The poll is
located at the very top of the horse's head, in between the ears
The horse hears
things with its ears. The ears are located at the top of the horse's head.
They can swivel back and forth in any direction and are a very expressive
part of the horse's behavior. If the horse's ears are laid back flat
against its head, the horse is angry or upset. If the ears are forward,
the horse is interested in something in front of him. When one ear is
swiveled back to you and the other forward, it means that the horse is
listening to his rider while keeping an ear out for anything that might
startle him. This is the ideal position your horse's ears should be in
while you are riding him. There is less chance of him spooking this way.
Talking to a horse is a good way to let it know that you are there and
that you are not a threat.
The forelock is the lock of hair
which falls down the horse's forehead or face from where it grows between the ears.
It is often braided for shows, or sometimes left down to fall softly over
the bridle's browband.
the space between the horse's eyes, extending from the top of the head
at the ears down to the top of the horse's nose.
what the horse sees with. An albino horse can have blue eyes, or one
blue eye and one brown, and other horses can have brown, blue, or
walleyes. It depends on the horse. The horse's eyes are located on
either side of its head. The horse can see almost a full one hundred
and eighty degrees with each eye, but cannot see directly behind
itself or directly in front. This is why you need to be careful when
walking behind or in front of a horse, because they often lash out at
what they cannot see. A horse's eyes work independently of each other.
Each covers a a wide field of vision over a full semicircle. There is
a small overlap in front and a blind spot directly behind. A horse
makes little use of stereoscopic vision for judging distances as we
do, so a one-eyed horse can still judge distances. a horse loses sight
of the fence as it takes off, so it has to trust in its rider knowing
that it is safe to jump. The eyes should be bright, without discharge.
It is normal for there to be cauliflower shaped black bodies visible
within the iris; these are called the corpora nigra. The
membrane around the eye and inside the eyelid should be salmon pink.
also known as the muzzle, this part of the horse is located at the
bottom of its long head. The horse has two nostrils and has a very
keen sense of smell. To introduce yourself to a horse, blow gently in
its nostrils. That way it will remember you when you come again and
knows it can trust you.
the nostrils are a part of the horse's nose. It smells with them. The
horse's nostrils are very tender and soft, and must be cleaned
regularly. This can be done with a damp soft sponge. Wipe gently
inside the horse's nostrils so clean out any debris. Smell also
enables the horse to detect undesirable items in its food. It is also
important in social interactions, when horse greet friends or identify
strangers by touching muzzle to muzzle.
The horse's mouth is located underneath its nose. The horse eats with
its mouth and often uses it to express what it's feeling. If the horse
is very relaxed and sleepy, sometimes it will open its mouth slightly
and droop its eyes shut. Horses have very delicate mouths. They can be
eating in a patch full of weeds and thistles and still manage to only
pick up the good grass with their teeth. They have very sensitive
The horse's lips play a large part in the horse's life. Like I said
before, they are very sensitive and can choose certain blades of grass
over others, and over weeds and other things they don't like.
Sometimes the horse looks like he's laughing, because he'll pull his
lips back and grin. That's one of their ways of getting a lot of
scents from the air.
The side of the horse's face
Jaw: Right under the upper jaw. Used for grinding food.
Groove: The jugular groove is found on the lower part of the horses neck, on
both sides. It looks like a line of indentation and is just above the windpipe.
The jugular groove contains the jugular vein, the carotid artery and the
sympathetic trunk. The jugular groove is often used to take the horses pulse. It
is the easiest place to feel a pulse and is in a safe place and so avoids
Shoulder: The horse's shoulder is not actually
attached to the spine by a collar bone as it does in humans. Instead, the
shoulder is attached to and supports the weight of the front end by sheets of
muscle. These sheets of muscle attach the shoulder blade from various points
along the cervical vertebrae (bones of the neck), the thoracic spine, and to the
ribs. Because of this, the shoulder is designed to be a shock-absorber. The
muscles attached to the horse's shoulder are responsible for absorbing the
impact when a horse moves.
of Shoulder: The point of shoulder is a hard, bony prominence surrounded by
heavy muscle masses
Breast: The Breast is a muscle mass between the
forelegs, covering the front of the horse's chest
Chest: An ideal chest is deep
and contains the space necessary for vital organs. A narrow chest can lead to
interference with using the front legs. Chest muscles should be well developed
and form an inverted "V". The prominence of chest muscling depends on the breed.
