part of the leg.

Dorsal- Back surface or topline

Lateral- Away from the median (middle line) plane. It is also the outside or external surface.

Medial- Towards the middle (median plane) of the body. The inner or more internal part.

Palmer- The sole (bottom) of the front hoof continuing up to the back of the knee (carpus)

Plantar- The sole of the hind hoof continuing up to the back of the hock (tarsus)

Proximal- Closer to the body, or point of attachment. Example: The knee is proximal to the ankle

Rostral- Towards the nose

Ventral- Underneath or belly side

Superficial Equine Muscles

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Superficial Muscles PDF

There are many possible diagrams of the anatomy of horse tissues. This is because there are many layers of muscles. This diagram shows the superficial layer of the tissue.

Superficial- More external or towards the surface of the body.

In this picture it shows the muscles that are closest to the surface of the skin, making them superficial.

Deep- More internal, or towards the center of the horse (These are ones that you wouldn't be able to see their outline or feel on the horse)

Intermediate- In the middle.

A lot of the muscles seen in this picture form the bulky part of the horse anatomy that you see just beneath the skin, that you can feel. Although they may be more developed in some horses than others, you'd still recognize them as the outline of the horse in pictures or diagrams where the whole is seen.

Horse Skeletal Structure

The muscles have to have a skeletal framework to attach to. It is the action of the muscles across different joints that creates movement.

Without the Skeleton comprised of bones, there would be no structure to keep the body upright.

There are more diagrams explaining skeletal structure and function here.

I hope you have enjoyed getting some basics through these horse anatomy diagrams.

Go from horse anatomy diagrams to explore other exciting articles about anatomy, training, and riding horses