Horse Muscles are the engine of your horse. Keeping them healthy is vital for a performance horse. Learn about equine anatomy with horse anatomy diagrams.
Muscles keep your equine moving, his heart beating and his lungs breathing.
They are often not given much thought and their importance is often overlooked. Keeping them loose and supple will ensure that they can work to their full potential.
But over-stressing muscles during exercise can lead to injuries and trauma. Tight and sore muscles or strains and sprains of tendons and ligaments are the result. The horse might be lame for months as these injuries are very slow to heal.
Good training practices and a good warm up and cool down phase can prevent a lot of problems.
A warming up phase of minimum 10 minutes at a walk will ensure that the horse muscles are well supplied with blood. The circulatory is activated and more oxygen is supplied to the muscles to work efficiently.
Cooling down after a work-out with a few rounds of a relaxed trot with a long and low neck-position makes sure that the muscles relax and stay soft and supple.
A few facts...
Nerves stimulate the muscle to contract and move the bones they are attached to. If a muscle contracts, its antagonist has to stretch.
They allow for locomotion, balance and carry part of the bodyweight. They also support the function of organs like e.g. the lung.
A muscle is attached to bone through a tendon, which is part of the muscle. Tendons are less elastic and have less blood circulation.
Horse ligaments stabilize a joint and hold it together. They are not attached to a muscle.
In a horse there are no muscles below the knee or the hock, only tendons and ligaments.
Click on the horse anatomy diagrams to enlarge them!
Photos: adapted from Blood1976
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Anja Koch, DAEP
Applied Equine Podiatry
Caherciveen, Co. Kerry, Ireland
087-280 98 66