Forearm: The horse's forearm extends from its elbow to
Knee: The joint between the horse's forearm and
Bone: The large bone in the horse's lower leg that runs from the knee to the
ankle. This bone receives the greatest amount of stress when a horse is moving.
There are no muscles linked to the cannon bone.
joint between the cannon bone and the pastern. The fetlock joint should be large
Pastern: This bone
extends from the fetlock to the top of the hoof
Hoof: The horny wall and sole of
the foot. The foot includes the horny structure and the pedal bones and
navacular bones, as well as other connective tissue.
Ergot: Growth on the underside of the fetlock joint -
hard, feels like it's made out of hoof material.
Chestnut: A scab-like object on the horse's inner leg.
Originated from when the horse was born, their legs are held together in the
womb to keep from tangling up during birth.
Elbow: The point of the horse where the front legs
almost meet the belly. This area is tender and sweats very easily.
Brisket: The area directly between the forelegs at the
front of the abdomen
Quarters: The part of the
horse's body from the rear of the flank to the top of the tail down to the top
of the gaskin
Shank: The cannon bone on the hind leg
Tendon: Attaches bones together and helps them move
Girth: Where the girth or cinch for the saddle lies around
the horse's barrel
Throat: The portion of the horse's neck underneath the
head before it meets the neck. Where the throatlatch of a bridle sits.
Muscle: Muscles in the chest that help pull the foreleg forward. Provides
carrying space for the horse's lungs. Pecs on a horse should be large and wide.
Jowls: The rear side part of the horse's jaw
Ribs: Structure of bones that surround the horse's
vitals. Most horses have 18 pairs of ribs.
Belly (Barrel): The biggest area on the horse. Houses
the heart and lungs, intestines, etc.
joint at the end of the thigh corresponding to the human knee
band around the top of the hoof from which the hoof wall grows
joint between the gaskin and the cannon bone, in the rear leg.
of Hock: The bony protuberance at
the back of the hock
or 'second thighs': the region
between the stifle and the hock
Thigh: part of the horse's back legs made up of the
stifle and gaskin
of buttock: The rounded part of the horse's rump
Tail: Extension of the backbone over the horse's
hindquarters. Used for swatting flies.
Dock: Where the horse's hindquarters connect to the
Flank: The area below the loin,
between the last rib and the massive muscles of the thigh
Croup: Lies between the loin and
the tail. When one is looking from the side or back, it is the highest point of
of Hip: Topmost portion of the horse's rump
short area joining the back to the powerful muscular croup
Back: Extends from the base of
the withers to where the last rib is attached
Withers: The highest point of the back, just above the
shoulder blades. The prominent ridge where the neck and
the back join. At the withers, powerful muscles of the neck and shoulders attach
to the elongated spines of the second to sixth thoracic vertebrae. The height of
a horse is measured vertically from the withers to the ground, because the
withers is the horse's highest constant point.
Neck: The portion of the horse's body between the head
Mane: The hair growing out of the horse's neck. Mostly
for appearance, but for protection from flies too.
Crest: The topline of the horse's neck, from just
behind the horse's ears (at the poll) to about halfway down the neck.
Heel: The back of the bottom of a horse's hoof
Toe: The front point of a horse's hoof
Wall: The part of the horse's hoof that is visible when the horse is
standing. Protects the inner parts of the hoof.
of Heel: Similar to the fleshy part of your hand above the wrist
of Heel: The part of the horse's hoof on the bottom that cushions the
horse's foot as it moves
Frog: "V" shaped part of the horse's hoof on the
bottom of the foot
Bars: The weight-bearing structrues of the horse's
Line: A line of distinction between the insensitive outer hoof wall and the
inner area of the hoof which contains sensitive nerves and vulnerable blood
Sole: The area surrounding and slightly above the frog
which does not come in contact with the ground
Breastbone: The center of the horse's ribcage