Skeleton horse

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The Horse’s skeleton

You can find more about horses here

The skeleton comprises of about 210 bones:

• 37 in the skull, including 3 small bones in each ear
(auditory ossicles),

• 2 branches of mandible (lower jaw)

• 54 vertebrae (7 cervical, 18 thoracic,
6 lumbar, 5 sacral, 15 – 20 coccygeal),

• 36 ribs (some breeds sometimes have 37
or 38),

• 1 sternum,

• 40 in the forelimb

• 40 in the hindlimb (including pelvis)

The horse has no collarbone so therefore the front legs are
not attached by joints, meaning purely a sling of muscles
and ligaments supports the weight of the horse and rider.
This is part of the shock absorbing mechanism of the front
legs, which also includes all the angles and joints of the
front leg.

Horse’s can sleep in the upright position without falling
over due to a ‘locking’ mechanism in the fore and
hindlimbs. The main joints can be locked into position by a
system of muscles and ligaments mostly based around the
suspensory ligament at the back of the cannon bone. In this
position very little energy is needed to hold the ‘lock’.

A joint is the location at which two bones make contact
(articulate). Joints are constructed to both allow movement
and provide mechanical support.

The horse’s joints are designed to efficiently absorb
shock, permit frictionless movement, and effectively bear
the weight of a body that can weigh 1,200-1,500 pounds (550
– 650 kg) or more. Each joint is stabilized by a complex
network of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. When all is
well, this complex network enables a joint to function in a
smooth, synchronized fashion. However, when any part of the
network malfunctions because of injury or disease, repair
via medical treatment might be necessary.

of a horse

1 = Lower jaw
(mandible) of the skull

2 = Upper jaw
(maxilla) of the skull

3 = Cervical
vertebrae (bones of the neck).

4 = Scapula
(shoulder blade)

5 = Shoulder joint

6 = Humerus (arm

7 = Elbow joint

8 = Forearm:

8a = Ulna

8b = Radius
(forearm bone)

9 = Carpus (wrist

9a = Accessory
Carpal bone

10 = Cannon bone

11 = Kogelgewricht

12, 13 and 14 are the three phalanges:

12 = Long pastern

13 = Short pastern

14 = Coffin bone
(pedal bone)

15 = Rib

16 = Thoracic
vertebrae (the bones that form the dorsal part of the
thoracic cage)

17 = Lumbar
vertebrae (the bones of the lumbar region of the back)

18 = Sacrum (the
set of sacral vertebrae)

19 = Caudal
vertebrae (the bones of the tail)

20 = Pelvis

21 = Hip joint
22 = Femur (thigh

23 = Stifle joint

23a = Patella (bone
that allows the flexion of the thigh on the gaskin),
knee cap

24 = Lower leg:

24a = Tibia (leg

24b = Fibula

25 = Tarsus (bone
forming the joint between the tibia and the
metatarsus), hock joint

26 = Metatarsus
(hock bone)

27 = Sternum (bone
forming the underside of the thoracic cage)

a = Splints (On
each side of the cannon bone is a small bone known as
the splint bone. Remnants of an earlier time when
horses had five toes. The inner bone is usually
slightly larger than the outer bone.)

b = Sesamoid bones

c = Navicular bone
(The navicular bone functions as a fulcrum for the deep
flexor tendon that passes underneath it and attaches to
the coffin bone)

d = Fetlock joint
(between cannon bone and long pastern bone)

e = Pastern joint
(between long and short pastern bone)

f = Coffin joint
(between short pastern bone and coffin bone)

of the bones of a man and a horse.

are the normal vital signs of a normal horse?

Heart Rate: 30-40
beats a minute at rest (higher for younger horses). Take
pulse from under the left side of the chest near the elbow.
Over 80 at rest is a serious problem.

Respiratory Rate:
12-20 beats per minute at rest.

: about 37.5 degrees Celsius. If
above 39 degrees Celsius, contact your veterinarian
immediately. Non-breakable thermometers in the anus work
best–just don’t lose it. Some tie a cord to it and
alligator clip it to horse’s tail.

Here you can see the digestive system
of a horse

Here you can see the skeleton of a dog

Here you can see an X-ray of a cat