Anatomy Lesson, Part 1


Have you ever found yourself smiling and nodding blankly as your vet explains the particulars of what’s going on with one of your horse’s front legs? Perhaps he or she came up mysteriously lame and now with the help of your trusted veterinarian, you’re doing your best to understand the situation. But the truth is, it would all be a lot easier to understand if your vet would just use layman terms…

I know I’ve been there.

So I decided to research the horse’s anatomy a little deeper to shed a bit more light on the subject. Studying the horse anatomically, as a whole body, is daunting true enough. However, when the parts of the equine’s body are broken up into small chunks, it’s not so difficult to understand.




This week, I\’ve decided to designate an entire blog section to entries regarding equine anatomy and physiology. I thought it might be helpful to break down the parts of the horse and identify key parts of the horse’s body including; the skeletal structure, muscle system, joints, parts of the foot, nervous system, sensory structures, circulatory system, respiratory system and digestive system. Of course, we’re not gonna do this all today…

First, I figure it would be best to start the anatomy lessons off with vocabulary regarding anatomical nomenclature. I’m sure you’ve all heard your vet use terms like “ventral” or “caudal”. Here are the definitions to those terms, which describe exactly “where” specific parts of the horse’s body are located.

Let’s begin:

Anterior: In front of

Posterior: Back part

Ventral: bottom / underneath half

Dorsal: top half

Superior: Closer to the head (towards)

Inferior: towards the feet (closer)

Cranial: towards the head

Caudal: towards the tail

Medial: towards the midline of the body

Lateral: towards the outside of the body (away from the midline)

Proximal: close to the body

Distal: further away from the body

Palmar: back part of the front limb (carpus down)

Plantar: back part of the hind limb (hock down)


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