Parts of a Horse

When receiving a diagnosis for an ailment over the phone, or reading anatomical pieces it’s useful to identify the part in question. We’ve written a brief description for all of the most important externally visible parts of a horse, and have included a diagram (above) to tie everything together.

Back: an integral part of a horse, running between the withers and loin

Barrel: running beneath the ribcage; the barrel is the body of the horse

Cannon: the area between the knee (front) or hock (rear) and the fetlock joint

Chestnut: a thickened and hardened part of the skin on the inside of all four legs – above the knee (front) or hock (rear)

Chin groove: the dip on underside of a horse’s head below the lower lip and down from the throat latch

Coronet: soft tissue between the hoof and leg

Crest: upper portion of the neck

Croup: (or rump) topline of the hindquarters running between the loin and dock

Dock: the stub of a horse’s tail. Living.

Elbow: joint making up part of a horse’s front legs – equivalent to a human elbow

Ergot: a thickened and hardened part of the skin on the back of the fetlock

Fetlock: between the pastern and the cannon

Flank: behind the rib cage – meeting point between the hind legs and the barrel

Forearm: found between the elbow and the knee

Forehead: between the muzzle and the poll (head)

Gaskin: a large muscle between the hock and stifle (hind leg) – equivalent to a human calf

Heel: joint on the lower front legs

Hock: large joint on a horse’s hind legs – equivalent to the human ankle and heel

Hoof: the horse’s foot, covered in a hard, nail-like material

Knee: found between the cannon and forearm – the large joint in a horse’s front leg

Loin: running between the back and the croup (the area behind the saddle)

Muzzle: the nostrils, chin, and mouth (part of the head)

Pastern: area connecting the fetlock and coronet (foot)

Point of hip: above the stifle

Poll: a slight depression on the top of a horse’s head, immediately behind the ears (between the forehead and crest)

Shoulder: above the front legs – vital for movement

Stifle: below the point of the hip – similar to the human knee

Tail: hair growing down from the dock (sometimes includes the dock)

Throat latch: where the windpipe meets the underside of the jaw (bridle lies here)

Withers: muscles forming up the lower neck/upper back just above the shoulder blades (between the crest and the back)


Looking for something to do with your horse during lock down? Check out our recent polework exercise post!

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